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Moving is difficult and stressful for everyone, but it can affect teenagers perhaps the most. Your young adult spends most of his/her time making friends, interacting with those friends, and establishing their social rank. Any move to a new location is going to be seen as something that forces them into doing a lot of hard work all over again.
Everything seems to be changing in the life of a teen. The one thing they thought they could be relied on, perhaps, was ‘home.’ But when even this changes, it can be devastating to them. However, by first understanding what your teen is likely to feel and then discovering some helpful tips, it is possible to have a smiling and outgoing young adult again in no time.
Understanding Your Teen
Books have been written about this topic, but the bottom line is that everything seems confusing during your teenage years. The main pressure is to fit in and their main identity is to their friends and social life, which now seems to be taken away from them. It is a loss of control, ultimately, that causes the grief and possible moodiness.
Then again, there are also physical changes happening. Hormones are flowing and mood swings are common. Expect that your little angel may go from feeling excited about a possible move to hopeless and depressed—and all within just minutes.
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Tips For Helping
- Plenty of time to adjust:
The one thing you don’t want to do is tell them you are moving just a few days ahead of time. In fact, the more lead time you can give them, the better. This will help him or her to accept the idea, prepare for it, and then be able to say goodbye bye to friends, their school, and all that has become familiar.
- Listen to them:
One of the most important things you, as the parent or caregiver, can do is to keep yourself open and non-judgmental. Listen to them and validate their feelings and concerns. Tell them you understand and express empathy; showing and sharing some of your own concerns may also be a big help. This can let them realize they are not alone.
- Get the involved in the process:
Another great idea is to show your teenager that you value their opinion. Not only will this make them feel valued, but also more mature. Let them choose their bedroom, help to pick out things to go in their room, maybe even take them house shopping with you.
- Explain the benefits:
Obviously, there are some good reasons for making this move. Share these reasons with your teenager. Make sure to emphasize the good points of the new house, neighborhood, school, etc… in a way which will appeal to them (strong athletics program, great new mall…).
You can also always make plans for a return visit to your old town or neighborhood. This will help to feel like it is not such a complete break from the past.