The Impact of Moving on Children and Teenagers

How Moving Can Impact a Child or Teenager’s Mental Well-being
Moving has been researched to be one of the third most emotionally stressful life events in children and teenagers following, divorces and the death of a close family member. Often, feelings of stress are intensified in children and teenagers primarily due to the fact that they do not have the ability to completely cope with and understand their feelings which brings us to the different effects relocating can have on a kid and methods in which they can cope with it. A few common effects include a significant increase in feelings of anxiety, temporary or permanent declines in social skills, and more behavioral issues. In teenagers specifically, it can also cause a decline in academic skills, issues between their friendships and relationships, and more.

Helping a Child/Teenager Prepare For Moving
Preparing your child or teenager prior to the move is a vital part of lowering the emotional effects it can have on them. A few ways that may help prepare them include

  • Keeping them informed –  Allowing them to be involved in the planning and process of moving can allow them to feel included and in control; oftentimes, they feel powerless therefore allowing them to be involved can help.
  • Encouraging them – Discussing things that may interest them such as past hobbies from before the move, or even new ones can help them create new relationships as well as aid them in adapting quicker.
  • Providing enough time – It is important to give them enough time to completely process the fact that they will be moving, leaving a house is often compared to the loss of a loved one.
  • Familiarizing them with the new environment – Helping them look through pictures and videos, or even if possible visiting their new home prior to actually starting the moving process can help alleviate feelings of anxiety due to it all being unfamiliar.

Coping Strategies During The Process Of Moving By Different Age Groups
Coping mechanisms are vital in view of the immense stress children and teens feel, these strategies vary from age group majorly due to the fact that children and teens have different cognitive and emotional capacities. For younger toddlers and babies, it is especially crucial to keep to regular routines since that can give them a sense of familiarity, another tip that has been widely recommended by other parents is to pack up their bedroom last and unpack it first. Oftentimes, since their world is primarily centered around their family members moving does not impact them as much compared to how it would a tween/teenager. In recent research, it has been shown that moving around the ages of 11-15 has the most significant emotional impact on them, a few factors that can ease their stresses around moving include, allowing them to have time to adjust to their new environment, acknowledging what they are feeling in regard to moving and attempting to come to a compromise if possible. Giving them ways that they can keep in touch with their friends; this is often one of their big fears about moving so providing a way to ensure a connection is extremely helpful, and lastly, preparing prior to the move by discussing the different reasons as well as the positives that may come with it doing so will allow them to have time to mentally process the upcoming change.

Creating New Relationships After Moving
Creating new relationships after a big move can be extremely intimidating, especially for teenagers. A few tips that may aid them can include, getting involved in a sports club or other clubs of their interest this can help them find other teenagers who they have something in common with, using social media; typically neighborhoods have shared social media pages for the locals. For younger children, going to nearby playgrounds can help give them a chance to make new friends. Though it is important to remember, the process of developing new friendships can take more time for some people than others, so it is crucial to remain patient and hopeful.

Understanding When To Get Professional Help And Its Benefits
Having said that there will be large amounts of adjusting and feelings of stress that typically get better over time, it is important to note that that may not be the case for all teenagers/children and sometimes they may need additional support from counselors or professional help. A few signs of when it may be necessary to intervene include your child/teenager seems extremely irritable, anxious, emotionally distraught, or even depressed it could be helpful to seek help from a professional. It is essential to recognize these signs early as over time it can develop into more serious conditions and it has been shown that early and quick intervention allows for an enhanced likelihood of success in improving their mental state.

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