Living with a teenager is trying at the best of times, but it can be an absolute nightmare when you're moving. With hormones raging, teenagers dealing with the thought of leaving their friends, their home, and their life can be overwhelming. It won't be easy, but armed with these handy tips, you can help your teen through the move with minimal tears.
1. Talk things through
"Because I said so" doesn't work with teenagers. Instead, sit down with them and talk about what lies ahead. Explain why you're moving, the benefits of the move, and what you've done to make the transition easier. This might include researching local schools and extra-curricular programs and speaking to your teen's future teachers. Encourage your teen to ask questions about anything that's unclear or causing anxiety.
2. Encourage Self-Expression
It’s normal for a teenager to complain about moving interstate or internationally. Attempting to silence your child's voice may only make the problem worse. Instead, encourage your teen to express her feelings. She might like to keep a diary or an online blog. Blogs are great because they can help your teen release emotional stress and stay connected to friends and family she's leaving behind.
Parents should monitor their teen's internet use, but services like Facebook and Skype can help close the distance. Encourage your teen to video chat with friends back home and post photos of her new neighbourhood. Talk to your teen about changing privacy settings to "friends only" to ensure posts are only seen by trusted people.
3. Get Them Involved
Your teen can regain a little control if she's involved in the move. Get her to pack her own room so she can feel confident that her precious possessions will be kept safe, and nothing will be left behind. Take your teen to house inspections and get her input on potential properties. Being physically involved will help prepare your teen mentally for the move.
4. Have a Going Away Party
Image credit: Kristin_a via Flickr
A going away party lets all the members of your family close one chapter of their life and mentally prepare for the one ahead. Make sure your teen's closest friends are all invited to the event so they can say a proper goodbye. It could be as low key as a BBQ lunch at home or at a favourite restaurant you know your teen will miss. Get your child involved in the preparations so she enjoys the celebration.
5. Try Not to Close the Door on Home
If it's at all possible, try not to close the door on the place your teen has called home. Knowing that she can return during the school holidays or on a weekend will make it much easier to leave. This may be difficult if you're moving to a faraway state or overseas, but it is worth making the effort. Try to make concrete plans for a family holiday or for an older teen to travel independently to stay with friends.
Adding a teenager to the mix can make moving house even more stressful, but patience and these tips will help you survive this trying period.