While you’re so thrilled to be moving, your teen isn’t yet on board. In his or her mind, this isn’t a good time. Your child is busy, striving to forge an identity, be accepted by peers, and transition into young adulthood. Though relocating isn’t part of your teen’s plan, you can help your child change gears. Here’s how to make moving easier for your teen.
1. Validate Your Child’s Reservations
Empathize with your child by putting yourself in his or her shoes. From a teen’s perspective, the move may only represent loss and painful change. Envision what’s ahead for your teen: leaving friends, school, favorite hangouts, and vested interests behind. The prospect of losing what’s most familiar is bound to make a teen resistant.
To invite conversation about the objections, share the challenges you’re facing by moving, then ask what troubles your teen most about relocating. By acknowledging your child’s complaints, you’re showing support. Plus, knowing you genuinely care about his or her concerns paves the way for cooperation.
2. Discuss the Pluses of Moving
Explain how your new home and location will be better for your child. Perhaps his or her room will be larger, or the family can now have a pet. Maybe the new school offers more electives or subjects of special interest to your teen.
Highlight the fact that San Diego has so many cool places to see. For example, there’s SeaWorld and its water park, pristine beaches, awesome museums at Balboa Park, whale-watching cruises, and exciting professional baseball at Petco Park.
Next, sit with your teen at the computer and research your prospective neighborhood. Gather exciting details about the area, such as a local recreation center, unique shops, and eateries. If you’re moving to a condo in downtown San Diego, ask your condo association for recommendations about safe places in the neighborhood where teens like to gather. If feasible, visit the new community in advance of moving. Arrange a school tour and ask about the clubs, teams, and after-school programs available.
Shining a positive light on what’s ahead gives your teen fun things to anticipate. Additionally, the more your child knows about the area, the less scary it will seem.
3. Involve Your Teen in Planning and Preparation
Including your son or daughter in decision-making shows you value your child’s input. It also sparks enthusiasm. Offering choices provides a sense of control and independence. Let your teen choose the paint color for his or her new room. Ask for ideas on furniture arrangement and how to decorate the house.
While paring down possessions, ask for your teen’s thoughts on what to keep, discard, and give away. If you’re holding a yard sale, enlist your child’s help in organization and setup, such as posting flyers and displaying items.
When packing, give your teen significant jobs, such as wrapping fragile objects and writing box labels. For every contribution your child makes, show genuine appreciation.
4. Ease Saying Goodbye and Staying Connected
Hold a “See You Later” event. Ask your child for the setting he or she would like, such as a pizza party or sleepover. Whatever context your teen chooses, include making a scrapbook with the guests among the activities. Such a keepsake will commemorate your child’s close relationships and promote feelings of security.
To prepare, take your teen to a craft store for supplies. Together, choose an album, refill pages, fine-tipped scissors, permanent markers, a paper trimmer, cardstock, patterned papers, acid-free adhesive, and magazines. For embellishments, buy stickers, sequins, brads, and pre-inked rubber stamps.
Next, assemble any photos you already have of your child and guests at shared events. Also, bring an instant camera to the gathering to add candid photos to the album. At the party, ask each attendee to create a scrapbook page that includes his or her home address, phone number, email address, and birthday. This way, your child can keep in touch.
Send each person home with a token gift by which to remember your teen. After the party, have your child present the scrapbook to other people he or she loves, such as teachers, coaches, and extended family. The addition of the warm sentiments will make the album complete.
5. Establish Roots in Your New Community
Once you’ve moved, maintain your normal daily routines to provide a sense of stability. At your first opportunity, register your child for school. Even if you move during the summer, enroll early, giving your teen a chance to complete assigned reading or projects. Find out if the school offers a club, camp, or team your child can join to make friends before the semester starts.
Also, ask the administrative secretary if the school has a peer mentor program. In some high schools, upperclassmen befriend new students, guiding them to classrooms and giving support. If mentoring is provided, obtain student contact information and urge your teen to reach out. If there are no student guides, inquire about orientation classes.
Next, encourage your child to get involved in the community and make new connections. Options include checking out a local service organization, youth group, sports team, or animal shelter. Once your teen has some pals, invite them over to hang out.
Meanwhile, stay alert for signs of maladjustment in your teen, including hibernating in the bedroom, falling grades, and changes in eating and sleeping patterns. If you’re concerned, seek professional counseling, either from the school staff or a private counselor.