No matter what the particular issue is, dealing with teenagers is always a challenge. Angry retorts, slammed doors, vows of silence, and even threats to move out are common reactions among teens whenever things don’t go according to their plans or wishes, as well as every time you raise a sensitive topic or try lecturing them. So, unless your teen child is miserable with the way things currently stand in their life, you can’t expect them to welcome the news of an imminent residential move with a happy smile. The mere thought of leaving their comfort zones, parting with good friends, establishing new relationships, and fitting in with a new school and a new social circle will be quite upsetting and frightening for them. Moving house is quite a stressful experience for anyone involved, but it may seem like an apocalypse to vulnerable adolescents. So, you need to harness all your resourcefulness, patience, negotiation skills, and motivational power in order to help your child cope with moving anxiety and accept the forthcoming changes in a positive way. The following effective tips for moving house with a teenager may help you in your mission to reduce the stress, calm your son or daughter’s fears, arouse their enthusiasm and get them actively involved in the moving process.
How to prepare your teenage child for moving house
In order to avoid great emotional turmoil and major battles at home, you need to find an appropriate moment and an appropriate way to break the big news to your son or daughter.
Talk with your teen
Although your son or daughter may not have yet completely formed their identity, they already have sufficient life experience and knowledge of the world to analyze a certain problem, find an efficient solution and make an informed decision. Besides, their opinions and points of view may not be always well grounded or correct but they still deserve consideration and respect.
So, as soon as your move becomes a certain fact, you need to inform your teenage child about the upcoming changes and to discuss all the aspects of the moving process together. Have in mind that the sooner your son or daughter learns about the relocation, the more time they will have to accept it and take care of all the little (and big) things that matter to them before Moving day comes. Otherwise, your child may assume that you are deliberately waiting until the last moment to announce the move so that they can’t do anything about it.
Talk openly with your teen and explain the reasons that necessitate your move. Then, focus on all the positive aspects of the relocation and try to spark your young one’s interest in the new area, the new opportunities, and the new adventures that are waiting for you after the move. Explore together what your new city has to offer – entertainment options, cultural life, sports events, academic facilities, green areas, anything that your child might be interested in. Last but not least, discuss the different stages of the moving process and make your child understand that you need their help and support more than ever during this transitional period.
Encourage questions and discussions not only during the initial conversation but whenever the opportunity arises, tactfully ask about any fears, worries and concerns your teen may have and do your best to ease the moving anxieties, but above all – let your child know that their opinion matters and you respect their feelings and wishes.
If your child gets really upset by the news and refuses to cooperate or listen to solid reasoning and logical conclusions, don’t force it – back off and allow for some time until your son or daughter processes the information and calms down. Then, harness your negotiation skills and try to win your teen on your side – fulfill some of their meaningful requests; make kind gestures of appreciation, support, and unconditional love; promise more freedom after the relocation, or cool new items for their new room; whatever will work in your case. Your ultimate goal is to excite your teen about your new life, so that they no longer resist the idea of moving to a new place.
Engage your child in the moving preparations
Children love it when their opinions are taken into account – this approach helps adolescents become more reasonable and more trustworthy. When teenagers can feel that they are trusted, relied on, and listened to, they gain self-confidence and do their best to prove how mature they have become. So, when you start preparing for the big move, consult your teen about everything that directly concerns them:
- Choose an appropriate moving date. If you have the liberty to choose the time-period of your move, decide together on a moving date that will be beneficial for your child – will it be easier for your teen to move during the summer break in order to have enough time to get accustomed to the new surroundings before the start of the next academic year, or will it be better to move to the new city midterm so that the young one can immediately meet peers and jump right into the school routine, speeding up the adaptation process;
- Create a floor plan of your new home. Your child should have the final say about the arrangement and decoration of their new room, of course. But you can go beyond that – your young one will certainly enjoy creating a detailed digital floor plan of the entire home, for example (under your specific instructions as to the type and location of major furnishing, of course). Also, you can entrust them with the complicated task of making a moving inventory – your teen will be proud and happy as it will be a recognition of their excellent computer skills and will provide them the opportunity to go through all the items of the house and collect precious memories;
- Pack up your household together. Packing may be fun when all the family members participate in the process and, besides, it will provide you with extra time to discuss things with your child and will definitely speed up your moving preparations;
- Assign your teen meaningful projects to complete and special missions to accomplish. This way, they will feel that they have contributed considerably to the move and will get more enthusiastic about it. Finding useful information about your new city, for example, is a good project to begin with.
SEE ALSO: How to move with a school-aged child
Don’t forget to retrieve the medical and school records of your teenage child, as well as to take care of any other relevant documentation (birth certificates, driving licenses, etc.)
Organize proper good-byes
Saying proper good-byes to everyone and everything that will be left behind is essential for moving on with your life and turning your energy to the new start ahead of you. So, find a way to help your teen say farewells to all the people and places that matter to them.
- Take your child to all the special locations associated with happy memories from their childhood and let them spend some long private moments in your beloved surroundings;
- Allow enough time for your son or daughter to enjoy the activities they used to revel in together with close friends one last time;
- Organize a big farewell party at your home or a slumber party for a couple of really close friends;
- Organize a camping trip for the weekend or any other similar event that will allow your teen to spend a couple of days in the company of their buddies;
- Help your teen make small meaningful gifts for their friends, prepare a coded map to your new place, find funny pictures from past get-togethers, whatever will make them laugh and help preserve the memories.
Remind your son or daughter that they will be able to stay in touch with their friends after the relocation –post-cards and letters, e-mails and digital messages, phone calls and video calls are all viable options your teen can take advantage of. It is also a good idea to plan a return visit with your child back to your old city within the next few months so that they can see their good friends again. And remember – your teen will certainly find new friends – maybe even friends for life – in your new city.
Bonus tips for moving with a teenager
1) When Moving day comes, be careful to ensure the safety of your not-so-grown-up son or daughter;
2) Plan the trip to your new home in a way that will relieve the stress and will help you bond with your child even more – discuss some exciting things to do as soon as you get to your new home, visit local attractions and places of interest along the road, play family games, and so on;
3) If your teenager is in their last year in high school, consider leaving them with relatives or trusted friends in your current city until graduation. This way, your son or daughter will be able to graduate with their good friends and rejoin you later. Besides, making all the efforts to adapt to a new school just several months before graduation is not worth it;
4) If your son or daughter is in a serious romantic relationship, you need to convince them that the distance will give them a chance to prove their love and decide what to do next;
5) Dedicate enough time and loving care to your teenager after the relocation to help them restore their sense of security and show them that you’ll be there for them whatever happens;
6) Use the radical change in your life as an opportunity to improve your relationship with your teen son or daughter and regain their trust;
7) Help your teenager adapt quickly and easily to the new environment by encouraging them to practice thrilling new activities – sports, drama classes, music classes, art classes, new hobbies, etc.;
8) Be watchful for any signs of relocation depression and use clever tricks to help your use clever tricks to help your young one overcome it and brave the unfamiliar with self-confidence, resoluteness, high spirits and hopes for a better future!