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How to Help Your Teen With Homesickness

by Barbie Carpenter

Spending the night with a friend, heading off to a job as a sleep-away camp counselor or leaving for college can cause some homesickness in your otherwise tough teenager. While your teen might be hesitant to share these feelings with you, you can help alleviate homesickness in several ways. Being in tune with your teen's feelings even when he's away from home can make the transition easier for both of you.

Talk with your teen about his impending departure. Ignoring the inevitable will not make the transition any easier. Discuss the separation and tell your teen that feelings of homesickness are normal. Your teen will better accept and address these feelings if she anticipates them, according to KidsHealth.org.

Share items from home. Before your teen departs, give him a few items that remind him of home. He can carry a family picture while he is away or bring one of his favorite items, such as a pillow or blanket, from his bedroom. Those items allow him to take a piece of home with him wherever he goes.

Speak positively about the experience. Do not dwell on sadness or negativity before your teen leaves. Do not talk about how hard it will be for you to be apart. Instead, focus on the positives of the trip, discussing the experiences and benefits that your teen will enjoy after she leaves.

Maintain regular contact with your teen -- he will feel less homesick if he talks to you regularly, whether it's by phone, through text message or via email. With today's technology, staying in contact has never been easier. You can even video-chat with your teen, allowing you to see him and connect with him in a more personal way.

Encourage your teen to find a confidant. Having someone to connect with while he is away can help your teen stay emotionally balanced. Finding a trusted adult to talk to or a peer with similar feelings of homesickness can help your teen confront these feelings and move past them, according to KidsHealth.org.

Promote activity. Dwelling on the homesickness can make the separation even more challenging for a teen. Encourage your teen to stay active, whether she is throwing herself into classes, a new job or activities. This way, your teen will enjoy the experience rather than worrying about what she is missing out on at home.

Suggest that he keeps a journal. Writing about feelings can help your teen cope with them. A journal allows teens to express their feelings, evaluate them and improve his outlook. Rather than repressing their feelings, teens should confront their homesickness in an effort to improve it.

About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.

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