2 questions for pos...
 
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2 questions for posters who are parents.

 
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

We've been talking a lot about children/teens over the past few days. I wonder if the posters who are parents would be willing to honestly and frankly answer 2 questions.

Knowing what you now know, if you had a "do over" to make the move to the VI, would you do it?

Could you give us a couple of the factors (i.e. - broadening experience, lack of sufficient money, etc) that affected your answer?

Thank you.

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Topic starter Posted : August 5, 2006 4:03 am
glynnswife
(@glynnswife)
Advanced Member

I would defintely do it again. And I don't plan on leaving at any time in the future. Moved here when my daughter was five. She is now eleven. I love her school (she goes to Montessori) and the friends she has made. I feel much safer with her here than I did in California. Don't feel like I have to have my eyes on her every minute when we go out. I find we have a lot we can do here to have fun together that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and doesn't involve lots of scheduling and car pooling. She isn't growing up as 'fast' as her same age cousin in the states. The media influence and peer pressure isn't as prevalent here. We are a less stressed and happier family here.

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Posted : August 5, 2006 4:18 pm
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

I also would do it again. I came with teenagers and it was still a good experience. Fortunately for me and for them, my boys are best friends to each other, so they didn't have a problem finding someone to hang out. This was especially important since we have always lived in locations remote from where their friends from school live. For kids who need to be entertained 24/7, as opposed to those who are able to entertain themselves without getting into serious trouble, a move to the island could be quite challenging for their parents.

I participated in a foreign exchange program when I was in high school and have always felt that every teen should have the opportunity to experience life in a different culture as part of their transition to adulthood. It puts a lot of things into perspective. While the USVI aren't officially a "foreign" country, the culture and climate are enough different from where we moved from, along with some language differences, that it did have a similar effect on my sons even though they were living with their own family members and not a family of strangers. Partial immersion rather than full immersion. There is no question that it has broadened their minds and given them a larger frame of reference.

There are things about St. Croix that they like and things they don't. This was true of other places they lived while growing up, also. There are lots of things to do here, even if some specific activities aren't available. My boys gave up ice skating, hockey, marksmanship and tackle football but gained sailing/boating and a lot more water sports plus the ability to be outside year around instead of just a few months in the summer.

I do believe that the move would have been harder with teenage girls rather than teenage boys.

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Posted : August 5, 2006 5:01 pm
jane
 jane
(@jane)
Trusted Member

My daughter was highly capable of amusing herself, she nevertheless was overwhelmed by the loss of so many activities. She never was a mall go-er, but more of an outdoors person - horses, mountain biking, climbing etc.
Sailing was not to her taste although she learnt out of boredom. And how many times can one go to the beach? I think the Islands were too hot and humid for her, but I do know that she bitterly missed snow activities and the passing seasons.
We were definitely not poor but the expense of going to the mainland was prohibitive - I don't care how many times the airfare is described as reasonable! So that stymied a lot of life enriching experiences. Living among people of another culture IMHO can probably be experienced in a shorter period of time than a relocation of the whole family to the said culture usually brings.
The peer pool was limited with many of her classmates etc falling prey to the drug and drink lifestyle. She "made do" very well and I am very proud of her, but hindsight etc...I wish that I hadn't forced her to "make do".
Again, IMHO, I think the losses outweighed the gains.

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Posted : August 5, 2006 5:58 pm
Anonymous
 Anonymous
(@Anonymous)
Guest

I have to say I would NOT have relocated to the VI if I had known what I know now. Teens have a hard time living here. I have twin girls and they have had a miserable time on this island. Yes, the beaches are cool but how many times can you go to the beach or go to that one bowling alley or to a movie? It was also too hot and humid for them here. With no central air and not much of a breeze, they sit in their sweat, or go to Kmart to cool off. The party life for teens on this island overtakes many of the teens. It started pulling my daughters in also because all of the "Cool kids" partied. Even kids in thier youth group are seen at Club 54 and Moonrakers.
We are in the middle class financial range, so sailing lessons was out of the question. One of the girls was able to get a job and get certified for SCUBA diving. Another thing about this island is, the turnover rate of people who live here. Once my girls made good friends, they kids ended up leaving the island. In the teens I've met, only 2 have liked it here. The rest say they wish they could go back home to the states.
One of my girl's friends was mugged and shot at this week. The bullet grazed his head. he was surfing on the beach near Judith's Fancy. My teens were followed and chased by some men last week too. It's too much for us, we have to relocate. We are probably leaving the island in a month or so. I think it would be a much different experience here if I didn't have teenagers. I would probably have enjoyed my stay much more, but raising teens here is very difficult.

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Posted : August 5, 2006 6:57 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

HI LJ.

We are absolutely certain that our decision to move here was the right decision for us, as certain of this as we are sure that it is not the right decision for everyone. As to factors that affect my answer, that's harder to explain.

