La Croix: With the health crisis and the confinements, more and more French people want to leave the big cities. Is it easy to change your living environment?
Christine Ulivucci: No, of course. Any change is difficult because we are leaving something known. Some people more than others are able to leave their surroundings to move towards something new, in the hope of a better existence. This is what happened during the lockdown. Many city dwellers have reconsidered their living conditions and wanted a change.
City dwellers often dream of a house with a garden …
CU: The garden is not a dream for everyone, some people do not want to take care of plants. But the house with a garden can indeed represent a form of social achievement. You have “your house” and, symbolically, the house is the roof over your head, the shelter.
When there is an additional garden, it is the ideal safe place to live. A large body in which you come to take shape yourself. The garden thus constitutes a form of extension of a personal territory. This airlock, between the inside and the outside, allows us to be outside while being protected.
It is sometimes said that moving is stressful. Is it always so complicated?
CU: Yes, it is always stressful since it is about a change. However, the level of stress varies depending on personal and family histories. If there has been any sudden or traumatic displacement or loss of homes in the family, it will be more painful because leaving a place is a bit like losing it. Between the moment we leave and the moment we invest in the new home, there is a kind of vacuum that can weaken us.
The question of loss and abandonment is also rekindled when it comes to making the boxes. We must sort and get rid of certain objects in the midst of which we felt protected. But a chosen move is also something positive that emanates from a life drive. It participates in an evolution, often marks a transition between the different periods of life.
How to prepare children and adolescents for a move?
CU: You have to talk to them beforehand, show them pictures of the future place of life and even go there. It is essential to involve them in the project so that the changes do not generate memories of rupture. I do not recommend that parents move while the children are on vacation. They too must be able to sort their toys, say goodbye to their place of life and to their friends, with whom they can also keep in touch. We can even organize a small ritual, a party for example, to help the family to mourn the “house”.
→ READ. How to prepare your child for a move?
With a teenager, it can be more complicated because he already has a social base. But if the parents show him what will be positive for him and put in place activities that will allow him to rebuild a network of friends, he may also find it useful. The most important thing, regardless of age, is that parents avoid communicating their stress as much as possible.