Build a RAFT with these 4 parts
Here’s how to help kids cope with the inevitable transition by building a RAFT.
Idea: Resolve unfinished business with anyone you need to put things right, resolve conflict, re-establish friendship.
Action Step: Ask your teen, “Are there any people you need to talk things out with before we go? I want to help you figure out how to do that. Let’s talk and make a list together.”
Idea: Thank those who have been important in our lives.
Action Step: Encourage your military brat to make a list of five people they want to thank for the kindness, counsel, encouragement and/or energy they have generously given. Bonus points if they do it face-to-face.
Idea: Say goodbye to people, places, pets and possessions.
Action Step: Facilitate and allow your family to take time to revisit meaningful places, people, and things. Ask them, “What will you miss/remember the most? How can we say goodbye and maybe take a token to remember this by?”
4. Think destination
Idea: Plan ahead for what will be needed to live successfully in the next place.
Action Step: Ask things like, “What is the first thing you want to do when we get there (that doesn’t have to do with moving)?” Start and encourage dream sessions about ideal situations or new goals and then come up with a plan to try and make some of them come true (new hobby, change of personal style, different school activity, etc).
The “leaving stage” of transition is when teens begin to see the future and the present with mixed feelings of excitement for what will be gained and sadness for what will be lost. Help your adolescent (and family) cope with these natural reactions by enacting the strategies within RAFT. This will enable healing and a healthy transition and equip them with strategies for a lifetime of resilience.