There it was, emblazoned across her binder in bold red ink: “I Hate Zionsville”.
“Great way to make friends,” I commented to my daughter, pointing to her opinion of her new town on her notebook cover.
“I don’t care; I don’t want to live here.”
Like my daughter, maybe your children aren’t adjusting well to a move. Let’s talk about how to help.
Ages two to four: Great time to move. All a child needs to know is that they will be able to take their toys and Mommy and Daddy will be at the other house.
Five to eight: Give your child pictures of the new house and talk about what fun our whole family will have exploring the new town.
Nine to thirteen: I’d offer a child more responsibility and ownership in the move. Let them choose their new bedroom colors and bedding. Give them responsibilities for packing up certain items like the playroom toys. Knowing she or he is a necessary part of the move will help them become more cooperative.
Thirteen to eighteen. At this age friends drive most teenagers’ decisions in life. Give a child a lot of listening time and let them vent to avoid the volcano erupting later.
Suggestions for teenagers:
1) Let your teenager set a time for friends to come visit and allow the child plenty of time for phone time and email.
2) In an opposite vein: even with the fear of being hit in the head with a flying iPod, suggest limiting contact with old friends. I met a mother who moved her teen-aged daughter from Long Island, New York, to Charlotte, North Carolina. She told me her daughter told her old friends not to contact or email her for six months as she temporarily put herself on an “old friends diet” so she could give her new home a fair shake. It’s an extreme move but it worked for her. Not only did she make friends quickly but was nominated for Homecoming Queen. Not a bad start. Thinking up the plan herself made this scenario work better.
3) Let your house be a welcoming place for your child’s new friends. Don’t hover but be warm and hospitable as you put out nachos and fade into the background. As much as you’d love to check out these new friends, give it time. At least they’re in your home!
Carol G Stratton has a passion to help women facing relocation.