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Moving right before his freshman year.

BigAppleDaddyBigAppleDaddy 249 replies25 threads Junior Member

The title says it all. Our youngest begins school a few hours away upstate this fall. But a great new job awaits in California where we'll be relocating this summer. He has plans to travel with friends for a few weeks this summer that means he will leave home on the East Coast and come back to a different and new home on the West Coast, where he knows no one, and will have to hang around for weeks before starting college back east.

So while all our friends, extended family, and his older sibling (out on his own now) are excited for us and wishing us well on a great career move, the rising college freshman has been, to put it mildly, behaving badly -- surly, snappish, and constantly guilt-tripping us about the move and what we're doing to his life. He refuses to ever set foot in our home as long as its in Cali. It never occurred to him that if we stayed he'd be living (more or less) with two intensely unhappy and frustrated parents, which is not a good for his life either.

We're sympathetic to how he feels. But we're also not letting a 17-year-old hold us hostage because he can't hang out with his buddies for a few weeks.

Is there any way to make everyone happy. Or at least make everyone happy, if not now, then over time?


19 replies
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Replies to: Moving right before his freshman year.

  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 34785 replies1076 threads Senior Member
    I don't see the problem if the decision to take the new job was a family decision.
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  • BigAppleDaddyBigAppleDaddy 249 replies25 threads Junior Member
    All of us except him think it's a great idea. The guilt tripping is of the sort of "If I'm part of this family, why'd you ignore what I wanted?" At which point I let him know what the opportunity is, why it's good, he doesn't listen and starts up about how selfish we are, and I end up telling him that when he gets a job then he can live where he damn well pleases, and before then. Doors slam, voices, nobody talks to anybody for days.

    I guess I just have to wait it out until September, huh?
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  • boysx3boysx3 4993 replies174 threads Senior Member
    We also moved states after our youngest son left for college for a career opportunity for the parental units. He wasn't thrilled either. Part of it is that going to college is a big change in their young lives, and they want to hold on to the stability of "home" while they take those first scary steps in to adulthoood. They just don't know how to say so.

    I'm not sure what resources you have available to you, but what we did was let our son live with his best friend's family the summer after freshman year, because "home" meant where he grew up, and not where we were then living--where he had no friends, no connections for jobs, etc. He had a very good summer job which kept him busy and with cash in his wallet. However, he did come to visit us at the beginning and end of his summer, and we went to visit him and old friends in the middle of the summer.

    By sophomore year, he had no desire to do anything but stay at college (in DC) and work at both the excellent internship he had landed for the summer and the part time job he had taken on as well. DC has been "home" to him ever since. Like most kids who go away to college, he has grown up and gone on the path for his own life.

    This being said, we always have been very close. We didn't blame him for not wanting to move with us--one of the things college freshmen look forward to the most is coming home and talking over / comparing their experiences with all their friends. He was able to see our point of view, and we were able to see his, and to find a way to make it work for all of us.

    Life has a funny way of coming full circle. DH received a chance to take a wonderful opportunity in DC--and we moved to DC this winter, and live only a mile or so from this son. We were worried he might not want us on his turf! But all of us are loving being in the same city and getting to be together all the time.
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  • capcap 913 replies17 threads Member
    We moved before freshmen year with two of our kids. However, they are military kids and have moved their entire lives, so probably have a different perspective than your son. Good luck.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79039 replies702 threads Senior Member
    You can tell him that, in college, he will be living on his own for most of the year anyway, and after college will be on his own, possibly in a different area (for employment or graduate/professional school).

    One thing you do need to check on is, if he will be attending a state university where you would get a state resident or regional discount, whether the timing of your move can cause that to be lost and require you to pay non-resident tuition.

    Is the timing of the move fixed already? Seems like, even if he did not object, and the move date were flexible, moving him to college while still in NY and then moving to CA would be easier than moving to CA with him and then moving him to college in NY.

    However, there may be other issues involved.
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  • moonchildmoonchild 3266 replies30 threads Senior Member
    I can understand your son's disappointment and his wish to be able to return to his home base, but his behavior is pretty bratty, as you know. I'm wondering if there is time in both of your schedules to arrange some father/son time soon- a weekend trip, hike, sport activity- anything that the two of you could do together where you could talk in a setting unlikely to result in slammed doors.
    Level with him. You have his college to pay for and a retirement to consider eventually, and you want to be able to wake up every morning wanting to go to work, not hating your life. Would he want to be stuck in a job (or college) he didn't like if another opportunity arose that would excite and motivate him? This is one of those life choices that you need to make for your own future, and just as you don't expect him to choose his job based on where you would like him to be, it's not fair for him to expect it of you.

