Ronda Kaysen: A new study has found that kids who move a lot in childhood tend to be unhappier adults. Well, that's one way to make a mom feel guilty ....
Researchers from the University of Virginia found that serial movers had fewer "quality" relationships and lower "well-being" and "life satisfaction" than adults who had sedentary childhoods. The really scary stat here: Adults who moved a lot as kids were more likely to be dead when researchers did 10-year follow-ups. Yikes!
The researchers noted that personality plays a key role in how mobile kids fare. If you're a "neurotic" introvert, good luck! But if you're a laid-back extrovert, you'll probably do just fine.
Now, wait a minute here. I find this news a hard pill to swallow. People who move a lot in childhood are more likely to die younger?! Really? As a grownup who had a big, totally uprooting childhood move at the oh-so-miserable age of 15, I can attest that the experience had a big impact on the adult I am today -- but not in a negative way. I think that moving as a young teenager and suddenly realizing that not every place on Earth was exactly like Berkeley, California (a concept I still have a hard time getting my head around), was a good life lesson.
I consider myself to be a resilient person and one who makes ties easily when I land in new places, and I attribute that to moving. I often envy the stability my husband enjoyed as a kid growing up in a nice small town with the same circle of friends his entire life. But I don't think my husband's a happier or more well-adjusted person than I am simply because he had the same zip code for 18 years.
My son turns 3 this week, and he is currently living in his fourth home in his third state (the first of which was in another country). He holds two passports and, from what I can see, is a pretty well-adjusted, sociable kid. I'd like for him to have a settled childhood where he calls our current home his "hometown," but if we have to move again for some unforeseen reason, I think he'll survive.