May I ask for your opinions?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Could I put a situation that has been revolving in my mind for about, oh, four or five months now to you? I would be very interested to hear people's thoughts. Who knows, it may even help me make a decision!
    I am uncertain as to what we should do next year (for the start of the school year in the autumn). There are basically three options - there are more, obviously, but I think I can bear to whittle the indecisiveness down to this...

    1. Stay where we are, in the house in the village with the school a minute's walk away. This is what J is familiar with, obviously, and the main argument in favour of staying is that this is what he says he wants to do. The school is tiny - just one other boy in a total class size of five (they are taught with other ages in the room in a single class that ranges from age 2 to age 6) and he seems to be doing well there, on the whole. I worry about the smallness of the pool of friends and the teacher who is overly strict but... it could presumably be a lot worse. The disadvantages of staying are that... I quite often feel like I am going a bit stir crazy in the village (even though part of me also just wants to stay because it is always easier to stay rather than face all the hassle of moving; I also have various friends and connections here) and we really don't "fit" here even though people in the main are warm and polite enough (to our faces at least).

    2. Moving to a city in France where there is a school I really like the look of for J - they do conventional lessons in the morning and then various activities such as cooking, gardening, looking after animals (it is set out in nature, in acres of woodland) in the afternoon. This academic approach is obviously going to suit him far more than the conventional, narrow curriculum here - very head-based and frankly not much fun and one that I sense J will find increasingly difficult. There would also be access to all the city things for me, and (most importantly) a Buddhist community with whom I can practice. On the other hand, I will not know anyone there and neither will J. Obviously I am partly reluctant to start over all over again, with the fear that it may not work out.

    3. Move back to Morocco, where J can learn perfect Arabic before it is too late for him to do so (really it would be giving him the option to make his life in Morocco one day if that is what he wanted) and where we are both familiar with the culture and lifestyle and have friends. J would also have regular access to his Moroccan family - although, interestingly, my ex-husband does not want us to come back. He says it is because J would have the best future and education if he stays in France, which has a truth to it, but knowing my ex as I do, I suspect there is some other motive to it. He is the kind of person who always has some vested interest, if you know what I mean... But we would not be living near my ex-husband and his new wife and would be leading very separate lives. J would have to go to one of the French schools there, which are expensive. Also, and this is the main disadvantage in my book, they all have conventional class sizes of around 25 to 30 - a BIG disadvantage for someone like J. And it would be the narrow, academic formula that I fear for him... But I KNOW he would be happier with other Moroccan kids and growing up connected to his culture and language (with the extra dimension of speaking French and English).

    So... to cut a long story short (because it could certainly be even longer!)... what would you do, based on this information??
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    For me, having a hands-on learner, I would move to the city (more opportunities and hands-on practical school activities) or back to the familiar in Morocco. You haven't been happy with the village and even more unhappy with the teacher so I would say that one is a no-brainer. Our public school classes in the States are all usually between 20-30 kids and if the right supports are in place, difficult child's can make it. I can't relate to the culture issue because...well...that just isn't an issue here. I am also one that tends to like the familiar because starting over amongst strangers is harder for ME.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful but as far as I can see, from other things you've posted, option 1 isn't really an option. JMHO.
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I would go back to Morocco. You say J will be happier there, which is a big plus, even with the larger class sizes, and he may well surprise you if he feels he fits in better. I do understand the dilemma, though.

