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Raising Children Topics..

You are here : home > Raising Children > Social Relationships in Children > The Traumas of Moving House

The Traumas of Moving House

Moving house is in itself a big task and it is also a traumatic experience for a child. Children are very sensitive. They get attached to their surroundings very quickly and if moving house is a routine then it causes a feeling of disorientation in children. Here's how to handle the situation.

Living like nomads

Vijaya Pai's husband has a transferable job. She says, "My children have had to change three schools in the last six years. We're expecting to move again next year. We have no choice, but I'm seriously considering sending the kids to boarding school so their education doesn't get disrupted." 

Gayatri Lekhi's father was in the navy and her education was spread over ten different schools. "I hated moving and I begged my father to change his job several times. I really envied people who'd lived in the same house all their lives and had friends who'd been in kindergarten with them. In hindsight, may be it's taught me to adjust to any situation, but I can't say that I enjoyed it."

It's tougher for younger children

Most people think that younger children find it easier to cope because they are too young to form deep attachments and move on to new things easily. The general opinion is that teens have a tougher time letting go. In fact, it is just the opposite. The coping mechanisms and social skills of teens are much more developed. So even if they are the most vocal about their feelings, it is the younger children that are more vulnerable and need greater reassurance from their parents. 

The best time to move

Some parents think it a good idea to move during vacations so that their children will have time to settle down. Other parents like to get their children out of the way when they're moving so that there is one less thing to worry about. But both these approaches could backfire. 

In the first place, it might be difficult for your children to make friends during vacations because most children will be away and it may difficult to find an opportunity to meet other children. If they start school a few days after the move, it makes thing easier for them because they're kept busy for the better part of the day and they meet other children their age. 

The problem with sending children away while you're moving is that if they're not there to be part of the move, they are even more disoriented and find it even more difficult to accept as real when they come back to a perfectly set up new home. It's as if it all happened when they weren't looking.

Be prepared for the whining

Moving may be hard on parents, but it can be harder on their children. Nobody can possibly enjoy packing up their household and having to adjust to an unfamiliar environment every few years. However, most adults can grin and bear it because the benefits are obvious to them like a promotion or a pay hike, but these things are meaningless for children. 

Children do not exercise any such restraint and are usually very vocal in their protests about being uprooted. For them moving means leaving behind everything that is predictable and familiar - their home, their friends, their school - and having to go off into the great unknown with no guarantee that it's going to be any fun. So the minute parents announce that it's time to move again, the whining begins. And it doesn't stop till a few months after the move has been made and the children have begun to find their feet.

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Sushma.8 years ago
its really a pin to shift the house.
Rose.8 years ago
i dont agree with your'e comment on younger children being more affected than teenagers. i was made to move when i was 13 away from all my friends i was devastated i felt like killing myself. its been 2 and half years and im still having trouble coping. id advise you to think about the kids b4 you move.
Vaneesa.8 years ago
i found with our oldest that he began wetting his pants and bed every night again both during and after the move. we have been settled in our new home for about 3 months now and still he wets himself. is there any other mom's out there who have battled with the same problem? if so, please place your tips and suggestions on the board. thanks.
Talya.8 years ago
moving house is particularly stressful to younger children and even babies. what you have to remember is that young children adapt to their environments and become familiar with their surroundings. up-rooting those familiar strings will almost always cause some sort of regression such as pants wetting or soiling. if your bedwetting child isn't far from his or her days of wearing diapers, putting them back into diapers for the night will at least help keep bedding and clothing dry and clean. another option is to use cotton training pants or "soakers" along with rubber pants over top to manage any leaks that may arrise throughout this time.
Ramesh.8 years ago
i cannot forget my old house....
jennifer.8 years ago
i moved suburbs 2and a half years ago at the age of 16 and yes it is the hardest for a teenager to move due to the fact that you leave friends, family and a environment that you know so well behind. and if parents ever want to move please do confront your teenage children first.
kshama.8 years ago
my son is 6years old. how should i advice him about his new school & coping with new friends & entirely new place.
Allison.8 years ago
i disagree with your comment about younger children finding it harder to move. im 14 years old and i have been to about 15 different schools. i have just recently moved again, and i am finding this to be the hardest move yet. this is because when i was younger, i didnt really understand that much about how i wasnt going to get to see my friends that much. now that im older i have made a lot of deep friendships and a lot of connections to the place i was living in (church, gymnastics...). i advise you to not move until your children are on their holidays, and make sure to tell them about the upcoming move as soon as possible( give them time to let the news sink in!)
Jo.8 years ago
i believe that it is very important for small children particularly aged 3-7 years old to at least see the start of the move and to see the house when it is empty, likewise the furniture arriving in their new home.
it gave my daughter a point of reference and understanding that talking could not have acheived on it's own. she would have been very frightened if everything had moved out of her old house and into the new one without her seeing it happen.
involve your children in the move. my son is in charge of making signs for each room and is thrilled to be helping.
vijaya pai k.8 years ago
i have changed 4 schools till i reach 10th standard. but i liked that move and enjoyed new friends and new neighbours.
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