June 4th, 2010
05:58 PM ET

Frequent moves in childhood linked to poor outcomes

By Elizabeth Landau
CNN.com Health Writer/Producer

The stress of moving on children may carry negative effects on mental health and happiness in adulthood, a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests.

People who had moved more as children were more likely to report lower life satisfaction and psychological well-being, regardless of age, gender and education level. These people also said they had fewer quality social relationships in adulthood than those who moved less in their youth.

Study participants came from a sample of more than 7,000 Americans adults who were contacted in 1994 and 1995. Nearly 5,000 of them completed additional surveys 10 years later that included questions about life satisfaction, personality, and how many times they moved to a "totally new neighborhood or town" as children.

Personality may play a big role in this, the authors wrote. Previous research has shown that high extraversion and low neuroticism are strongly associated with most aspects of well-being. The authors of the current study found that introverted participants who said they had moved frequently as children said they had lower levels of life satisfaction and psychological well-being than introverts who had not moved often. Introverts who had moved a lot as children also had a small increased likelihood of dying between survey periods.

When children move to different places, they are forced to leave their friendships behind and make new ones, which isn't always easy, the authors note. Introverted children may have a harder time joining a new social circle and developing close relationships than more outgoing kids, meaning the shy ones may have more of a negative experience adjusting.

One limitation of the study is that some adults may not remember how many times they moved to a new neighborhood as children, and these results come from self-reported data. Another is that some participants may not have known what constituted a "totally new neighborhood," or what ages are included in "childhood," when taking the survey.

Further research should be done on the subject before the findings should influence anyone's decisions about moving, the authors wrote.

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soundoff (818 Responses)
  1. Eshelle

    Too much information is missing to make this article valid. Such as, family and community support, length of stay, age of move etc. All of these factors must be taken into account before coming to a conclusion. I don't know why you bothered printing it.

    June 6, 2010 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Elaine in Vermont !

    I was thrilled to see an article such as this finally published. I have said this very thing for many years. I am not from a "military" family and cannot relate to those kids as I'm sure they had other kids in the same boat to hang out with, and most likely had 2 parents who cared about them.
    I recall moving numerous times as a young child, never more than a year or so at each place. There never seemed to be a "good" reason to move and there was never, ever any discussion or prior notice to us kids about any of it.
    I went to 3 schools in 2 different states in the 6th grade alone. Talk about torment, misery and loneliness. My mother didn't want to hear about my day and how much I hated the new school or the fact that I was picked on or could not make friends.
    In addition, I attended 3 different high schools, with Mom moving us yet again, a month before my junior prom and 2 months before my brother's graduation!! She and my step father got a good deal on a home and we had one day's notice on that move. She did not care about our feelings or what we would be missing.
    I truly believe 2 of my siblings have serious mental health issues from starting out shy and moving so much, never establishing any roots nor making any friends.
    These personality traits have followed them throughout adulthood and it permeates all aspects of their lives. –
    I vowed to give my own children the stability of at least one high school. We were able to give our son grades 2-12 in the same school and our daughter pre-school through 12 in one school. I did not want them to ever know what it was like to move so often. Consequently, they have made and maintained life long friendships.

    June 6, 2010 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Bill Wilson

    Very Interesting. My Father was in the AF when I was born, but got out before I can remember. From age 5 to 17 (12 years) we moved about once a year, for unknow reasons to me other than "work". At 17 I joined the AF, and continued to moving lifestyle for another 20 years.

    I beleive that moving was a great experience, I still have friends all over the US and thoughout the Pacific where I was stationed. Now retired from the USAF as an E7, I've been in one location for the past 16 years, done moveing, been there, done that. I feel bad for the kids that get stuck in a rut hoping to get a job at a local department store when they grown up. They have not experienced different lifestyles, cultures, and the unique regional lifestyles within the US. I still love to travel, but love to come home too.

    My oldest son was entering 9th grade when I retired from the AF, that was the plan after all, I spent my Senior Year in High School at a NEW school, and can't remember anybody there, but I had friends, worked at the local TV Repair Shop, etc. etc. I almost pity the ones that don't get to see, feel, hear, touch, and smell life beyond thier rut. More should, I fully beleive the US would be a better place for it in many aspects.

    My son married his high school sweetheart, 10 years ago or so, and he's graduating from Gerogi Tech this year. He worked, she got dual degrees, she's working, and he's getting his. Talk about somebody that can plan ahead, they are a pair. Me on the other hand, I'm on my 4th wife, the others couldn't keep up. Not to slight the ladies, but I wonder if there was any differences in Male versus Female input to the study.

