How Will My Children Adjust to Florida?
By Kelly Dean
If you’re trying to make a decision about relocating to Florida, it is impossible to do so without thinking about the impact it might have on your children. Growing up is tough enough as it is, but adding your family’s separation anxiety to the equation could be pivotal to making the decision.
Of course, if you’re an empty-nester, this is less of an issue. When children go to college, you struggle to see them enough; they tend to go forward with their lives as well, much like you probably did when you tasted freedom.
If your children and grandkids still live up north, that might pull at your heartstrings a wee bit. I was talking to a moving company a while back and the owner told me the No. 1 reason people move out of Florida when the nest is empty is to return to family they miss up north, including the grandkids.
I moved here as a family man with a child still in school and the transition for him took some time. It is imperative that you communicate with your children to see where they are in their social situation and how they are likely to adjust. Much of the issues depend upon the child’s age of course. In a social media driven world, adolescents need more adjustments than elementary-aged children more than ever.
Some adolescents are ready and willing to move to Florida for a variety of reasons: maybe they are unhappy at their current school; maybe they are being razzed at school or in social media; maybe they think this will be a way to move forward; maybe the prospect of going to the beach and theme parks is motivating to them; maybe living in Florida matches their future career plans. Children think about careers much earlier than we used to.
However, some children are quite popular at school and have an established social routine, including a social media following as well. The prospect of moving can feel devastating to them. It is your job to weigh how moving might impact them both positively and negatively.
Sometimes parent’s jobs move them to Florida. They must either move or choose to take another career path while stalling in their current position. In this case, the options become narrower because the financial aspects are added to the equation. Anytime you move with children, whether across town or all the way to Florida, it’s going to take some adjustment — and this adjustment is happening while parents are distracted with moving and a new job.
As a parent with experience in this situation, make sure the children become involved in activities, stay balanced in their school verses social media world and make absolutely sure you check in with them about how they are adjusting in general. This must be consistent, at least every day. Children don’t tell us everything anyway, so you must be sly and genuine in your query and tap your parental instincts if something concerns you.
It can be a difficult decision deciding to pick up and move, especially if you have children still in the home. All the variables must be weighed against the big picture and against what is best for everyone. Sometimes this is the hardest part.
But if you’re an empty-nester, all this is much easier. Your grown-up children have lives and careers of their own. There is no guarantee how much they will be able to see you, even if they lived in the same state. Nonetheless, they are likely to visit for the beaches, warmth and theme parks eventually and it might become a routine, vacation-wise. Your grown-up children will want to take their children to these places as well. At least this way, you might get to see the children and grandkids once per year or so. If you didn’t live in a vacation destination, that might not be the case.
Making the choice is going to take some thought and much of this depends upon your age, family status and career. Everyone’s situation is different so weighing the options and best guesses about the outcomes are important.