Parenting Your Teens Through a Major Relocation
Moving is hard on anyone, but when you’re a teenager and your life seems out of control as it is, relocating can seem like an insurmountable task. From your teen’s perspective, the move will sabotage the friendships they took many years to build, especially if they seem to have found their way in life in terms of joining sports teams, clubs or the arts.
What you’re essentially telling your teen is that you are uprooting all of that, dismissing the work they have put into making friends, only to pack and move to a new place where they will be the outsider, says Psychology Today. You can see how devastating that can be to them. That’s because teens crave structure, stability and consistency. When those are compromised, it can crumble this foundation.
This isn’t to make you feel guilty. If you have to move, this is a fact of life and will have to be dealt with. But you will definitely have some work ahead of you to help your teen cope with the change. Here are some tips to help guide you.
Tell Them of the Move as Soon as You Know
Tell your teen about the move immediately. Postponing it or shrouding the situation in secrecy is a futile effort and will only serve to upset them even more later on. Tell your teen the essentials: the move date, where you’re going, and why. It may help to go online and show them the new city, fun things to do, their new school and their new neighborhood.
Above all, speak openly and honestly about the upcoming relocation and encourage your teen to be open with their feelings. By keeping them in the loop, you are showing them that they are an integral part of the family and deserve to know all the details.
Ask About Their Preferences
Keeping your teen’s opinions and preferences about where to move or which house to buy can be empowering. Of course, it’s ultimately your decision where and when you move, but this will help them to know you hear them and value their opinion. Don’t keep them out of the decision-making process. But at the same time, don’t rush them into anything. It will take some time for them to adjust to the idea and for the dust to settle. Just point them in the right direction in terms of resources and they will eventually accept it and perhaps do some research on their own.
Show Excitement About the Move
As the parent, you may not have had a choice in the move. Perhaps it is for a job relocation or due to divorce. This may leave you having just as hard a time as your teen about moving. After all, it’s stressful for adults to uproot themselves too. Nonetheless, put on a brave face, show excitement about the move and put a positive spin on things. If they see you are upset and teary about the move, too, they may think they can sway you into staying. Instead, instill confidence in your teen, tell them all about the good things that the move represents, such as new opportunities and the benefits of a fresh start.
Avoid bribing your teen with electronics or clothing to get them on board. Instead, try and create positive experiences associated with the move. Have a picnic on the living room floor right when you move in, get their favorite takeout, have a movie night or something else that will mark this time as special.
Make Plans to Go Back
Your teens will be missing their friends dearly. Before you even leave the old home, schedule a visit back to their home town for a day trip or a long weekend. This will take the sting out of that initial goodbye.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Give your teen plenty of time to mentally prepare themselves for such a big change. Again, in keeping with the positives, let them know they’ll finally have their own room, or a much bigger room, their own bathroom, or a game room for all their friends to hang out in. Perhaps you’ll have a pool at the new home, something they never had before. Maybe there’s a family next door with teens the same age, or maybe your new home is located super close to the mall or a movie theater. Whatever it is, tell them well ahead of time and give them a chance to see the silver lining.
Don’t Rush Things
Hopefully, you will have a couple of months between telling them the news and the actual move. Don’t rush the process. Take your time packing. Give them time to weed through their own belongings and decide what to keep, sell or toss. Let them sell items that are still in good condition online, so they get a bit of cash for themselves.
Don’t force your teen to part with items that are sentimental, even if it makes no sense to you. They may even regress a little bit and want to hang onto a favorite stuffed animal from childhood. Let them. They will want to start their new life surrounded by familiar possessions, even if you consider some of it to be junk.
Give them time to adapt to the new place. If you live close enough to the new house and have already closed on it, consider setting up your teen’s bedroom before moving day. Let her decorate her own room, or give him free reign in the basement to set up his gaming station.
Validate Their Feelings
Above all, it’s important not to diminish their feelings of sadness, anger or melancholy. It’s overwhelming for anyone when faced with a move, but with teens, the challenge is compounded. Don’t discount their concerns. Embrace them, encourage conversation, and let them see that you too are having a hard time.
Contact Luke’s Moving Services
Moving with teens? We can ease the burden. For a free moving quote on your next move, contact us in Hurst TX at 817-752-9789.