Here are some questions directed at kids that are relocating to the Charlotte area and will be starting at a new school, new activities, new friends and a whole new life. It is important to be aware of these questions and how you may be able to make their transition an enjoyable one.
How far ahead of. the actual move did your parents tell you that you were leaving?
- My parents told me as soon as they found out-about 3 months ahead.
- My parents told me on Monday that we were moving to another state on Friday. I was so shocked, I didn’t believe them. I yelled at them. and cried and stayed in my room the whole night. It seemed like i was having a bad dream. it is still hard to believe it happened.
- My parents told me, but they told me not to tell anyone until we put the sign up. That was really hard.
- My mom told us to pack some things, that we were going to the beach. She didn’t tell us that she was leaving my dad and we were never coming back. We drove and drove and finally got to my grandmother‘s house. We were really scared.
- My parents told me as soon as it was deﬁnite.
Whatever parents are able to do to eliminate trauma in a move is advisable. Children can deal with a move if they are dealt with honestly. A move always brings a certain amount of anxiety for a family. Even if the children are in favor of the decision completely, there are still unknowns and questions, which will need to be answered as truthfully as possible. Children, as do adults, need time to deal with feelings of loss or separation. The more time they have, the better. Tell them as soon as you are able. They will want to take time to think it out and to make decisions as to which friends they will want to confide in, what they will want to take along and what questions they will need to deal with feelings of loss or W answered.
What was your first thought or feeling when you were told that you were moving?
- I was happy for my dad because he was going to have a great new job, but I was sad that we were moving so far away.
- It was the first time we had lived in one place long enough to have good friends and l was sad to leave them.
- NOT AGAIN!!!
- We were moving from the city to the country and I didn’t know what it would be like. I was scared.
- I was excited. lliked the idea of a new adventure.
- I was so confused as to why we had to move. I thought we were all happy where we were.
- I was angry. I felt secure where I was and didn’t want to leave.
- I was mad at my parents taking me away from my friends just because of my father’s job. He already had a good job. Why couldn’t he just be happy where he was?
- I was afraid. What if nobody in the new place liked me?
- I didn’t want to think about it.
Parents have to be prepared for the gamut of emotions from joy to sorrow, from anger to enthusiasm. Although difficult sometimes, it is wise to let your child vent feelings without reproach or without making him feel guilty for having those feelings. Simple statements like, “l understand how you must feel,” or “It’s okay to feel that way,” are best. It is also a good idea to share some of your own feelings with your child. Even if you are overjoyed at the thought of moving, you may have questions or uncertain feelings about various aspects of the new city, new house, or new job. Share your feelings with your child so that he doesn’t feel alone or that he is the only one who is angry, sad, etc.
After a few days or weeks when the first emotions have been expressed and the decision begins to sink in, you can more openly and calmly discuss the future. Continue to reassure your child that he is not alone, and that you will be helping him to adjust to the new city. This is a good time to start telling your child about some of the advantages in the new city, perhaps a room of his own, a pool, the ability to decorate a room, a new sport or lesson that will be available or perhaps the fact that there will be more money to spend on a favorite hobby or family activity.
What did you worry about the most regarding the move?
Comment: The children unanimously worried about making new friends. They all wondered if the kids in the new neighborhood and/or new school would like or accept them.
- l didn’t want to be a brain or a geek and was worried about how the kids would see me, if they would be mean to me.
- I worried about how each of our family members would adjust.
- I was worried about the customs and the new language in the country we were moving to and whether or not I would be able to a/d’ust.
- l was worried because we were moving to a house on a busy street.
- I was worried that I would never see my mother again.
- I was afraid that I would lose track of my friends.
- I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to sell our house.
- I was upset because we were leaving our kittens behind. I kept wondering if anyone would like me.
All of the young people interviewed had worries regarding moving. it is wise to let them voice their concerns and to fill in with the answers, if you g. have them. If you do not have the answers, but think you might be able to look into the problem, tell them you will do so and then be sure to. There will be some things you will not be able to solve until after the move. Tell your child and then reassure her that you will be there and that you will help her face the new challenges.
If possible, take pets along to your new home so that things will be as stable as possible. If i’t is not possible, try to place the pet with a family you know or in a safe and pleasant surrounding so that your child won’t worry about its safety.
If you are moving to a country where the language and customs are different, make a family game or project out of learning some basic language and customs before the move. You will find people in the new country flattered by your efforts and it will help your children make friends sooner if they are at least able to say a few words and phrases.
In the case of a divorce, when one parent is taking the child and moving away, the child must be reassured by both parents that he or she will be seeing the parent left behind again, if this is the case. If not, seek professional advice on how to tell your child that he or she will not be seeing the other parent again. if both parents have rights to see their child, i’t is probably a good idea to set a date for a future visit. The child may feel more secure knowing that both parents are still a part of his or her life.
Did you tell your friends right away?
Comment: The majority of the young people interviewed told their friends they were moving as soon as their parents gave them the news.
- I told my friends right away. I was sad and they were too, but they were very supportive and that was very important and helpful.
- My dad wouldn’t let us tell anyone.
- I told only my close friends because I thought they were the only ones who would care.
- I knew a month ahead, but I waited to tell my friends until a week before because I was afraid they would start to cut me out of things.
- It was hardest telling my best friend. I just didn’t want her to know I was going to leave.
- I didn’t tell anyone cause I didn’t want to go through all that emotional stuff.
Children need time to adjust to the news that they are moving. Some need more time than others. Once they feel they have a grasp of what is happening, or at least the need to share, they will tell people of their choice. They may have good reasons for not telling certain people, so they should be allowed to do it at their own pace. For some, the sorrow is deeper, and more time is needed to mourn alone before “telling the world.” Parents should respect children’s feelings and allow them the opportunity to tell others in their own time.
It is important that children be given as much notice as possible, however, since the process of announcing may take a while.