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Moving with Teenagers

Moving is stressful for everyone in the household for different reasons. You may be overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done in addition to daily activities. But your teenager may be dealing with anger or fear over leaving familiar surroundings for the unknown. Whether you’re moving across the country or to a different neighborhood in the same town, your teenager’s sense of balance will be shaken, so be prepared.

According to Teenlifeline.org, teens may have more problems adjusting to a move due to developmental reasons. Transitioning from childhood to adulthood “involves changes in personality, as well as in physical, intellectual, and social development.” As part of the process of discovering who they are and who they want to be, teens rely more heavily on their peer group for answers while rejecting the traditions, beliefs, or standards of parents and other adults. It’s crucial that you understand your teenager’s need to feel connected – away from the disconnections that occur with a move.

What can you do to make moving easier for your teenager and you? You can reduce stress by listening to their concerns, finding solutions together, and inviting them to join in the moving process.

Let them know early. Let your family know a move is coming before you go home-shopping or put your home up for sale. Teens will be upset by moving away from friends, activities and familiar surroundings, so it’s best to give them time to get used to the idea. Wait until they’re no longer upset to share more information about the move.

Let them know the reasons why. Sometimes, moving is inevitable; other times, it’s a lifestyle choice. You may be transferred for your job, dealing with the loss or departure of a spouse, or simply want to improve your lifestyle and the environment for raising your kids with a better home, neighborhood and school.

Let them vent.  Teens can feel powerless, so let them voice their feelings of anger, fear, and sadness. Agree that it’s going to be challenging for everyone in the household and that you’ll do your best to help them make the transition as easy as possible. Don’t try to muffle their feelings by rushing them to cheer up. It will only make them feel frustrated.

Let them make choices. As you shop for homes online, let them look alongside you. Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional will show you the company’s website with homes for sale, school and neighborhood information, and interesting statistics about your new area. Find amenities with Waze or Google Maps on your laptop or phone.

Let them contribute. When you’ve narrowed the selection, take your teen with you to see the top three contenders. Being able to choose a bedroom or have a vote in which home to buy will help them with the adjustment. Take them to the school they’ll be attending and show them where you’ll be working. Take them to meet people you may already know in your new community.

Let them know what’s good.  Your new residence may offer wonderful opportunities such as being closer to grandparents or other families, a new job that allows you to work from home and be more available to your family, or better amenities and schools for your teenager to pursue their interests. 

Let them know that nothing’s permanent.  Even their unhappiness isn’t going to last. They’ll adjust and make their new life as good as they want it to be. In just a few years, they’ll be choosing where to go to college or trade school and may move away in order to pursue their goals.