“Hi, honey! I just got a promotion and we’re moving across the country!” How would you react if your spouse suddenly sprang this news on you? Let’s face it, most of us probably wouldn’t respond well at being asked to leave our job, friends and home—with no advance warning. We might be angry that the decision was made without any discussion together beforehand. Why would we think teens would react any differently?
Oftentimes, we make major life decisions without bringing our children into the early discussions, announcing the decision when it’s already been made. This gives them little room for input, making them feel resistant and powerless.
If you are considering a move, get more “You rock!” and less “You’re ruining my life” by bringing your teens and older children in on the discussion early on. If you end up relocating, they’ll feel that they had some input and control in the decision, which could make a world of difference.
Some tips on including your kids in the discussion:
- Try to put yourself in your kids’ shoes and actively listen to their concerns.
- Have them write their own pros and cons list. (They probably have some valid points.)
- Have them research schools and neighborhoods. (They’ll have a sense of ownership in the decision.)
- Organize a preview trip to your new city with your kids. (Let them be part of the new home/new school decision.)
- Make a game of who can find the coolest new thing to do your new location.
Once you’re in the process of moving, these five additional tips will help everyone:
- Contact the local Internet service provider to have Internet connection up and running before move-in day, if possible. (This is as equally important for you as it is for your teens.) If you wait until you arrive, it may be several days before service can be connected.
- Let the kids make decisions on the color, layout and décor of their room. (Self-expression is so important for a teenager.)
- Even though you’re busy settling in, make sure you take time to enjoy the “cool stuff” the kids researched. Fun times together will help your family settle in quicker.
- Enroll them in activities where they can meet other kids with similar interests, like soccer, photography, game design, acting classes … whatever interests they have.
- Start a piggy bank with spare change to save up for a best-friend visit.
The more involved they are in the decision and process, the more likely everyone is to make a successful transition.