Moving with a Teenager

By Staff

Teenagers have a full time job just coping with being a teenager. Adding the stress of moving to the mix can be overwhelming for a young adult. Teenagers are navigating through a complicated time of physical and emotional changes. They will be hesitant to move away from the sense of security their home and friends provide. At this point your children will have made strong friendships, so be gentle with them when discussing moving and the changes that this will mean for them. This begins by communicating, getting them involved and understanding how difficult this is for them.

Tips for helping teens cope with moving:

Communication: Explain to your teen why you are moving and what the benefits are to the family - whether that be a new job or a bigger house - if you clearly state why you are moving your teen will have a better understanding of the changes.

Involvement: Keep your teens involved by helping you with simple moving tasks - like locating a moving company or packing. You should also ask them to do some research on the new city and report the findings back to you. Encourage them to find out about clubs or groups that share similar hobbies and interests.

Empathy: Let your children know that you understand the inner turmoil they are going through. No matter how stressful the move is for you, make sure you have time for them. You should never be too busy for your teen during this time.

Choices: If you can, give your teen a choice on when to move. Some prefer a move during the holidays so they can start the next term fresh in the new school. Others prefer to move mid-term so that they can immediately begin a school routine. Giving your teens a choice will help them feel in control of their lives and the move.

Goodbyes: Encourage your children to say goodbye to their friends. They may not want to because they think it will make it worse, but saying goodbye and having closure is a very healthy process. You should also encourage them to get phone numbers and email addresses of their friends so that they can stay in touch after the move.

Plan a trip: After the move you might want to plan a trip back to the old city. You could also bring some of your teenager’s old friends to stay with you for a vacation. Looking forward to these things could make the transition easier for your teen.

Most teenagers will go through patterns of complaining when they hear of the impending move. This is normal and it will be important to be patient with them. Unfortunately, some teenagers will flat out refuse to move. If you have a teen that does not wish to move, it is very important that you talk with your teen to understand why. Teens often have very valid reasons, such as finishing out the school year, graduating with their class, or staying with an athletic team. They may also have a course that they wish to continue or they may simply want to remain with friends.