During my last semester at BYU I obtained an internship through the School of Family Life. I was hired as a research assistant with the Forever Families website, sponsored by BYU and the School of Family Life. My main duties involved gathering research and writing articles to be placed on the Internet. The overarching goal of the site is to strengthen families, using research that is grounded in the principles contained in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
Most of my time as an intern I spent researching the topic of transitional characters. A transitional character is an individual who filters out the negative behaviors that they have been handed by parents and previous generations, and then passes on more positive behaviors to their children. For example, a daughter has a mother who is an alcoholic and very critical. That daughter recognizes the destructive behavior, and as a result she makes a conscious effort to avoid alcohol and to be positive instead of critical. The change doesn’t happen overnight, and there is a lot more involved than I am writing here (you can read the article to find out more!).
This concept is fairly new, and it’s not something that has been documented in too many places. As a result, research was difficult to come by and I had to dig deep. I wrote three articles on the topic, Becoming A Transitional Character. A long article that includes research references, a short article that summarizes the research and offers practical suggestions for families, and an LDS perspective article.
So, what can you do to become a transitional character in your own family? Here are some brief ideas:
-Develop a vision of yourself as a transitional character.
-Build supportive relationships with strong adults.
-Be deliberate about making changes.
-Celebrate family rituals.
-Create a healthy emotional distance.
-Marry at a later age.
-Read good books about family life.
-Join organizations that can help.
-Get an education.
-Get additional help if needed.
For more information, view the original article on Forever Families.