“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.