New School Again!!

Updated on August 25, 2014
R.U. asks from South Weymouth, MA
23 answers

Okay ladies please be nice, lol. Here is my ordeal. We have moved to a new town a little over a year ago. Prior to that we lived in a city. It was a great place to buy our first house but did not have a good school system. We had never planned on being their long enough for my daughter to be in school. But with the housing crisis we were kind of stuck. So we put our daughter in a catholic school. It was amazing!!!! My daughter thrived. The school was like a family to us. But we always knew we wanted to raise her in a better town with more to offer her. And closer to my family and hometown. She was in 3rd grade we had a buyer for our house and it was a now or never decision. However looking back I think we made too fast and I wish I could go back. So we bought our dream house in a beautiful town with great schools . Just to be clear my daughter was always a part of our decision. She was excited to be closer to her cousins and a new house. We sent her to the public school. She was a bit traumatized with how big it was as was I. She adjusted but I could see she was missing everything at her small catholic school. The year went by and the academics were great. But the whole experience was cold. She made friends and fit right in but nothing that was a best friend. Parents seemed distant. I volunteered at every event. And still no connections. With the fear of her going from this huge elementary school to an even big middle school I looked into a catholic school here. My husband and I along with our daughter toured the school. My daughter then spent a day there. She decided she would go there this year. We have met some great people. But my concern now is with school starting next week I see the anxiety in her. Starting a new school yet again. I feel like I have traumatized my daughter for this stupid move. My husband and I thought we were bettering her life when I feel like we have taken her away from a school she loved. What if she doesn't like this school? What do I do then? I just worry so much I do not want her feeling scared or worried. I feel the need to fix this. Sometimes I just want to sell this house and move back. Would that be crazy? My grandmother always said be careful what you wish for!!!! I wish I had listened. Anyway sorry so long any advice or experiences you have had in a similar situation would be great!!!!! TIA

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answers from Albany on

Kids with resilient, flexible parents able to find the positive in any situation, are generally resilient, flexible, and positive themselves.


6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

There is always some anxiety when making a change or doing something new. There is always a "what if". You say school starts next week. Well, see how it goes. There will be an adjustment period. And she may just find that this is just where she belongs. You cannot prevent change. She needs to know how to handle it. Only one way, jump right in. One day at a time.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Portland on

I suggest you're overthinking this. You made this decision. It's too late to make a different decision. Relax. Present a confident attitude with your daughter. Expect her to like the school.

Later: Anxiety is an important issue for me. I've been in therapy which has helped tremendously. I also take medication. The therapy has helped most. One reason for anxiety is the wish to find perfection. I learned that perfection is managing what is happening now; not in expecting a certain outcome.Yes, we influence now with our decisions. It's important to make a decision. It's even more important to let go of the past and move forward knowing that we will be OK no matter what happens.

The therapy that changed my view was one in which I learned how to think in a productive way. What we say to ourselves is the major reason we are anxious. My adult daughter is anxious for a variety of things happening in her life over which she has no control. I've been looking for a book that teaches the way I learned to give myself a positive focus. I found it yesterday. It's Manage Anxiety Through CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) by Windy Dryden. It's one book in a series named Teach Yourself.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

By the time my son graduated from high school, he had been to 10 different school systems on 2 continents and an island. He attended a large overcrowded public school, a small private religious school, a medium-size public school, was homeschooled for a time, went to a tiny private non-religious school, a small public school ... all over the place. One homeschooling period was done when we lived in Europe due to my husband's military deployment, and since my husband was not assigned to the American base but the NATO base, we lived in the village and my kids had to function where no one spoke English. When my husband was stationed on a small island, with no American facilities at all, my kids attended the only school that the government considered to be safe (it was a remote island), and the staff (maintenance, lunch workers) spoke a local dialect that is spoken on only 3 islands in the world, and the teachers' first languages were Hindi, a Venezuelan dialect, Dutch and Farsi for the most part, although they spoke heavily accented English too.

