Karen Rogers of WPVI Action News 6 in Philadelphia asks a child psychologist how to best handle a move with young children:
Dr. Michele Koschin, a Psychologist at Belmont Behavioral Health, says moving can be a traumatic experience for children and teenagers. So what’s the most important thing to do? Koschin told us, “I can’t stress this enough, communication – letting your children know as early as possible that the move is taking place.”
I know from first hand experience how hard moving is on a child. Before I turned 13, I had lived in four different cities, two different countries, and had attended seven different schools. I was always the “new kid” and, as a result, I was always picked on.
I don’t blame my parents for all the moving or for all the switching schools. They did what they thought was best for us as a family. And I don’t regret the moves in retrospect. I learned a lot about the world that I wouldn’t have if I’d grown up in one place, and I gained an empathy for the outsider that’s stuck with me. But I won’t put my child through the same pain and isolation that I experienced.
My wife has a good job here in town, I have a potential writing career that can be based in a home office, and my daughter is entering Kindergarten in the fall. Our goal is to keep her on the same track with all her friends through Elementary, Middle, and High School. That means staying in the same general neighborhood so any moves will be “down the street.” instead of crosstown, cross-state, or cross-country.
She’ll miss my nomadic experiences, but she’ll gain something I always lacked: roots. When someone asks her “What’s your hometown?” she’ll be able to answer with one city, instead of three or four like I do:
“Well, I was born in Virginia Beach, grew up outside Washington D.C. (in Alexandria to be exact), lived for a year in London, and then moved across country to San Diego; all before I became a teenager.”
Add to that my adult moves to Los Angeles and finally to Oregon and you have the life of a nomad.
It’s time for this nomad to settle down and give my daughter the stability I never had.