Lifestyle and ActivitiesHow Can I Help My Family Cope With Major Life Transitions?


How Can I Help My Family Cope With Major Life Transitions?

You start your day by having breakfast with your family members and end the day by having a good dinner at the same table! Who can deny the importance of having a family in life?

Sadness, happiness, breakdowns, changes- whatever your emotion is, you can go to your family members to share your state of mind. For me, family is the coziest place ever for a person to feel safe while devastated.

Life is full of transitions- we know that. The analogy between family relationships and life transitions is very common daily. More importantly, how to deal with those life transitions and help your family cope with these difficult times?

What Does Life Transitions Mean?

The journey of life transitions begins from a child’s birth and continues until death. Every day we go through transitions; those are tiny moments and changes happening in our lives. Often we are unaware of those incidents and their impacts. Now, we can regard any adjustments, changes, or additions that affect our lives as life transitions. Life transitions could be small or big, planned or unplanned, such as a new job, baby birth, severe illness, accommodation shifting, moving away from family, etc.

Major Life Transitions in Family

We know about life transitions, let us mention those major transitions that may happen. There are a few major life transitions that we face in family life.

  • Marriage & Divorce
  • Pregnancy & Parenting
  • Shifting or Changes in Career
  • Financial Crisis
  • Accident or Death

These transitions can either happen over a long time or happen unexpectedly! Therefore, let’s discuss the effects they might have on our lives-

1. Marriage and divorce

Marriage and divorce

What do you feel whenever you hear about marriage? We will be trying to share about the changes that you might be facing after getting married. Yes, you are right! A lot of things change once you are married. The daily routine that you are used to will completely change your life.  In addition to your ‘me time’ and work time, you are including time with your new family and time with your bae. Initially, you may find it tough to adjust, but once you can manage everything smoothly, there will be no problem. After all, it is about how you can emotionally and practically deal with your near and dear ones in a balanced way!

About divorce– the society where you live right now will never consider your phenomenal life transition a reasonable incident. This is because divorces are common and have become a part of life for us. And to go through a divorce means going through a major transition in life. The changes you might face due to this separation stage are losing favor, strained relationships with relatives, financial difficulties, trouble with children’s lives, and so on. Despite those downsides, we can also focus on some positive facts of divorce: mental stability, self-healing, self-confidence, freedom of choice, self-awareness, etc.

Here we can add another transition of life: “relationship breakup”. It can constantly harm your daily work and personal life as well. The mental breakdown that one will grow through this time might get furious if they do not start self-rectification. Transitioning from a relationship may be difficult to accept at first, but how you react to is crucial. If someone in your family is going through a breakup, you should help them cope with it.

2. Pregnancy and parenting

Pregnancy or parenting

Whether it is pregnancy or parenting, the struggle a couple faces will remain unchanged. Pregnancy is the most critical phase of a woman’s life. Single or married, you can never differentiate between the marital stage and pregnancy time because of the delicate situation. From work to a good night’s sleep- everything will start changing in their life. Often women start feeling helpless, no matter how supportive their family members are! That is why is it important to always make yourself available to help them deal with such a big transition.

After childbirth, the most challenging battle for parents will be to raise that little kiddo. So, for parenting, it is evident that you will need the utmost discipline to take care of your child. Though you might get frustrated that you are failing trust me, it is less complicated than you think! Parenting will be easier for you if you can play your role as a team member. Your other team members can be your family, who can help you take care of your children.

 3. Shifting or changes in career

Shifting and changes in career

Suppose you got your favorite job and now preparing yourself to move away from your family. What is the response you will get from your family and other people? It could be both positive and negative! Moving away from your child and shifting with your family from one place to another due to career reasons will hamper your daily life enormously. At times, constant shifting due to work can affect your children as they will have to change schools. You will also be away from your friends and family as a result.

Being out of a job or retiring will also be a significant change! This life transition may affect your and your family’s financial situation. For the time being, it could be upsetting for the whole family, but those hard times are temporary, not permanent! With the support of your family, you can always cope with such changes and bounce back soon enough.

4. Financial Crisis

Financial crisis

“A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.”-  stated Jonathan Swift. Money is crucial for our daily life, but what if you and your family are going through a financial crisis? Well, no doubt that financial problems will block the entrance of happiness in your family life. Hence, this transition in life could be a concern in anyone’s life. If you and your family are strong enough to overcome the distress with patience, this transition will mean nothing at that moment!

5. Accident or Death

Accident or death

What could be more depressing than hearing the news of an accident or death? And the saddest part is if the victim will be any of your family members, then the trauma you and your family will have to bear is beyond description. Any chronic illness, accidents, or even death during illness- these are the occurrences that can bring change in your family life. Nevertheless, it will be possible to beat that negative situation if all the family members help each other to heal themselves.

Dealing with Major Life Transitions

As we already have an estimated idea of major life transitions in our family life, let us focus on how we can deal with them to handle our family members.

To help your family cope with significant life transitions, we have separated the family members’ categories into three sections.

