Tell me how moving effects children? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 29 Old 08-02-2008, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The topic of moving has come up a few times over the past year because of job opportunities and the like. It's coming up once again and I'm hoping to get some feedback.

I'm really resistant to moving the kids around. My kids will be going to school. I've always thought it very important to be "settled" in a place before they start school. But at the same time I don't particularly *love* where we're at now.

So please tell me... is moving children around "bad"? What if we moved somewhere for a few years and then moved back? Would love to hear some experiences!!
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#2 of 29 Old 08-02-2008, 10:56 PM
 
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I think kids are way more resilient than people give them credit for and as long as they're not picking up crappy attitudes about the move from parents they'll be fine after the normal adjustment period is over.

That's probably not a popular opinion though.
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#3 of 29 Old 08-02-2008, 11:17 PM
 
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I think kids are way more resilient than people give them credit for and as long as they're not picking up crappy attitudes about the move from parents they'll be fine after the normal adjustment period is over.

That's probably not a popular opinion though.
I agree.

I think it also depends on the individuals and their developmental points too. There are certainly some pretty bad times to move, especially as kids get older. We moved very frequently when I was growing up and I think that my sibs and I were always very excited and into the adventure of "new."

It was a lot easier moving two toddlers than two elementary aged kids, and we're just about a mile away and will be at the same school. The toddlers were fine as long as mom stayed the same
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#4 of 29 Old 08-02-2008, 11:27 PM
 
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I think in general its harder for kids to move than adults, and that once they get to their new place, they settle in more quickly than adults. But the intensity of their fear and unsettled feelings are stronger than adults. I think children tend to attach rather fiercely to their environment, and that first home, if they live there past, say, age 4, tends to remain in their memories forever as "the real home."

My DD is 3.5 and she even has trouble if I rearrange the furniture .

I'm sure they will be okay long-term, but I think if you can avoid it, its better not to move.
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#5 of 29 Old 08-02-2008, 11:27 PM
 
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As a child, I moved more times than a person could count. Often, these were short stays. Just as I was getting used to some friends and learning their names.....off we went. On one hand, it was great getting to learn a new system, friends and having a different place to live. On the other hand it was hard to leave everything else behind. As much as it drove me nuts as a child to move, I know I would not be the person I am today had I not had those experiences. Stability is very important to children, but most important is that a child needs to know that no matter where they live.....some things will never change.....like the protection and love that comes from their family. I say....don't be afraid to move....life will work out the way it's meant to

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#6 of 29 Old 08-02-2008, 11:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maliceinwonderland View Post
I think kids are way more resilient than people give them credit for and as long as they're not picking up crappy attitudes about the move from parents they'll be fine after the normal adjustment period is over.

That's probably not a popular opinion though.
I agree. I moved many times as a child and after a few months everything was back to normal. If the move is going to have a positive effect on your family then it will be a positive experience for your children.
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#7 of 29 Old 08-03-2008, 12:38 AM
 
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I really think it depends on the individual child. I think people that say kids are resilient and will get over it do not take into account the individual child. I moved around a lot as a kid and didn't have a problem with it. That is just the way I am though.

We recently moved out of state and my 6 yo and the baby were fine. My then 6 yo seems to be happy no matter what and she sees everything as an adventure. Her little sister that was 3 at the time and had a horrible time of it. She went from being a fairly predictable little girl to being clingy and having meltdowns all the time. We thought it was because we were stressed about living with the IL's but even after we got our own house it was still pretty bad. Nothing that we said or did made a difference. She wanted to go home. When my parents came to visit, she wanted to go home with them. It seemed that no amount of talking about it would make a difference. She hated it. She is a stubborn kid and knows her mind and nobody is going to change it. I had people argue with me and tell me that she wasn't that bad. Oh, she's not stressed, she's too little to understand.

Things didn't work out for a variety of reasons so we moved back to our old house because it did not sell. She is slowly getting back to being herself now that we are back. In my heart, I know that it would have taken her a really, really long time to adjust and bounce back. She is the kind of kid that doesn't forget anything and forms really deep attachments. Everybody told me that my oldest daughter would be the problem and that my 3 yo wouldn't be a problem because she would just forget about the old house and move on. They said that because they didn't know my daughter. Today, we had somebody stop by to see if we were still selling the house and she got upset at the mere mention of selling her house.

It all boils down to how well you know your kids. My 3 yo said she didn't want to go and had expressed a lot of fear about moving even though we talked about it very positively and were very excited about it. I should have listened to her a little closer and taken her thoughts into consideration. My 7 yo was cool with it.
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#8 of 29 Old 08-03-2008, 01:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by maliceinwonderland View Post
I think kids are way more resilient than people give them credit for and as long as they're not picking up crappy attitudes about the move from parents they'll be fine after the normal adjustment period is over.