    June 6, 2010 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. karen

    As someone who moved 8 times before graduating from high school, I agree with much of thiis study. However, I'm a happy adult. I finally gave up trying to fit in to the new schools, and became a fantastic student but one with few friends. Even now I have few friends, but I'm happily married with 3 children and love to travel.

    June 6, 2010 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. sawmill

    I mean i guess i can see the authors point, but it depends on the child. YOU cant just place all children in the same category as the ones in this study. I didnt moved till my sophmore year of highschool but then attended 3 high schools is 3 differant states after that because of my fathers job. I am very outgoing and played sports- so that helped me make more freinds. I think of it as a blessing, as I dont feel tied down to a certain place. I can get up right now, move to LA, and still be happy. And now I have developed working relationships with people in all those states I used to live in. PARENTS: If you have moved alot, dont read this article and think you have permanently scared your children. Look at me! Im fine, a senior in college, but I still cant spell for shit!

    June 6, 2010 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. suzycreamcheese

    You're kiidding, right? I belong to militarybrats.com and basekids.com. We moved constantly. None of us or any of our friends were overly sick no matter where we were stationed.

    June 6, 2010 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. suzycreamcheese

    You're kidding right? I belong to militarybrats.com and basekids.com. No one I know anywhere has ever been overly sick, in fact , quite the opposite.

    June 6, 2010 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Rhonda

    Thanks for this article. I'm sure that Armed Service's children had both good and bad experiences. I am a 60 year old who moved every two years. While I think I am fortunate to have lived in so many interesting places (France, Guam to name a couple), I look back and remember when I finally stopped trying to be close to anyone, because I knew that we would be moving again soon. This trait has carried over into my adult life, and is the reason why I don't have many close friends, just co-workers, and casual friends. My children, however, are my best friends, and we are very close. I've been in the same house for 25 years now, and my 5 children all live between 15-30 minutes from me.

    June 6, 2010 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Tricia P

    I moved lots as a child and as an adult-went to 10 schools in 12 years, including 3 different fifth grades in 3 states. I was with my family and our moves were due to promotions for my dad, but it was still very, very hard.

    I'm not an Army brat so this is just a guess, but when EVERYONE you know is also used to the nomadic lifestyle of a service family, that might make it easier. Moving from city to city and state to state when you're not in the service, most kids you know find the concept totally alien and they are all a tight-knit group, while you are very much THE outsider. In a military setting, especially living on base, I'd imagine everyone there has known the feeling and there's much less stigma to being one of the only 1 or 2 kids that hasn't been there since kindergarten.

    June 6, 2010 at 20:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. JustMe

    I can totally relate to this article.

    We moved every two years or so, and I went to 6 elementary schools. I'm an introvert, so it was horrible for me. I always felt like I was just watching everyone else live their lives.

    By the way, we were not military, but I think the army experience might have been different because there are bases where everyone is in the same boat, and there's probably more of a sense of community. In my case, it was just us, on our own, alone in a new town.

    June 6, 2010 at 20:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Nancy

    Actually, I took the article to mean mostly kids who move due to unhappy circumstances, such as divorce, death of a parent, parents loss of income, etc. Which, in retrospect means that there was a bigger problem behind the move to constitute psychological damage.

    June 6, 2010 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Dea2

    I moved 10 times before I graduated from high school- thanks to my USMC Dad. I attended two high schools on opposite sides of the country, and I have great friends from both schools more than 20 years later.
    My own children have attended multiple schools in different countries and states as well- thanks to their USAF Dad. We are all well adjusted and happy, and successful. However we are all outgoing people who never met a stranger.
    I taught my kids to always be the first to welcome new students to their schools, and to be the first to say hello when they were the new ones. So far it's worked pretty well, and they are both planning careers in the miltiary so they must not have hated it.

    June 6, 2010 at 20:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. focus3

    My parent divorced when I was 5. From that time on they lived 45 minutes away from each other, in rural Ohio. 9 months at my father's for school; 3 months at my mother's for summer; every other weekend at mom's then dad's. Holiday's were a joke, I spent most of them in a car driving to a from.

    Because of the distance apart and how rural it is my it was too time consuming to visit "closer friends" from school and didn't spend enough time during the summer to develop friends. My friends had no clue what was going on and if I would even be around so they just eventually moved on. Not out of spite, we did things I just had to let them know I was coming. That was stressful because I felt like I was tagging along. And that's how it went through school...through college.

    I'm 29 and now live in the New York area. Since high school graduation I have moved and lived...11 different times. Some for only a couple of month's because I was in transition to a big move, but most of them for only 1 year and one for 2 years. I feel and itch like I am wearing out my welcome if I'm in one place for too long. Things get awkward. Either way it has been great to see so many different places and meet a lot of interesting people but who do I get to share my experiences with.

