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Problems Relocating With Teenagers

by Elise Wile

Jerry Seinfield once said, "To me, if life boils down to one thing, it's movement. To live is to keep moving." Unfortunately for parents who need to relocate the family, teens may enjoy moving from activity to activity within their social sphere, but they are likely to dig in their heels and resist moving to a new town with every ounce of energy they possess. If you're planning a move with a teen, don't be surprised if this happens. Rather than trying to convince your teen her feelings are unwarranted, seek to understand and help her to cope with her feelings.

Predictability

In a teen's life, change is a constant. Your child's body is changing, peer relationships may be shifting and she is struggling to find her identity as she slowly becomes more independent. In the midst of all this upheaval, a stable home provides a comforting backdrop. The transition of a move can create a feeling of instability for your teen, and you'll need to proceed carefully. Recreate family traditions and routines in your new home to establish a sense of safety and stability for your child after the move.

School

Changing schools can be difficult socially for your teen, and it can cause academic difficulties, as well. Teenagers who move to a different school district may find there are different requirements for graduation, derailing their previous plans. A move in the middle of a school year can be especially problematic. For example, your teen may be keeping up in Algebra, earning a respectable B, but after the move, find that her new teacher is presenting a concept two chapters ahead of her old class, resulting in increased stress or a failing grade.

Friends

The biggest concern about moving for your teen will likely be the loss of his friends. While he can keep in touch via social media and the telephone, it simply won't be the same as hanging out in his garage after school playing pool with his buddies. If he enjoys a high social status, the move will likely be more difficult than if he does not. Kids who are at the bottom of the social hierarchy at school may actually welcome a move to a new community.

Mental Illness

Unfortunately, moving can contribute to a teen's developing mental illness, such as panic attacks, depression or even suicidal ideation. Normal developmental changes, when compounded by a change such a move to a new community, can become overwhelming and lead to thoughts of suicide, according to the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University. Keep an open line of communication with your teen so that you are aware of any changes in her mood or thinking, and seek counseling for her if you believe the move is causing her to experience psychological distress.

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

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