“Moving brings feelings of sadness because of all the losses involved – the loss of school, the loss of friends, the loss of trusted teachers, babysitters and the loss of certain routines.”
It’s a tough work integrating into a new culture or community – but both you and your children will have a more fulfilling experience if you will set yourself as a positive example. Take note that enthusiasm is contagious; It will be very helpful if you will savour the process and it is more likely that your children will be positive about it too. It will help them adapt if you will explain unequivocally why some things are done diversely in a different country.
Moving to a new state can be truly beneficial, giving your family a whole new valuable experience, a broader perspective of the world, and an exposure to different languages, ways and cultures – preparing and introducing them to different sides of life, in a way no classroom could ever teach.
Children especially the younger once are less prepared and the transition of moving can come as an unsettling shock. But children are also known to be resilient; they can make friends, learn new languages and adjust to changes in their environment easily. Though at the first, they may question you why they have to leave home or what kind of life is waiting for them in a new country. To help them avoid this feeling of anxiousness, involve them as early as possible; Let them know your plans sooner rather than later. Talk to them about the forthcoming time as an exciting new chapter, that it is something they should not fear, and that an ex-pat life is a blessing and a privilege.
Frequent moves can also disrupt important friendships. There is a chance that your child may resent you for taking them away from everything they know and love. But it is up to you to ensure that they will see all of the positive aspects about the move. Encourage your child to keep up with old friends through phone calls, video chats, social media, and other ways to stay connected. Let him know that yes, the house may change but the people in your family will always stay together and they will live forever in your hearts because no distance can change what love has founded.
Academic development can also be impacted by a move, because curriculum and teaching approach may vary from school to school. Ergo, make finding a suitable school a priority. Begin researching and choosing ahead of time and If you find that there is a school problem after the move, schedule a parent-teacher conference to find out how you, and the institution can work hand in hand to bring your child to the level he needs to be.
“Just as moving is stressful for adults, it’s also stressful for children, so it shouldn’t be a big surprise that children experience a variety of emotions related to moving,” says Christina Steinorth, the author of “Cue Cards for Life: Gentle Reminders for Better Relationships” and a licensed psychotherapist in Santa Barbara, Calif., with a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy.
Moving away from an established network of friends and family can be a traumatic experience for children of any age, but one of the most significant factors determining how a child views a move, is how you, as parents perceive it and present it to them.
Expat Child Syndrome
Psychologists have coined a term “expat child syndrome” to describe the particular emotional stress in children caused by moving to another country. The syndrome usually manifests in children who are aged between 10 and 15. This is the period where the child is experiencing difficulties dealing with the mental and physical changes around him and can later on lead to uncooperative, withdrawn or disruptive behavior.
Recognizing the effects as soon as possible, communicating openly, making the child as part of the decision process and putting the effort all together can help keep the syndrome and its symptoms at bay.
To conclude, living abroad will likely improve your child’s ability to see things from multiple perspectives. Being immersed in the culture, ways, and beliefs of another country will expand your child’s horizons. The initial adjustment period may be rough, you may have to slog through several tantrums to reach the resiliency but it will eventually fall into proper places with the right amount of patience, effort and communication.
The best future awaits you!!
- Expat Info Desk: Moving Your Family Overseas
- Expat Info Desk: Expat Child Syndrome
- In Moving to a New Country: Children and Adolescent’s Adaptation Uma A. Shenoy
- The Pros & Cons of Moving to a New Country by AMANDA THOMPSON