Advice on Relocating for Job with Unhappy Teens

Updated on May 10, 2012
S.D. asks from Dade City, FL
20 answers

My son is off to college next year. I am a college professor, but my university does not provide tuition waivers for children of faculty. I decided to throw my cv out there to see what would happen, and ended up getting many interviews and multiple job offers. I should feel blessed, but I feel stressed instead.

Of course, my son does not want to attend any of the schools offering me a position, but his younger siblings might. If I stay here and turn down the jobs with tuition waivers, they will have to take out an extra $25,000 in student loans each for college.(My husband and I are both educators from poor families of origin with our own huge student loan debt; we will never be able to pay for 3 kids' college out of pocket). Plus, all the job offers come with a pay raise. However, neither of the younger two want to move; they're a teen and a preteen and we've moved frequently for my job. The family vote is no. My husband is in grad school so his job is not a factor. (Although I think he'll have more opportunities once he graduates in the new area).

Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I was dissatisfied with my current job until I started looking at greener pastures. Plus, we've been here for three years and I haven't made any friends. Now I'm heartbroken that I have to say no to a job with more money, an easier schedule, greater intellectual challenge, with more opportunities for my kids, and great women who pretty much befriended me at the interview. I hate to be selfish and a dictator. However, a part of me wonders about the wisdom of letting teenagers make a crucial decision about our family's financial future. Moving in six years when they graduate from high school is not an option; I will have tenure and will be "stuck" here. Any advice?

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R.H.

answers from Austin on

Meet the parents of their friends and see if you can send them out there for a week and then take in their kids for a week (vacation months) until the homesickness ends.

Take the job!!!

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N.P.

answers from San Francisco on

When I was a kid, my parents made the decisions and I didn't get a vote. That's the way it should be. I contributed nothing to the family. When your kids move out and start to make their own way, they can make the decisions. Until then, it's up to you and your husband.

Sure you want them to be happy, but guess what. Kids are fleeting. They're going to LEAVE and you'll be stuck in a job you will resent, always wondering what could have been. My mother made my sister and I her WHOLE LIFE and when we left, she sort of spun herself in circles and couldn't figure out what to do.

You'll still have a life to live after they move away so make decisions to support your future life. Your kids will adjust.

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D..

answers from Charlotte on

S., this issue is between you and your husband. Not you and your husband and your children. Sorry, but children don't get a vote in whether or not you take a new job.

Some colleges have a network so that it isn't just the college you teach at that your children can go to and get a steep discount or a free ride, so I hope the ones you are talking to offer that.

My advice is to just tell your kids what's what - you are taking a new job and it's not a "vote" in the family. They will get used to it.

**I just want to add, S., that your kids just can't "see" how moving will benefit them in the future. You can't take their discomfort here into consideration. You are giving them too much power, and you shouldn't do that. They certainly don't care about your huge student loans you are paying off, including your husband's grad school bills. It's okay that they don't care about it - they are too young to carry that burden, but that doesn't mean that you let them have what they want all the time.

Take a job offer you like. Do it for the future for ALL of you, but mostly for you and your husband.

Dawn

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

This is a choice for you and the hubby, the kids don't get a say. Sometimes we have to make the hard choices for our children for their own good. It's hard and sometimes it doesn't feel right, but you do what you have to do.

The kids will adjust. They will be angry about it all and may lash out,but they will adjust. I was an Army brat. I never lived anywhere longer than three years...ever. We were moved at the end of my sophmore year. I loved my high school friends and everything I had. I adjusted. I got over it. And now I have fond memories of the rest of high school.

Don't let the guilt trip the kids are putting on you keep you from making a change for the betterment of yourself and your family.

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M.B.

answers from Austin on

Ultimately, you and hubby have to decide what is best for the WHOLE family...... kids have a habit of looking at just the "here and now" .... of course they don't want to leave..... this is what they've known. I understand that you've already moved frequently...

Yes, they may be unhappy at first, but they will settle in.....

What does hubby say? Ultimately, his vote is what counts.....

But... they also need to understand the BIG picture... what is best in the long run? The aspect of the tuition waiver is a BIG deal..... yes, none of the kids may want to take advantage of that, but ultimately, that is their choice... and they will have to figure out how to pay for college in that case. With your current position, you don't have the option of a tuition waiver.

Kids are resilient...they will adjust to a new setting.

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G.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Take the job that appeals the most to you.

They will get over it and you can promise them they can come back and visit over summer and during the school year. They cannot make choices like this for you. You are the adult and must make the changes.

BTW, there is no guarantee, none what so ever, that they will want to attend any school that you do work at so that would be an incentive but not the deciding factor for me. They may want to go to Stanford or BYU or Yale and even get accepted.

Have them focus on grades and doing stuff to get scholarships and rewards for college. Have them start saving money now. It does not have to be much but enough to get the idea of how much it will take.

There are tons of scholarships for sports other than football and basketball too. Our tennis coach says just about every person he has ever coached got at least a partial scholarship for tennis when they applied. Each sport has money in their budget for scholarships and they have to use it.

I challenge you to talk to the FA advisers about what kinds of achievements can get scholarships for kids.