    June 6, 2010 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Monica

    This is one of those "duh" studies, why do they even spent money on this. Of course children who move a lot grow up to be very different adults than those who don't. Having close relationships with friends teaches you a lot about people, life, and the dynamic of interrelations, and relationships with friends are very different than with family. My best friend was an army brat, she talks about this all the time, how traumatizing it was constantly leaving friends behind. I can't even imagine it, especially as a teen, your friends are your everything.

    June 6, 2010 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Sue

    I went to 4 elementary schools and 3 high schools.

    My father is a surgeon and moved around alot, some of it arbitrary, and some of it legitimate. It was his personality to pick up and move if he felt like it.

    With respect to education, I was always expected to be in the "gifted track", which probably resulted in my ultimately going to a fairly competitive collegel and decent grad school, but moving so often did leave a gap in my education. For example, I never learned "proper grammer", and couldn't write (well) until well after college. More importantly, I never had friends, not real ones that I cared about, or felt close to, until I was 26 years old.

    Although educationally, I did not "suffer" severely, socially, I have a hard time forming attachments. I am very extroverted, which may have insulated me from some of the ill effects of all these changes, but I do wonder –and wish– sometimes that I had a nice, normal childhood with friends whom I still keep in touch with.

    I have very few friends prior to the age of 26. I have 1 decent friend still from the last high school that I went to, and only 1 good friend from college. It's sad, but only when I turned 26, I finally lived in one place for 4/5 years, and these friends are still the ones whom I feel closest to. I am 39 now.

    I have a 6 month old son. I will not move him around.

    June 6, 2010 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. h4x354x0r

    I got moved a lot when I was a kid, but not as a military brat, just the kid of a very ambitious father. I never spent more than 2 years in any single school. I didn't make friends easily, so I became a loner. In the Jr. High / High School years, I discovered there was one group of people that was easy to make friends with in new places: the hippie pot smokers.

    My life became way more stable once I got out from under my parent's roof. Way less moving around, holding single jobs for 9,8, and 5+ years. A lifelong dedication to bicycling and another obscure sport, hacky sack (that I picked up from the hippie culture, but which ironically gave me the impetus to escape the drug culture). Still on my first marriage.

    I have no idea whether or not a more "stable" childhood would have made any difference. I'm sure I've blamed some of my problems on getting moved around in the past, but... not anymore. It was what it was. If it changed me, so what? It's who I am and what I do now that matters.

    At 47, I make my own decisions. The social turmoil and isolation I experienced as a kid getting moved around all the time is just background noise. Whether or not it made me less able to connect with people socially is irrelevant. I'm happy with my life.

    June 6, 2010 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. caroline

    I hope this survey isn't true. It has me on a guilt trip because being a military family we were required to move a lot. Our children are very independent and have a great deal of knowledge about different things and places other children don't have that haven't moved. I think it depends on the child too.

    June 6, 2010 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. workalcoholic

    What about work places, meet your new co-worker, like for example in the retails.... they constantly replaces new worker

    June 6, 2010 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Keith

    Moving unstable families from unstable situations create poor outcomes. It all boils down to the family.

    I moved 12+ times while I lived with my parents, we lived in 5 different states. My dad was not in the military, and most moves were for career changes or moves. I graduated from high school, valedictorian from college, I am a business owner, and a leader in my community. I won't say that all the moves were easy, but I would not change the experiences I had in the different areas and with my family for the world.

    June 6, 2010 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Liz in PA

    I'm 47 and my mother moved my sister and me at least 12 times and I attended 11 schools before I graduated from high school.

    I strongly recommend that parents get over themselves and sacrifice a bit in order to create a consistent and stable home for the sake of their children as well as for their future relationship with their children.

    June 6, 2010 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. farrah

    i havent moved, but i just read all the comments and most of them got me in tears. What i want to say is that if you are going to work for the military/army/or navy please dont have kids. A lot of parents said that their kids are very happy now, but when the kids put in their comment it was mostly unhappy. if you think about it deeply, were your kids really happy, do they really like the fact that they have no childhood/lifelong friends. SERIOUSLY, if you want to move around a lot don't have kids. I no sometimes you dont have a choice because of money but try as best as you can. Your kids might tell you they are happy (if they tell you), but they have at least 1 % of sadnees in them. Please parents dont just move and hope your child is and extrovert. i have lived with the same people all my life, i am right in the middle between extrovert and introvert. I dont have any talents, i suck at every sport (literally) and i am a kid that wants to do her best no matter what anyone says. i want to get a gpa higher than my 3.9 so i dont care if people call me nerdy or dork or whatever, the good things about me are that i an not shy, i dont get embarassed easily. All of my teachers get along great with me. The only problem is that last year my 3 best friends moved to diff schools each. we talk on facebook but thats all, being a kid that isnt allowed to ever hangout with friend or have friends over because of strict parents makes me a lot more introverted. I think it all depends on the kid, I 100% agree with this article , but it also depends on the kid. At 15, i think my parents did a good job with the way they raised me and i am glad so much that i didnt have to move because without my friends i dont know what i would have done.
    ~A 15 year old that feels bad for all the other kids that moved or are introverted~

