Do you remember the night your sweet and doting 12-year old said goodnight and headed up the stairs without a care in the world, just as she did every night? You woke up that following morning and you felt an eeriness about the house. You had a strange and dark, unsettling feeling, there was a tense atmosphere, it was like you were sensing trouble or getting a premonition of something awful to come… Then, she appeared. Matted hair, red face, a furrowed brow… It happened, the teenager cometh. Don’t make eye contact whatever you do!
OK…. So we’re exaggerating... Or are we?
Here at Compare My Move we have created a guide on Moving with Children. This is a delicate subject and something parents want to handle just right because our children are regimental little beasts and routine is a big part of what keeps them calm. It’s not just the littluns that need to be carefully managed when moving house. Moving with a Teenager also needs consideration. Like their smaller counterparts, teens need routine and structure in their daily lives….. Even if that structure involves a zombie walk to school each weekday morning and sleeping well into the afternoon on the weekend… It’s a routine all the same.
Disruption to any part of a teenager’s life is likely to spill out into other aspects of their complicated and torturous existences. Naturally, parents will worry that a house move will affect their teenager’s education and their emotional well-being.
Plenty of people will tell you how moving house with a teenager will have a detrimental effect on their academic achievements or how they will become hermits overnight and hate you forever… But that is seriously dramatising the matter. There are ways to combat such a bad response to a house move from the young adults in our lives.
Follow this advice for Moving House with a Teenager and the fight will be won……. Battle Stations!
You know what really irks teens? … Being spoken to like children. Once our little lovelies pass the age of about 12/13, they feel like they are no longer kids and they resent being spoken down to. Of course, we’re not suggesting that you chinwag over a bottle of wine with your teenager telling him what happened with Julie at work today but you can talk on a level with him to some extent. When it comes to moving house, it is best not to spring the decision on your teenager… Unless you want holy hell to break loose. When you are thinking about moving, discuss the possibility with your teen. They will appreciate being part of the decision-making process… or at least being made to feel like they are. When you are looking at houses, take your son or daughter with you so that they can have their say. Once a home has been decided on, continue to keep His Lordship/Her Ladyship in the loop. You may well struggle to get them to lift a finger to help but as long as they know what’s going on and they’ve been forewarned, they won’t have a leg to stand on when they want to kick off!
School and the effect on education following a house move is a big sticking point for parents making a decision to move. If it can be avoided then it is probably best not to move your teenager mid-year. Unfortunately, sometimes the universe doesn’t play nice and you may not be able to conveniently move during the summer holidays. Extenuating or unavoidable circumstances may mean that you’ve gotta go when you’ve gotta go. It could be because of a fantastic career opportunity or because of a financial setback. We don’t always get to choose when we move.
A good way to attempt to keep a teenager enthused about a house move is to keep them involved in the process. Let them sort through their own things and decide what they want to keep or throw out. Talk to them about the best day to move and about what plans you have for the new house. They may have some input.
Just as you would with younger children, it is a good idea to continuously list the positive aspects of this relocation. Anything you can think of that may be a bonus to them… Maybe it’s being closer to the family. Maybe there is a cinema nearby or perhaps they will have a bigger bedroom at the new place. If you keep reinforcing these positives then it may help to counteract the barrage of negativity they have already concocted in their troubled minds.
An unavoidable symptom of the condition known as teen-itus. These kids of ours are hard work. They seem OK one minute then after a sideways glance from a friend or a connection problem with the X-Box, you’d think someone died. Let us tell you something… If your little darling has expressed any displeasure at your decision to move house then you can almost guarantee that whatever puts them in a stinker that day will be blamed on the issue of moving house. As parents, we allow for a certain number of mood swings... No one misses that about their teenage years… the raging hormones and the constant angst… so we are pretty understanding and can look the other way most of the time. When your teenager is adjusting to the impending house move, it is even more so important to grit your teeth and let them strop.
Another unfortunate side-effect of merely existing as a teenager is that everything comes with a helping of pure, undiluted drama! With the racing hormones, school and exam pressure, boyfriend/girlfriend issues, hairs in… places... Is it any wonder our kids are surrounded by dramatics? Everything is intense. Then us rotten parents come along and tell them they are going to be moving house, they have to pack up their bedroom, leave their friends, change schools… Drama Alert!! It will be really important for you to help kerb the drama. Stick with those positive reinforcements and offer them as much control of the situation as humanly possible... And breathe.