  • Parents & Kids
  • Couples
  • Siblings

1. Dealing with major life transitions being parents & kids

Parents and kids

First of all, let’s talk about parenting. During a period of transition, parents often get depressed and worried about their children and whether they can make it happen. Often they might need clarification about the way of their parenting too! Irrespective of whether both parents are divorced or still married, it is their responsibility to ensure the best upbringing for their children no matter how hard the situation is getting!

Besides this, there might be another transition – a financial crisis. A money crisis can break your child’s confidence, and they might start feeling poor or helpless by seeing others. Well, give full support from your side in that situation and uplift them by giving them hope. A financial crisis is only a temporary crisis, and being helped is what someone needs in these types of situations.

About shifting, your children will never feel happy once they know they have to leave their favorite playground, classroom, and even their bedroom and treehouse. On that note, ease your child, prepare them mentally before you live in a new environment, and explain to them why that major change.

Again, if your kids are unfortunate enough to witness elderly members’ deaths, accidents, or severe illness, you need to take care of that situation very sensitively. Demonstrate the whole situation softly with your kids, so they do not feel broken inside. Tell them that this kind of transition is common in our very life, and we need to accept that harsh reality!

2. Dealing with major life transitions being couples


After marriage, a couple needs to cope with the transition they will face. Both husband and wife can discuss time management with each other. As a couple, they need to keep a balance between both their married life and family life.

Then comes the stage when you are ready to have a child. Parenting becomes another crucial responsibility in your life. During parenting, try to involve yourself as a co-parent as much as possible. If you are unable to meet the demand, always speak about those problems with your partners that you are facing.

If you are getting a divorce, that does not mean it is the end of the world! Both of you need to decide who will take responsibility for the children. Even you are the one who will ensure that your children never get deprived of family love from both of the parents’ sides that they deserve the most.

There is another incident that might change your life- shifting. Any shifting due to your job purpose can create a distance between working couples. For an adjustment, couples can take vacations or fix convenient times and places to meet with each other at least once a week.

The most complicated situation may come for a couple when they face a financial crisis. You must keep strong mentally and try to cope with that situation. Whatever your decision to get rid of that crisis, discuss it with your partner first and find the probable solution. Be each other’s mental support, whatever the situation is!

3. Dealing with major life transitions being siblings


How to elaborate on the affection and love between siblings? I mean, it’s divine! The bonding that siblings establish with each other keeps the family bonding strong. Often we face transitions, such as children needing to go abroad or moving away to a distant place for a job or study. At that moment, it will be hard for other siblings to hold on to their emotions to handle that mental breakdown. The other family members can give their utmost mental support and condolence.

Again, divorce can separate children! Most of the time, parents decide to divide their children between them and take their custody. It might sound a bit upsetting to you! But, no need to get sad! All they can do is schedule their meeting times with each other. It could be an extended vacation, dinner or lunch party, picnic, etc.

You can consider this part as the most breaking part of our life! What could be more traumatic than your siblings’ death? No matter what, as a brother or sister, you need to tackle the situation empathetically. Giving condolences to taking care of all those facts that your siblings might get in need of should be your priority. And as the only surviving sibling, it is okay to ask questions and reach out to your parents and others in your family for support.

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Life Transitions: Good or Bad for Family Life?

Life transitions good or bad for life

Life transitions may sound ambiguous, but you cannot undo what has already been done. Also, we cannot deny the stress and fear of the unknown. Life transitions can change anyone’s life in the blink of an eye. But does that mean that particular change is extracting everything from your life? No! If you believe that change is a part of your life, then you must accept that significant life transitions for you and your family’s well-being. All you can do is take proper care of your family at that moment. To overcome the situation, supporting and accepting the reality of change is important. No matter what, family is always there to love and support you through thick and thin.

I suggest you not waste time overthinking what’s been left behind. You must clean up your backlogs every moment to maintain a healthy and happy life!


  1. How could you support a family as they cope with change?
    You need to give a positive vibe always toward your family members. Let them feel sad if they want to, but tell them that they are not alone and you are always there for them. Last but not least, talk more about what happened to make things more accessible than before.
  2. How do you stay happy during significant life transitions?
    The possible ways you may follow during significant life transitions are- to develop a routine, set small goals, set reasonable expectations, and prepare yourself for upcoming life transitions.
  3. What are the major life transitions?
    The major life transitions are- getting married, having babies, changing jobs, getting divorced, losing a job, becoming ill or having a severe accident, and getting retired.

Final thoughts

In summary, life transition is not a big deal if you follow the guidance we discussed. Again, as a part of your family, you need to teach or suggest to other people to set their life goals and identify their values in their own lives. You will face hundreds of problems during the journey of life. Does that mean you will give up all your hopes? Never! Accepting the changes in life and dealing with the situation will be the best way to handle all the critical situations in anyone’s life. As always, a loving and supportive family will make the world of difference when coping with such transitional periods of your life!

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Maria W. Corley is a family psychology expert dedicated to helping families thrive. With a passion for improving relationships, Maria shares practical advice on Merge Family. Her goal is to make your family feel closer than ever by addressing communication issues and fostering understanding.

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