Anyway, schools, houses, apartments, cities, friends, neighbors, doctors, and languages changed all the time. But our family stayed steady. You and your husband have each other, and have your daughter, and she has you, and you have relatives nearby. She'll adapt. Give her a secure home and let her explore new things in the world. Why would you move back just for a school, where kids come and go? Even if you went back tomorrow to that Catholic school, some of the teachers would be different, some of the students would be new and some familiar ones would have moved on or moved away. And even if everything stayed the same, eventually she'd graduate, and the class is not going to move on as a whole. Everyone will go a different direction.

School is not where you find your security. Find it within yourself to have a home where there is family, peace, security, stability, and comfort, and help your daughter enjoy this new adventure. This is not trauma. Believe me, if this is trauma, well, we need a new dictionary then. This is progression, change, growing up.

Your post is full of words like "fix this" and "traumatized" and "fear" and "anxiety". Trust your daughter, trust yourself. Make sure your attitude is one that will instill confidence in her. Develop what you want her to reflect.

The point of a family (whether it's a single parent, multiple parents, blended, biological, adopted, foster, traditional or unusual), is to develop security and a foundation so that kids can move through school, activities, and life with confidence and eagerness. Schools come and go, friends come and go, jobs will come and go.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i think you're way over-thinking this, and that your own anxiety over it all is traumatizing her more than the move.
kids have to move sometimes. and it's not always about them. of course all of us want what's best for our kids, but there are a lot of factors that go into where we live and why.
it sounds as if your daughter managed the original move just fine. most kids will experience some degree of anxiety (not 'trauma') from changing schools. i went from a tiny private christian school to a huge american public school and well remember how disconcerting it was. but by and large, kids are resilient and resourceful and handle it if allowed and encouraged to do so.
many kids DON'T have 'best friends.' my older was generally happy and popular but never had one particular best friend until he was almost 14. if your daughter made friends and fit right in, you're looking for trouble by worrying that she didn't make one best friend, or that you didn't. and 'she' should not be the one deciding what school she attends, although her input should certainly be factored in.
please stop agonizing over this and give your daughter a great, practical, lifelong example of how to cope by refusing to indulge in woulda shouldas and moving forward briskly and cheerfully.
yes, there will be another adjustment period as she figures out how to deal at THIS school. she may or may not make friends right away. she may or may not find a bestie. you may or may not click with the other parents. each and every challenge is an opportunity to learn and more importantly for your daughter to learn how to cope with the imperfections of life.
a dream home in a beautiful town with great schools and parents who love her is a pretty good base for most kids. if you don't expect and encourage her to feel 'traumatized', chances are excellent that she won't. if you expect and encourage her to feel loved, supported and lucky, guess what will likely happen?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

You need to stop looking back and start moving forward. She will follow your lead. She can even be pocking up on your anxiety and disappointment about life now.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Kids always have anxiety about new things. If she were in that huge school with no friends, she would probably be having anxiety about the 1st day there too. Remind her of why she liked this new school and why she liked the last Catholic school. Small private schools are great. I went to one.

You stop worrying, because as other moms said, she is probably picking up on it. You are clearly a mom who wants what's best for her daughter. Remember, you can't make her world perfect for her. You just do the best you can, and provide the love and support she needs at home. Sounds like you're doing that.

By the way, I would totally be you. I way overthink things and have "buyer's remorse." Since you seem to be Catholic - Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious... let your requests be made known to God... and His peace which surpasses all understanding will yours.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Huntington on

I really agree with the answers that are saying that your anxiety over this is feeding hers. I get that change can be hard. The lesson you need to teach your daughter, though, is that change can also be (and often is) wonderful. When a door closes, a window opens and all that.

Find the good in the new situation. Be encouraging. Tell her, "Don't worry, you've got this!" I say this because I tend to be high-anxiety at times, and it is sooo helpful to have someone telling me, "What are you worrying about? You are going to rock this new job/school/whatever". But if I was worried and I could tell my husband/mom/whoever, who is supposed to be my "rock", was all worried too....yikes. I can just see myself drowning in a spiral of anxiety, especially if I was a kid.

You made a decision...and it was a perfectly fine, logical decision. Now find the good in your decision. If you need to whip out the ol' Pros/Cons list, so be it.

