If You and Your Family Move to Dickinson, North Dakota

I received a comment on my blog from a reader whose family is going to relocate to Dickinson, North Dakota.  I would like to answer some of the reader’s questions, and offer my sincerest advice.  In this blog, I have mostly written about what it is like to be a man in Dickinson, but in this post, I want to write about what it will be like for a wife, and for a teenage son or daughter.

I believe that it is probably difficult for a teenage son or daughter to leave their friends and familiar high school behind, and relocate to some place that is new, and have to start over again.  One of my friends who lives in Williston had to do this many times during his childhood because his father was in the military.  He did not have a very good time in school, he felt that he was picked on because he was an easy target, he was always the new kid in class.

In general, lately, about 30% of the time in Dickinson, I feel that I am not treated very nicely by the local people, because I am not from here.  I want to caution parents that if your son or daughter enters school in Dickinson, they may experience some negativity from school administrators, teachers, and students.  School administrators and teachers are probably tired of new students from elsewhere, having to review and incorporate each new student’s academic records, having to determine what classes to enroll them in, and evaluate where they are in comparison to other students.  Even though adults in the education system should be above directing negativity towards students, it may happen.  Students may be negative towards a new classmates because they may copy the attitudes of their parents, or they may take out their anger on someone who is an “easy target”, because they are from somewhere else, are not settled in yet, and don’t have any friends.  It might be inappropriate to be as blunt as I am putting it, with your son or daughter.  I would try to say something like,”It can be difficult to start over at a new school.  It is difficult when you are not familiar with the town, with the people, and you don’t have any friends yet.  The first days may be hard, but things will get better.”  Please advise your son or daughter, if they are confronted with an administrator, teacher, or classmate that is picking on them, try to not say,”Dickinson sucks!, I wish that I never moved here!”  This is a normal thought, but don’t say it out loud.  Some days in Dickinson, it feels like everyone is against you, but if you make it through the day, you may find that tomorrow you have a better day.  In Dickinson you sometimes run across more than several people in a row that are unfriendly towards you because you are from somewhere else, but eventually you meet some people that are more friendly.

In order for your son or daughter to not be depressed, to have something to look forward to doing, to meet people, or to keep to themselves if they wish, I highly recommend having them go to the West River Community Center every day.  The West River Community Center has an indoor rock climbing wall with safety lines, three indoor racquetball courts, two indoor tennis courts, four indoor basketball courts, an indoor track, two indoor swimming pools, indoor volleyball court, and weight rooms.  If they don’t feel like talking to anyone, they can swim, lift weights, walk the track, practice racquetball, or practice basketball.  It is a very good place to get exercise in the winter, and it is safe for kids and adults.  There are a lot of housewives and moms that use the West River Community Center throughout the day, and these women seem to have an above average positive attitude and they seem to be more outgoing and happier.

Because there a lot of new kids enrolled in school in Dickinson, and because these kids come from all over the United States, I would be very watchful about what kinds of kids my son or daughter was becoming friends with.  I would watch out for kids that appear to be too street-smart for their age, or kids that seem to be too mature for their age.  I would be concerned that if my son or daughter was raised in a well supervised, caring environment, is their street-smart, and more mature friend, going to take advantage of my more naive son or daughter, going to get them involved in things inappropriate for their age, smoking, drugs, sex.  It is probably necessary to try to meet the parents of the kids that your son or daughter is spending time with.  Is your son or daughter going over to their friend’s home where the parents are routinely absent for several hours?  Does anyone in the household appear to have a drug or alcohol problem?  Do the parents appear to be reckless or have an unsafe environment for your son or daughter to be in?  Because there are so many new people that have moved to Dickinson recently, you have to be more careful about your safety and your child’s safety.

There are three small Family Value grocery stores in Dickinson, their prices are higher than the Wal-Mart in Dickinson.  If you have patience to wait in line, and it is daylight, you can shop at Wal-Mart if you want to.  If it is dark or nearing dark, I would not want my wife or girlfriend to go to Wal-Mart, the parking lot walk is too far and too dangerous at night.  If it is dark, you are much safer going to the smaller Family Value grocery stores, the parking lot walk is short and safe.  In Dickinson at night, a warning for both men and women, you don’t want to be way out in the Wal-Mart parking lot at night, or be at a gas station late at night where you will be approached by what appears to be a pan-handler or beggar.  What appears to be a pan-handler or beggar, is actually probably a drug addict and a criminal, who has spotted you before you ever noticed them.  They approach you when you are not able to ignore them, such as when you have a long walk to the store, or when you are pumping gas.  If they thought that they could get away with it, they would probably take your money by theft or by force, they only ask you for money because they feel they would get caught in a theft or a mugging, but if you are far enough out in a dark parking lot, their odds improve for getting away with a theft, mugging, or abduction.

If you are looking for good warm winter clothing, Runnings Farm & Ranch store has a very good selection of winter jackets, overalls, hats, gloves, work boots, and snow boots.  Carhart jackets are very warm and durable, Berne jackets are maybe as good and less expensive.  The hardware stores like Ace, Macs, and Menards also have good warm winter jackets.  The Prairie Hills Mall has Herbergers Department Store.  Herbergers Department Store has nice clothes for men, women, and children.  If you have a job interview, a date, or a wedding, you will be able to find shoes, pants, belts. shirts, ties, suit jackets, and winter jackets that are nice and appropriate.  The only movie theater in Dickinson is also in the Prairie Hills Mall, and it usually has about four different movies at any one time.

If you have car problems in Dickinson, I recommend that you take your car to the dealer.  I have taken vehicles to the Dodge dealer and the Toyota dealer in Dickinson, and both of these dealers have done good work and they have a good reputation.  I believe that the Ford dealer and the Chevy dealer also have a good reputation.  There are at least several good independent mechanic shops in Dickinson, but the good mechanic shops have a waiting time of about four weeks before they can work on your vehicle.  If you have an Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Range Rover, Saab, Subaru, Volvo, or Volkswagen, you may not be able to find anyone in Dickinson who wants to work on your vehicle.  I have heard that Dan Porter Toyota may try to work on some foreign vehicles, and that Sax Chevrolet may try to work on some foreign vehicles, but they may not want to work on your foreign vehicle if it is a complicated repair.

When you begin work with an employer in Dickinson, try to be polite, positive, moderate in your behavior, moderate in what you say, and be careful and mindful of certain things.  It has been my experience in Dickinson, that your co-workers will try to cause problems for you.  Keep in mind that your co-workers may dislike you because you are from someplace else, or because they believe you have more education or experience than them, or because they wanted their relative to get the job that you have.  Keep in mind that they would like for you to make a mistake or for you to say something that they could try to damage you with.  Be careful not to say anything sarcastic or jokingly, because your coworkers will repeat what you said without adding that you had been joking.  Be careful not to give any opinions about work or workers, because you may have assumed that what you said was not going to be repeated, however your coworkers will go tell everyone what you said.  Your co-workers will ask you what you think of Dickinson, try to say something positive like, “The West River Community Center is very nice.”  The longer you remain positive, moderate in your behavior, moderate in what you say, and refrain from saying anything that could offend anyone, and refrain from giving your opinion on anything, the longer you can keep your job.

And to answer the last question of the reader, I do not think that there has been a recent drop in rental rates or home prices, but this could/should start to occur any day now because there has been a reduction in the number of oil field jobs and the price of oil is still currently low.

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