How to Help Teens Cope with Moving
Most people think that moving is most difficult on little children. In reality though, it is usually harder when teens are involved. While kids do need a lot of explaining and soothing in order for them to understand, teens are a whole different story. In most cases, they do understand the reasons for the move. But the thing is, they don’t really care about those reasons or are too stubborn to let their personal issues go. In short, teens have their own minds set. It doesn’t help that they’re at a very emotional stage in their lives either.
It’s Doubly Hard for a Single Mother
Let me give you an example. Annie is a 15 year-old highschool student who had a handful of good friends. She wasn’t a trouble student in school nor was she an achiever. All in all, she was an only child but an overall good kid. One day, she heard her mom and dad fighting and overheard that they will be getting a divorce soon and that she and her mother would soon be moving out. Unable to grasp the situation, Annie locked herself up in her room crying. She refused to go to school for a week and went straight to her room after meals. When her mom did try to explain in rush, they only ended up screaming at each other. Basically, her mother who was also distraught by the situation just let Annie handle herself. After a while, the mother realized that Annie doesn’t grasp the entire situation and that she really needed to explain…
Eventually Annie found out that her dad was having an affair and that the other woman is pregnant. The mom told her about her heartaches, the lies, and all of the pain that her father has caused them through the years. The mother broke down crying and Annie then understood. They really did have to move. For her mother’s sake and for her own too. They both needed to heal and get away from the hurt.
Had the mother told her everything from the start then Annie wouldn’t have had to spend all that time feeling that she was being punished or tortured by the thought of moving. She actually felt guilty for adding to her mother’s worries.
Tips to Help Teens Cope:
If anything in the story above sounds familiar, then you definitely have to do things differently. To help you in dealing with your emotional teen, here are some things that you can try doing:
- The first thing you should do is to calmly and clearly explain what’s going on. Honesty is always the best policy and with teens, lying will only hurt them twice as hard. Do a heart-to-heart conversation with them.
- Don’t underestimate them, talk down to them or treat them like little children. This just sets them off more than anything. Teenagers want to feel like they’re being treated as adults and you have to indulge them so you can both talk rationally. And in a way, they do deserve truth and respect. They may be able to handle more than you think they can.
- If you’re still in the preparation stages, keep the teen involved in the decision-making. Bring them along when you’re apartment hunting or house hunting. Give them a say in some major decisions, or at least take time to hear them out. This way they will feel important and considered.
- If possible, let them choose which room they’re going to get. Otherwise, make the prospect of a new room exciting. Tell your teen that he or she can decide however they want to decorate it. This will make the whole idea exciting and interesting for them.
- Ask them to do research for you. Let them help you out with researching the new city or town. That way, they can discover for themselves, how great your new home will be. This will also make them feel like you’re relying on them for the important information. You can ask them to find good restaurants, malls, or parks in the area. This can be a good way for them to see that it’s not going to be so bad after all. Getting to know your new place will also boost their confidence and crush their fears.
- Buy them an address book or scrapbook. This is where their friends, teachers and other connections can write down their mobile numbers, email addresses and other contact details. This way, they won’t feel like you’re cutting them away from their past life.
- Ask your teen how he or she would like to say goodbye to their friends. Would they like a party or weekend get-together? Or would they prefer a simple dinner over pizza and movies? Let them decide and give them the opportunity to properly say their goodbyes.
- Convince them that with today’s technology there really are no goodbyes. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype, Viber, iMessage, and numerous other website or apps are there at their disposal. Let them know that their friends will always be just a chat or message away.
Going back to the story above, Annie and her mom eventually became a strong tandem. They helped each other in preparing for the move and they gave each other the support that they both needed.
What’s important is that your teen feels that you are aware of their feelings too. Let them know that they are as much a part of this as you are. And above all else, just be patient. Your teen may lash out initially, but after some time, and a lot of sincere conversations, they will accept things eventually.