That's probably not a popular opinion though.
Absolutely. I moved many, many times as a child (to many different states) and was always very excited. I think there's a lot the parent's can do to make the transition easier on the kids. We just moved this past month and my one year old has had a few adjustment issues, but over all he's been doing great. I wouldn't decide not to move just because I was worried about my children adjusting. If a parent goes about it in the right way, it's no where near as scary or traumatic or anything as it may seem to be.

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#9 of 29 Old 08-03-2008, 01:50 AM
 
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*Disclaimer.... I have been drinking a large glass of wine, so what looks good tonight, might not make sense in the morning*

My parents uprooted us every two or three years, which involved a new school, sometimes a new district.

It was awful. Looking back, I really would have liked to stay in one school for at least five years. Some of the moves weren't for the better either. Maybe financially for resale it was. (buying homes, fixing them up, and reselling them was Mom's hobby) But, school wise, it was a nightmare for me.

But, then we moved from Chicago to Phoenix. My whole world opened up. The shool was horrid, but the new location was fabulous. Apparently, I am not a midwest kinda girl. My brother and I told our parents we weren't moving again until we both finished high school. We were serious too!

I moved my daughter twice. Once before kindergarten, and once in 7th grade. The First move was the best thing I have ever done. The second was SOOOOO hard on her. Junior high is the worst time to move. I wish I hadn't done it.
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#10 of 29 Old 08-03-2008, 01:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. I'm actually very surprised at the responses, I thought there would be more on the side of not moving kids around. I know that moving was really hard for me when I was in like 4th grade. But that also had to do with where we moved and things like that. I just want my kids to really feel stable and safe somewhere. We're in an apartment now, so it's not like this is where we'll be forever as it is, and if we do move now seems like a great time. I admit that I am very afraid of it effecting them, though. My kids do sometimes seem to have a hard time adjusting to new things.

Good things to think about. We'll also be moving away from a lot of family support which worries me. I think it's important to have strong ties with family and I'm afraid that's going to be a lot more difficult.

Thanks for your story, library lady.
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#11 of 29 Old 08-03-2008, 01:52 AM
 
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From the time I was born, until the time I went to college, we had moved 9 times. 6 of those times were when I was 7 and older. I look back on my moving experiences with very positive feelings. Sure, it was hard to leave friends and meet new ones, in a new school, but I think those experiences have made me the outgoing person I am today. My parents did a wonderful job of including my brother and I in househunting and we always went to visit several times before moving. We'd go explore the town, check out our new school, look at houses, etc. I feel very lucky to have lived in so many different places and experienced so many different cities and towns and ways of life. Good luck!
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#12 of 29 Old 08-03-2008, 02:12 AM
 
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I think it definitely depends on the individual kid. I was in a military family as a kid and I remember the moves being pretty hard -- but only when I was older. Moving as a young child didn't affect me much and was actually kind of fun, but the long-distance move when I was 13 and had to leave behind several close friends was ultra hard and I suspect it has affected me in the long term. I have an extremely difficult time even making acquaintance level friends anymore, even though as a younger child I used to always have at least one "best friend" and was very outgoing before the really hard move. But I'm sure that plenty of people handle those moves fine too so there's no hard rule.

DH and I have moved our family a couple of times, including to a new country, and our kids handled it pretty well although the latest was a little hard on DS initially and we handled it kind of badly because we didn't expect him to be so attached to the old routines/places. With preparation it probably would have gone better, and we'll know that for if we have to move again in the future -- but I probably would want to avoid moving when the kids are older and starting to have connections with friends. I agree I would especially try to avoid moving in the junior high years.
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#13 of 29 Old 08-03-2008, 03:08 AM
 
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We moved 2 weeks into my senior year of high school and 2 weeks into my brother's 8th grade from Chicago to a small town in W.Va....we both agree it was a great move. It was easier for me at first than my brother (more gender driven than age driven, I think) but we both are really glad about the move. It was the most difficult for my mom - who gave up her job and became a sahm in a very different environment than the one she had lived in her whole life, but my brother and I feel pretty happy about our move.

A sidenote, I think it brought our family closer together....starting over in a new place. We all had our own friends, activities, etc. in Chicago....the common perspective and initial isolation of a move was good for us...
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#14 of 29 Old 08-03-2008, 10:49 AM
 
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I agree that it depends on the kid.. I also think it depends on the situation... we moved when ds was 15 months old.. We moved from a very awful, stressful (mold, loud neighbors every night, threatening us) to a very calm apt in the country..

I think ds picks up on our feeling better, and being happier here.. so he did ok with the move..
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#15 of 29 Old 08-04-2008, 01:30 PM
 
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We moved a lot before my siblings and I were in school and once between kindergarten and first grade for me (I'm the oldest). The move didn't upset me much and going to a new school was fine for me, but looking back it did affect my childhood friendships. Not negative or positive IMO, just different that others had. Everyone when I got there in first grade had their friends from kindergarten, so I was on the outside of those groups. Again, I don't think this is good or bad, just a different way than most kids have it. I do think it made it easier for me to do what comes naturally to me and that is not getting caught up in the social pecking order. I am friends with who I like regardless if they are in the cool group, nerdy group, goth group, etc. and the equivalent adult social pecking order as well. I define myself in many ways, but I don't feel that I am stuck in one group or another.

I will say if you can move during the summer or towards the beginning of the school year/semester, that is best IMO. That way you aren't thrown into a (likely) completely different point in classes than you were in and are either immediately struggling or bored to tears assuming kids are in school and not home schooled of course. Also, moving between elementary and middle or middle and high school is usually better too since new kids will be joining up from other lower grade schools to the next level anyway. It eases things somewhat.

And it definitely depends on the individual kid too. I am one who enjoys being a new place with new people. I don't like the hassle of moving, especially the hassle as an adult, but it is a fun adventure for me though I do miss the old place/community at time as well.

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#16 of 29 Old 08-04-2008, 03:01 PM
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We considered moving to Spokane, which is a 10-hour drive from our old house. Anyway, we went to Spokane to check it out, and my dd said, "Now that I know where the library and bookstore are, I'll be ok moving here."


I think checking out the city ahead of time, with the kids, is important.

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#17 of 29 Old 08-04-2008, 03:28 PM
 
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My parents moved us halfway across the country (from Quebec to Alberta...hello culture shock!) when I was 15 and my brother was 7. I was bummed at first, but I got to make new friends, and life continued on.

My brother is relatively normal as well, despite many moves since. I am now less attached to houses as things, and am able to move without much emotional attachment, and that is a good thing for me
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#18 of 29 Old 08-04-2008, 04:29 PM
 
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We moved around a lot when I was a kid -- every 4 years like clockwork because of the military. I think the reason why my sisters and I adjusted so well each time was because of my mom. We had a lot of constants in our life (church, Girl Scouts, piano lessons) and my mom always made sure we had a way to get in touch with old friends -- by phone or by letter (this was the age before email). When we moved, it was always talked up by my parents as a "new adventure" and we'd research everything ahead of time so that there was a genuine interest. I remember when we moved to Germany -- I was 8 at the time -- and my dad took us to the library and made us look up all the things we wanted to see and experience when we moved there. And when we did finally move, he followed through to make sure we got to see all the things on our "wish" list. Looking back, I think that was a really creative way to help us make the adjustment more fun for us.

The only time moving really sucked was in junior high and in high school. Some of that might be because we moved from Germany back to the states and we all suffered from the culture shock. It might also because of my age -- everything is just so awkward when you're 12 and 16. Regardless, it took me a long time -- both times -- to get over being uprooted again.

Anyway, I think there is a way to ease your school aged kids into a new move so that they aren't traumatized. Moving doesn't always have to be bad ... it certainly wasn't for us.
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#19 of 29 Old 08-04-2008, 04:34 PM
 
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We never moved. I lived in the same house from birth to beyond college. I think that moving, while stressful, could have been a really positive thing for me. I lived in a small town where kids were "typed" very young and everyone knew everyone. It was hard to grow and change in that kind of environment.

I also had almost no experience making friends because I knew all of my friends from age 4. Never had to make new ones, so I really didn't, until college.

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#20 of 29 Old 08-04-2008, 04:56 PM
 
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My parents moved us when I was twelve. It was a horrible time for me. But I also don't do well with change. And the move was between two very different cultures. All that added up to a really hard time for me.

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#21 of 29 Old 08-04-2008, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm so excited now hearing these responses... now I hope we definitely get the opportunity to move!!
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#22 of 29 Old 08-04-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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We never moved. I lived in the same house from birth to beyond college. I think that moving, while stressful, could have been a really positive thing for me. I lived in a small town where kids were "typed" very young and everyone knew everyone. It was hard to grow and change in that kind of environment.

