With the economic crisis continuing in many of our lives, many families are having to relocate to find new jobs and search for better opportunities with either school or employment. This can be such a stressful time in any marriage and family. Many families who find themselves in economic hardship feel more stress, emotional turmoil, are easily frustrated and find themselves arguing more between spouses and with their children. With the silver lining that a new job can bring, there is also at times a roller coaster of emotions including additional stress and feelings of loss, insecurity, sadness and hope. Adding a move with all of these can feel like more than we can bear some days, even if it is for a good opportunity.
Luckily, there are ways that you can help alleviate some of the stress that a move can make on both you and your children. Parents can help their children make this transition time go more smoothly by making sure the following occurs:
- Tell your child with enough advanced notice that they can prepare for the move emotionally and mentally.
- Check in with your children regularly about how they are feeling about the move.
- Ensure that your child is able to have time to say goodbye to their friends and close family members before the move happens.
- Take time to prepare your kids for the new changes they are facing and listen to their worries about these changes.
As parents, we like to be able to “fix” things for our children, especially when we feel responsible for creating turmoil in their lives. However, most of the time, our kids do not want us to really fix things, they want to know that we are there for them and can hold their worries and take care of them – not just the problem.
A good time to check-in about feelings is at bedtime. Giving your child a back rub while asking how they are feeling about a particular issue- such as having to make a move to a new neighborhood- gives the space to talk freely and the touch letting them know you are here and listening. Don’t fix your child’s feelings. A good way to hold their feelings is to say, “Wow, you are really feeling _____ about this”.
Change is never easy but if you can create a home where there is freedom to talk about your feelings and children can trust their parents to be there for them, this will make any change that comes up in life easier to manage and can also create a stronger parent-child relationship.