The idea and the prospect of moving house can induce certain levels of anxiety in anyone. All you have to do is google ‘Moving House’ and you’ll find countless scare-mongery articles about how it’s the single most stressful thing in the world. That’s all nonsense… It’s not an easy task but it doesn’t need to be the soul-destroying palaver that some make it out to be. That being said, it is a huge life change and a milestone event in anyone’s life. Teens haven’t had too many of those yet… So that unsettling, ambiguous feeling can be somewhat overwhelming for our halflings. Offer them as much reassurance as possible. Remind them of all the things that are NOT going to change and allow them to share their worries and concerns with you. Half the time, you’ll find they are able to talk through and quell their own concerns with little to no help from you. Kids sometimes just need to think out loud.
Much like the anxiety that’s brought on by a home move, teens can be overcome with feelings of insecurity. Home is like a security blanket for children and for teens. Their bedrooms are such sanctuaries. The idea of all their belongings in boxes and their rooms being emptied can leave them feeling vulnerable. They may also be left feeling a little neglected. They wouldn’t have you believe it, but teenagers are very needy and when we, as parents, are distracted and busying ourselves with packing and organising, they may not be getting the same level of attention they are used to. Keep this in mind and set aside time to be with them in the run-up to moving day.
The day of your home move is a busy one. It may seem to go by in a flash but it is a long old day and probably the most disruptive day for your teen. If they are going to have any major wobbles about leaving their home then today is the day. Young people become surprisingly attached to their surroundings. The familiarity is comforting to them. When they look around at bare walls and empty rooms, they may start to feel sad. It is best to keep them busy and distracted. If you’re lucky enough to have a teen willing to pitch in then you needn’t worry. There will be so much to be done that they can be quite easily be kept busy.
As part of their distraction (and basic needs), be sure they have their phones and chargers and for god's sake, make sure the Wi-Fi is still set up and that they have connection waiting for them at the new house. Heed our advice… Hell hath no fury like a teen without Wi-Fi.
Talk to Parents
It will be really helpful if you are already acquainted with the parents of your kid’s friends. Often, teenagers are useless at organising get-togethers after they have moved. As parents, you will understand the importance of maintaining relationships between your children so by building a relationship with the parents, you can take some of that control and responsibility. You can communicate and make arrangements to get the kids together.
One of the great things about modern society is that it is so easy to stay in touch or get back in touch with long lost friends. With the social networks and instant messaging apps available, your kids should have no trouble maintaining regular contact with friends after the move. A great tip is to encourage your teenager to set up a group chat with his/her friendship group and make that the hub for their catch ups. They can each message whenever they are free with how their day was, the latest gossip… what Kylie Jenner is wearing this week or whatever else kids are talking about these days.
Open House Policy
A great way to reassure and comfort your teenager about life without their bestie around the corner is to promise an ‘Open House Policy’ when it comes to that certain friend. Let them know that their friend is welcome at your new home any chance they get to visit. You may even be able to get them excited by the idea of their friend coming to stay every summer holidays or the occasional weekend.
Our kids will be so quick to tell us how upset they are to be leaving their friends behind and how desperate they are to stay in contact but they will be useless when it comes to getting all the contact details of their friends. You may need to chase them up and just make sure that they have their friend's phone numbers, home numbers, addresses, snap chat handles… you know the drill.
The first few days and weeks after your move, it is best that you focus on helping your teen settle. Here at Compare My Move, we always recommend setting up your bed as soon as you can as a good night sleep after a gruelling day moving furniture is a great way to make you feel at home. Be sure to do the same for your teen. Get the curtains up in their room and the bed set up so they can shut themselves in if they want and get acquainted with their new space. Let them have a say in how their new room is decorated… This will give them that little bit of control that they so desire.
A Soft Landing and a Happy Ending
Moving House with Teenagers can be a successful mission. Keeping them involved, communicating with them and allowing them to express how they're feeling and allowing them to maintain some control will get them through it. Here’s to a soft landing… Good Luck 😊