I bet if you started your kids in some sports or activities right now they would be skilled enough to get at least some assistance to go to school.

One of the teachers at the gym is taking golf, her mom went to college on almost a full scholarship for golf.

One of the dancers who graduated last year had taken 2 years of dance in high school and never before. She got a full scholarship to ECU based on her dancing. 2 yeas of dance and she gets a free ride to college, even housing if she lives in the dorms.

A friend got a scholarship to BYU for his high scores in math. He went to BYU and they are high priced AND private, no government funded FA.

Another friend has been being watched this past year for BMX, yes, riding a bicycle. He is getting offers to colleges who want to have BMX teams so they can call themselves the place where Olympic hopefuls go for higher education.

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M.P.

answers from Minneapolis on

I am with Dawn, this is a move for education and what you can best provide for them. They will be angry, they will rant and rave about it. However, trying to provide for them in your current situation is undo-able. Education is key in this country right now. Its imperative they all get to college and if it means losing a few friends earlier, rather than later, I would do it. It may be a while before they are not mad anymore but they will thank you when they are older.

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M.M.

answers from Washington DC on

What would make YOU happy?
What have YOU and Hubby decided?
Why do they have any say over YOUR future?

We are military, so we move. The kids have begged many, many times to stay in an area. The answer is the Marines need Daddy here or there so that is where we go.
Even when we had the opportunity to go overseas, we asked them what they thought, but ultimately it was my husband's and my decision.

About tuition. There are so many programs and scholarships available. Have the kids look into them. And when they don't, they go to the community college, or the military. It's that simple.

So they don't go to the college where you work. If you were happy, went to the football games, invested in the university, they might have a change of heart. They know you are unhappy, so why should they go to the school that makes mom sad?

Moving with teens is a killer, but not impossible, and if you and your husband have a solid marriage it will work out fine. Get them involved in activities at school, demand it. The best thing we did was tell my daughter she had to join a sports team. She has 4 letters in swimming, not bad for a kid who does not like physical exercise.
Find out about the high schools in the areas and let them see what these new schools do, drama clubs, academic clubs, new/different classes not offered at their high school now.

You are their parent, you are in charge. Make yourself happy, make your husband happy.
More pay, better benefits, the grass is definitely greener. They won't hate you forever. This is a decision that they just do not get to make.

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S.W.

answers from Shreveport on

There is a saying I hear often and use myself...If Mom isn't happy then the rest of the family isn't happy.
In other words the kids will get over the move after a short while. We are a military family and even though my oldest has only been subjected to two moves he has been fine each time. The second move subjected our youngest son to a move as well. They didn't get a vote that is for sure. Even now as a teen and preteen they wont get a vote. We are the parents providing for them and if some place else is better for them we will take it and they can accept that.
I need to add a bit more to my answer after reading some others.
Please don't try the dual household thing...We have had two military family friends do this. Both because their teens were allowed a say in accepting orders. The first case my husband and I tried to talk the mom and dad out of letting their teen daughter tell them she wasn't moving if dad accepted the orders. The dad was going to accept the orders because he was tired of the current base. The mom sided with the daughter and so they stayed in the local area while the dad went to the new base in another state. He came to visit til his wife told him not to anymore and handed him divorce papers. It took a year of them doing the dual household before she decided thanks to the teen daughter to divorce her husband of 20 yrs.
The second family the husband was retiring and wanted to move back to his home state. When he and his wife had gotten married it was something they had planned from the get go. Their 15 and 13 yr old sons said they didn't want to move. So they decided to stay and see how things would be after a yr. The husband lost out on a great job back home and has been struggling to find work locally. He told his kids recently whether they liked it or not they are moving back to his home state like they had planned.
So be very careful with the idea of a dual household.
I will admit I was forced to move when I was a preteen. I hated the state I was shipped to and was teased in school. Guess what it made me more determined to finish school and to get the hell out of dodge as soon as legally possible. I have no anger toward my family because they did what they had hoped was the safest and best choice for me at the time.

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K.F.

answers from New York on

Teens do not get to help make decisions in my home. My husband and I subscribe to the "not letting the inmates run the asylum" philosophy. We do however entertain reasonable and rationale conversation not emotional outbursts.

I would take the job and make the move for the betterment of the family. Even if you have tenure you should not consider yourself stuck. Try to think outside the box which is what brought you to this conclusion of looking for a job in the first place.

Would it be possible to manage two households? You get a small place near your new job and your family stays in the old location for a time?

I would definitely turn over every stone of possibility before making the decision to stay where you are.

Look into ways to help your kids transition or look for possibilities for them to perhaps stay where they are. I had a friend in highschool whose dad needed to move to another country for a year for his job. One of her other friend's mom agreed to take her for that year. They even had legal documents in place to make that happen without problems and it worked out fine. This may or may not work for your kids but it is another option you may want to explore.

Making friends is on you. Not everyone you meet is going to be your friend and not everyone you meet will be friendly and sometimes the friendly people you meet won't make good friends either. Long story short is you get to water the grass where you are planted no matter where you plant yourself.