    June 7, 2010 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. alisa

    I moved so many times as a child....it is hard for me to even count them. My father was in the military. I think that I am a better person because of this. I easily adpat to situations and valute a good friendship when I find one. It has been to my advantage.

    June 7, 2010 at 00:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Dave

    We moved around a lot until I was 12 and my father retired from the Navy. I have been all over my self and today I have few friends. I just had my 25 year high school reunion and I didn’t know any one. Now today I meet with them occasionally and they’ll bring up someone’s name and it sounds familiar, but I have no memory of them, even though I hung around them at school. When I graduated high school I tried to stay in touch at first, and then I reached a point where I was the only one making an effort to stay in touch. It always felt like I was the friend and no one else was trying. I always wonder what it would be like to have had a best friend that stayed in contact. Today it is not hard to make friends, however I find it extremely difficult to find a lasting friendship that last longer than five years.

    June 7, 2010 at 01:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Saly

    I also moved frequently as a child, attending 4 different elementary schools and 2 different middle schools. I have a successful career, great husband and a high achieving child, good relationship with my parents. However, I have almost zero close friends I socialize with. My social life is limited to acquaintances at work. I've always wondered if this had anything to do with my childhood.

    June 7, 2010 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. BewdyCall

    I can definitely confirm that frequent changes in location for a child can be incredibly traumatic and leave both lasting emotional and psychological scars that are not readily healed advancing into adulthood. This is even more pronounced when the shifts in question are to other countries where English is not the first language.

    My husband (now in his late 50's) was a military brat with 3 siblings and his family was uprooted several times while he was growing up. They lived not only in several states of the USA but also overseas, in places like Japan and Pakistan, so the shock of moving was doubly profound. There was not only the burden of making new friends placed upon the kids but also adapting to entirely different schooling systems and their particular curriculi, not to mention facing the new language barriers that render effective communication almost impossible.

    It was not unusual for my husband to be in the middle of semester at one school in one country, to be suddenly ripped out of that and transplanted into a totally different educational environment learning totally different subjects; there was simply no continuity. Because of this constant upheaval in his critically formative years, where a good education is paramount to future career success, to this day my husband cannot recount those times without a hint of bitterness and frustration in his voice.

    The primary source of this resentment is due to the fact that when his father's tour of duty ended, in the place they had been for the last 6 years, he was just a few months shy of graduating high school. However, instead of allowing him to complete his education and obtain his HSD, Dad insisted the family leave immediately and migrate to a whole new country because the Vietnam War was in full swing and conscription was still in force. My husband knew he had no choice in the matter and had to go; I believe this is what hurt the most ... the fact that he was a minor at the time so had no vote.

    He says that if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn't. Even though his childhood was extremely exciting and "horizon-broadening" as a result of the extensive traveling, with the wisdom of hindsight, he would have wished to be left stateside and stay with relatives, so he could complete his education in the one stable school system and graduate with his peers, like other "normal" kids his age were doing. The denial of opportunity to graduate high school, particularly when it was almost within his grasp, is something that negatively impacted upon my husband not only personally but professionally. The loss of potential earnings alone is incalculable.

    As a side bar, he only obtained his GED a couple of years ago at the "tender" age of 52, thanks to the aforementioned fractured childhood, and says I am his "only friend" (awwww). He's had the same job now (albeit low-paying with no benefits) for the last four years, for which he is very grateful, but can be forgiven for occasionally wondering what might've been ...

    June 7, 2010 at 04:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Georgia

    I have to totally disagree with this. I was an Air Force brat and moved 12 times in 16 years. LOVE IT!!! I love moving to new places and seeing new cultures. I am now an Army wife and have children that have moved alot and they are doing great also. They love moving the same way I did.

    June 7, 2010 at 06:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. matt

    I find it interesting how many parents on here feel they can speak for the mental state of their children and tell us all that their kids are, "quite happy and don't mind moving" and how it's going to make them more adaptive as they get older.


    Because it seems a lot of adults that moved around a lot are on here saying just the opposite.

