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Moving is Good for Your Kids After All

When you're in the thick of moving with your family, you probably aren't spending a lot of time focusing on the long-term effects of moving with your kids. Changing schools, friends, neighborhoods, patterns — it all gets thrown up in the air and becomes something of a scramble to pull it all back together again in the new place. It can get a little rough at times. There is a bright side, though. It probably shows in little flashes as the kids are growing up, but it doesn't reach its full radiance until they're grown. Believe it or not, moving is good for your kids. One day, they might even thank you for it.

Moving around, seeing different places, and interacting with new people develops qualities in military kids that blossom as the kids grow up. Reiterating these aspects of moving can help to maintain a positive focus during the move and the transitions that surround it.

Few children understand diversity so well as those who attend different schools in different places. Even for military kids who manage to stay on U.S. soil throughout their childhood, the full spectrum of culture is never so clear as for those who move around. Living in different places and attending different schools helps kids understand that there are individuals behind cultural stereotypes. This makes military kids careful-minded citizens and awesome adults.

Military kids develop a keen sense of self and a penchant for critical thinking, whether they're flying solo or hanging with the flock. After running with one crowd at one school, then another crowd at another school, military kids start to clue in — a person's boundaries are not defined by the crowd they hang around with. This makes kids who move around a lot early bloomers in independence. Because they've seen so many dominant cultures, they have a different perspective on how dominant culture operates. They have the tools to define themselves based on what is right for them, not what is right for the crowd.

A move is a great way to stretch your mind, your stamina, and your commitment to what you're doing. For kids, the practice of extending normal boundaries beyond their first back yard into a different neighborhood and a different school, with different friends, different climates, and different food aids a flexible mind. Developing these qualities when younger helps kids become even-minded and open as adults, especially in situations of change. When it comes to flexibility, moving and starting over several times throughout a child's life are the equivalent of touching your nose with your big toe. This kind of flexible attitude eases transitions and sticks around when kids are grown up.

With all of the change going on during a move, the one thing that stays constant is family. A move will strengthen the family bond like no other big change. Because everything is new, the family unit becomes the discovery expedition, the support group, the backyard pioneer. Each family member understands the change that the others are going through. With empathy and humor and a sense of adventure, the family pulls together. This bond will never leave a child, and will help to keep the family close once everyone is grown.

These values are hard won. They require resilience and fortitude. That is precisely why the troubles of moving fade with time, and the qualities of diversity, independence, flexibility, and family stay in their place.


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