Bad Parent: Our first move ruined my daughter's life. Now we're doing it again. By Darren Taffinder for

It was six months into our move to New York City when my then nine-year-old daughter asked me to check over an essay she’d been working on for school. It was a personal narrative, and she’d decided to write about leaving the U.K. for Manhattan. 

It did not start well.

“After I was told that we were moving I cried and I cried and I cried.” She then went on for a page and half listing out in detail all the things she hated about her new life.

“Isn’t there anything at all you like about living here?” I asked her. I knew that the move had been rough for her and she was missing her old friends. She’d spent the last few months covering any blank piece of paper with the name of her best friend from back home like a crazed obsessive. But I had hoped that she was beginning to get over it.

She thought for a few seconds. “No.”

“Come on, there must be something . . .”

She thought for a few more seconds. “I just want to go back home.”

Fast-forward a year-and-a-half, and things couldn’t be more different.

“I love our neighborhood,” she told me the other day as we made our way home from watching a movie. “I never want to leave.”

This would be great except for one small, minor, trifling little detail: I want to move back.

Don’t get me wrong. I love living here. It’s just that this was supposed to be a temporary adventure, and it’s time to start thinking about winding this adventure up. Can I really ruin my daughter’s life a second time? I know first-hand just how difficult it is to make this sort of move as a child. When I was eight, my family moved from the U.K. to California.

The four years we lived there were my own personal Vietnam. I arrived mid-way through school year, and my class was learning about the Boston Massacre. Not only did I know absolutely nothing about the Revolutionary War, but apparently I was on the bad guys’ side. As a child you don’t want to stand out, but it’s very hard to blend in when you’re the only boy who sounds like an awkward, pre-adolescent version of James Bond.

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