by Dan Krell © 2011
Buying and selling a home is surely an exciting time, but it’s also a stressful time. Even the most organized person can feel the pressure. Of course, most people tend to redirect their energy into the practical aspects of buying, selling, and moving; such as ensuring their loan documents are in order, packing, and/or lining up a mover. If you have children, then additional things to worry about may be added to your already full plate of “to do” items, such as school matriculation and finding summer camps. But how are your kids coping with the move?
Like most things in life, moving to a new home is a process; the emotional process of moving involves various feelings that are expressed in no specific order and can sometimes be felt simultaneously. To complicate matters, your reasons for moving can also amplify this stress (divorce, job, etc.). Most children and their parents cope adequately during this time, but some may need additional attention and assistance.
Once you realize how hectic the pace can be while home searching/selling combined with moving, your attention to your kids may be slightly different. Although your children can experience the same feelings you may feel, their expression of those feelings can be vastly different. Some children may not be able to verbalize their feelings and their coping skills can vary.
Change can elicit both welcome and unwelcome feelings. The excitement and anticipation of a new neighborhood and school, and the sadness of leaving friends behind are just some of the feelings that children may experience while going through the process of moving to a new home. However, some kids may be more affected than others by the stress of the process and may seem more anxious, angry, and/or exhibit other behaviors.
Because children do not articulate their feelings like adults, some experts recommend that you “tune” into your children to determine how well they are coping. Of course, depending on your child’s age, indications that they may be having difficulty may vary: younger children may have increased incidents of bed wetting, incontinence and thumb sucking; while adolescents may become truant, defiant, and/or agitated.
Experts discuss the benefits of being open and honest with your children about moving, as well as informing them as soon as possible. Child experts have also recommended increasing your availability to your kids as well as acknowledging their feelings during the process. Younger children may need more comforting than usual, while older children may need to talk about the process.
Additionally, establishing continuity and allowing involvement in the process (when appropriate) can make the transition easier on children. Before the move, depending on the distance, you may be able to have your children visit the new school and possibly meet some of the kids in the new neighborhood. Have children help in packing and/or engage in other appropriate activities.
Many resources exist to assist you and your children cope with the process of moving to a new home, as this article is not intended to provide medical or psychological advice. Besides the many books written about the subject, school counselors, teachers, and pediatricians, are just a few professionals who may be able to assist you during this process. Of course, you should consult a medical, psychiatric, and/or a psychological professional if you have concerns about your child.
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Comments are welcome. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of March 21, 2011. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2011 Dan Krell.