    I gave up a management career and moved away from a place I loved back to my hometown, which I did not love at all, after Miss KT was born. I felt that my extensive commute (90 min one way) and the potential for constant transfer would create instability for Miss KT. Having grown up with a father who never met a transfer he didn't like, I did not want that for Miss KT.
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks KTMom and TeDo. Yes, I know leaving the village seems like a no-brainer, TeDo, but... my hesitation is based on J's traumatic reaction to transitions. I fear uprooting him again, when, all things considered, he is doing okay in the school and gets very upset at the thought of leaving it. Of course he would adapt somewhere else but it could be a painful and fairly long process before he does. Otherwise, I agree - GTHO (guess the acronym time)!
  5. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    #2 because it sounds like you will be happy with the extra "things" in the city including a group you can connect with and J will access to an education that seems right for him.
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I like option #2, but my question there would be is that school prepared and capable of properly and humanely handling him?
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I think he will be ok in all three. Hows that for a cop out? BUT I think a happy mama will make for the happiest kiddo. I am not saying be selfish because choice 2 and 3 both will also benefit him in some ways. BUT, choice 2 will meet your lifestyle expectations so well and he will have the best in terms of matching his learning style once he is settled. I totally get the adjustment part though. But he is very little and of course will say he wants to stay because everything else is different and scary to a child. And since he has transition issues to begin with it will be a hard time. If you decide to do it, If you can get pictures of what will happen and make a life book like you do for adoptions where you can show him what it looks like, parks close by, the school, the happy faces of kids and teachers what the houses and stores look like etc. Explain that ALL of his things come too, even the doggie. He will not lose any of his stuff/clothes/bike/toys/etc.

    Leave the book around for him to read and think about, even if he says no way the first time. Little by little he can wrap his mind around it . Just one idea that might help a little.

    If he does have transition issues, it might be easier now to change rather than after many more years of bonding to others and then you figure out that you just can't tolerate it there.

    Tough decision, and I agree YUCK to the business of moving. On the outside it does look like maybe you should gtho.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, to really throw a wrench in your confusion, knowing what I know now after feeling a similar situation when my son was young, I'd suggest staying where you are- unless you are truly miserable there. But you'll have to mull it over and follow your mommy gut. I regret moving when my son was young but I regret NOT moving once he became involved in the juvie system here.
  9. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    If I was walking in your shoes: I will NEVER consider option 1. It just does not seem to be a right fit. I do not believe you will ever integrate the village. It's just not how it works over there. It would be hard for a "rgular" French family. The complexity of your family makes it impossible to my eyes.
    It leaves us with option 2 and 3.
    I think, option 2 is better. You will have access to what appears excellent education for J (is it public or private?) and you will find a community that fits YOU. And, down the road, I believe the French medical system will have more to offer. if it is needed. Mental Health might not be treated like in the US, but it is treated!
    I see how option 3 would be appealing, but I fear there will be very little flexibility in a French school in Maroco. How will YOU practise your religion??? That is obviously a big element of your life. Don't put it in the back burner. J has issues and you will need all your strengh to raise him. You also need to do what is right for YOU.
    Starting over is scarry (we had to do it 2 years a ago when we moved from NY to NC). But if you do it for the right reasons, J will be fine.
    J's fears should not weight in the balance as far as making a decision. But those fears should certainly be respected and heard.
  10. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    My mind tells me option #2 -- as it sounds like the perfect learning environment for him.
    But my gut says #1 -- because similar to KLMNO, I moved Matt when he was that age and it took him 2 years to re-group. That is only based on my son though....change devastates him.
    #3 I would say no to just because his Dad doesn't even want him there -- that is not a good welcome mat for a new life.
    And there is the other antidote that keeps rolling around in my brain -- "why fix what isn't broken".
    I was always the Mom that wanted the very best for Matt, and kept changing schools to find him that. In retrospect I should have just waited until it was really broken before I tried to fix it -- because instead I feel like I broke him.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well if nothing else, you can reassure yourself that this is a difficult decision- most responders here are viewing this from different angles so it's completely undeerstandable that you'd be struggling yourself with it. Maybe just waiting before making a final decision would be a good idea.

    I'm struggling with decisions regarding my son right now. It's a completely different situation but a critical decision and I have been bouncing all over the place with it and hearing different recommendations, just like you have asked for here. It does make me feel a little better just to know that all people aren't recommending the same thing- so they understand why it's not an easy or cut-and-dry decision. In any case, I'm waiting until the last minute to even decide how to react. I just have to. Any time before in my life, if I was making the 'right' decision for me or my son, I would know it in my bones, Know what I mean?? Try ro prolong it until you feel that, that would be the best advice I could give.

    Steely- I can relate.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think it's dangerous for any of us to try to make that decision for you. difficult children have it tough even with changed environments, especially at first. The child will be the same child wherever you take him. If there is a place where treatment is better, maybe that is the best place, but he will still be who he is no matter where he goes. You know the old saying "no matter what you do, you'll never run away from you."

