New Town, New School: How Parents Can Ease the Stress of Transition [Teen Article]

Dana is a 15-year-old from Scarsdale, NY. She enjoys reading, playing tennis, and watching Friends.

            Some teens have spent their whole lives in their hometown; it’s where they took their first steps, learned to tie their shoes, and learned to ride a bike. Other teens have lived in two, three, or maybe even as many as seven different places in their young lives. Moving to a new school can be incredibly daunting and can put tremendous anxiety on a teenager. It’s critical thaThis Old House by Okie Dan.t parents provide some stability and continuity in the midst of all of these changes for their teenagers. In an article called Family Structure and Community Context from the Journal of Youth and Society, the author found that some familial functions were more important to teens than structures teens formed with peers.

            Here are some tips:

            -Maintain family routines, such as dinnertime and bed time.

            -Maintain family rules. New restrictions or other changes will further increase teen anxiety.

            -Continue to set aside time during the week to spend time with your teen.

            Arguably, the hardest part for teens who move to a new district is to make new friends. It feels as though they have to start their lives all over again. Parents should be very understanding and mindful of this new stress. Most importantly, parents should make sure they are there for their teen if they need someone to turn to. If your teen is having a crummy day, give them a little something to show them that you care, such as a box of candy. A little encouragement goes a long way.

            Moreover, parents should encourage visits with old friends and make the effort to invite their teen’s new friends over to their homes. This signals to your teen that contrary to popular belief, you did not decide to move “to ruin their life” and are genuinely concerned about their social life (a very important aspect of teen life).

            Inevitably, teens will adapt to their new lifestyle though they may be resilient at first. With a little encouragement and support, parents can help their teenager make a smooth transition and once again establish some normalcy.

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