It is a bit difficult to define ineffective options simply because it is easier to describe those situations where people have ineffective options to react to change.

Nonetheless some ineffective options may include:

  1. Denying that a change is occurring;
  2. Not being aware of one’s environment – of change that is emerging over time;
  3. Not planning properly for change even when it is predictable (e.g., as in retirement or changing jobs or moving house or schools);
  4. Overreacting to possible consequences that change might bring;
  5. Listening to gossip and misinformation about what change might lead to;
  6. As a consequence not understanding the process of change and the likely outcomes (not doing one’s homework so to speak);
  7. Ignoring or pretending that the change will go away;
  8. Letting your defences down – giving in to stress and withdrawing or changing behaviour and thinking in a negative way – becoming depressed;
  9. Having few social support networks and friends to help you out when needed.

Case Example: Sally

Sally is an 18 year old girl who has just completed her High School Education. Sally has done exceptionally well in her exams, but has no idea what she wants to do with her life and what she wants to study at university. Sally tells her friend Jody that she is really anxious because her parents are expecting her to leave home next year and move to another city to study at a good university there. Sally has never had much responsibility in her life and has relied on her parents to make most of the big decisions for her.

Sally feels that it is all too much for her and she decides not to apply at all. Sally is too scared to tell her parents. Sally just wants to work at the local fish and chip shop and pretend that everything will go on as it always has.

What is problematic here?

Well maybe nothing is too problematic here, except that Sally is pretty confused and ambivalent about her future. A big change or transition is looming, and under the stress and pressure, Sally opts for an easy solution – one she can gain satisfaction from without too much effort. Furthermore, Sally has not been open or honest with her parents and this is creating a dilemma in her mind.

To cope, Sally simply shuts out the stress and dilemma and hopes that everything will turn out okay and the status quo of her existence will remain. Unfortunately these things have a way of coming back and pretty soon Sally may have to do some explaining to her parents when they find out.

Kids these days have lots of pressures on them to perform and to meet incredible technological and social changes head on. Many kids are pretty technologically savvy, however in terms of understanding or dealing with social change and making real life decisions, not all kids have the skills to be able to cope. Some kids are disadvantaged and poor and have to fight every inch of the way to secure reasonable prospects for their life ahead.

The so called ‘Me’ generation have been noted to be rather selfish and self-centred in their attitudes to life, and have been protected from the nasty big world outside by their parents. This of course, is pretty stereotypical; however some commentators and researchers argue that kids these days are staying at home with their parents for much longer than kids have done in the past.

In particular they prefer to stay at home whilst studying at their local university or TAFE or similar colleges because of the enormous financial costs of living away from home and feelings of isolation and abandonment should they move away. Their parents often foot the bills and provide emotional support for them as well.