    June 7, 2010 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. ks

    We are a military family and couldn't agree more 😉

    June 7, 2010 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. George S.

    Boy is this on the money. I went to three high schools in three different states. Prior to that, I can't really recall the number of elementary schools. I had nightmares that my family would move while I was at school! My career has been a success, but friendships are tougher. I tend to a a few I hold very closely. I am going to great lengths to provide a stable home for my children so they do not experience the same issues I have. Don't get me wrong, there are benifits as I am a very self sufficient person.

    June 7, 2010 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Jon G

    I wanted to comment on this story because there are few more angles to the impact of moving frequently as a child. I'm 32 years old and I am from a military family. From the time I was 6 years old, I moved an average of every 2 to 3 years. .

    There were personally destructive things that happened in my life as a result of moving. It wasn't much of an issue until I was 10 years old. I had a met a girl, and (in my childish mind) thought I loved her. Her father was transferred to another military base and I never saw her again. Her move was sudden and the loss of her companionship tainted my personal life forever. This was the first real loss I'd ever felt in my life, and it has left a hole in my soul that will never be repaired. But it also shaped my future interactions with people, with the effects compounding every time we moved afterward.

    I also lost good friends when I moved, or inversely when they moved. I lost my two best friends at 10 years old, as well. I had trouble fitting in when we moved to other cities that adjoined military bases around the country. I was perpetually the "new kid", as I never stayed in one place long enough to blend in properly. So not only was I not able to fit in, other kids didn't feel the need to readily accept me, either, because I was always new.

    By the time I was 14 years old, my personality had shifted and I had developed psychological mechanisms to insulate myself from the effects of moving, losing friends, being in new cities, and losing girlfriends, especially. I had very few friends from that point forward. I still have only 2 friends, but many, many acquaintances who would be insulted to realize that I don't think of them as best friends.

    Until recently, I didn't realize what I'd lost as a child. I'd learned, like so many military children do, how to mentally detach myself from friends and new experiences that I felt would bog me down the next time I moved. I became more cold and calculating in my thought process and lost the need to even have friends. I retracted into my shell and became very emotionless. My wife still accuses me of having no emotion most of the time. I'd had to say it's true. I don't even feel that close to her much of the time. I don't develop connections with people like others, and I'm sure many people who moved a lot as kids would understand this.

    By the time I was 24 years old, I had started my first real "career". I've lived in the same city for 9 years now, but even now I feel an instinctive urge to move and separate myself from the city and region I've come to know very well. I am still capable of leaving with a moment's notice and never looking back. That's a sad fact. I have to ask myself at times whether I even properly value friendship at all, because I detach myself from them and maybe I'm not as good of a friend as I should be. It makes me feel guilty at times. But on the other hand, I write it off as a permanently ingrained facet of my personality that will never change.

    Despite everything I have said previously, I feel that there are certain benefits to being able to detach oneself from their environment. It imparts a certain sense of survivalism and independence of thought that others who grew up in more stable environments don't have. For instance, in my job I encounter sadness and destruction on a very personal level. I am a law enforcement officer. I have investigated numerous crimes, including crimes against children. Most officers don't have the mental artifacts in place to deal with this type of work on a long term basis. But I am able to deal with investigating dead bodies, and horrible crimes, while maintaining a steel core throughout the working process. I can easily become completely emotionless when dealing with these situations. It's not to say that I don't have emotion at all. Crimes involve really young children still bother me, but I can handle it better than others because of my mental makeup. I seems that I've learned to "compartmentalize" negative experiences and move forward.

    I'm not sure whether to be thankful for my experiences in moving frequently as a child (even with all it's negative effects) or to be sad because I lost my childhood so soon.

    Anyway, I wanted to share this in case others felt the same way after experiencing similar childhoods.

    June 7, 2010 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Gina

    I grew up in a military family and we moved every 2 – 4 years the entire time I was growing up. I definitely have to agree with the study on the "fewer quality social relationships". I guess because I got so used to leaving people behind, it's really easy for me to let people go now. I don't really work on relationships. I'm very outgoing so I don't have a hard time meeting new people, but I do not have very many friends who have been in my life longer than 5 years. I'm 37 and single I might add.

