Families making the decision to move to a new home is not something new, but it does tend to be happening with more frequency nowadays. Not only are families moving on a more regular basis, they are also making moves of a greater distance, oftentimes because the need for a new job outweighs the need to stay in a place that they have grown to love. It’s not an easy move for anyone involved, but teenagers (older kids, in general) tend to take things a little harder than most. It can be a tricky road to negotiate, but there are some things that you can do that will help cushion the blow.
The best thing to do when planning an out of state move is to let your teenager (older children, in general) know what is happening as soon as possible. You can almost bet that there will be some push back at the start, but passing on the information early allows them time to adapt to the idea, whilst also giving you time to smooth out the rough waters that may develop. Things can be especially tricky if there is a boyfriend or girlfriend that is going to be left behind, so be ready for some anger and frustration from your child.
The one mistake you simply cannot make is to lose your cool when they vent their frustration. Make it clear that you understand how they are feeling, and be sure to answer any questions that they may have. They will want to know exactly why it is necessary to make such a big move, and your best bet is to be totally honest. Once the initial storm has passed, ask your child to get involved in some of the details of the move, such as helping choose the new house that you will be moving to (if possible).
It’s also a good idea to sit down and talk about the new city and state that you are moving to. Take time to find things in the area that you know will be of interest to your child, perhaps even finding some places or activities that are simply not available in your current area. The goal here is not to bribe them into thinking the move is great, but to get them genuinely excited about embarking on a new adventure.
If you can, try to make the move in the summer while school is out. This will give them some time to spend with the friends they are leaving, whilst also giving them time to make new friends at your new home before the school year there begins. It can be tough to walk into school as the new kid, but already having a few friends in place can make that transition easier. If the anger and frustration persists, consider spending some time with a family therapist, as they will know how to best deal with the situation.