    In any of these places can he get a lot of help? To me, that is lacking where he is.
  13. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    DITTO MWM. You always seem to have just the right words!!
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    thank you. It reminds me of the dumb thing I did w hen trying to save my first marriage. We tried what is called the geographical solution...we bought a new house and thought that if we moved we could start fresh. Surprise! We were in a nicer house with great neighbors, but our relationship was still the same. We divorced a year later.

    If somebody wants to move, move. If somebody wants to move away from a DANGEROUS neighborhood to make it safer for the kids, good grief DO IT! If somebody wants to move in order to change the child, forget it. The child will be the same child adjusting to a new environment. The child may do better in the new environment because of specific interventions offered or more tolerance, but he is still who he is, just as we are still who WE are. Been there, done that :)
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Catch 22 - like usual.

    You're in a situation where neither you nor J has the supports necessary.
    BUT... it is "familiar".

    Starting over... is hugely stressful for both of you, but more so for J.
    And yes, it will take several years to recover from a move.
    Even PCs have that problem.

    No matter what you do, you are going to lose.
    If you stay, you may lose in the long run.
    If you move, you WILL lose in the short run.

    So, the question maybe really is more a matter of, where will BOTH of you gain the most in the medium and long term? What is going to work "for the rest of your life"... not just into old-age, but... socially, emotionally, financially, his education, your retirement...
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, you have not made the decision easier, lol :) But, seriously, it is very helpful to have your views and opinions. Not looking for you all to take the decision for me, MWM - in any case, it's impossible! Come what may, the person who takes the decision has to be me. I'm also not doing it to "change" J - that has not been in my thinking at all! It's about being in an environment where there are more things that may suit us better (except friends and contacts initially....)
    But your various responses have, as you say klmno, completely highlighted the dilemma. I fear causing great disruption to J. I fear fixing what isn't really broken. He is kind of accepted as he is in the school, having been there since the age of 3, he has his routine, his friends, his confidence. At the same time, I am sure he would adapt eventually to the new - and I think this school with its gardening, cooking, looking after animals, sport, etc would be a big draw. Obviously the younger he is when we change, the easier it will be in the long term and the quicker he will "forget".
    Basically, I think staying where one is is always easier. I myself am really split - part of me doesn't want to take on all the unknown, all the hassle of a move... Especially when it is towards the unknown! And then, for me, the cultural aspect for J IS important - really feeling connected to and knowing his own culture, speaking its language fluently, seems like a very desirable thing... I don't know what is going on for my ex-husband. He is an extremely contradictory, complex character who is impossible to read. I don't know that it's about not wanting J (though it could be). But there are other friends and family in Morocco to whom J is close.
    So you see... it is really not an easy decision! Most of you seem to think that number 2 is the best option, which is interesting. We will go and visit the area, the school, before any definitive decision is made. But, honestly, I really don't want the upheaval! Yet sometimes, just as you say ktllc, the stress and strangeness of being somewhere where we just don't fit feels like it just isn't worth it either...
    If I do decide to move, the other question is whether I sell the house or keep it and let it out to people coming here on holiday (it has fantastic views, is in a very picturesque and historic village and is in a very touristy area) and come here occasionally ourselves for holidays... :) :)
  17. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    If it's financially possible, I'd say let out the house if you move. Then if the move turns out to be the worst possible thing, you do have a fall-back even if you have to wait until the lease up, or if it's let out part-time for vacation home then you also have it as a vacation home for J to visit the friends he has there and keep those contacts as well as new ones.

    Culture vs ethnicity - if J is raised as a French gentleman, that will be his culture, even if his ethnicity is Moroccan. At such an impressionable age exposing him to a culture that he hardly knows and with a very strict patriarchal structure could well remove you as an authority figure in his mind, setting you up for major problems down the road that you'd have with even a very typical kid raised that way. When he's older, wiser, and has made his own opinions on such matters, more exposure to his birth culture stands less of a chance of bending him against you. Teaching him about it is one thing, pointing out the differences to him in a controlled way and time, as opposed to tossing him in the deep end to figure it out.