My spouse and I reared our teenager to be a positive, content, introspective and intellectually inquisitive individual so my teenager has never complained of boredom and genuinely enjoys spending time alone, with us, and with others. We are extraordinarily family-centric – we have always worked from home and we have always home-schooled our teenager -- and we enjoy exploring the world with each other. My teenager is thinking about college and should my teenager elect to attend a brick and mortar school rather than an online school my teenager has already asked my spouse and myself to consider spending the first semester/year nearby to lend support for what my teenager perceives to be a challenging new adventure.

We do not eat out, we do not shop other than for groceries once a week, we do not have air conditioning, we don't watch television, and we aren't involved in boating or diving or any other expensive hobbies. We work, we study, we read, we talk, we play games, we prepare meals, and we swim. I've elected to return to school and this month I commence working on a MA in Bioethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin! Our life is simple but we're happy to be here and nobody in this house is ever bored.

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Posted : August 5, 2006 8:19 pm
currentmist
(@currentmist)
Active Member

I am not on the Island but my daughter & friend moved down in June ,she's 18. My son in mid 20s has been there with his girlfriend for a year. All have jobs and enjoy the Island. They go to the beaches , enjoy the "movies "at a local bar , go snorkeling etc.. Have meet & made friends with other newcomers and some locals. They listen to advice from locals about how to remain safe .A few locals have taken the girls under their wings and even escort them home after work. . My son & a friend have had each an incident of being mugged in the past year but not injured. That has taught them to be more cautious( I hope) when they are out enjoying the night life. Anywhere you move can present problems but I think for them to experience a place that has a mixture of cultures & to learn to cope with life's challenges in such a beautiful setting no matter how long they stay there will only benefit them in the future. Also they grew up in a small town( under 6000) and in this day & age a parent shouldn't be fooled into thinking that there isn't just as much easy access to drugs & alcohol in rural America as anywhere else. Raising teens anywhere has become a difficult task. Our town developed a Youth Center 10 years ago & became a unit of Boys & Girls Club 3 years ago to deal with many of those issues and to give all kids a safe place to go and have fun.All done by volunteers & help from local schools. It's not a big place but rural clubs are new to Boys & Girls Clubs, Perhaps that could be something done there?

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Posted : August 6, 2006 1:52 pm
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

There is a Boys & Girls Club here. The trick would be working towards integrating it so that both local youth and newly transplanted youth could take part together and possibly make friends and become more comfortable interacting with each other. That isn't likely to occur over night but would be a good goal to pursue over time.

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Posted : August 6, 2006 2:18 pm
Teresa
(@Teresa)
Trusted Member

Yes we would have done it again.

Our lives before moving here and now two years of living on island are so different in a great way. We have learned a lot about ourselves. We have traded a lot of our selfish 'American' ways for a more harmonious life. I think our biggest lesson on life (learned on island) was the value of all things. I think we learned things the hard way, but it will stick with us longer.

We are leaving island now and it feels too soon in some ways, but in other ways we feel we need to move to a place where life isn't so challenging and things are comfortable. My husband and I agree, there was no other place we could have moved too where we would have had the same experiences.

I would have done one thing differently. I would have found a way to put the kids in a good private school from the start. I have noticed one thing among many parents on island. The ones that are happy living here have kids in a consistent happy learning environment. It may be private school, homeschool, or even a good public school, but they are happy with it and it makes their life on island a happy one. Education is a huge factor in why we started thinking about leaving island now. Even if had done things differently, I think we would still be moving off island after a few years of living here. It is just that the kids would have had a better education which is the only thing I really regret.

Teresa

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Posted : August 6, 2006 2:50 pm
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

It is unquestionably easier to live here if you are NOT in the midst of raising children. The educational issue is a tough challenge if you don't have the extra $$$ handy. As parents, we tend to feel a lot of guilt if our kids aren't getting all that we think they should get in life. Knowing we brought them here makes us responsible for ensuring they get what they need. Sometimes you can do this and sometimes you cannot. I don't know if I would have brought young children here knowing that there were still LOTS of years of private school to pay for. My sons were older and the total price tag on their education was only obscene, not grossly obscene, as it would have been if there were 8-10 more years to pay for. I looked at a few years of tuition as part of our moving expenses.

If you are here without children, you can make your own choices about how willing you are to rough it for a while if finding a job isn't going well. You can live in whatever level of housing you are willing to make do with and maybe consider neighborhoods or sectors of the island that you would be likely to avoid if you had children in tow. Your salary will stretch much further without kids to feed, clothe, educate, and transport both on and off island. So while families sometimes find it impossibly expensive to live here in a style they can accept, a single or couple are more likely to find it do-able. Also, adults are less prone to boredom than teenagers if they aren't being entertained every minute. Hanging out chatting with friends over whatever you choose to drink while watching the ocean or sunset isn't a bad thing, but kids roll their eyes and complain about the passive activity level.

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Posted : August 6, 2006 4:14 pm
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