    June 7, 2010 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. ks

    Agree completely. We are a military family, frequent moves take their toll on everyone envolved, particularly on kids of high school age. Military members are not necessarily welcome in many commmunities and locals tend to be hostile. my kids have been bullied particularly during my husband's recent deployment to Iraq, challenging me ( a foreign war bride) to fight back. Foreign= stupid to many i encountered. Many tried to make a third class citizen out of me along our journey. Businesses try to take advantage particularly landlords. it forced me to really learn the laws and i have become an expert at fighting back at injustces done to my family. Ironically our money that we bring to communities is very popular 😉 No doubt that my stress and frustrations rubbed off my kids during the last 20+ years. 20+ yearsof it. One positive outcome for us is definitely that we have a very STRONG family bond. We learned to rely on ourselves and help each other. When it really comes down to it all we have is each other and won't put up with any bull 🙂

    June 7, 2010 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. M. Britt

    I moved 13 times before I finshed high school and I know it helped me socially. Both of my parents were quite introverted and I became quite the opposite. One thing I will say is I don't really feel like I have any ties to the places I grew up. I moved to San Diego when I was 23 and have lived here 17 very happy years.

    June 7, 2010 at 09:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Alia

    What jerk wrote this? I am an Air Force brat and proud to be a mil brat. Moving was a way of life, and I would not change my growning up in Europe for ANYTHING!! As for the rest, I love my job, my family, my life. As for school, many of my classmates (82) have not only graduated from high school but from grad school as well and are thriving in their carrears and lives.

    June 7, 2010 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Tommy

    I conducted an equally scientific study at work and we think that this study is ridiculous. And it didn't cost the American taxpayer a thing.

    June 7, 2010 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. hgmic

    I am moving now for the 12 or 13th time now in my life, only a few of those by my own control and I am now 24. I am a successful young professional in the biomedical field going on to grad school. The constant moving has helped me gain knowledge about different people/places and I am excited to see what the future holds. I can get along with anyone because I can relate to so many experiences. I think there is greater damage having people stay in the same neighborhood for their entire life. I have seen it often that those individuals think everyone is like them and they have a dogmatic narrow minded view of the world and are critical of other life styles. it make them obsessive about little things, like how their neighbor cuts their grass or who bought what boat or counter top and that is a petty unsatisfying way to live, they should try moving...

    June 7, 2010 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Lesley

    I come from a multi-cultural blended family and have lived in five countries and so may states and cities its hard for me to remember. I think that the only thing that really hurt me was the education. Math is still something I have problems with because at one school they might be doing basics and then the next school they would be doing basic algebra and of course I would be lost. Math sets us up for basic reasoning skills. I realized that when I had children so I taught them chess, monopoly and poker before puberty so they were afforded basic life skills.

    June 7, 2010 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Fred

    I suspect there is a great difference between "military brats" and civilian kids. The military kids move frequently, but generally land in a pool of other kids who have the same background, and they all expect their own next move to come soon. Because of that, they may lean on each other and understand each other a bit better than civilian kids.

    I was a civilian kid, and I attended 12 different schools, in 3 countries and 3 languages. Each time we moved, I never saw or heard from my friends ever again. The parents always told me "you'll make new friends". We were mostly in small logging towns where all the other kids had lived in the same town for several generations and everybody had grown up with everybody, and they all had nearby relatives and numerous friends. Basically I spent my entire life as "the new kid".

    I am told that when I was a little kid, I would walk up to total strangers and start talking to them immediately. Always laughing and singing and an all around happy kid. I was as extroverted as it gets. By the time I was 7 and on my 3rd or 4th move, I stopped talking to strangers, and I became a very quiet kid.

    As the years went by, life became more difficult for me, I was always the new kid and it became more and more difficult for me to break into the established cliques of other kids. Eventually I stopped trying and became almost a loner.

    When I was 16, we moved one time too many and I ran away and went right back to the previous place we'd lived. The parents got me back after a few weeks, and I was devastated and felt like I did not belong anywhere.

    I am an intelligent and very determined individual and did manage to build up a successful business and while it looked like I had everything anyone could want, my personal life has always been a mess. That was mostly due to my very poor choices. At this point, I have had one failed marriage and 4-5 failed live-in's.

    One oddity that I cannot understand, when introduced to a new person, I never remember their names, not even 30 seconds later. I just seem to go blank when I meet them again. Years ago, a shrink told me that was because I was used to losing everybody I knew, and it was less painful for me to simply not get to know anyone.

    Two years ago, at age 57, I moved back to a little village I had lived in when I was 10 years old. Before I left the old place, a friend said she thought I was moving back to the last place where I had been happy.

    I bought my new house here from a man who had been my classmate back in the 5th grade, and I have run into a few others who were in school with me ... almost 50 years ago. And for the first time in my life I seem finally able to relax. My blood pressure has gone down, I am sleeping better, I can relax better and I am starting to remember names of people I meet.

    Finally after all these years, I have found my roots and life is surprisingly good.

    The social aspects of school are rough and if you can possibly manage it, let your family and kids stay in one place as they grow up, it will help them in later life.

