Parent Emotions at Transition

Through the course of talking to hundreds of parents every year the same sensitive topics come up in nearly every conversation.  I thought I would share with you some feelings, thoughts and realisations I experienced during Laura’s transition (and still do now) that might offer some comfort to those going through this tricky time.


1.  What’s best for you and your family may not be best for your child

I often talk to mothers about having to make the break.  As your child approaches transition you have to consider what is going to be the best outcome for them in the long term.  Whilst an agonising process to go through, once you think of everything from their perspective ideas, positive options and opportunities will suddenly become available to you.


2.  It’s normal to feel guilty

Without exception, all parents feel guilty about persuing a placement for their child that doesn’t include them staying at home.  The simple fact is, no-one will be able to look after your child as well as you.  However, whatever their ability, as your child grows up so too does their desire to be with their peer group, to have new experiences and to enjoy opportunities that would be extremely difficult to offer in a home environment.


3.  Don’t bury your head in the sand, preparation and knowledge is power

Securing a placement that you are happy with will take time.  All too often I talk to parents of 17 year olds who are approaching adult services with no plans in place.  This is fine if you know what you want or can see the future clearly but for those who are unsure, making a rushed decision or being forced into something you don’t want can come back and bite you later on.  I always advise parents to start the process when their child is 14.  I know this could sound daunting or a little premature but believe me, the time will speed by and you will be 4 years down the line before you know it.


4.  Look at as many places as possible (even if it’s to decide what you don’t want)

A good way to start the process is by deciding what is unacceptable.  Your local authority will give you a list of what is available in your area and it is advisable to go and have a look at each of these places they suggest.   You can then document why those places may or may not be suitable.  Have a look at our Top 10 Questions to ask Care Providers for a starting point.


5.  Consider the long term future

 As we get older it is inevitable that we cannot care for our children indefinitely.  You need to consider what happens when you become less able to provide care and support.  Many mothers are aware of the  potential reponsibility their children may place on siblings in the long term and this is why it’s best to think of this at the outset and be prepared that at some point, it is inevitable your child is going to be cared for by someone else.


6.  Be prepared for a vacuum

After caring for your child for so long, when they do finally fly the nest (and like with all children who leave home) a big vacuum will suddenly appear in your life.  You need to consider what you might do when they are settled and how the rest of your family adjusts through this transition.

Comments are closed.