At what point should we let our kids have a say in whether or not we accompany their dad on his next PCS move? Our children, ages 15 and 17, have really settled into their current school and community. Our oldest will be a senior in high school this coming year and wants to stay here to graduate, which seems reasonable – but then it only seems fair to allow our 15 year-old, who has three more years of high school, the same opportunity. That will mean three full years of geo-baching. My husband and I share our kids’ feelings about their school and our town, but we also know that three years of geo-baching will be a hardship both financially and emotionally. How much compromise is too much?
Being a military kid sometimes just stinks. It is natural that we, as parents want to make it easier on them whenever we can. And of course our kids always have strong opinions about what they think will be best for them… especially when they are teenagers. Certainly, when kids are older it is reasonable to involve them in discussions about aspects of military life that will have a big impact on their lives. But you are right, three years is a long time. Not only would that separation be a strain on the kids, but on your marriage. With two teenagers, it won’t be long before your nest is empty… it is important to nurture your marriage as well.
It’s not that you COULDN’T make it work… but is it really what is best for the kids? Yes, being with their friends and continuing school at one location is important…. but so is having their dad around for those very important years. If your family has already spent a lot of time separated because of deployments, it is important to factor that into the decision. Based on my personal experience as a military spouse, If I were in this situation I would do everything I could to prepare them for the move, both academically and emotionally, but would keep the family together. It is my opinion that staying together, after spending considerable time apart, is the almost always the best option when it is possible.
All the best of luck in making this tough decision!