For what it's worth, my kids do not have best friends at their schools. Sometimes they love school and sometimes it sucks. Just like work, ya know? We just make the best of it- find the good, go in with a positive attitude, do our best, take advantage of opportunities- and that is really all we can do. When my kids say they don't like school, I ask why, and then I explain that school is just one of those things we all have to do, and to find the positive in it, The End, (because usually the reason they don't like it is something they are just going to have to accept, like "too much sitting", "kids talk too much" or whatever- not some situation I need to get involved in. It would be different if it was a bullying situation or something).

She will be fine. Your family will be fine. There is no use looking back with regret. Look forward and make the best of things. You never know what is around the corner. Maybe this year she will get a fantastic teacher, or meet a new friend...or maybe she will just learn what she needs to know but it won't be all that fun, and there will be some annoying kids...either way, it will be FINE. It really is just laying the groundwork for real, adult life. We want our kids to be happy and have a great experience but they do need to learn to be resilient as well.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

We moved our kids to news schools when daughter was going into 3rd grade. I totally understand the different environment and feeling like you aren't connecting. Public school is very different in how parents learn who other parents and kids are and how freely (or not) after school activities are planned with each other.

I wondered at times if my daughter had ANY friends. She's a quiet, fairly introverted kid.

BUT, she did. Sure, she didn't get to spend as much time with them outside of school or hanging out waiting on moms to pick them up... it is much more structured in a lot of ways about those kinds of things. And everyone is busier, etc.

But she was fine. Absolutely fine. The next year, she had a few friends that she talked about and enjoyed, even had over and did playdates. But nothing that felt like the bonding from private school to me.
We did online virtual school at home for 5th grade. And she really missed seeing kids at school every day.
Back to public in 6th and she has THRIVED. Some of the same kids she met/knew from elementary were in her classes. And she has a couple of good friends now in a fairly loose group of kids. She's 8th grade this year, and one of her close circle encouraged her to run for Jr. Beta President, so she is.
She isn't nearly as quiet and reserved as she once was.

I agree with the moms below that suggest that how YOU present your expectations has a lot to do with how she will perceive her school experience. EXPECT it to be positive, maybe different, but positive and full of new possibilities, and she will, too.

Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think your daughter is picking up on your indecision and complete lack of confidence in the choices you have made. She's a little nervous, so you get agitated. You go to the school and volunteer, but you haven't made the connections yet that you want, so you yearn for an earlier time (which wasn't perfect, so you left it!). You want her to have a best friend, even though many kids do not have just one person they are so invested in - you said she made friends and fit right in - yet that's not good enough for you. It sounds like both of you are overwhelmed by the bigger school, so you keep looking for new settings. Of course she is nervous, because she figures it's only a matter of time before she's removed from this school situation and put into yet another one.

I think it would be a huge mistake to sell the house and move back to a school system that you said was sub-par. This child needs security. She needs a home and a school that isn't going to change every year. She needs to find herself, and you need to find something to occupy your time and thoughts, whether it's a part time job or a volunteer opportunity (perhaps NOT in the school) so that you are focused on giving and not just on what you need to receive. You're just too nervous right now to appreciate the good things - you are over-evaluating everything to see if it's perfect, and when it's not ideal, you question the entire situation.

The other thing to think about is whether you and your daughter normally experience anxiety about things, and whether some short term counseling would help to clarify your opinions and sense of security. If there's a school adjustment counselor, start there. If not, ask your doctor or your child's pediatrician for a referral to a counselor who accepts your medical insurance. Even with co-payments, this would be a very good investment. You've already spent money on a house and a move and private school tuitions, so throw some money at something that will help you sort out your priorities and feel more confident in your decisions.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Really? Traumatized by moving schools one time?

Tell that to my kids who have had to move schools 10 times. I have moved 18 times with kids, but have managed to keep their schools the same during local moves.

I suggest that you are way over analyzing a common adjustment that happens to lots of families, who uproot for many, many reasons.

It's normal to have anxiety before school starts, new school or not. Please learn better emotional management tools and role model them in ways for your daughter's ability to learn to adjust.

And BTW, yes, my kids are all healthy, happy, with close friends...meaning they adjusted well. It's not perfect, I miss many friends from old communities. I have volunteered countless hours trying to reconnect, sometimes it works , sometimes it doesn't. But I learned I can't find all my happiness from just school contacts.

