Moving House with Pre-Teens and Teens

Moving house can be extremely distressing and disruptive for pre-teens and teens.

Pre-teens who are still attending primary school are generally relatively open to a move especially if you are moving them at the end of year 6.

On the other side of the spectrum, teens can be downright painful. It is normal for this age group to actively oppose the move and rebel against it. Jilted by the overwhelming nature of it all, they might not be able to recognise the positives of the move straight away.

Regardless of your child’s age or their response, a smooth transition is always important. To aid this smooth transition there are a few things you can do to limit stress and to lessen the impact.

  1. Talk about it – as soon as you are aware of the move, tell your children about it first. And discuss the move with them frequently in the lead-up to it – two way communication is important, but be prepared to cop a little bit of negativity because chances are they won’t warm to the idea straight away. Regardless of their reactions, be positive and receptive and always answer their questions truthfully.
  2. Pick your timing – the right time to move depends on your personal situation. If you have a choice though, the best time to move is during the summer as to avoid disrupting your child’s school year.
  3. Visit the new house – if your new home is vacant before the day of the big move, it’s a great idea to take the kids for a visit. Just make sure you make each visit a positive one. Creating some great memories and getting them familiar with their new home before they move into it will help improve their transition.
  4. Be supportive of the old – one of the biggest discomforts to your children will be leaving their friends behind. Be supportive and encourage them to maintain their friendships through email, skype and telephone calls. Perhaps you can even plan a weekend back to the old neighbourhood once your family is settled.
  5. Limit the changes – make it only about the move. When moving into a new house a lot of people take it as a welcome opportunity to incorporate it with big changes. This will only make teens and pre-teens rebel more – hold off on redecorating with new furniture or making any big announcements.

Remember to put yourself in their shoes occasionally. Even though you might be upgrading to a bigger house, moving closer to family or a instigating the natural progression after a death or divorce in the family, moving house is a big deal to kids and it’s never easy. They are moving away from all their friends and everything that is comforting to them so you should be understanding of this and respectful of the process that they are going through. Give them time and don’t let them derail you from the task at hand – you have so many things to do including packing, redirecting your mail, deciding on removalists and organising home insurance.

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