How to help teenagers during the moving process
Teenagers tend to get overlooked when it comes to house moves. It is a time of such stress and close focus on organisation, that we tend to forget what a difficult time it may be for our teens, who are already in an awkward phase of life. Here are some things to bear in mind about your teenager, when it comes to moving house, and ways in which you could help them through the process.
Let Them Help In Decision-making
As your teenager is going to be living in the new house, it makes sense to take their opinion about it on board. Take them with you on viewings, and try to engage them in the process. Listen to their opinions and feelings about the houses you view. It helps to explain to them the important criteria that need to be considered when buying a house. So, discuss the need for storage, aspect, location, space, refurbishment costs as considerations. It is not just about which bedroom they want. This will help them feel as if they are being treated as an adult, and may help them to feel some ‘ownership’ of the moving process and new home.
Put yourself in your teen’s position, and imagine yourself having to give up all your friends and school community at that age. Friends are hugely important to teenagers, and this is a legitimate developmental stage. Never underestimate the importance of friends in your teenager’s life.
Exploring the area is one way of making the move seem more attractive. Look things up ahead of time, and make a day out of it if you can. Look at local sports facilities, cinemas, clubs, pubs and recreational activities. Have lunch out in a local cafe to help them relax and imagine hanging out with their mates there. See if there is a local skate park if your teenager is into skateboarding. Have a good poke around the shops, if that is something they enjoy doing. Assess what their needs are, and how they can be addressed locally. If it helps for them to imagine inviting their friends over to explore, then so much the better. They will soon have new, local friends to explore with too.
Sadness and Moving On
Moving away from friends during teen years can be extremely difficult to cope with. Expect your child to feel emotions of grief, resentment, anger, loneliness and isolation as they come to terms with this life change. If there is any way you can time the move to coincide with a new term at their new school, it may be helpful. Moving at the beginning of school holidays will mean many weeks with no distractions. Starting school means they will soon have new friends who will make them feel like they belong. If there are friends around, then most teenagers are happier.
Be really sensitive to your relocating teenager. Their emotions run much deeper than most parents realise, and it really may be a stressful time for them. Many teenagers thrive on a move however, so hopefully it may just be a matter of time before things brighten up.