By Tina Ray, Legal Assistant, Woodruff Family Law Group
Change is a four-letter word. Actually, we all know it’s six letters, but to some, it sometimes has the connotation as some of the more well-known four letter words that some of us use daily. One of the definitions from www.dictionary.com is: “to make a material difference so that the thing is distinctly different from what it was.” All families go through change, both good and bad. How one copes with that four-letter word can mean the difference between surviving, or barely hanging on. You are responsible for how your children learn to handle change. You set the example. Make the difference. Your children learn by example, so make that learning experience positive.
Many times, change is good. Remember meeting that special someone? The newness of the relationship, all warm, fuzzy and exciting! You couldn’t wait to see each other, breathless when your eyes would finally meet after a few hours of being apart. Then, getting married. That’s a tremendous change. Living together, learning how to deal with all of each other’s quirkiness. Having children. HUGE change! Things were definitely “different from what they were”. Diapers, feedings, no sleep…school, new friends, earrings, makeup, cars…it goes on and on… All the while, you have to learn how to deal with all of the different changes. YOU learn while your children learn.
Sometimes, change is bad. Work is tiring, money is low. Your relationship with your spouse can suffer. The two of you just can’t seem to communicate anymore. This type of change can affect your entire life. Things are “different from what they were” at the beginning of your relationship. Changing again! You try to hang on to the good parts, but the changing bad parts of your life can take over both of your lives, ending in separation and divorce. Bet you never thought you would go through that change, right? Remember, YOU learn while your children learn.
Children look at things through different eyes. They often don’t know about your job or money issues. All that they see is that their lives are changing. Children see that Mom and Dad are fighting. Sometimes, they feel like it’s their fault. I’m sure your children aren’t perfect. They do cause worry and stress unknowingly (sometimes knowingly). But they don’t know how to cope with all of the changes because they are children. They haven’t been through the same experiences that you have. Your children are learning to deal with this while YOU learn how to deal with this. Backstabbing and vindictiveness don’t need to be part of their education. Make communication and teamwork part of their and your learning process. Change doesn’t have to be scary. Change can be good. Let your children know that change is not the end of the world. It doesn’t have to be bad. Teach them by example how to confront change and adapt to new things positively. Life is always changing, it never stops. But how you handle change needs to remain steady. Set the precedent for the way that your children get through all of life’s positive and negative changes. Inarguably, change will happen, so help your children learn how to survive all of life’s surprises that will be thrown their way by guiding them down the path through change with an open heart and open mind. Teach them that CHANGE is not a four-letter word, but an opportunity “to make a material difference so that the thing is distinctly different from what it was”.