Moving teen to new school
Dear Dr. Bradley,
I've always felt that my first responsibility was to my son for the 18 years that he lives at home and part of that responsibility is keeping him stable in the best possible schools. I moved around all the time as a kid and hated it.
That said: like so many others I got derailed by the economy and laid off almost two years ago. Financially, career wise and just for my own mental health I need a new job. The trouble is we may need to relocate OR I face a nasty commute with a lot less family time (the jobs I'm interviewing for are both 51 miles away).
How tough is it REALLY on teens to have to uproot? My son is a good student who brings home As and Bs in honors classes and his high school is excellent. A lot of parents from surrounding districts waiver their kids in. Equally as important, he has a lot of friends, all great kids with involved parents etc.
My sense is that this would be very tough and I need to make the sacrifice for a few more years (he's in 9th grade) and either commute or accept a lower paying job close to home. But I would love your 'expert' opinion, as I have a great deal of respect for you and like so many other parents, it's been a life saver and eye opener for me.
Would love some feedback if anyone's dealt with this. Kid's happy in school, lots of friends, successful academically...only fly in the ointment is I can't find a job in this area and am wondering how much it would shake up his world to be moved. Don't want to but we gotta eat.
I'm afraid that this is a really tough decision that you must carefully make by weighing out the pros and cons. Moving is difficult for most adolescents so there will be some price for him to pay, but that cost varies widely depending upon the resilience of the child. For example does he do OK when faced with frustration or does that cause him to spiral down? Is he socially skilled or does he have trouble integrating into new groups? I can tell you that I would worry about being 51 miles away with a teen back home. If you do decide to move, perhaps consider a new home that remains within striking range of his old friends so that he can maintain his present friendships which are so important to him, at least for awhile.
Take care and keep us posted.
Dr. Mike Bradley
Thanks for your reply. At this point everything is still up in the air. It may be worth it for me to take a crummy low paid job for a while to keep the family stability intact. I was moved a lot as a kid/teen and hated it. My son is much mellower and more social than I was so while it would be tough for sure, it might not be as tough as on some other kids. The other issue is that I would be away from him an extra 10 hours a week in commuting time alone, eg, rather than getting off work at 6 and being home at 6:20, I wouldn't make it home until 7:30, which seems like a LOOOOONNNG time to leave a teen to his own devices. At any rate, I have not yet received an offer...but the reality is I will have to choose between relocating for a good job or staying put for a not so great one. Will post again if I hear anything...thanks, Dr. B.