A big move can cause a major upheaval, not just from the perspective of the parents, but the children too. No matter how young they are the effects of uprooting your child and moving them far away from everything they know can cause a lot of negativity. While it’s necessary for the benefit of the family. It’s important to remember if you are undertaking a move soon. Ensure that your children are prepared in the right ways.
Aside from the practical aspects, what can you do to help your children adjust to the big move?
Talk To Them
Regardless of the big shake-up you are all going to feel, your children will feel it more than anyone. If family time is minimal right now, because you are busy preparing everything for the big move, it can be very easy to let your children slip into isolation. Instead, keep them involved every step of the way. Ensure they are in the loop and this will help to demystify the whole process. Now, you might be one of those parents that tells your child not to do something, and when they ask why, you say “because I said so”. And we all know that not providing a reason isn’t a productive way to get your child to tow the line.
We all want to know in life why something happens, and being kept in the dark isn’t just isolating, but it’s infuriating. So, talk to your child, get them on board with the whole process. When you are going down to the bank to get out money, or you are discussing the move with a moving company, or you are organizing car transport, all of these things require demystifying. Because, not only do you need it to be easy for them, you need to make it easier on yourself, and by laying everything bare, and being as transparent as you can, rather than shielding them from the major changes, will make life considerably easier.
And while that’s not to say you won’t experience difficulties with your children, you can’t say that you shielded them from anything. Conversely, you might think it’s easier to shield your children from the inevitability, but are you doing them long-term damage? It’s a very difficult balance to weigh up, because you want to protect your child, but they are going to be living somewhere completely different, so surely, it is better for you to lay everything out, and be as truthful as possible, in the hope they will come around to the idea eventually?
Minimizing The Overall Shock Value
We are all averse to change, and something as major as this is one of the biggest changes we can all undergoing life. After all, moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do in life.
So instead, finding techniques in which to make it an easier transition will benefit you. The lead up to moving day is when everyone can feel quite emotional. And while it is natural you want to shield your children from upsetting emotions, the fact is, that a house full of boxes is going to be a big shock to the system.
Depending on the age of your children, you may want to turn it into a game, such as who can pack certain items the quickest. But for older children, especially teenagers, where they will, very likely, hold this against you, being as communicative with them as possible is the best approach. Of course, this might not be feasible, especially if they plan on shutting themselves away. For these children, the best approach is to get them acquainted with the place.
While it might not be practical to go there due to the distance, you can still do plenty of research online, and get your children involved. Highlight the things there that will make it a better place and show them that it will be better for them in the long run, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. Depending on your children’s unique tastes, if you’re moving from a small, provincial town, to a big city, one of the things you can highlight is the abundance of choice. There’s going to be so much more for them to do in this new place, and yes, while all their friends are staying behind, and there will be an adjustment period, you can show them that they’ve done this before, they’ve gone from kindergarten to elementary school, and made the even bigger adjustment to high school. So, it’s nothing new to them.
This could be, arguably, and easier transition. Focusing on the positives is one of the more obvious ways to deal with the impending changes for your children, but don’t underestimate the materialistic approach. Of course, our children will feel hurt, that you are taking them away from everything they know, but it’s best not to state those overused platitudes, such as “you’ll make new friends” because you may very well make life more difficult for yourself. Address the fact that they will be struggling, but, not only will they be struggling, you will be too…
Preparing Yourself For Changes
While you may be working hard at preparing your children for the significant changes, it’s important not to neglect yourself. If your children can see that you are struggling with the change, why should they put on a brave face? You could be moving away from everything you know, because your partner has got a lucrative job, and it could be the beginning of a whole new life. Uprooting everything is a difficult process to undergo, and if you are trying to help your children roll with the changes, you need to ensure that you are fully prepared too.
This is why it is important for you to go through the emotions with your children. You may very well feel that your partner is looking at everything positively, but may not have considered you or the children’s feelings. Of course, discussing everything will help to alleviate certain fears, but also, if your children are old enough to notice that there is something wrong with you, and you’re not feeling 100% enthusiastic about this, you’re not fooling anyone.
Making time to get your bearings, and to get a feel for the new place yourself is essential. On the other hand, going there for a quick vacation will provide you with some of the basics to give you that feeling of if you can get by there. After all, if you are unable to see the positives in this, why is everybody being uprooted? And this is why you need to give it a chance. There’s no point in being dismissive of the place, but also, in trying to convince your children of the positives of this new place, then maybe you need to practice what you preach?
After all, you and your children are undergoing a significant change, and so you all need to be on the same page. Trying to get your children to focus on the positives when you are not isn’t going to make for a solidified family unit. And the importance of helping your children to forge their own identity in a new place is something you need to do also. Going along with a change, especially if your partner has acquired a new job, can feel like you are playing second fiddle. Instead, look at what is missing from your current life, and what can this new place do for you and your family.
- Will you have more choice?
- Will you have more money?
- Will you actually take advantage of the fact that it’s you and the kids now?
And so, if you don’t spend that much time as a family, this may very well be the perfect reason to strengthen those bonds again. You’re all in it together, not separately. Sometimes these things don’t turn out the way it is intended, but if you don’t go into it with a positive approach, then it is hardly surprising if it doesn’t work.
Ultimately, change is a major upset to us, and our children will feel it more than us, but that’s not to say that we should ignore our own feelings. It’s far better for you and your children to work at moving to a new place with a sense of enthusiasm. Of course, it doesn’t always turn out this way, but as with any new start, there are always going to be teething issues. Gradually, as time goes on, everyone will settle into the place and it’s at this point where you may look back at where you used to live and realize that you are better off. It may have taken some time to get there, but these short-term stresses can be for long-term gain.
Whether it’s taking advantage of the numerous opportunities in a bigger city, or even downsizing to a small town, where you can reconnect as a family, moving somewhere different is always going to feel worse for the children. And this is why you need to place their feelings above your own, but not ignore yours at the same time. It’s always a big change, but it’s not necessarily a bad one.