I am an agent but also a mum of two now strapping kids of 15 and 17 years. I moved from the UK 12.5 years ago and whilst the motivation seemed to be the weather and culture, it was actually through fear for my kids future.
I was borne in London and grew up around there. At 13 my parents bought in Kent to give us kids a better life and the freedom at the time was wonderful, woods within a short walk, had a horse etc etc. Then back to London. After marrying and with both small babies we moved to Hartlepool, near Newcastle and I was petrified of the kids playing in the front garden as at the time there were varying reports of children being snatched. One distinct memory I have is of pushing son in buggy along the main road on the pavement with daughter happily skipping a few yards in front and the knot of fear in my stomach about how easy it would be for a car to pull over, snatch her and go before driving off!
Thats apart from my husband (6ft 2) taking the kids to the local park and having a 10 year old threaten him with glass and then saying you cant do anything to me mister, I will have the police on you!
After coming here I felt so safe – yes crime does go on and you can get run down, but still much better that the UK. Also the community spirit abounds, neighbours will look out for each others kids and this country actually likes and welcomes them!
I think what did it for me was on one trip back to the UK my two were waiting outside a pub with their father as there was a sign saying no kids. Someone with a dog went inside and they were both disgusted that dogs could go in but they couldnt! (made me laugh though!)
So, a hard choice but certainly I would fight tooth and nail to keep my two here – from the reports the gun culture in the UK seems to be getting worse and the youth seem a bit out of control – discipline is so poor there are no deterrents at all.
Its going to bo your choise in the end, but I would think a 12 year old would be loving the weatther, the freedom and being welcomed everywhere with his parents.
Good luck in your choice.