At Headington Carriers, we appreciate that moving with a family can be an added pressure to think about. Last month we looked at what can help the process when you move with a young family (Read the Top 10 tips for moving with a young family here). This month we are going to look at Teenagers and how to support them during the often stressful upheaval.
Teenagers have the additional pressure of going through changes in their normal life, so add on a move and it can be tricky. This may often involve taking them away from school and friends that are part of their support system and can cause them to feel very unsettled.
So what can help your teenagers with moving house?
Encourage your teenagers to talk openly
Remember it’s ok to feel sad, especially during a period of change, and helping your teens appreciate that will help them process the feelings they are going through. You can help them to approach the subject by bringing it up with them, rather than trying to ignore it. Be honest about why you decided to move and how you think it will benefit the family. However make sure to acknowledge that there are tough parts of change, addressing this honestly can help your teens feel heard and understood.
It can be easy to start a conversation, but do it in an environment where you can give them your full attention and make sure you are listening. Make eye contact, and importantly don’t interrupt even if you do not agree with what they are expressing.
By taking the time to listen you show them their feelings are valid and it will encourage them to talk to you again in the future.
While being realistic that the move may be difficult for them, also encourage your teenagers by speaking about the benefits of a fresh start. Are there areas that they wish could change? Would they like to be involved with a new friend group, or hobby or maybe explore a part of their personality that they haven’t had a chance yet?
The new move may open up some new opportunities that they haven’t yet thought about. As Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”.
Involve them in the process
With older children and teenagers it can help them to take responsibility for various parts of the process. Things like choosing how they decorate their room, getting them involved in garden or family room design, researching fun things to do in the area on the internet, or looking for the first takeaway that you will eat can all get them involved and feel like they have control over a part of the process.
Try to be organised with packing
It can often take longer than you think to pack and sort your belongs and that goes for your teen too. You could encourage them to use this opportunity for a sort-out. Do they have any clothes or items that they no longer use or feel too old for? Have a roundup and then donate it to the local charity shop.
Have a leaving party
Having a form of closure is important for everyone, especially teenagers. Having a party can encourage goodbyes in a happy environment and give space for celebrating the friendships they have already put effort into developing. Let them invite who they would like, and keep the atmosphere light with music and food.
Make sure to keep in touch
A move, even a long-haul one, doesn’t have to mean the end of your teens’ friendships. You can go a long way in encouraging them to stay connected, especially as they settle into their new routine. This is now a lot easier with social media, but could you help them to visit face to face? Planning a meet-up will help remind them that they are not cut off from their old life, and there is space for it even after they move.
If your teen is struggling with feelings of loneliness after you move, see the Mind article here for some good advice.
Try to have a plan for food and rest during the move day
Moving day can be tiring and stressful for the whole family, so try to make a plan before the actual day rolls around for regular rests and more importantly food. Taking these breaks will help everyone to keep their energy up, and mood positive. This is the time to call in the favours and ask friends and family to bring you over meals during the day.
Have an “open me first” box
Having some of your favourite items ready when you arrive at the new house can help when you feel homesick. Get your teen to pack an “open me first” box or bag, so that they have the most important things to hand and are not having to search for them when they arrive. You could get them to include photos, or any sentimental items like toys, and bedding.
Look after yourself
It can be difficult to keep your cool when your teenager is distressed and showing this through anger, self-centredness or retreating into themselves. Supporting them can be quite draining, so make sure that you are taking time for yourself. Doing this helps the whole family as you will be less stressed and able to fulfill your caregiver role more joyfully.
If you would like some help and support through your move then please get in touch with us at Headington Carriers today: +44 (0)1993 811 276 or (0)1865 311 000 / email@example.com