Moving . The word alone makes muscles throb over work to be done and the heart ache over friends to be missed.
"Moving," says Dr. Jon A. Shaw, chief of Department of Psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, "is a temporary crisis for everyone involved because everyone is sensitive to separation from familiar people and places." And when it comes to moves, August is a peak month.
Dr. Shaw has dealt with and written extensively on the numerous and complex adjustment problems experienced by children and adults during relocations. Age and developmental levels, he says, are major factors in a child's adjustment to a move.
Preschoolers generally are not as sensitive to relocation because their lives revolve more around family than peers. The early school and adolescent years often are the most difficult in which to move because the relocation itself is stressful, as it opposes the child's attempt at autonomy.
Relocating during the early school years often results in a sudden return to a dependency on parents, a lack of self-confidence and loss of peer contacts. Dr. Shaw adds, however, that this pattern is usually temporary and is generally overcome within six months.
Adolescents fare worse, particularly if the move takes place during what Dr. Shaw terms "emancipation time." Severing their strong ties with peers may cause the adolescent a variety of adjustment problems. He or she may leap into "pseudo-maturity" by joining an often rowdy peer group in an attempt to avoid becoming dependent again on their parents. School work also may suffer.
"But much of the crises created by moving," stresses Shaw, "can be mitigated by a positive attitude on the part of the parents, as well as frequent and frank discussions about the impending move."