April 26, 2013

“Our Love Don’t Have To Change” – John Legend

Singer John Legend

Singer John Legend, Photo used under Wikipedia Fair Use Rationale Guidelines

While I was recently listening to John Legend singing: “It Don’t have to Change,”  I began thinking about families experiencing change because of divorce.

When a family is in the Collaborative Divorce Process, I talk to the children as a Neutral Child Specialist.  Children tell me that they don’t want their family to change.  Families do change.  In fact, half of families change because of divorce, and families change because life changes.

So how do families in transition maintain that sense of family togetherness and cohesiveness and help children have a positive adjustment to divorce?

Change can be a source of anxiety whether you are an adult or a child.  When a family is in divorce, the family rituals that were once looked to for that sense of identity and closeness as a family are now in a state of flux. Children and parents are experiencing uncertainty and loss, and the future is unknown.

Rituals are known to be a source of healing and support across cultures.  Rituals provide support when there is grief and loss, and are an important ingredient for binding a family together in love and cohesiveness.  Daniel Goleman, in his 1992 New York Times Article wrote that when families preserve their rituals, their children fare better, even in the face of disruptive problems.

Parents can support their children’s emotional adjustment to divorce by being mindful of the rituals that have been important to the family. Parents who talk about this with the children and find ways to continue meaningful rituals when possible, help children to have a sense of continuity through the transition.  A parent creating new rituals with the children in the new family home enables each member of that family unit to experience a sense of identity and belonging.  This supports a positive adjustment to the changes taking place within the family, and ultimately leads to a stronger sense of family.

Yes, I agree with John Legend: “Our love don’t have to change.

Stephanie TschidaABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie Tschida

Stephanie Tschida, M.S., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Collaborative Divorce Neutral Child Specialist and Divorce Coach is in private practice in Woodbury Minnesota. She is committed to supporting her clients through the uncertainty of family change, so that they can experience a smooth transition, have a positive adjustment and strong family plan to carry them forward. Learn more about Stephanie's therapy practice and collaborative divorce work at: Learn more at www.sltschida.com

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2 Responses to “Our Love Don’t Have To Change” – John Legend

  1. Carl Arnold says:

    I like your focus in this article on preserving family activities which children integrate into their self-concept and sense of belonging to a larger family system. I think a great question to ask parents during divorce or separation is “What holiday or other get-togethers or celebrations have your children been involved with in the past.” It focuses the conversation towards the child’s experience rather than which parent “gets” more holiday parenting time. The idea is to maximize the child’s connection to family traditions and extended family connections and additionally looking forward to create new traditions with their (likely) new family connections.

  2. Mary Antonia Wilmes says:

    Thanks for this reminder about the importance of family ritual–and connecting it to a song means I’ll remember it better!
    I see even adult children appreciating their divorced parents both being present for family celebrations..

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