It can be difficult to be a teen. You are acquiring information at a startling rate, and sometimes you even notice that you are smarter, quicker to grasp concepts, and more knowledgeable than adults around you.
All the same, you’re still a child, and regarded as such. Because of that, you’re subject to the commands and changes of your parents. Nowhere is this more evident than during a move. We move for all kinds of reasons, from the desire to be closer to extended family and friends, to relocation for a more successful job. While many of the benefits of moving are thoroughly thought out, it’s important to remember the emotional upheaval that comes with a move.
Why Is It So Difficult?
As adults, it’s easier to adjust to a new place. However, teens have a few things working against them. For example:
- Teens need peer approval: An important transition happens during the teen years, wherein the social center of someone’s life moves away from the home and out into the world of friends and peers. Teenagers try out new identities, new methods of interaction, and new ways of understanding themselves through relationships with other teens. Because of this, it can make a move even more traumatic than it would during, say, late childhood.
- School pressure: The pressure to succeed in school is greater today than ever before. Many teenagers report high levels of anxiety and depression because of worries about the future. Transferring to a new school often comes with something of a shakeup in academics. Adjusting to a new school’s pace, and a new course load, can set some students back for a while.
- Lack of exposure: While teens may sometimes act and talk like adults, it’s important to remember that they’re still in the process of acquiring important life experience. Therefore, it can be very difficult to leave a home that is all they’ve ever known. The smallest anxieties can be magnified. Re-learning all the small businesses of life and adjusting them to a new locale carries a huge burden of stress, no matter how positive-minded a teen is. It’s important for parents to understand that a move can bring some hard things with it.
Now, having said that, there are also amazingly positive things that can come into a teen’s life because of a move. Sometimes it encourages better closeness with family members. Sometimes it opens up possibilities and new interests. Often, it teaches individuals to be flexible and open themselves to new people and experiences. In fact, some teens welcome a move as a chance to redefine who they are.
What Can Parents Do?
Here are some ideas to help your teen adjust to a new place:
- Give your teen time for some growing pains.
- Stay closely involved in teacher reports, about both academics and socialization.
- Enable them to stay in contact with old friends. Sometimes these high school friends really will be with them forever. On the other hand, those attachments will still make room for new friends in their new home. Don’t worry about it too much.
- Give them a safe space at home, where they know that they are accepted and loved. They might not seem to appreciate it as much at the moment, but it’s essential to their feelings of stability and confidence.