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How to Deal With the Family Moving Blues

Moving is tough and adding family to the mix can add all sorts of issues such as anxiety, fear and depression. There are all kinds of ways you can prepare your family with your upcoming relocation by talking about their new community, as well as allowing them to address their uncertainties.

You will be surprised: their moving blues may mirror your own apprehension. You may have accepted a better job with a bigger salary, but you are also uprooting yourself and starting over in a new place. How do you ingratiate yourself (and your family) into a new neigborhood -- and how do you make that empty feeling go away?

Leslie Levine, author of "Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home? Simple Advice for Settling in After You Move," says it's important to acknowledge your feelings of loss. 

"Be honest with yourself: moving is hard," she says. If you ignore your feelings, they'll just fester and grow more intense.

While you may mourn the life you left behind, remember that it's going to change, too. The friends you left behind may eventually move themselves. And you can always keep in touch and visit -- moving doesn't have to mean never seeing your friends again.

The plus side? Moving with your family to a new place will inevitably expose you and your family to experiences they wouldn't have had otherwise, such as getting to know another part of the country.

You can look at your move as an opportunity to apply some lessons you've learned. Maybe you're not as handy as you thought and you'd prefer to live in a newer house. Maybe having a pool wasn't such a great idea. Maybe you'd prefer to live further out in the country or closer to town.

Whether you are moving to a better place or someplace less desirable, your move is the next chapter in your family's life, and you are going through it together. The experience will bring you closer together.

Lori Collins Burgan, author of "Moving With Kids: 25 Ways to Ease Your Family's Transition to a New Home," has relocated her family three times when her husband, who's in retail, changed jobs. She says that, as hard as it was, moving has been a positive experience for her family overall.

"I know we are a closer, more well-rounded family because we have moved so much," Collins Burgan says. "At the time, it was the worst thing you could possibly imagine." But the children became closer if only because, for a time, they were each other's only friends.

Now, she says, "my kids are so close, they have so much fun together … in a way they are each other's best friends."

After all, she says, friends inevitably become closer when they have a unique experience. The same is true of family.

Allison Bisbey Colter is a freelance writer in New Jersey whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and American Banker. She is a former editor at TheStreet.com and a former reporter for Dow Jones Newswires.

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June, 2012

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