5 Tips for Moving With A Teenager

Recently, I moved from my parent’s house to my own apartment—woohoo!  Moving was hard! It was so much work and I really wanted to do it.  I also get a lot of emails from people like:

“I am moving across the country and my 16 year-old son is freaking out, what do I do?”
Yes, moving was hard for me, I couldn’t imagine doing it with a 16 year-old version of me.  If you are thinking about making a big move, keep these ideas in mind:

1) Tell Them Early

I hear a lot of parents debate whether or not to tell their kids when they know the are going to move or waiting until it gets closer.  I understand this argument—you do not want to worry them, make them se their friends differently, deal with three more months of fighting.  But, saying to them, “I want you to know about this so I am telling you earlier than I had planned” can make them appreciate you giving them advance notice.

2) Give Them Lots of Information

Maybe this is because I am a worrier, but the more information I know the better—and the less anxious I am.  Tell them as much as you know and offer to get any information they need to feel more calm.  Also try to get information on you know what matters to them (no matter how small)–is there a local pool, how close is Starbucks, is there a swim team at the local high school, etc.

3) Let Them Control

Put them in charge of something so they feel less like a dog being taken through security in a cargo cage and more like one of the captains.  This also can take down anxiety and get them more excited.  Have them get gym memberships for the family, research local orthodontists or plan the fun places to visit as you drive your stuff across country.

4) Ask For Input

I cannot stress this one enough: “What do you think of ____” “Do you think it is a good idea if ____” “I am not sure what to do, what would you do if _____.”  This is not only good to teach your teen how to think, but also to make them feel like they are being heard and included.

5) Offer to Make It Easier

When you tell them, let them freak out.  Do not try to quell their concerns right away, they will need time to deal.  Let them vent and ask questions and then ask, what can I do to make it easier for you?  If they feel like you are taking their concerns into account, they will be much happier with the decision and process of moving.

I hope that your teen is excited about moving and none of the concerns come up! Remember that this can be and up and down process, the same way it is for you.  So, expect some anger, and then excitement and then worry—tell them you want to make it easier no matter what.

5 Responses to “5 Tips for Moving With A Teenager”

  1. Jamie | WiredParentPad
    September 25, 2008 at 6:54 pm #

    Interesting timing on this one for me, Vanessa – I haven’t written an article on my blog in almost two weeks (gasp!) because I’m actively searching for a different job. A different job that could result in our family moving about 60 miles from where we currently live. We’ve lived in the same city throughout their entire childhood and into their teen years, so it would be an adjustment for them. Many of the points you make we’ve already done – they are well aware of the situation, we’ve discussed it with them all along, and we’re letting them get things off their chest. So far so good – keeping my fingers crossed.

  2. Kosovodad
    September 28, 2008 at 8:52 pm #

    As the military father of 2 girls, I would add “Show excitement”.

    My 14 year old has moved 7 times already, and my 11 year old has moved 6 times.

    Kids will take their cues from your nonverbal behavior or your verbal behavior when you think they are focused on something else.

    If you are really looking at the opportunities this move affords, then they will too!


  3. Maggie Gordon
    August 30, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    I’m almost 16 years old and just found out I’m moving from nj to Dallas. Just wanted to say you did a really good job with this. I read it because I’m trying to find ways to deal myself, but you had really good advice for parents. A lot of other sites were really condescending towards teens, making them seem angsty and uncooperative. Most teens totally understand why moving is good for the family, but relocating is ovrwhelmingly sad.

  4. Vanessa Van Petten
    September 3, 2009 at 7:31 am #

    I liked writing this, moving is so hard!

    Thanks for reading!


  5. Allayne Fields
    February 19, 2014 at 3:09 am #

    I have a 16 year old daughter whom I am very worried about. We are moving to Las Vegas from Ohio and she breaks down every time we talk about it because she doesn’t want to leave her boyfriend of 1 year behind. She is so convinced that they will be together forever (and who am I to say they won’t) and that us moving is the end of the world. I am so afraid that she is going to get depressed and try to run away. I am putting off telling her that the decision it’s final (she was previously told the move was a possibility) because I want her to have some time to be blissfully unaware.

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