Childrearing

I’m Pretty Sure Moving To A New City Is Going To Mess Up My Kid

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I m Pretty Sure Moving To A New City Is Going To Mess Up My Kid childs sad moving drawing 258x200 jpgI tend to be pretty self-assured in my parenting decisions. My rationale is this: I had, by all accounts, a pretty suckaroo life as a kid, and yet here I am, a well functioning adult who is not nearly as jaded as my posts on Mommyish would lead you to believe. I like to think I am pretty high functioning and not too cynical and made it out of childhood none the worse for the wear except I have this thing about Care Bears but that’s a story for another time.

My child, by contrast, leads an incredibly charmed life. So the chances of her landing on the Dahmer-Gacy scale of fucked-upedness seem low. And yet there is one thing that I am positive will scar her in a terrible way, and that’s the fact that in about a month we’ll be ripping her away from all that she has ever known and planting her firmly in a new city, where I assume she will probably develop a drug habit at the age of seven and begin to hate me.

I have absolutely no basis for this belief other than a number of movies that came out in the ’90s and a couple of really bad young adult novels from the same time period. I was lead to believe that moving is THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING you can do to a kid right up until the point that they meet a talking golden retriever that helps them score soccer goals. Or something.

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Still, despite this rational voice inside me that says, “you’re cool, stop worrying”, I am absolutely positive that this entire experience ends one way: with her fragile psyche crushed beneath the tires of a heartless moving van. In my dreams we own a station wagon that she peers out of sadly as we drive away, waving desolately at her friends and once happy home. She has spent most of her short life in Austin. The fact that every time I mention moving to Dallas someone says, “Oh. I’m really sorry for your loss.” doesn’t help.

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And then there’s the studies. Oh, the studies. Here’s one I found that validates my fears about moving (and yes, okay, I had to Google different combinations of “trauma” “moving” and “I hate my parents I wish they would die” but I found it, so…) from Psychology Today:

” As the new study published in the Journal of Social and Personality Psychology documents, frequent moves are tough on kids and disrupt important friendships.”

See?!? There it is, in black and white. And while this is only the first time since she’s started making memories that we’re moving–really moving, not just switching apartments–my husband doesn’t work in an industry well known for it’s stability, so while I hope that this move is permanent (just like I hoped the last one would be) there’s no saying whether that’s a certainty.

My daughter, for her part, wavers in between being really, really, bouncing off the walls excited to go to a new place, and horribly, soul-crushingly devastated. There really is no middle ground. If we spend the day packing, she’s understandably jazzed to go. If she spends the day at the pool with her friends, she understandably wants to stay here forever.

I understand that if I sat down, I could probably turn this into someone’s freshman year Psychology 101 paper. This has all of the hallmarks of not being about her at all, and totally about me. That doesn’t make me feel better.What I need is a line of people at my door, showing me what productive, unfucked-up adults they’ve become, even though they moved a lot (or a little) as a kid.

I’ll even settle for semi-functional adults, so if you know any send them my way.

(Image: Kellie L. Folkert/Shutterstock)

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