On this week’s Parenting segment, one parent is afraid how her children will react when she tells them they’re moving away.
“My husband has been told he’s to move to for work, and instead of commuting we’ve decided a family move is the best option,” he told Moncrieff.
“We have three children ranging in age between six and 15 - I’m particularly concerned about chatting to the older ones about this.
“I know this will be a big adjustment as it will mean a new school, sports teams, friends and a period of isolation for our children.”
She asked if “a few visits to our new home and town before the full move” will help the children adjust.
Child psychotherapist Joanna Fortune said the parents need to tell their children about moving “sooner rather than later”.
“Present it gently and with empathy,” she said.
Joanna agreed the older children are a particular cause for concern.
“At their age and stage of development, you're really looking at their friends, their community, as their important hub of social development,” she said.
“Your role as the parent in that situation is to accept their reaction empathise with it and hold a space for them to find this difficult.
“[Tell them] it will be hard for everyone, but as parents you felt this would be better than you all not getting to live together which was the only other option.”
'Don't minimise feelings'
Joanna urged the parents not to be overly positive about the move.
“Of course, you want to highlight the positives, but not in a way that minimises or dismisses their right to feel upset about this,” she said.
“You’re talking about visiting their new home and town - I think certainly you could once you've told them and you're holding space for them to react.
“Definitely ensure that you know the area quite well first and have identified specific areas of interest to each of them.”
Young people moving
Joanna also pointed out that the parents shouldn't “minimise the impact of moving on the six-year-old".
“You have three children between six and 15 - you're running the developmental gauntlet there,” she said.
“Do start speaking about moving in positive language, but be aware your 15-year-old may not want to hear that from you yet but your six-year-old might need to.
“With the younger one, make sure when you’re moving that you get a little box, like a shoe box, that they can pack their own little bit.
“It does not matter what goes into that box, whatever little bits, stones, pebbles, shells... then when you go to the news house, they unpack it and they’re part of the process.”
Listen to this question and more here:
Main image: Pile of boxes prepared before moving house next to couch. Image: Wavebreak Media Premium / Alamy Stock Photo