If I were in your shoes, I would opt for the new job and try to get the entire family on board because it is a good financial decision and I would try to find other redeeming qualities about it besides money.

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L.K.

answers from Kansas City on

I just had this conversation the other day with a friend, and agree with Dawn and MartyMOMMA, this isn't really a kid decision. They will be mad and pout, but remind them that life will be what they make of it! They can chose to be a PIA or they can choose to be happy and make the most of it.

I moved in the middle of my sophomore year in HS. Not even at winter break but in November. I hated it, I was mad, I was pissy. My mother told me just what I said above and by my senior year, I was head cheerleader and homecoming queen over girls who had lived in that town their entire lives.

My husband moved here, to the Kansas City area from Ohio right before his senior year of HS. OK, so he didn't know many in his class of 300. But he met me, has been quite successful and we both have a ton of friends.

Once your kids are grown and off to college starting their lives, you will still be sitting there with regrets.

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P.K.

answers from New York on

You need to say "yes to the job." Children do not make choices about
my life decisions. They will not be happy to move, but they will make friends
and be just fine. Let us know when you give your decision.

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J.K.

answers from Kalamazoo on

My mother did something similar to us at around the same age. It turned out horrible for everyone but her, the new school we awful, my brother got bullied- he was the new kid with no friends, so did my sister, my parents eventually had to pull her out and send her to private school. Since they were teaching things in 10th grade that I had learned in 7th at my old school, I lost all interest in my education. I am an adult now, and have a lot of perspective on what happened, I still think she was selfish and made a terrible decision. You should do what is best for your family, and just be prepared if you decide to move, it may cause your children a lot of problems they will be very angry with you for.

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A.G.

answers from Chicago on

I agree with Nicole P.

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R.K.

answers from Appleton on

I say take the best offer. Your kids will learn to deal with it. When you actually go house hunting in the new area look around for the home that fits your family best. Maybe not the easiest commute for you but the school system that offers the best opportunity for your kids academically, scocially, and recreationally. For instance if one of your children likes to play football and the other likes theater find a school that offers good programs in both.
Also since they are teens they can keep up with their friends via the internet. You can arrange visits and maybe they will go to the same college. As you know the friendships we form in high school are important at the time but often fade after graduation. But if you get stuck in a dead end job it will effect your life for a long time.

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D.K.

answers from Pittsburgh on

What Nicole P. said. Does the university you are looking at have a reciprocal discount program if your kids elect to go elsewhere. I would NOT take the job, assuming it will save you tuition. I would take it if it is the job you want for all the other reasons you list. The kids will adapt. Plus - they will be leaving home soon enough and you don't want to be stuck in a job you don't want. BTW - many people move once they are tenured. If you are desirable - you will then be eligible to move to a position that is already tenured.

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N.J.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

I think talking to the kids is a good idea, and getting their feedback to make them feel included, but the decision is ultimately yours. The only thing I see are the pro's being many, and con's being few. I am a military child, and I was moved right before my senior year. Yeah, it was hard, but I made new friends and graduated. High school sucked for everyone. With the way the internet is, with skype, tango and facetime. Your children can still keep in contact with all their old friends, and then they can come and visit. If I was in your shoes, I would make the move! It's a better situation financially for your family, and in these times of financial crisis all over the country. I'd put yourself in the best situation possible. Good Luck!!

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S.D.

answers from Tampa on

Thanks for all the helpful advice! Ultimately my husband and I decided that the entire family will have more opportunities if we move. Plus the salary negotiations went better than we hoped. The next morning, my son said, "Moving again? Oh, well, if you make more money, you can buy me a new X-box," shrugged, and got on the school bus. I think I will commute for the first year to give my son time to finish middle school (my current and future job are in adjoining states) and give my husband time to fix a few things around the house before we put it up for sale. I will miss my family a lot, but will see them on the weekends (and my being home only at certain times will be a good reason to schedule more dedicated family time into my teens' busy lives.) I am nervous of leaving the security of a good job for one that has the potential to be even better, but that's life. Since we can't see the future, we can only make the best decision we can based on the information we have at the time. And on my deathbed, I'd rather acknowledge some mistakes than regret all the dreams I didn't pursue.

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L.M.

answers from New York on

If son is off to college next year, then why can't you stay where you are until he finishes high school? I think you need to consider that changing schools your senior year can be extremely difficult. I think you need to consider this in making your decision.

Untimately, it's you and hubby who make the decision not your children, but their thoughts and feelings to need to be considered.

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A.S.

answers from Boca Raton on

Just another perspective . . . I moved in 7th AND 9th grades. It was horrible, and it did affect me until I went off to college. In fact I could not wait to leave home. All I wanted to do was start at the same time, and be on the same footing, as everyone else.

If you're determined to do this (and it's certainly understand-able) I would try to come up with something in it for your kids too. I.e., could they perhaps homeschool on a virtual track? Dual enroll as high-schoolers? Pursue something that has interested them for a long time (horse back riding, acting, etc.)?

You have to help them see that their needs & concerns are important too. And student loans are nothing to fool around with - I just paid mine off 10 years after I finished a graduate degree. Of course they can't see the value of that now.

Good luck - I know it's not easy.

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