A Transition is a movement, passage or change from one position, state, stage, subject or concept to another. The change can be gradual or sudden and last for differing time periods, meaning some transitions are short term while others are long term. Children make transitions without prior experience so it may feel daunting such as their first day at school, first exam or first sexual expression. Most children will experience many transitions within their life; the most common transitions that most children experience are detailed below.
One common transition that children experience is moving home whether it is within the same town the already live in or to a new city. Moving from the street they know and the house they have grown up in surrounded by their friends can be a very daunting experience for children as it’s the unknown. It may cause them to become frustrated as they are been torn away from favourite places and old friends. They will also feel anxious about moving to a new town and neighbourhood and worry about making new friends.
Friends may also move away either from their neighbourhood or they could move schools. This may leave the child feeling like they have lost a friend, they may feel nervous about making new friends leading them to feel anxious and shy. They will also experience upset if their friend is moving far away and they are not likely to see them again i.e. if they emigrate.
Puberty is a transition that all children will experience but they will all experience puberty at a different ages while some girls start puberty around the age of 11 others don’t start till they are 15, this is also the case with boys. Puberty can be a scary thing to go through as a child it may leave them feeling confused about the changes going on in their bodies, they may also begin to feel self-conscious for example if they are maturing slower or faster than friends as they will be constantly comparing their bodies with friends bodies. Children will also feel like they have no control over the changes taking place. During this stage children might become dismissive and argumentative as a way to take out their frustration of the changes taking place within their body.
Starting a new school is another transition that all children will experience i.e. when they first start nursery, primary school or secondary school. It can be a daunting experience for a child especially if none of their existing friends are going, they will feel anxious as they won’t know what to expect. They may also be nervous about the fact they have to make new friends and settle into new surroundings. Children may become shy, dismissive and anxious until they have settled in and feel comfortable within the surroundings.
Another transition that children will experience is sitting their first exam, they will fell anxious and nervous about what to expect they may also be worried about the result and concerned that they haven’t done well enough to get onto the course they may want for their future career. This can cause a child a great deal of stress and anxiety so it is important that they are supported by teachers and parents.
When a child experiences there first sexual experience it can be very stressful they will feel anxious about what is about to happen as they have never experienced it before they may also feel nervous about what to do and might feel shy.
These are the main transitions that most children will experience as they are growing up. The situations can cause negative feelings for a child including; anxiety, nervous, embarrassed, upset, jealous, confused and frustrated. Transitions also cause positive feelings for the child including; content, excited, boost of self-esteem and proud of themselves.
It is important that children experience transitions as it helps them to learn and develop and also helps them learn how to cope in different situations that may be stressful and uncomfortable. It is important that children are supported by parents, peers, teachers and other adults around them when experiencing transitions to help them cope with the situation and also to give them advice and emotional support, the support and help that is required will differ depending on the child’s age, situation, ability to cope and other individual circumstances.