Transcription: Arlene Interviewed On CN8 in Philadelphia
Joe: Welcome back to Money Matters Today, I’m Joe Bissicchia filling in for Mary Caraccioli who is on maternity leave. Moving can be a moment of great opportunity, and one of the most stressful experiences. Every year, one out of every five American families move, and that includes 9 million school-aged children. Let’s talk about the impact of family relocation. Andrew Schiller is with us, he is the president of NeighborhoodScout.com. And joining us, Arlene Foreman, professional counselor and regarding marriage and family counseling. It’s good to see you, Arlene!
Arlene: Thank you!
Joe: When we talk about moving, obviously it is tremendous stress, and I could think first and foremost, let’s start with the parents, especially if they’re single and no children, there’s stress on the spouse that doesn’t have a particular job, isn’t there?
Arlene: First of all, I wanna suggest that we don’t frame it as ‘so much stress’, because if we call it ‘stress’, then it’s stress.
Joe: I love that, Arlene, you’re so right! Because the potential for it, but we’re gonna go beyond it. In fact, if you’re not thinking about it for your children and all, make it a fun experience yourself.
Arlene: I’d like to use the word ‘resilience’. We’re practicing resilience.
Joe: Okay, and in many ways that’s where an opportunity opens up and you can be ready for it.
Arlene: Exactly, and we turn this into an opportunity to teach children resilience.
Arlene: To teach children that there’s change, and there’s all of these feelings, and needs that are gonna go through these changes, and that we come out better on the other end.
Joe: Do you think parents should consult with the child before moving, or do you just have to be a parent to make that smart decision and realize we’re gonna rely on that resiliency?
Arlene: Um, I don’t know what you mean by ‘consult’. Get their permission to move? No. You’re going to move, and the children will come along. But what’s good is to include them in the whole process. As soon as they’re old enough to understand English, they’re old enough to share in this experience – to help pack, to look for the new house, check on the map where it is – every step of the process.
Joe: I’m glad you brought up that map idea because that really turns it right over to Andrew again, our geographer, because you can make children be part of the excitement, can’t you? By exactly doing everything you’ve talked about in the first segment?
Andrew: That’s right. Have them help make a list of what’s important to them and be part of the process of moving and help you pick out the neighborhood and location as well as the house.
Joe: And give them a sense of … again it goes back to that big ‘E’ word, ‘Expectation’ – a proper, real expectation. How important is that?
Andrew: It’s very important. I think as they set the expectation ahead of time, you can help them be excited about the move, but you don’t wanna overset it so that they’re excited in the beginning and then disappointed afterwards.
Joe: Now Arlene, obviously when we talked about, you know…. I don’t wanna bring out the word ‘headaches’ because you don’t respect me for that.
Arlene: You’re right! (laughs)
Joe: But parents are gonna feel that way. Are you saying the parents have to try to be the most upbeat during the whole process, even though you know we’re pulling out our hair during the move.
Arlene: No, it’s not real, and what we wanna teach children is to be real. And I wanted to address excitement, because you can be so excited that when you move and find out there aren’t children to play with, then you’re bored and you crash. So you want some excitement, but you want what’s real, so that children know what to expect what’s real, and if I’m moving and there’s a part of me that’s frustrated and angry or disorganized, then the children know that. So when they move and they feel frustrated and angry and disorganized, they’ll remember “Oh, mom was like that too!” and it’s okay, that it’s real. Real feelings.
Joe: We are at this table, and you know what? I can feel that we’re at that kitchen table – the family kitchen table. How important is it that the unit – the family unit – is a family unit and that is where home will begin no matter where they are. How important is it to stress that bond? Maybe it can get strengthened in a move?
Arlene: Well it’s important as a family to have it before the move. That it’s great – that you already have that structure in place and it makes the move a lot easier as they are going through it, and everybody is working together, and everybody’s moving together, and talking together, and crying together, and laughing together. Sometimes the move is that maybe they just got the doors, and maybe mom doesn’t wanna move, and this family unit is not so strong, and mom’s like with a broken heart and crying. And she doesn’t have to pretend that she’s happy and upbeat about this move because the kids know the truth. It’s better to be real and to share feelings and to show the children that I’m really hurt and I’m really crying and I’m working through this and I conquer them, I get better, and I have a happy life for whatever is gonna happen to me next, and I get through it.
Joe: Your common denominator has been ‘be faithful and true’.
Arlene: Yeah, be real.
Joe: Don’t try anything that’s fake and anything like that, but the reality is, what we don’t want to be stressful does become stressful, how important is it that you really have to put up the guard in many ways when you’re moving, because even frequent relocation can be like a, like a storm for a family, can’t it not?
Arlene: You know what, it can be what you make it. Some families will storm when somebody sneezes, and for some families, the storm comes and they all slide through it. What I’d like to get across is resilience, and I know this has not have to do with moving but when I research people, old people, and who’s the oldest and the healthiest, and making it through all these storms, it’s the people who are the most resilient. It’s the number one factor. When you take skills of resilience, and put them through moving, they come out the other end. So what if there’s a storm?
Joe: And Andrew, you know what? Exactly what you’re saying – you prepare yourself for the resiliency, and in fact, you can grow with that next chapter. This is an exciting time.
Andrew: It is very exciting. It can be a lot of fun, and it can help that resiliency by getting good resources.
Joe: It’s great to have you here, Andrew. Andrew Schuller is a PhD geographer and founder of Neighboorhoodscout.com, and Arlene Foreman, family counselor, so special to have you here. We’re gonna move on to a different part of moving, and that is, the boxes! And all of that stuff. It’s not stressful, it’s fun! And we’re gonna make it so! Be right back.
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