Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/moving effects on 13month old



  My 13 month old son and I have lived with his mothers parents since he was born. Both his mother and I have been stay at home parents(with he exception of his mother working for a few months when he was 4 months old). Outside of ourselves, he spends time with his grandfather the most.

 At 13 months old he is fairly outgoing and it doesn't take long for him to warm up to new people. He does well when visiting relatives the first time in new places. He enjoys going out in public and is friendly to people. We may be looking at a long distance move and his mother and grandparents are concerned on how the move would affect him.

 Where we plan to move, we have a family of friends who have children and babies of their own around our sons age, whom we plan on being around often.
 Aside from the sudden change of environment, there is also a concern of the change in climate. I believe that he can handle the transition and that he is young enough that any attachments can be distracted-that the longer we wait to start our life as our own, separate family, the harder it would be on our son.
  Should we be concerned enough that we should reconsider the long distance move or are the risks at his age low enough?
  Thank you very much for your time.

Hello Tyler,

Since you are asking about the effects of a move on your son, you realize that there will be some disruption in his life.

However, since it appears that the move is inevitable, you should make the move now -- rather than later. It will not become easier for him if you wait to move for several months or longer.

But, it is important to minimize the emotional impact on him. All separations cause trauma to a child, but these days you can reduce the disruptive effects through technology. That is, you can use phones and Skype, for instance, to maintain contacts between your son and his grandparents. By hearing their voice and watching both Skype and videos, he will be able to maintain a relationship with those from whom he is separated over the next several months -- and much longer. In the beginning, there perhaps should be daily contacts, which can diminish over time.

As long as you are sensitive to your son's needs, I believe that you can manage the psychological trauma of a separation.

If you have further questions, please get back to me.

James Windell


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James Windell


I can answer questions related to normal child development, disturbed behavior and how to provide appropriate guidance and discipline.


I've been a clinical psychologist in a juvenile court, worked in school settings, been a child psychotherapist in a private psychiatric clinic and consulted with schools, courts, hospitals and daycare centers.

American Psychological Association
Michigan Psychological Association

I have been a columnist with the Oakland Press (Oakland County, MI) for 21 years writing a weekly column called Coping With Kids, which is also published weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been a mental health columnist with the Detroit Free Press and a columnist for Working Mother Magazine. In addition, I have published articles in professional journals. I have published 16 books, among them are "8 Weeks to a Well-Behaved Child" (IDG Books), "Discipline: A Sourcebook of 50 Failsafe Techniques for Parents" (IDG Books); "Children Who Say No When You Want Them to Say Yes" (IDG Books), "What You Need to Know About Ritalin" (Bantam Books) "6 Steps to an Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers" (John Wiley & Sons), "The Fatherstyle Advantage" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and "Defusing High Conflict Divorce" (Impact Publishers). My latest parenting book (2012) is "The Everything Child Psychology and Development Book." Articles about my work with parents has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. My website at includes more information about me, my books and includes many columns I've written.

B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University
M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University

Awards and Honors
Best Educational Program by Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (National award for the development of a parent training program for parents of delinquent teenagers. Beth Clark Service Award from the Michigan Psychological Association.

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