    Just something to think about, which I feel is what you're asking us - to point out pros and cons of the situations that you haven't noticed yet.
  18. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm sure you'll make the best decision for your family. My opinion from afar is that a relocation at five is better than later once "big boy school" is firmly set. A major factor, in my humble opinion, is which culture is most accepting and definitely which locale has the most supportive health system. I'm wholly ignorant about other cultures like many fellow Americans, sigh. You, on the other hand, have the sophistication to know details about your choices. One thing I do know a fair amount about is children and I would suggest not sharing the subject with J or around him. Worry about the future is not in his best interests for sure. Hugs DDD
  19. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    To follow on Haozi's thought: one of the reason I feel #2 is better is the cultural challenges that would create #1 and #3.
    I think I've explained #1 (not really fitting for the both of us).
    #3: you will be a non muslim single woman in a very traditional patriarchal muslim world. That would ultimately worry me. Do you have the Mrocan nationality?? If you do it might make things a little easier, but still.... (by the way: I have been to Maroco several times and really LOVED the country and the people, so nothing "racist" in this comment. But I feel it needs to be pointed out).
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You have gotten a lot of great input. I know J has problems iwth transitions, but if he sees you treat the move like and adventure then he is more likely to take it in stride. Moving will NOT necessarily "break" him or cause more problems in the long run. We moved to a new state when Wiz was 3, within that state when he was 7 and back to the place we lived in first when he was 11. NONE of these things "broke" him or caused more problems for him in the long run. There were substantial advantages to each move and while there were disadvantages too, we focused on the advantages and our kids adjusted faster because of it.

    Kids are amazingly resilient, even difficult children.

    If I had to make the choice it would be 2. The education is a lot closer to what J needs than either place offers and that is HUGE with me. in my opinion that type of education will do wonders for J and the rigid, narrow, conventional education would possible do substantial harm because it doesn't seem like J will be able to succeed in that type of educational setting. It just seems contrary to what he needs. The animal care at the school in choice 2 would go a LONG way to helping him with other concerns. Not only would he be taught not to hurt animals, but caring for an animal does wonders to help people learn and grow in so many ways. in my opinion the education at #2 is far better than the other options because the hands on doesn't just fit J's nature, it is simply a better way to learn and produces a mind that isn't just more educated in book ways, but is more flexible and more able to apply their education to their entire lives.

    I also think J will be far more accepted in the school in #2. Being in a school where he is not accepted fully and where he is not CAPABLE of conforming to the requirements will only lead to problems. My oldest was in a school where he was not accepted or challenged and it did AWFUL things to and for him. So I am biased that way.

    Having a parent who is happy makes a HUGE difference to a child. You like some things about your current town, but you are not really happy there. It will show in how J feels about the town in years to come. He will also pick up on the ways that neither of you are truly accepted there and it won't result in good things. The religious difference between you and your small town are huge and that will come to be a bigger problem as your son gets older. What the town may tolerate while he is a small town iwll become a big deal that they won't be nearly so tolerant of as he gets older and isn't a part of their religion. It will close at least some doors for him if you stay in the current town.

    Moving is hard on a kid. No doubt about that. But the positives of the new places outweigh the difficulties in moving, in my opinion.

    I don't know if Morocco is the best place to move. As a single mom it would be a hard place to live. Or so I would think based on my limited info about Morocco. Though he has family there, if his father does not want him there, it could end up with J feeling a huge amt of rejection from his father. That will hurt him HUGELY, far more than he would be hurt by not seeing his father's side of the family because you don't live close by. We lived less than a mile from my father's side of the family (a large family) for quite a few years and we simply were not invited or welcome at many things. This was NOT my father's doing and I haven't told him much of it. My folks are still married and they didn't live in the area. Ther were FIVE family reunions that we were purposely not invited to because the aunt who offered to tell us about them didn't want us there. My kids feel a BIG degree of rejection from that side of the family and it has hurt them badly. If J's father doesn't want him close, and it isn't the best place for you or for J's education, then Morocco doesn't feel like a good option.

    This is my perspective. You have to make the choice, but know it is better to make a move now than when J is older - it does get harder for kids as they get older.