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Does Moving a Child Create Adult Baggage?

Posted by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 11:49 AM
  • 15 Replies

 Does Moving a Child Create Adult Baggage?

THE GIST Moves in childhood may do long-term harm.

THE SOURCE “Residential Mobility, Well-Being and Mortality,” the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

PITY the military or academic brat. Research suggests that an array of adult woes could be rooted in the early dislocation of moving house. Psychologists, sociologists and epidemiologists have long recognized that children who move often tend to perform worse in school and have more behavioral problems than those with a firmly rooted picket fence. Now, in an article last month, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology tracks the damage into adulthood.

“My original interest was in cultural differences and well-being,” said Shigehiro Oishi, the lead author, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia. He was born in Fukuoka, Japan, where his parents still live. When he came to the United States, he was startled to hear people answer, “Everywhere” when he asked where they grew up. “Because Americans are so mobile,” he said in a phone interview, “American levels of well-being can be explained in part by residential differences.” Professor Oishi said that “when I looked at the individual level, I started noticing a lot of interesting things.”

Among them: serial movers tended to report fewer “quality” social relationships. The more times people moved as children, the more likely they were to report lower “well-being” and “life satisfaction” as adults (two standard measures used to quantify that ineffable thing called “happiness”). And adults who had moved a lot were more likely to have died when researchers did follow-ups 10 years later.

But before you panic about your family’s impending relocation (not to mention your own transient childhood), Professor Oishi found that moving troubles only certain personality types. Introverts and those scored as “neurotic” (moody, nervous or high strung, according to a series of questions that determine such labels) were adversely affected, while extroverts remained blissfully unmoved. Though this is just one study, Professor Oishi said, “Parents who are considering moving need to think about their children’s personalities and the potential risk.”

Or do they?

A child’s reaction depends to a great degree on the reasons for moving, said Frederic J. Medway, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina who studies family relocation. He said military children fare well because the military eases transitions, and new children in military schools are usually in the same boat. A corporate relocation may negatively affect a spouse, whose poor adjustment then affects the child. With moves because of divorce or foreclosure, difficulties may be best traceable to marital breakup and income loss.

Relocating is much harder on middle schoolers, already wrestling with puberty, than on younger and older children. “When you drill deeper,” Professor Medway cautioned, “the effects of moving are much more complicated than this paper suggests.”


by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 11:49 AM
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Replies (1-10):
MamaScorpio88
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:06 PM

I can understand it. We moved around a bit when I was a teen, and it sucked. New school, new people, new location. It got tiresome.

candlegal
by Judy on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:12 PM

I agree since I grew up as an army brat. But what choice does a family have if they are in the military or the parent or parents have jobs that cause them to move a lot.  They can't just quit.  One of the reasons we stayed in Kansas City 30 years until our kids were grown.

I actually think we all end up with some kind of baggage eventually.

Quoting MamaScorpio88:

I can understand it. We moved around a bit when I was a teen, and it sucked. New school, new people, new location. It got tiresome.


MamaScorpio88
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:23 PM


Quoting candlegal:

I agree since I grew up as an army brat. But what choice does a family have if they are in the military or the parent or parents have jobs that cause them to move a lot.  They can't just quit.  One of the reasons we stayed in Kansas City 30 years until our kids were grown.

I actually think we all end up with some kind of baggage eventually.

Quoting MamaScorpio88:

I can understand it. We moved around a bit when I was a teen, and it sucked. New school, new people, new location. It got tiresome.


My family wasn't any kind of military. We just moved. One was for work, other times... I don't know. Other times, we had to. lol

I also think it would be dependent upon the childs personality. Some can see it as an adventure, a way to make new friends. Others, not so much...

Radarma
by Ruby Member on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:24 PM

BUMP!

Radarma
by Ruby Member on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:34 PM

LOL

Loved the last line...

"“When you drill deeper,” Professor Medway cautioned, “the effects of moving are much more complicated than this paper suggests.” "

Agreed.

Personal, I am an extrovert masquerading as an introvert, how I "present" oftens depends on the conditions/environment I am thrown into.

We moved A LOT as youngin's. Not military, just shuffled around a bit as my mom avoided my father and met another man and then divorced him etc etc. I was the "new girl" in a classrrom 11 times. All starting in grammar school.

It sucked.

 

stormcris
by Christy on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:35 PM

While I understand that it may cause baggage, it also can produce a well rounded individual who knows how to handle new situations. I think the support and encouragement during the first phase after moving is key. 

Radarma
by Ruby Member on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:39 PM


Quoting stormcris:

While I understand that it may cause baggage, it also can produce a well rounded individual who knows how to handle new situations. I think the support and encouragement during the first phase after moving is key. 

I agree with that too!

At least for the extroverts, lol.

The conditions (reasons) for moving are key. I always thought military kids have a cool mix going on...because like the arti says, they are thrown into a boat with like passengers. Softens the blow, the shock.

I also know a few peeps who were quite well off as kids and moved/traveled a lot and they indicate a pretty strong detachment from their parents.

Of course, it could all just be dependent on how fun your mom/dad is. Half joking there.

ShadowRaven
by Bronze Member on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:46 PM

That's definitely true. My mom and I moved around a lot, and it was difficult, but it also helped me learn how to adapt quickly to new circumstances and situations. From the time that I was 5 until now (I'm 27), the longest I've ever lived in one place is 2.5 years, and that's our current residence; by the time that we're ready to move out of here we'll have been here almost 3 years. I don't want to keep uprooting ds (2 years old) like I was, so our plan is to be in a house by the time that he's ready to start school. I plan on making one more move before that happens, because our current apartment is a dump and the landlord stopped caring about the upkeep a while ago.

Quoting stormcris:

While I understand that it may cause baggage, it also can produce a well rounded individual who knows how to handle new situations. I think the support and encouragement during the first phase after moving is key. 


krystel.justice
by Member on Jul. 12, 2010 at 12:54 PM

My husband was a navy brat, and grew up in Georgia, Virginia, Hawaii, North Caroliina, Guam, Japan, Wales, London, and Florida. He's the most well adjusted person I have ever met!

I grew up switching in between the United States and Panama my whole life, and while it did affect me socially in school (I was not military, so I had to make the cultural shift in between American public schools and Panamanian private schools) I have done fine.

My sister Valerie has not moved since she was in kindergarten, and she cannot handle change at all. Two of her friends are moving right now and she is an absolute mess.

ecagle
by Kegel on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:34 PM

 

Quoting stormcris:

While I understand that it may cause baggage, it also can produce a well rounded individual who knows how to handle new situations. I think the support and encouragement during the first phase after moving is key. 

 

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