There is no doubt that part of our human condition is some level of aversion to change. In fact, if you really think about it, the only person who likes change is a wet baby. In the United States Congress, incumbents are re-elected 80-90% of the time (2000 U.S. Census Data). Part of the reason relates to resources available to incumbents, but a part of the reason is also the uncertainty that comes with change.
Our children are no different. Change is difficult and they are faced with an incredible amount of change in today’s society, especially those who are experiencing a move. Census data estimates that more than eight million children between the ages of one and14 move or are relocated by their parents annually. If that doesn’t stop and make you think, try this: Imagine changing jobs EVERY YEAR. Yep, you guessed it! Lots of STRESS!!
If you are in the process of planning to relocate your family or have just experienced a move, try looking at it from your kids’ perspective. Any change is going to cause feelings of grief and loss. With our fully-developed adult brains, we have developed certain coping mechanisms that help us adapt whenever we experience change or loss. Now let’s look at your children. They are still learning to identify the many emotions they feel let alone trying to find productive ways to manage those emotions. The part of the human brain that governs impulse control (the frontal lobes), is not fully developed until the early twenties. (To learn more about the amazing brain, point your browser to http://www.childtraumaacademy.com/amazing_brain/index.html) Children under the age of 14 are wrestling with many emotions related to moving and relocation without the necessary experience or fully developed skills to cope in a positive way.
If your kids are acting out, consider them normal and cultivate a parent toolbox of resources that can help them with the difficulties of moving. Start with this: Understanding Children Moving. Find trusted advisors who can provide tips and tools for you to ensure a more positive outcome during the transition to a new home. Ask a participating REALTOR® for more information and tools to assist you in helping your children deal with the challenges of moving.
For more information about the Moving Families Initiative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.