One of the truths I’ve learned about child-raising over the years is this one: knowing what is exactly the right thing to do is always easier when you are thinking of someone else’s children. You just need to take one look at your neighbor’s kids and you immediately know what needs to be done in order to better educate them, make them obedient and broaden their horizons. Not so easy when it’s about your own children. Why? Because we are so emotionally involved that sometimes even the simplest truths of child-raising fly out of the window and are replaced by overwhelming emotions of love, devotion, and sometimes overpowering fears and concerns.
When it comes to helping children overcome their fear of relocating to a new home, we often tend to make emotional mistakes that make the process much more difficult for them. Let’s take a look at some of the common mistakes parents often make and see how changing your attitude can help your children overcome the fears they have about the relocation process.
Avoid the End of the World Approach
As I said above, love can sometimes overpower your common sense when it comes to children. We all know how hard it is to discipline children simply because we love them so much that we want to give them everything they want. In the same way, we may be so concerned about how the relocation will affect our children that we may become the source of the problem ourselves.
Remember, if you approach the relocation process as if it was the end of the world, that’s exactly what your child will take it to be.
Common mistakes include over pampering before and during the move, telling your children how sorry you, that you simply have no choice but to move, disturbing your children’s routine and allowing them to indulge in uneducational activities in order to compensate them, and telling them dramatically again and again how much better the new place is going to be.
Many times children will absorb the nuances of what you say more than they will absorb the actual content. Tell them about the relocation in a natural and easy to understand way. Don’t apologize for the fact that you need to move and explain to them the benefits of your new environment without belittling your current home. Your children are far more intelligent than you think and they can handle the truth, the more of it you give them, the more they will respect and believe you.
Don’t Belittle Your Children’s Emotions and Concerns
On the other end of the scale, we find parents that tend to belittle what their children need to undergo when they relocate to a new home and a new environment.
Even if you’ve moved a hundred times when you were a child and remember that it was easy for you, even if the new city you are moving to seems a hundred times better than the one you currently live in, never forget how hard it is for a child to move and how differently they may perceive things.
Having to say goodbye to their friends, changing schools, getting used to new surroundings are all things that can be overwhelmingly difficult for a child. Address such concerns by talking about them calmly with your children. Never tell them that it’s no big deal or laugh at any of the issues they raise, even if they seem ridiculous to you as an adult. If you want them to accept your reasoning for moving, you need to accept and respect the way they feel.
Finding the Right Balance
You should find the right balance between the two approaches: don’t make the end of the world out of the moving process, but be sure to listen and accept your child’s emotions and concerns. Be positive in a natural way, encourage your children to continue with their normal daily routines, and talk to them often about how they feel. Share with them your own feelings, your own fears, and concerns. It will help them know that you feel the same way as they do and seeing how you overcome your own concerns, they will try to imitate you and naturally overcome their own.