Also, I wonder what has happened with your daughter's weight issue and if you ever took her to counseling for that?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

Give it some time in the new school. I think she'll be fine. Just give her time to adjust and reach out to make it a great experience for her, not only at school but with the new town. I wouldn't move her again though. I moved a lot as a child and it was really hard on me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

We sent our son to a private school for 1st and 2nd grade and the class was very small (dozen kids in his class).
He made friends but with it being SO small there were few opportunities to meet other people.
When we moved and sent him to public school he went to the smallest elementary school (3 classrooms for any given grade - so he had about 66 kids in the total 3rd grade) it seemed intimidating at first - but he made a LOT of new friends.
Transition to middle school is always a big change no matter where you go or what you do.
Our sons school managed it by arranging kids into teams - 25 kids per class and those 25 kids move from one class to the next together between 4 teachers (100 kids on a team - 5 teams total) - so there were a lot more kids but they didn't get to know everyone yet still got use to a larger environment.

The transition to high school was easier than middle school was and he makes friends every where even between grades now.
I don't think he'll have a hard time when college comes around.

No matter the size of the school - there's no guarantee there will be a 'best friend' or any close connection - but the more opportunities to meet new people gives a better chance of finding a kindred spirit.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Hey Mama, Ugh! I know that feeling of worry when we see our kiddos struggle. I would give this new school a shot and have faith that your daughter will find her way. Who knows she might just meet the best friend of a lifetime in those halls. If she is nervous, you guys can talk through her worries. When my daughter is anxious, she and I pray together for peace. Can you get her a necklace to wear or keychain to put on her backpack that reminds her you are with her in her heart. Look at this as a way to help her develop the skill set to handle new environments successfully. Also, work on the negative messages you are telling yourself on the inside because she will pick up on your worry. Blessings this new school year! Please give us an update!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Maybe you need to stop worrying about everything so much. It might be that she is picking up on your feelings. Try to be excited abut going to a new school and making new friends. She may get excited too. And she may end up liking her new school and make lots of friends.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You have to understand that you cannot make every stressful thing in your child's life go away. And your child cannot be a part of the decision making in important decisions for the family. You were not hasty in making the decision to leave the city. You had good reasons for what you did. You need to stop having second thoughts and start making life work for you and your family.

It starts with you, Rttt. You are the catalyst. Your daughter looks to you to figure out how to "feel" about everything. She feels your stress and worry. She will mirror it to you.

You need to teach her that we press on and stop looking back. You need to learn alongside her that you pull yourselves up by your bootstraps and make your own happiness.

Don't talk about moving back. Stop giving this child so many alternatives. You're waffling around too much. She needs to feel secure. How can she when you are just always worried that she won't like something?

Millions of children go to school everyday where they probably are not particularly thrilled about going. If every one of their moms agonized as much as you, children would be ruling their homes. They are not little adults - they have to do what is best for the family. Especially 3rd graders. Giving a child too much power is a recipe for unhappiness - all the way around in a home.

You mention experiences we've had - I'll put my money where my mouth is for you. My parents moved every 2 or 3 years when I was a kid. I was expected to accept it. I was told that this was what we needed for my father's career. He came before me, Rttt. I also knew that if I wanted to make friends, I needed to be friendly and seek friends out. My mom wasn't able to volunteer at my school and she didn't make me playdates. I was on my own to find friends and I knew it.

Fast forward to my own kids growing up. Not only did we move several times in my kids' school careers, we moved overseas. My kids spent a good chunk of their time in school over in Asia. I expected them to assimilate. Unlike my mom, I was at the school a lot, but if they had whined to me that they wanted to move back to the states, I would have asked them if they wanted to go out and get a job to help their daddy.

My point is that children are NOT adults and they don't get to make the decisions. And they need to feel that their parents are in control of what happens in their lives. If your daughter thinks that she'll be moved around all the time because she isn't happy, she won't feel stable in the family, and she won't have a reason to try to assimilate.

I know that moving is hard. I do think it's actually harder on the adults. But how we handle the moves makes a big difference on how the children cope. I hope that you can start to try to feel better about your choices, but also hide your insecurities from your child.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Try to make this the last move for a long time.
Remember there are some children that grow up in military families and they move all of the time. Those kids do great over all.

