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overseas until teenagers a bad thing?

(11 Posts)
loveniknaks Fri 17-Dec-10 14:29:23


I have a 2 yr old DD and almost 1 yr old DS. We've been living in Glasgow for the past 2 years but I've had enough and want to get out. Prior to Glasgow, we lived in London for 4 years and I lived in Sydney prior to that for 5 years. We wanted the Scotland option to work because that is where we are both from and where our families are but we now both remember why we left it in the first place. We've decided we would like to sell up and move on next year. We plan to take our equity out and invest in a new business venture together. I love London but I'm not sure if it's the right place to bring up our children. I would love to be in London longer term when they're a bit older and we could make use of everything it has to offer. So our thoughts are we could maybe live in Sydney until my DD is old enough to go to secondary school at which point we'll move back potentially to London. I worry that this will be too much upheaval for everyone. But equally I think well why would it be a bad thing? I seem to have this notion that children should remain in one place their whole life but are there not benefits in having different life experiences. Its not as if I'm talking about uprooting them every couple of years but giving them the chance to enjoy the outdoors life of Australia with a plan to come back and enjoy London life when they're a bit older as well. Any other perspectives would be most appreciated. thanks muchly

WrappedandTagged Sat 18-Dec-10 02:36:32

I think if you can give your children the opportunity to live in different countries, then that's a great thing to do.

One international move in 10 years isnt really that major- many children move every 2/3 years and adapt just fine.

Plus, in ten years you might think completely differently and be aghast at the idea of leaving Sydney.

I'd say, if it feels right to go now, just do it. If it doesnt work out, you'll probably be back before the eldest starts school. If it does, then that's a great experience for them, even if only for a few years.

mumoverseas Sat 18-Dec-10 06:00:47

I moved abroad (to the Middle East) 5 years ago today.
At that time DC1 and 2 were aged (almost) 13 and 10 and were at an excellent prep school in the UK which DS was due to finish the following summer.
We decided that they would stay there until the July as weekly boarders and would stay with close family the weekends.

They then moved out and DD stayed for 2 years before returning to a UK boarding school as we felt it was better for her. There were too many teenagers where we were living and she wasn't taking life/school seriously so we decided to get her settled before her GCSE years. She settled well and loves it there.
DS did 3 years and completed his GCSEs here before returning to the UK for AS/A2.

They both really enjoyed the experience of living in a different country and experiencing a completely different culture. The only thing I would perhaps have changed was DS going back earlier to do his GCSEs in the UK as I think he would have possibly done better but he did have the advantage of studying arabic, something that he would not otherwise have done.

As WrappedandTagged has said, many children move around every 2 or 3 years so your plan to stay for a longer period would give them a lot more stability.

Good luck

kreecherlivesupstairs Sat 18-Dec-10 06:54:31

We are another family who have moved a lot. Currently DD is living in her fourth country and she is 9.7.
She and I are returning to the UK next summer so she can do her last year of junior school before starting seniors. DH will join us the year after.
The only thing that concerns me is her lack of street awareness. She really is very naive compared to children in the UK.
I'll just have to toughen her up [evil] grin.

nooka Sat 18-Dec-10 07:07:20

I think it depends on the child. We moved when our children were 7 and 8 and one found it really easy and the other found it very hard. Granted we did move country again after six months, which was a bit of a double whammy. Now I think it would be the other way around as dd has a really tight circle of friends but ds has never really made as firm friends as he had in the UK. For me it is the friendship thing that is the most important for children growing up happy. One advantage for older children is that they are more likely to be able to keep in touch with their friends, but maybe that also discourages them from making new friends too? Who knows.

Personally I think that London is a great place to live with small children, and less good for when they are a bit older (our children have far more freedom here in Canada than they would have had in London just because our community is much smaller and everyone is so much more relaxed).

