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Mission: Family: Website takes on moving stress with podcasts, tips and more

May. 17, 2012 - 11:50AM   |   Last Updated: May. 17, 2012 - 11:50AM  |  
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About the author

Karen Jowers is the wife of a military retiree.

When you're a military kid, it's hard to be uprooted from your friends, school and favorite places. Just when you've fixed up your room exactly the way you want it, it's time to move again.

Parents' attitudes have a lot to do with how their child makes such adjustments, and it helps when the entire family can work to make it a smooth move.

Defense Department officials know it's hard, too, so they have taken steps to help: The latest is a revamp of the website http://apps.mhf.dod.mil/myom">Military Youth on the Move.

It goes beyond aspects of moving to address kids' social lives and schools, and even issues such as divorce.

The site features sections for kids ages 6-8, preteens 9-12, teenagers 13-17, and parents. It also features podcasts and videos, and online communities where families can help each other with tips and advice.

Podcasts for preteens, teenagers and parents cover topics such as staying in touch with friends, managing money and Internet safety. Children's author Trevor Romain is featured in videos that address common problems such as bullying and homework.

Some of the site's practical moving tips apply to everyone: First, sort through your room to decide what you want to give away or toss, organize your room and pack smartly to make sure breakable things aren't packed with something that could damage them.

Other important parts of the moving process are saying goodbye and keeping in touch.

It's never easy to say goodbye, but the site recommends you make a list of everyone you want to say goodbye to and think about how you want to do that. Perhaps parents can plan a special event, such as a goodbye party or a special night out with friends.

Consider involving friends in your moving process — they can talk to you about how to decorate your new room or help you get organized before you pack. Ask them for advice on making new friends.

Make a plan for staying in touch — talk to your friends about how you want to communicate and how often.

Military children's comments about their feelings and experiences are scattered throughout the site.

"Being a teenager is hard. Period. Having to move every three years only makes it that much harder," writes Tyler, 17. "It's like being confused all the time. One day, I decided to give up the tough-guy act and told my mom how scared I was really feeling about another move. Since then, talking with my parents has helped me with the problems I had with my move here."

Sometimes, it just helps to know that someone else is going through the same thing.

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