Teenagers are complicated to say the least—they are going through their own problems and issues with growing up, and moving to a new home can make things seem like literally the end of the world. If you're planning a move, especially a long distance move, we have some tips that will help you help your teen.
Moving is stressful for all members of your family, but it can be extremely overwhelming and disruptive for teenagers. Unlike younger children, your teen has likely formed strong friendships and maybe even romantic relationships, and they have put a lot of time into developing their academics and after school activities, and moving will force them to leave behind everything they have worked for, not to mention their friends. This will be a stressful and emotional process for your child, so if your teen seems angry or reclusive here are some suggestions to help ease the transition:
1. Talk to your teen and listen to what they have to say
They might be angry and upset as to why you are making them move. Be honest and explain your reasons for moving to help them understand—they will undoubtedly have questions and concerns. If they get upset, acknowledge the validity of their feelings, be empathetic to their concerns, and don’t become defensive. Treat them like adults and be as upfront as possible—teenagers are old enough to know the truth as to why you need to leave, whether it is because of a death in the family, divorce, or loss of a job. Knowing the truth will allow them to better understand, and may even help them accept it.
2. Try to get your teen involved
Let them decorate their new room by themselves, or if you plan on turning your new basement or another room into a place for your teen and their friends to hand out, give them the opportunity to help with the decorations here as well.
If you can, take your teen on a tour of their new neighborhood, show them their new school, and check out some sports or cultural events in the area.
3. Focus on the benefits of the new house or town
Will they be moving into a larger room, or have a shorter commute to school? Or maybe this town offers something that your current town didn’t, like a league for their favorite sport. Do a little research before you break the news so you are armed with information that will help soften the blow and sell the move.
4. Before you leave your current town, set up dates when your teen can get together with their friends
Nowadays, it's easier than ever to stay in touch over long distances. However, knowing that they will be able to see their friends again can help your teenagers cope with the move. If you are moving too far to drive, purchase a plane ticket for their closest friend to come visit during a holiday or school break. Bonus points if you can use any rewards points to fund the purchase. If this is too much, a road trip over summer to visit friends might be a good compromise.
5. Encourage them to research their new town
Researching your new locale is a great way for people of any age to bolster their enthusiasm about a move. Getting to know their new home before they arrive can help your teens feel more excited about the move, and will make it easier to settle in and make friends when you arrive. If they are interested in any particular clubs or teams, suggest that they reach out to the coach or tead leader so they already know someone when they arrive.
6. Plan a going away party
Most teens will jump at the chance to throw a party. A going away party with all their friends will give them something fun to focus on amidst the stress of moving, and give them a chance to say goodbye. If your teen isn't a fan of parties, a quiet movie night or day spent with their best friend doing all their favorite things might be more their speed.
7. Stay positive
The most important thing you can do to help your teen accept the move is to be a good example and present a positive attitude, no matter how stressed you may feel about the move.
As stressful as planning a move may be for you, especially if you're planning a long distance move, the process of uprooting their lives and starting fresh somewhere new—somewhere they have no say over, to boot—can be doubly stressful for teenagers. You can help alleviate some of the tension by:
- Talking to your teens frankly and honestly about their concerns
- Involving them in the process
- Focusing on the benefits of their new home and new town
- Setting up a visit with their old friends
- Encouraging them to research their new town
- Planning a going away party
- Staying positive
Get more tips for helping your teens move: