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Between You and Me: The Stress of Moving

By Katherine H. Smith Created: December 13, 2011 Last Updated: February 20, 2013
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As the new advice columnist for The Epoch Times, I greatly look forward to meeting you through your letters. I aspire to help each of you, in some small way, to realize your best hopes for your relationships, careers, and lives in general. Although, regrettably, I will not be able to respond to every letter, I will do my best to reply to as many as possible. I thank you in advance for sharing your lives and stories.

Until Monday, 
Affectionately Yours,
Kathy

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Dear Kathy:

My son’s family has recently moved to the West Coast and it’s been a big adjustment for my three grandchildren, especially the youngest, Janey. She is almost five and she was fine for the first couple of weeks, but apparently that was because she thought it was a family vacation. Since she’s realized that it’s a permanent move, she’s acting out at home and at school. It’s the terrible twos all over again. 

What can my son and daughter-in-law do to make this transition an easier one for Janey? I’m really worried about her. I used to see the kids all the time when they lived in our area. Knowing that my granddaughter is going through such a rough patch and I can’t be there to comfort her because she’s 3,000 miles away is hard. I could really use some advice!

Thanks,
Worried Grandma

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Dear Grandma:

Your grandchildren are very fortunate to have you in their lives; it is obvious from your letter that you love them very much. Moving is very stressful, even for adults who are involved in the decision-making process. It is that much more stressful for a young child who is affected by the move, but has no voice in the decision. 

She is grieving the loss of her extended family, friends, and familiar surroundings. I suggest that your son and daughter-in-law let Janey’s teachers and guidance counselor know what she’s going through so they extend the necessary patience and compassion she’ll need as she becomes acclimated to her new surroundings. 

My recommendation is that Janey’s parents check out the website for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Seeking family counseling with a clinician who has a background in play therapy may considerably help the situation. 

I think Janey would feel comforted to know that her parents and siblings also miss the people and places they have left behind. Although Janey, as the youngest family member affected by this move, is the most vocal about her unhappiness, don’t neglect to take into account your own sense of loss. 

Your grandchildren have been a regular part of your life since they’ve come into this world and they are now living across the country. I strongly suggest you find an emotional outlet to process your own feelings of sadness. Some ideas include keeping a journal, joining a support group, counseling, and so on. 

I’d also encourage you to explore new ways to meaningfully connect with your family, maybe through emails, instant messaging, social networking, writing letters, or compiling scrapbooks of pictures and accompanying stories to send to your grandchildren. 

You are the matriarch of this family and, as such, I have full faith in you to pave the road to stay connected. Please let me know how things work out!

All the best,
Kathy 

 

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