    June 7, 2010 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Z

    I moved 13 times in my first 17 years. (I remember going to 3 different 1st grades before Christmas the one year.) This was mostly due to my dad's job. It was very hard on me – having to move, make new friends, then say goodbye & start all over again. After awhile, I felt like – why bother?! Later in life, in my mid-twenties, I did a lot of work on myself – 3 years of group therapy. That was great – I worked through a lot of those childhood issues. I am very happy & fulfilled in my life now. I attribute that to doing the work on myself & addressing the old issues from my childhood.

    June 7, 2010 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. BewdyCall

    @Jon G: Just wanted to say, I loved reading your story. As the wife of an ex-military brat who was "shoved from pillar to post" as a child (own comment posted earlier – see above) and who now works as a Juvenile Detention Officer dealing with troubled youth, I can completely relate to your personal situation.
    I, too, often find myself experiencing "unintentional emotional neglect" by my husband because of his detachment issues resulting from his childhood. Even after 18 years, he still has a really hard time expressing his emotions and connecting on that really deep level we women sometimes need from our partners. He can retreat to his "man cave" for hours at a time without thinking that's unusual, and I'm the one who has to go check in on him to make sure he's still breathing ...lol...
    So on behalf of your wife, Jon G, let me give you a little hint ... she knows you're not naturally a "hopeless romantic" – it's OK, she gets it – but she loves you, anyway. All she's asking for is a little spontaneous gesture every now and then. Even if you have to "fake it 'til you make it", believe me, she'll appreciate the effort and your relationship will grow even stronger as a result.
    And on behalf of loving wives of "cave dwellers" everywhere, we thank you. 🙂

    June 7, 2010 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Lagunatic

    I agree that moving around a lot can be harmful to kids, but I also think that staying in the same place for one's entire life isn't a great thing either.

    I moved around a bit as a kid and then traveled a lot as a young adult. I'm very grateful for my experiences and opportunities. To me, there is nothing worse than the ingrained myopia of people who know nothing of the world beyond their 5 mile radius.

    So, in regards to this article; move your kids, but don't move 'em too much 😉

    June 7, 2010 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Bluest

    The study is invalid. It failed to look at military children as a seperate group. In a community where the NORM is moving every couple years, and all your friends have moved and will move, you become the odd one when your family stays in the same place.

    When a friend leaves school in 2nd grade to go to Germany and other places, and you are reunited in 6th grade, well, you are perceived as somewhat less for NOT having traveled.

    Military jobs are not as generic as many people think. WIthin the service, there are specialties, and those specialties have certain places they can be stationed at, and no where else. So within your field, you are likely to run into the same people at different duty stations, and your kids may go to school with the same kids they went to school with a couple moves ago.

    It's a more global community than just a neighborhood, but that isn't bad. Giving children the chance to grow up among many diverse cultures and races is the most amazing thing you can do for them. Staying in one place makes attitudes and ideas stagnate. People become more closed to outsiders and people, and ideas that are "not like us". Newcomers are shunned, and new ideas are scoffed at. But that is a dangerous attitude. "not like us" is awfully close to a lot of different 'isms we are trying to overcome.

    That said, I can also say that the worst times of my non-military childhood did indeed come after we moved across town and I had to go to a new school and didn't fit in. My first day in class (2nd grade) the teacher made me cry, and that cemented my place in the social ladders.

    I would like to see this study done comparitively with a study of a military community.

    June 7, 2010 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Hayden

    I was born in Midwest City, Oklahoma in 1992. I lived there for about a week, then moved somewhere else, then moved again to a new place 4 weeks later. The reason? My dad was a contractor for Raytheon. In the end, I have lived in every US state except Hawaii, Alaska, and Oregon.

    I have also switched public schools numerous times, though the bulk of my education (up until 7th grade) was home schooled.

    I have had to say goodbye to many amazing friends. And that was hard to do. (Thank god for Facebook, eh?)

    Now I live in North Carolina, my dad works for T-Mobile, and I haven't moved in about 8 years or so, and I just graduated from high school. I can honestly say that I am perfectly content with my life and myself. I honestly think it's how you are raised in certain stages of your life. But it's also complicated, since my parents did (unfortunately) argue a lottt when I was growing up, almost to the point of divorce. I agree with the ending statement. More research is needed to accurately judge what effects the outcome. Since my sister and myself are perfectly normal after moving a bajillion times.

