Advice on moving with a 7th grader

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-06-2003
Advice on moving with a 7th grader
6
Tue, 04-05-2011 - 2:10am

My daughter is 13 and a 7th grader. We have lived in the same tiny town her whole life. About 3,500 people. We know just about everyone and are very invovled in our community.

I filed for divorce from my husband of 15 years in 2004. I've been with my boyfriend over a year. He's very good to us. He has a 13-year-old daughter 50 percent of the time. Our daughters are typical middle school girls, meaning they love each other sometimes, dislike each other greatly at others.

My ex is out of the picture and last I checked, he was over $50,000 in arrears in child support. (Don't ask.) In order to raise 2 kids (I have a 16 year old son) all these years completely on my own, I needed to take a job that doesn't pay all that great and has no benefits, but it has great flexibility.

A couple years back I had to sell our house. Just couldn't afford it. We moved into a two-bedroom apartment, which means my daughter and I share a bed. The location is great, but it's just too small. But I can barely afford it and am actually going backwards financially, plus my kids can't have things like school yearbooks and the like as there's just no money. (I'm going to have my daughter take the Red Cross babysitting class so she can earn some spending money, but that's off topic.)

My lease is up at the end of June, although my landlord said I can add a few months onto it if I need to. If I'm going to move, I'd just as soon do it in June when the kids get out of school and we have time to settle in before September.

I've been searching for a better paying job with beneifts, but so far no luck. It's quite disheartening.

My boyfriend has a nice house and asked us to consider moving in with him. I love him very much and if it were just me, I think I'd go right ahead. My son said he'd be fine with it. The problem is that he lives in a city of over 62,000 and my daughter wants nothing to do with it. It takes half an hour to get from his place to mine (which is across from my kids' school) so driving my daughter daily to keep her in the same school would be costly and, in the winter, difficult. After school and extracurriculars would be an issue, as well. And if I actually do get a better job, I might not be able to get her to school or pick her up after.

She's scared to death of his city and I understand. We love our little town and everyone knows us here. We have a lot of traditions and we're proud of it. His city seems dirty and anonymous to us, which friends of mine who live there think is ridiculous but it's how it feels. She is stressing out as we discuss possibilities. She has begged not to move pretty much daily.

Not looking at the emotional aspects (meaning, I'm leaving the mushy stuff out) it makes financial sense to move in with him. My bills will be less, and we'll spend less on gas driving back and forth. But how does one move a 13-year-old 7th grade girl whose whole life is her friends she's had, some since nearly-literally birth? How do I take her from a tiny friendly town to an anonymous city?

Also, if we move in with him, she'd go to a middle school just a few blocks down the road and not know anyone. His daughter is open enrolled to another middle school a couple miles away. Would it be better to put the girls in the same school so my daughter knows someone, or would it be best to send her to the other school so she can develop her own identity?

I should say that my daughter has some anxiety issues. She's gotten much better than when she was little, but she still balks at doing anything slightly uncomfortable. She'll go without rather than asking a stranger for something. So I'm fearful she'll just wilt with a move to a strange big city. (If you live in a bigger city than 62K, please try to picture growing up in a town where you can walk from one city limit to the other in about 15 minutes, and only that long because a river cuts through it so you have to walk down to the bridge. 62K seems like New York to the poor dear.)

Do I just forget it? Or how does one do this to their kid? (It's kind of funny I'm stressing so as my dad once bought a house while my mom was gone for a month with my 2 eldest siblings, and he moved all their belongings over and never told them until they got home from the airport and pulled into the drive -- no worrying about transitioning or any of that silliness. Just "Oh, I bought a house while you were gone" and here ya go!)

Anyone out there who has moved a middle schooler?

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Tue, 04-05-2011 - 9:07am
Sorry, no experience with that age, but ds18 went to 3 preschools, Catholic school for K, public school for 1st, then we moved to get him into a better school system that he was in from 2nd-12th. It was a little rough, even at those ages, for him to bounce around but he always, always found good friends and fit in well wherever he landed.

Honestly I think now would be a reasonable time to consider it. She'd have a year to make some friends so then going into HS she'd know some people. I think what I'd do is have the 2 of you take a day or two off and visit with both prospective middle schools and see where she's comfortable and let her choose, letting her know (if you're on board) that the current situation is impossible and the new one will make more sense for everyone's needs in the future. That way she has ownership of the decision with the limitation that staying is not an option.

I think the only way I wouldn't consider it is if the schools where you are now are superior to where you would potentially move. JMHO.

Sue
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 04-05-2011 - 3:50pm

I think if it makes financial sense to move and your option is to move to an even smaller apt., have less money, etc., you should move.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Tue, 04-05-2011 - 6:51pm

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Tue, 04-05-2011 - 7:45pm

13 is a very difficult age. It is NOT a good age for a child to become part of a blended family,especially when she is moving out of her own home into an already established home. Add to that pre-existing anxiety problems, it is a recipe for problems.

I am not a fan of blended,uncommitted families. It is too risky for the children involved. So, unless you are 200% sure that this man is for keeps, do not do it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Thu, 04-07-2011 - 8:02pm

There is no way I'd do this without a wedding ring. Financial and even emotional reasons just aren't enough to do this without a commitment. Until your boyfriend is your husband, your daughter's needs have to come first. Even in a secure, committed marriage, having a child with anxiety issues is very challenging.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
Fri, 04-08-2011 - 11:57am

My vote is the "no movers" on this one.