Here’s how to help your teenager survive a family move.
What every parent needs to know about teens, moving and survival:
- Recognize the hardship perceived by your teen. Realize the seriousness of your teen’s thoughts and feelings. Leaving friends may seem an unbearable tragedy. Moving may seem to take control of their lives out of their hands.
- Listen and talk. Answer all the "why’s". Meet anger with as much calm understanding as possible – try some humor, despite the stress you’re under too. Emphasize "We’re in this together."
- Include your teen in resettling plans. If possible, let your teen come with you on home finding expeditions. The house choice may focus in part on a school that best meets your teen’s interests. Tour schools, parks, social and athletic centers, shopping malls, and libraries. Turn the Great Unknown into the Great New Beginning.
- Re-establish key connections before moving. Armed with information from brochures, newspapers, schools, etc. , encourage your teens to find new contacts for their interests before moving day. Help an ice skater find a new rink. Help a musician find a new teacher. Follow up leads to other young people who share your teen’s interest.
- Make the school transition as smooth as possible. Before moving, contact the new school for accurate information on transfer of credits, timing of registration, deadlines for joining team sports or dramatic, music or dance groups.
- Consider the timing of your move. There are pros and cons to both mid-school year moves and vacation moves. Moving during summer vacation is most common. It allows teens to finish the academic year without needing to adapt to a different curriculum mid-year. The downside of a summer is the summer itself-long, possibly lonely months spent missing friends and dreading the first day of school. School-year moving has special advantages. An early fall move allows teens to make new friends quickly, before solid cliques have formed. Experts find new kids are often a welcome "novelty" during the spring and friendships can grow. This may make summer holidays much more enjoyable.