I also had almost no experience making friends because I knew all of my friends from age 4. Never had to make new ones, so I really didn't, until college.
I think that was a big problem with our move. We moved to an area where there were very few people moving in or out of the area. Everybody knew everybody and any newcomers were seen as a potential threat. As a result, none of us were happy. If we had chosen an area that wasn't so close minded and afraid of outsiders, we probably would have been just fine. I think my kids are a bit psychic sometimes so I think they picked up on the fact that no matter what we did, we were not going to be accepted as individuals or as a family. The next time we move, I will make sure that we are going to an area that fits our family a little better. We did tons of research and got the kids very involved in the move and they were super excited about it.
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#23 of 29 Old 08-04-2008, 05:55 PM
 
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My main problem with moving frequently as a child was academic. I would test into gifted or honors classes, but would have holes in my knowledge because different schools teach things at different times. Otherwise, I don't think I'd have had a very different childhood if we had stayed put.
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#24 of 29 Old 08-04-2008, 06:10 PM
 
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Circumstances matter.

I did well with a move when I was 11--it wasn't too far (just another nearby suburb), and it was to a bigger house in a better school district, but it gave me the opportunity for a fresh start.

My partner did poorly with a move around age 12--it was across the country, and it was a last-ditch effort by his parents to save their marriage. And then, at 14, when the marriage officially fell apart, my partner had to move again, and again did poorly.

My stepdaughter's done well with various moves on both sides--her mom's moved from one apartment to another within the same city, and my partner and I moved in together when she was 3. We'll probably move again--from a rental apartment to a house--in a year or two.

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#25 of 29 Old 08-05-2008, 11:13 AM
 
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We moved twice when I was a kid--East Coast to West Coast when I was 5, and back when I was 14. The move at 5 was nothing but exciting to me--we drove cross-country and it was a big adventure. The move at 14 was tougher in advance--I was in the middle of my freshman year of high school and I was pretty upset. And after all that, it took me about two weeks to settle in when we moved back to the East Coast. In retrospect, I think the move at 14 was the best possible gift that my parents could have given me--we left a fairly closed-minded, homogenous, materialistic place for a diverse, progressive place. Of course, it was hard at first starting a new high school, but the school I went to was amazing--I had an extremely positive high school experience, certainly far better than I think I would have had at my old school.

Because of our careers, we know that it is likely that we will have to move at least once or twice with dd. I'm not all that concerned. I think it's important to keep your kids informed, and involved, and to take whatever steps you can to make the transition easier (finding favorite activities in the new place, etc.), but I don't think a move has to be traumatic.
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#26 of 29 Old 08-05-2008, 05:47 PM
 
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I can only tell you my personal experience. I have a difficult time adjusting to change. Moving as a child was VERY hard on me, and I think I have some serious long lasting effects because of it.
I hope your kids will have a difficult experience!

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#27 of 29 Old 08-05-2008, 10:21 PM
 
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When I was a child, my family moved around every 3-4 years. It was always because my Dad got a better position somewhere. And it has paid off--my family is very well off now. All the places we lived were nice places--homes with large backyards. We were homeschooled and my mom was really good about getting involved with whatever homeschool group was active in the area. Basically, my parents did everything they could to make our transitions smooth and as stress free as possible...

Now, after giving that background, I have to say that I think many of my anxiety and stress related issues now are due to these moves back then. I am a creature of habit and each and every move was really tough on me. The hardest one was when I was 14. My family moved to a town eight hours away and it was probably the most difficult thing that has ever happened to me (and I have had a LOT happen in the last three years!). I cried every night for literally a year. I had left behind some dear freinds. I gained about 30 lbs. In the midst of all this my mom also got pregnant and we had another baby. ANyway, with my family I vow that IF we move, it will be when the children are young and we will be established by the time they are school ago. I don't want my kids to go through what I did. That said though, I think that you can never predict life--I mean, you have to take things as they come. I would say talk to your kids about the move. What are their preception and how do they feel about uprooting?
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#28 of 29 Old 08-09-2008, 02:45 AM
 
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Here's another vote for "it depends on the child." I have a hard time with change (good or bad changes) and moving as a child was pretty awful for me emotionally. I made friends and still had a great childhood, but always swore I hated where we lived - I'm not sure I really did, I was just resistant to the change, you know? And, we just moved a handful of times from my birth to age 18.

My kids, on the other hand, love it. They always seem to see the positive about moving in a way that I just didn't. They have moved many more times than I did at their age, so maybe that has something to do with it.
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#29 of 29 Old 08-09-2008, 04:05 AM
 
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I moved house 8 times as a child. Neither my brother nor I ever had any major issues with it that I remember. I think it had a lot to do with my parents' attitudes - they always portrayed it as a positive thing. I really enjoy moving now - I love the feeling on the last night in the old house, when everything is packed up except the television, and we sit on boxes eating takeaway pizza and watching bad tv shows!

(Although I think we benefited from not changing high school; we changed primary schools quite a few times, but had some continuity in high school.)
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Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 01:21 PM.