    If he really doesn't come around after a thoughtful discussion, I wouldn't mention it again, nor would I try to persuade him. If he makes rash statements, like he'll never visit, let him, and don't argue. And don't feel guilty.
    Some day he'll look back on his behavior and be embarrassed. He may even apologize. They do grow up.
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  • my3girlsmy3girls 323 replies6 threads Member
    We moved the summer before D's freshman year as well, but like cap we have moved a number of times so the was resignation as well as anger about it. We still have extended family in the old place so we all met there for spring break and she was able to hang out with friends. Relatives have offered to let her stay with them this summer, but so far she planning to come to the "new" home. With the older two the summer after freshman year is the only one they've come home for so I'm thinking after the first summer things will smooth out.

    Oh, and I always admit freely that I'm an awful parent who is running their lives. But that's how it is. They'll have lots to discuss with a future therapist.
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  • oldfortoldfort 23007 replies292 threads Senior Member
    We moved to a new country when D2 was junior. We gave her options of staying at her high school(living with her grandparents), going to a boarding school or come with us. She chose to move with us. She cried almost everyday for the first 2 months, then she embraced the new high school and new environment. She loved her 2 years at her new high school. We flew her back home to visit her old friends often, but after a while she rather hang out with her new friends.

    I was then transferred back to the states as she graduated from her new high school. We moved to a new city, new apartment, 4 hours away from her college. For the first year, she missed her high school friends, she asked to go back for her winter break. She had a nice visit, but a lot of her friends were going to colleges in the states. She is a sophomore in college now. She is not asking to go back as much as she used to. I asked her if she would like to visit this summer, she said she maybe too busy.

    OP- I would let your kid hang out with his friends as long as possible, but then tell him that you would like him to come home (home is where you are). Let him know he would be free to visit his friends while time and finance permit. I think after first year in college, he will consider his college to be home, not your new home or old home.
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  • mamabear1234mamabear1234 3482 replies45 threads Senior Member
    We've lived in the same house for 26+ years, so I could see my kids having some emotional issues when we eventually move. Is this a recent event, or has he known about the move for a while? I would say try not to engage him when he starts the childish stuff. He may have been thinking home would be close by when he started college as a support system, now that will be far away. I just had to call my freshman D who is 2500 miles away to tell her that her grandfather died. None of my kids so far has spent summers home after the post-freshman year summer. He will probably calm down and adjust to the idea,
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  • nj2011momnj2011mom 2792 replies93 threads Senior Member
    Given H & I are retired from our high pressure NYC jobs, we plan to put the house on the market shortly after the youngest leaves for college. A close friend cautioned us that it would be best to let the youngest return home for Christmas and a bit of the first summer. Since this move is in our control, we will probably do that, however, we aren't under the pressure of a possible job change. Given your son is not paying the bills, he can voice his disappointment, however he will need to accept this will happen.
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  • stressed2xstressed2x 66 replies10 threads Junior Member
    We moved when my youngest was in his sophomore year. Before we made the final decision, we spoke to both of our kids and although they were not all that happy with leaving their house, we decided that when it came to winter break and other vacations, they would spend half of their time with us and half with friends 'back home'. This is our first year and so far it has worked out. It's hard for them to have to spend all their off time alone in a new place. Give him some time. You'll figure it out.
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  • megpmommegpmom 3093 replies21 threads Senior Member
    Give it time. My parents moved (from TX to CA) after I graduated from HS, and my H and I moved overseas (TX to London) after our S graduated - it must be a family tradition.

    I remember being angry and sad and anxious about going to college. I was also leaving a serious boyfriend behind so it was doubly painful. When we got to CA, I only had a couple weeks before I left for college so I spent a lot of time driving around, going to the beach alone and brooding. I never felt like it was "home" - but once I got to college and made friends, it didn't matter so much any more. I certainly helped me move forward.