    June 7, 2010 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Bluest

    Many are saying that it's easier for military kids because they all experience the same things. But it's the same things as most people who move, too. The military has movers come into your home – you don't get to pick a company based on it's stellar reputation – they send your stuff. It's up to you to get your sh!t together, medical records, find new doctors, dentists, schools, a place to live (Not every military family is lucky enough to live on a military installation) often a new vehicle....military brats are not all extroverts.

    The right support from the family can make it or break it for a child – ANY child. Pay attention – if your child isn't making friends in school, get them into an activity they enjoy, with other kids that enjoy the same thing. In elementary school, there were some kids that didn't really fit into groups, but one girl was a competitive swimmer and when the cliques teased her about dying her hair, she had the medals to prove it was the chlorine. "well, why do you cut youyr hair like a boy, are you gaaay??" they would tease. She would answer that it fit under her swim cap that way, and she could swim a lap before they could hold their breath. And she could. Another example is the brothers that did rodeo. So they were teased for dressing in cowboy boots and hats, and looking like they walked out of a western, but the people they associated with outside the school made up their life, school was just something they did, it wasn't their end all be all. That was a big takeaway for me.

    School is not my life. It is something I do, it does not define who I am.

    As a parent, if you know you have problems with social skills, as some posters have stated, don't you feel it is you DUTY as a parent to if not overcome those, then learn how to ensure that your child does not suffer from your shortcomings? ie – learn how to make friends so that you can at least help your children not be like you. So you can't afford professional help, be it psychiatry, psychology, or relationship councelling, you HAVE THE INTERNET. Go study! I will never be an extrovert, but frequent moving has taught me that it was never about how many friends I had, it was about how good of friends I have.

    June 7, 2010 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Steve

    Study military families.

    My dad was Air Force and we moved 10 times by the time I was 16.

    Some thrive with the moves.

    Others become more withdrawn.

    I'm in the latter group.

    June 8, 2010 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. throwsatfeet

    Children who have moved more than 3 times before the age of 18 are strange at best. At worst, low self-esteem, depression, and inability to plant roots will follow them throughout adulthood.

    The amount of culture shock and personality are major factors. Moving from overseas to the US or vice versa late in development can have horrible consequences.

    Anyone who claims that it will be good for their kids are just being delusional. If you move your child more than 3 times, it will have a negative psychological impact throughout their lives.

    June 17, 2010 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Military Brat

      "Children who have moved more than 3 times before the age of 18 are strange at best"

      Way to characterize an entire population with your shallow judgement. I think most reasonable people would look at your post and determine that you are indeed strange at best. Lumping an entire population of people together and negatively characterizing them reveals you as a simpleminded person who lacks common sense and education. 60% of all military troops were children of military parents and moved more than 3 times on average during their childhoods. They are not strange, they are protecting our country honorably and sometimes dying, so nitwits like you an have your silly opinions here.

      September 2, 2010 at 01:46 | Report abuse |
  47. Diane Gehrig

    Our Mother moved us 27 times. I counted and took note of each move before I made up my mind to forget it all. What I have a hard time with is the resentment and anger towards my dead mother conflicting with being able to forgive and forget. I grew up in Ct. and ended up in TN. I hate TN. But my grown son and my life is here now, and my love for my son outweighs my dis taste for this area. I love love Ct and would love to live there again someday, but I can not imagine being so far from my son.
    -a true Connecticut yankee

    August 1, 2010 at 22:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. hotgirl

    Chase the money and status and your kids will be the big losers down the road –
    Trust me.

    September 1, 2010 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Military Brat

    I was a military brat and now a military officer and I believe that moving around every 3 or 4 years in my childhood was a positive thing. It enabled me to adapt to new situations and adversity. It honestly improved my people skills (I'm an admitted introvert but you would not guess that if you met me). I have the confidence to meet new people without fear, and am not resistant to change. I feel that if the authors of the study looked more at context, they would find that the kids that did not adjust well were exposed to negative situations that precipitated the moves (i.e. divorce, parental job loss, etc...). I do not in any way view my rich childhood as a liability, and feel I owe much of my success in life to moving around with my happy family. I do know military folks who do not adapt well to moving, and I would expect that the negativity they express rubs off on their children. One example I saw recently was a young family who was stationed in Germany complaining about how they couldn't get ketchup there, or that they had to wait for good movies, etc... Always focusing on the negatives. I'm sure their children will look back on their childhood with a feeling of sadness and anger.

    September 2, 2010 at 01:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. micah

    I can agree that living such a life can be stressful. I'm from a non-military family, but might as well have been one. My family has moved upward of 2 dozen times in 18 years. There is no social-status but that of the outsider. Friends are rare or non-existant. I can't help but feel badly for children just starting to deal with this kind of life.

    October 25, 2010 at 20:27 | Report abuse | Reply
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