Moving to Australia with Children: When the Kids Say “No”!

Australia and New Zealand magazineTime to catch up with another of my Australia and New Zealand magazine articles; this one appeared in their February edition. I’m really not sure why it has taken me so long to cover this subject, because I do know it is an issue that causes major problems for so many families.

It’s when the kids say no to a move to Australia. It can be a nightmare scenario. What can you do, as a caring parent, when you find yourself in this situation? Let’s look at the options.

When the kids say “no”!

Kids say noThis is a scenario that happens quite often.

You and your other half fancy moving to Australia for a better life. You apply for the visa, but you don’t tell the children about it. After all, nothing is definite, you might get declined, no need to worry their little heads at this stage. Then that wonderful day arrives, you’ve been accepted, time to tell the children.

They absolutely hate the idea! “What? And never hang out at the 7-Eleven with our mates again? No chance, we don’t want to come.

Children under 10 years old are usually happy to go wherever you go, but older kids often don’t like change. The more kids you have, the bigger your problem, especially if you are thinking of waiting until they all are happy to say ‘yes’.

Kids change their minds frequently, it’s worse than spinning plates. So what do you do when the kids say no? Let’s take a look at how you can handle this situation.

Option one; brute force

You’ll get on that aeroplane when I tell you to, otherwise your father will take his belt to you!

This is no longer a politically correct solution. Beating children is frowned upon in the modern world, whether by belt, other object or even the back of the hand. This method was commonly used in the 60s during those £10 pom days, but no more. Avoid.

Option two; pandering

Oh my little cherub, mummy and daddy would never do anything to upset you. We’ll just all stay here in the UK and suck it up just for you my little angel. Would you like some cake?

As much as we all like to make our children happy, this is no solution at all. And it could backfire on you spectacularly. Imagine having this thrown back in your face by your now fully grown adult offspring at some point in the future.

What did you listen to me for? I was only 12 years old! You’re the adult, you should have taken control! Now we are all stuck here instead of living the dream in Australia!

How would that little chat make you feel?

Option three; you’re the adult, you take control

…as our fictional offspring suggested above. How?

Well, only you know your children, but here’s what I would do. Ask them to give it a go for 12 months and tell them you know they will love it. Promise them a better life in Australia and then deliver. It won’t be hard.

Take them to the beaches, the theme parks and get them involved in some of the many sports played in every school. Arrange play dates, or ‘hangouts’ as the older kids prefer to call them, by inviting their friends over after school. If you can, rent or buy a house with a swimming pool, kids love that.

jumping in the pool

in the poolGet them, and yourselves, involved in the community and above all, enjoy your weekends and the outdoor life. Crikey, drop them off at the 7-Eleven if you have to! Yes, we have them. Do whatever it takes and my bet is your kids will not want to return after 12 months.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, grab it with both hands, shape your children’s future, don’t let them shape yours.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Harrison August 24, 2018, 12:11 pm |

    Good tips Bob. Our family friends went through a similar thing when they moved to from the UK to Australia in the early 2000’s. The wife is from Australia and her husband is English. There was some reluctance from the oldest child – naturally they had formed solid friendships etc. We’re now considering a move interstate, but still unsure!
    It’ll probably take a combination of things… How did your kids settle in after a few years??

    Here are a few more resources:

    • BobinOz August 24, 2018, 6:50 pm |

      Well, we only had the one daughter, and she was only 3 1/2 when we moved. The first three or four months were a bit tricky, but then as soon as she started school everything was great.

      Most kids seem to settle really well and quite quickly, especially if they are younger than about 10 or 11. I’ve even known quite a few teens who have come here and quickly fall in love with the place, so the odds are in your favour.

      Some useful additional links you have provided here as well, thanks for that.

      Good luck, Bob

  • djmcbell May 11, 2016, 9:11 pm |

    Quite often, kids don’t know any better. As a child you can’t really imagine beyond your limited experience. When I was young my family nearly moved to America due to work. We didn’t, but I can remember that I would have been quite excited to. My sisters, however, weren’t keen.

    I do recall watching Wanted Down Under a while back (or I think it was my wife – she used to watch it all the time on maternity leave) and telling me of a family on it once, whose son didn’t want to leave because “video games aren’t as cheap or popular in Australia”. And he’s right, and I still enjoy video games myself… but then there’s all the different stuff to do in Australia! It’s a different place and you’re not going to be doing all the same stuff. Just saying “well it’s not like the UK” is missing the point, because it’s not like the UK – for better and for worse. What’s up to you is what you make of it. Me – I’m looking forward to a more active, outdoors lifestyle for my small family. Yes, I’ll still play video games, but I want to look at stand up paddle-boarding, cycling (wouldn’t dare do it round here), going to the beach, relaxing outside, stuff I find difficult to do or enjoy here.

    Kids – yes, they can be stubborn. I guess, if they disagree, you need to sit down with them and tell them what they’d be missing if they didn’t move (and, as much as I’m looking forward to moving to Australia, that goes for moving anywhere – even the UK!).

    • BobinOz May 12, 2016, 7:32 pm |

      Well, I’m pretty sure Australia can guarantee you a more outdoors lifestyle, we certainly have plenty of places where you can do all the things you are hoping to do. Of course, you can still play video games, but I’ll wager you end up playing them less.

      So even if those games do cost more, it will even out, because you won’t need to buy as many. And as much as we want to do things for our children, they really cannot be allowed to influence a major decision like this, certainly not on grounds of the cost of video games or missing the 7-Eleven.

      I’m sure, for most reluctant kids, there will come a time when they will thank you as parents for ignoring what their desire to stay put.

  • Steph Robinson May 11, 2016, 7:32 pm |

    Totally agree! We have been here (sunshine coast) 6 months with our son who has just turned 11. He waa keen to come, he has enrolled in sports activies, haa the pool, the amazing beaches and a circle of school friends. However at this early stage home sickness takes over every so often and he says he wants to return. The homesickness is more about loved ones. Im sure after 12 months it will be getting easier. Its a good life for kids.

    • BobinOz May 11, 2016, 9:17 pm |

      Yes, the homesickness will always come and go a bit for most people, even children. I remember about two weeks after we arrived here in Australia our daughter, she was just three at the time, asked if I could set the satnav to take us back to our old home.

      She missed her playschool friends. She got over it a few months after she started her new playschool. I think your son will get over it very quickly as well, and this is a great place to bring up kids. You’ve done the right thing, I’m sure of that.

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