At the heart of moving is change. Change in the neighborhood, change in the layout of the house, different sights and smells and, in most cases, a change of schools. What comes before this change is critical to the long-term adjustment for children. If the move is due to loss (death, divorce, loss of income), then the factors that can alleviate the stress of moving can be compromised. Attitude of parents about the move, especially moms, is a mitigating factor to the stress of moving. But what happens when Mom (or Dad) have suffered a loss and aren’t fully equipped to help their children deal with the challenges they face when moving?
When faced with multiple losses, family members need time to grieve. The challenge is one person’s timeframe to grieve is very different than another person’s timeframe. During times of grief, parents need to make sure to take time for themselves as well as supporting their children through the grieving process. Having a support system for both parents and children is critical but if the loss is followed by a move, those support systems may be very far away.
Reaching out during times of grief are difficult but a vital step. Make sure to connect as quickly as possible into the community, job and school support networks that might be available. Talk with your child’s new teacher, the school social worker or psychologist, or the principal to discover what supports exist at school and in the community to support your family. Having concrete support in times of need is not just lifesaving, it’s life altering. Concrete support in times of need is one of the essential protective factors in families that mitigate the negative effects of change, transition and stress.
For more on the Protective Factors, visit www.strengtheningfamilies.net. No parent should move without a written game plan to help your children deal with the difficulties they face when moving. For more information, contact your local participating Real Estate Agent for more information about the Moving Families Initiative.
For more information about the Moving Families Initative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.