Anyway the conclusion we came to after moving is that you should plan for the foreseeable future and not worry beyond that because who knows what possibilities might await.

loveniknaks Sat 18-Dec-10 16:55:11

thanks for the replies. It's good to hear a positive take on it all. From what you are saying I shouldn't worry quite so much about 10 years down the line as who knows what will happen. I've always said think of the most unlikely scenario in 5 years time and that's what we'll be doing! Leaving family and grandparents is the major obstacle. I get such a sick feeling in my stomach at the thought of telling them we plan to leave for a bit. GPs dote on them and it will be hard for them. What have your experiences been like for separation from family from the DCs point of view? I know if we move, whenever I see big family gatherings in the local parks I'll feel guilty and sad for the DCs at missing out on important relationships. This is the biggest issue for me. I also think if we did stay in Sydney for a while or even longer than 10 years, our DCs would leave us for Europe or vice versa if we came back to London. But again there I go worrying about the future again. Oh dear. Note to self: need to stop worrying about the future! thanks again for listening.

nooka I'm interested to know which part of London you think is good for children growing up?

nooka Sun 19-Dec-10 03:45:34

I only really know South East London as that's where I grew up and then had my family. I like London for the many parks and many many things you can do with children, often at very little cost. My children miss the public transport most I think, although they moaned about it before (we didn't have a car).

I don't think my children miss their cousins hugely, or at least not as much as I do! One of the things I hope the children will get out of us moving is Canadian passports to go with their English ones, so a lot of future options for them, but i also worry that they won't settle near us and we will miss out on grandchildren etc. Much as my poor parents miss my sister (in Australia) and me.

sunnydelight Tue 21-Dec-10 07:58:33

Why do you want to move back to London when they are older? I was talking to DS1 (17) the other day - he's been in Sydney since just before his 14th birthday - who genuinely feels really sorry for his friends who are "unfortunate enough to still live in England" (his words I hasten to add before you all flame me!).

Nowhere is Utopia, but I have found that kids can be kids for longer here and there are lots more options than hitting the pub as young as possible. It's the long Summer holiday here and DS1 is hanging out at the beach or round friend's houses or bringing his mates home - most people where we live have pools and enough space for half a dozen teenagers hanging out to not be a problem. I quite liked life in England with little kids but it is so much easier here as they get older.

loveniknaks Tue 21-Dec-10 11:05:41

Hey Sunny Delight,

That's great to hear your son enjoys his life so much in Australia. I suppose I'm just going on my own experience in that after a period of 5 years I was drawn back to Europe and London for a slice of big city life and different cultures. I know that a lot of Australians I met both in Sydney and in London felt that way too. Obviously there will be those who aren't interested which is great. I guess I might also be trying to counter the possibility that my babies will leave me for Europe in the future. Also, perhaps I'm being a bit selfish in that I would like to be close to London and Europe when I'm a bit older too! I was thinking in terms of career opportunities, Europe and London would have more to offer for them. But as has been posted before, who knows what life will bring further down the line.

thanks for your reply. I'm going to look up the immigration agent you recommended and hope that I can get back through a Resident Return Visa although I think it might be a long shot. Otherwise I'm going to have to go back down the full application which might be a bit tricky since I've been looking after my babies for more than 2 years and out of work. Aarrgh. Now I want to move even more. Fingers and toes crossed....

MrIC Tue 21-Dec-10 13:55:52

In short: no, they'll be fine.

Longer version: I moved when I was four (Yemen to England) then again at five (England to Kenya) then again at 12 (Kenya to England) then my parents moved to Tanzania and I spent a while commuting between boarding school and Dar es Salaam. I now live in Spain (where my daughter was born). Both my sister and I are intrepid travelers and aren't fazed by much, but otherwise I think we're both quite normal. We also have a good relationship with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins - the distance didn't matter particularly. Moving between the UK and Australia I imagine there will be even less of a culture shock so I doubt it will affect your kids much.

sunnydelight Wed 22-Dec-10 03:55:34

I do assume my kids will want to spend time in Europe at some stage loveniknaks, and I would want them to do that to have a wider experience of life than just Australia, but of course I am hoping they will eventually "come home" to Australia as DH and I certainly won't be going back to Europe.

I never again lived in the same country as my family after the age of 26 and would be really sad if I lost my kids in the same way, but we have deliberately ended up in a situation where they now all have both Australian and Irish passports and feel happy for them that they will have choices.

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