Sure she is nervous and anxious, but she will do just fine,

Try to volunteer and get to know some of the parents in her classroom. Maybe suggest the families meet up for a picnic at a park or an after school play date with snacks on the playground. Invite all of them, so no one will feel left out.

Do not push it, but just show her how you yourself make new friends.

Reassure her, everyone is a little nervous on the first day , even the teachers, and that is ok, because when we really think about the feeling it includes excitement!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Here's the thing: listen with empathy to what your daughter has to say, and then let your own good attitude about this new school shine through. Give things time to settle down.

I went to fourteen different schools and no, I'm not going to say that kids are going to just bounce along,but I will say that once you pick a place and stay there for a few years, things will fall into place. Be encouraging and I'd also strongly suggest finding ways for her to connect with other kids besides school. An afternoon activity she likes, maybe? That really can help kids feel part of something, even if they are unsure about other realms in life.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Well, leaving a school she loved, I envy you! My kids have never loved any school. It must have been fantastic. Most kids hate school and find it dull.

It's too soon to tell how the new school will be, I think.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I went to a tiny (like 100 kids) school, then to an enormous school and then to a mid-sized school. The first year at the mid-sized school was the worst. I came in in 6th grade when other kids had had 5th to meet and bond. But by the next year, I had friends. I had good friends. As an adult, one of those friends said she was glad I moved in 6th grade so it wasn't such a tough year for HER. Perspective. So part of what I'm saying is once you pick a school, try to stick it out more than a year re: friendships, especially if she's coming in at an awkward time.

If she's scared, then remind her that every school is different, she liked it, she liked the people you met, it's OK to be nervous, have fun. I think that you need to understand that what you had may not be immediately replicable or replicable at all. Enjoy the memories and hopefully this new school will be one where she can make more good memories and finish out her education. I think selling the house and moving again would just be putting you/her always on the run for the elusive what-you-had vs trying to make what you have work.

My DD is going to be in the same school again this year. I've befriended, sort of, one parent. She has a good friend, but the friend will not be in her class. It's still overall a good school, she's getting a good education, and frankly not every year is always great. Some years I had friends in my classes, sometimes I didn't. But an off year doesn't a bad school make.

You may not be able to take away all the nerves, and think about if you are projecting your fears onto normal first day jitters. Focus on the positives - a new start, new people (friends are strangers you haven't met yet), etc. I personally don't look to the school to be a family for my child. Safe? Welcoming? Yes. If she makes friends is more important than if I do. You might try a Meet Up or other group where you can hang out with likeminded families, in the school or not. Move forward from where you are. Grow where you are not planted, and all that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Do more trusting in God and less worrying. Give it all up to Him. Many kids move all the time and what is done is done. Does she have addresses of the kids she used to hang out with? Have her call or write them a letter. She sounds well adjusted and will make friends.



answers from New York on

It's hard not to worry for our kids. One thing I'd say is we did a similar move. I was a couple of years older than your daughter though. Sometimes I wonder if my social life would have been easier if we had not moved. I got shy after we did etc. I made friends but it was different. Likely harder. Yet I am glad we moved. We moved to a nicer town with more to offer and better schools and a bigger focus on education in general. Even as a kid I appreciated that. Also school social stuff almost always gets harder for kids or at least often does. Not guarantee she wouldn't have had a falling out with some friends at some point and been unhappy. I know plenty of people who never moved but had major changes in friends by junior high. So stay positive and she'll be fine. Likely she'll face bigger challenges as life goes on...


answers from Washington DC on

she will adjust. Kids are able to make new friends and adjust pretty easily. My daughter has gone to a lot of different schools. We lived in CA when she was in K. We moved half way through the year out here to VA. She went to 2nd half of kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade in public school. 3rd grade she went to a private montessori school because I was working there. I am no longer working there so I can't afford to keep her at that school so she is going back to public school, but not the same one as before because we moved to another county. She always does just fine and makes new friends. I was worried about it at first, but I know her and I know she will be ok.
Tell your daughter, if she decides to switch schools for this year, that's it. Your not switching again (unless something serious happens or you move).

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