    S wasn't so angry about our move (older D was, however). But I realize now that he was stressed by all the transition. Selling the house, moving into a temp apartment before the overseas move, all of his stuff going into storage, etc. I think in a way, it was a relief for him to get to college. However, he also has no desire to come visit us this summer (even in London!). He wants to go home to TX and stay with grandma so he can see friends. He will always consider TX home, not London.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9086 replies337 threads Senior Member
    I think you're behaving reasonably. It's not like you're moving and not leaving a forwarding address. One of my friends went to college with a boy whose parents did just that. Can your son spend some time after his trip staying with various friends/family before joining you in California? Are there family members nearby that he can spend a few days with on summer break so he can see his friends? I suspect that once he has college friends, this situation will resolve itself.

    I would avoid getting drawn into a discussion. When the subject comes up, I'd ask for his thoughts on how he can spend those weeks, but not opinions about where you choose to live and work. When I was in high school, I don't remember parents getting approval from kids for a move. There were discussions, of course, and kids were prepared. But we never would have dreamed we had veto power over it. If it were my son, I'd calmly tell him we've discussed it, we both know each others views and, while it's unfortunate we can't agree, the situation is what it is and the 'should we do it' part of the discussion is over.
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  • JHSJHS 18503 replies72 threads Senior Member
    My parents moved out of their house of 34 years right after my sister graduated from medical school and left for a residency program 1,000 miles away. She was 40, but had been living at home for the previous 7 years (and she had always thought of it as her home, even when she was in her 20s and living and working on the other side of the country). They were downsizing radically and moving into an apartment because my mother had Parkinson's and could no longer get around the huge house in which they lived; staying wasn't an option at all, and they had delayed to let my sister stay there until she finished medical school. Anyway, my sister was just awful about it. She stomped around, refused to help pack things, refused to figure out how to dispose of her stuff that she wasn't taking with her, got into a gigantic screaming match with me over a painting my parents gave me, and did everything she could to undermine the move.

    The point being that when you are leaving what your child thinks of as her (or his) home, there may never be a good time or a good age to do it. So you just have to do it, as sensitively as possible, but without getting blackmailed.

    In this case, maybe it's reasonable to give the kid an option to spend the last couple weeks before college in New York, with friends or relatives. On balance, he probably won't take it, but if he does there are ways to make it work. Those last few pre-college weeks are torture anyway. Sure, you will go around buying lots of stuff for his dorm room, but he won't actually need any of it.
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  • MassmommMassmomm 4016 replies82 threads Senior Member
    His feelings are understandable, but you don't have to put up with his behavior. Just tell him that this move is necessary for your job, which is paying for his college, then refuse to argue with him. You don't need to explain any more than that. He will accept it eventually because it is a done deal.
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  • IgloooIglooo 8237 replies214 threads Senior Member
    I was just having lunch with a friend who moved away. Her son, a HS freshman, wants to buy their house when he grows up and move back. Mom feels so guilty for moving. It's tough. Good luck.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29667 replies58 threads Senior Member
    I'm sorry for him. Happens a lot, not the worst tragedy, but it is a blow to him. It's like he's going away, and his home is too. So a little compassion, but again, it's life.

    My close friend is moving too and her DD is going to be in college this fall. House is on the market and any time the right offer is on the table, they are OUT. The college kid isn't the one upset, but her older daughter is. It affects different people different ways.

    My youngest brother had the same scenario, and then my dad died while he was just in his first month at college. It was a very rough year for him. Can't always have things go the way one wants ideally. But yes, I can see why your son is not happy about this.
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  • mathmommathmom 32531 replies159 threads Senior Member
    I sympathize with your son, but of course the behavior is not acceptable. Keep reflecting back what you are hearing. "I know are upset. I'm sorry that the timing is particularly difficult for you. It must be scary to feel like everything in your life is changing at once." Most anger is caused by fear. Acknowledge that fear. And yes, if you can arrange for him to spend some time this summer with local friends or family, so much the better. Some kids keep in close touch with their high school friends all through college (my younger son), while others move on and never look back (my older son.) Your son may discover that he's the latter not the former.
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  • MichiganGeorgiaMichiganGeorgia 4389 replies85 threads Senior Member
    DS's best friends parents retired when he graduated from high school last year. They rented out their house and now are traveling the country in a motor home. DS and his friend go to the same college and are going to be roommates next year. Usually when DS comes home for a weekend or over a break his friend has come too. It's really the only way he can come and visit his "home". He is a good kid so it's not a problem. I do feel bad for him though because even when he is here with all of their friends he is not "home" in his old house. I'd see if there are any of his friends that could have him stay with them for a while before school starts or even later on for visits.
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