Career V. Kids Safety?
anonymous Asks ...
My children are 10 and 12 and neither has ever gotten into any trouble. I am a geologist and I am considering a career relocation that would put us into an area which has a major drug situation with meth and with oxycontin and other prescription drugs. This is a rural area so there is only one high school to attend and there is no way to minimize their exposure to this. I know that there have been numerous cases of high school students overdosing and getting in trouble with the law. This is what I have been able to find out just by searching the local newspaper so I bet it is worse on the ground. I am dragging my feet on accepting this offer because I am worried that we would be putting our kids in harms way. I remember being a teenage and going along with the crowd. If everybody else is doing drugs won’t my kids get sucked into that too?
Rob Danzman Says ...
Interesting dilemma. On the one hand, you have a career opportunity that provides either more income, job satisfaction, or a bit of both - basically, a move that would make you happy or more fulfilled. But, the environment for your children is substantially compromised and could expose them to behaviors incongruent with your values. Rather than a simple response, this requires a bit a breaking-down of all the variables.
First, I’d want to know more about why this career move is important. Money, fresh-start, job satisfaction, etc.? All of them are reasonable reasons to take the job. If your family is deep in a financial hole and this is the best way out, environmental conditions could seem a bit less important. If, on the other hand, this is one of many options and mostly about career satisfaction, it’s harder to make the argument it’s a necessary move. Definitely a topic for more conversation with a good counselor/therapist. Understanding your own motives may help put each of the variables in a priority order and may make decision making easier.
Secondly - Let’s talk kids. Kids are resilient. Kids from educated, caring and loving parents are even more resilient. You clearly are thoughtful and likely have actively supported them their whole life - this accomplishes many things related to developing a healthy, appropriate kid. There are plenty of children raised in sketchy parts of our country that do great things. There are also plenty of examples of kids raised in upper-middle class areas that get into heaps of trouble (those are typically our clients). Parenting matters. Parents that have a good balance between focusing on their career and focusing on family model equilibrium that promotes good decision making and respect for boundaries. This new place could be an opportunity to talk with your kids about what sort of teen and young adult they would like to be. Discussion about moving could also be an opportunity for them to hear about the information you have and talk about their concerns, fears and excitements.
Lastly, if things get bad, if your kids start getting messed up with the wrong group, you can always leave or get them enrolled in online classes (not ideal but better than idiots at school). It will not be easy when they are teens but it’s also not easy to make this decision right now. Just that fact that you are slowing things down and reaching out and researching this move tells me you all will be just fine. And even when things don’t go as planned, you will rally together and overcome whatever obstacles present themselves. This opportunity will likely make your family stronger.
Best of luck!