Three Key Things We Can Do To Help. 
- As a Real Estate Professional working with transferring families, I wear many hats including that of counselor, consultant, advisor and many times, just good friends. 
- The ultimate success of any move depends on the strength of the family unit and my guidance and support throughout the entire process. 
- The first thing I can do is to help educate the transferee and spouse early in the relocation process by identifying potential issues with children related moves and how to anticipate the DART cycle. 
- Second, dedicate as much time to overcoming children concerns as I do covering corporate policy or new area home finding issues. Provide the family information about the new area specific to the age group, including schools, malls, sports, and outside activities 

Frequently Asked Relocation Questions:

  Can I Bring My Teddy Bear? 
Today, more than any other time in the history of the relocation industry, a greater number of employee transfers involve children. Blame it on the Baby Boomers or on a resurgence of the family unit, the truth is that recent ERC surveys indicate that over 65% of all transferees had dependent children at the time of their move. Coincidentally, one of the top three reasons that keep employees from accepting a job transfer also involves concerns specific to family issues. 

Over the last few years, a growing recognition and emphasis at the corporate level has been placed on "selling the spouse" on the benefits of accepting a transfer. However it has traditionally been the transferee and spouse who solely were responsible for "selling the children" on the move without knowing where to begin and sometimes deciding to decline a transfer instead of facing the challenge of dealing with major family disruption. 

  What Impact Does Moving Have On Children? 
The American Psychological Association ( tells us that the impact of a move on children as well as the parents can have dramatic and long-term consequences if not handled properly. 

Children of all ages need to have consistency in their life. They need to know where their place is in a very large universe. They need to rely on what they know, whom they know and where they belong. The thought of moving across town or across the country shatters everything that is consistent in their life. 

Timing can also play a key role in factors affecting the move. The switch from elementary to junior high school coincides with several major changes for young adolescents. Most are in the throes of puberty; they're becoming more self-aware and self-conscious, and their thinking is growing more critical and more complex. At the same time, adolescents are often "in a slump" when it comes to academic motivation and performance. 

  What is the DART Cycle? 
The typical emotional cycle of learning that the family is relocating is based upon 4 initial reactions that include Disbelief, Anger, Resistance, and Trepidation. Also referred to as the "DART Cycle." Although the reactions vary depending upon their age, older children often exercise the DART response much more often. 

Usually the news of a move is first met with disbelief with responses such as "why do we have to move," or "just tell them that we aren't going to move." 
Second, anger starts to develop in the form of "taking away" friends, boyfriends, team participation, and security. 
Next, resistance may set in with a refusal to participate, emotional distance, and uncooperative behavior. 
Finally, trepidation sets in with apprehension and fear of losing friends and entering an unknown environment. 

  How do different age groups react? 
The needs of the children vary at different age ranges when facing an upcoming relocation. 

Children between 3 and 7 need less information, they need to feel excited that the move is going to be fun and they need to be reassured that they can bring their toys and favorite teddy bear. 
Children between 7 and 12 usually have developed longer-term friendships, are active in sports and activities such as soccer, baseball, Brownies or Boy Scouts. This age group would benefit by reassurance that phone calls, email or even visits will keep friends in touch. As professionals, our roles would also be to help the parents identify teams in the new areas, clubs and organizations, parks, and social activities even before the announcement to move has been made. The key to this group is maintaining an excited and positive attitude of all the new sites, experiences and friends that will develop as well as holding onto some of the past. 
Teenagers need additional consideration. Ask any parent and they will tell you that teenagers are challenging enough without involving relocation. Expect a greater resistance to accept the move and be prepared to listen and allow them to "vent." This is not a time to "candy coat" everything but rather to acknowledge that it is a difficult decision to make and that it is going to be challenging for everyone. Explain the rational for the decision and why it is being made with the best interest of the family in mind. As with the younger group, research done ahead of time regarding sports, schools, and area amenities would be wise prior to announcing the move. Guaranteed return trips may also ease the perceived loss of friends. 

  Graduating seniors. 
The biggest dilemma, next to deciding how and when to announce the news of an upcoming move, is deciding whether to take a child out of their senior year in High 

School. This is a decision that needs to be given substantial thought and serious consideration. 

Many believe that it would be more disruptive to remove the child mid year than to let them finish out the school year and see closure to the years of hard work. Others believe that nothing should separate the family unit and that ultimately it is the family unit that will flourish no matter the challenges that it goes through. Most tend to agree with the latter and cite that months of family separation will do more harm than benefits gained through staying at the old location. The decision becomes especially difficult at half year and less difficult when the move is within 60 to 90 days of graduation. Whatever decision is made, will require the full and complete support of everyone involved. 

  Whose job is it anyway? 
When it comes to providing counsel and support, is it the role of the employee's HR department to assist in the education and impact of relocating with children? Especially if family issues play such a huge role in the overall decision to accept a transfer? Probably, but this issue doesn't always appear on the radar screen as would compensation adjustments or logistical planning. Also, many corporate HR departments outsource their relocation process and have limited contact with the family issues surrounding the move. The employee traditionally has been on their own to handle these issues and typically is not comfortable with bringing "family" concerns to the attention of the HR department. 

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