Helping Tweens and Teens Adjust to a New School

Statistics tell us that about 50% of us move every five years. If that move entails a change of school for your tween or teen, then chances are you can expect a few bumps along the way.

For adults, moving to a new neighborhood or city can be exciting, spelling a new home, new challenges and even a job promotion. But for adolescents, moving often means leaving behind the security of their school and friends, and that can create a very stressful time says Barbara Burrows, of Positive Parenting. “Parents need to recognize the anxieties that they are bound to be experiencing. You should take any opportunity to involve them in the process of moving to help ease their anxiety .”

While moving is tough on kids of any age, counselor Karen Turner says moves can be particularly difficult for teens. “I think moving during adolescents is an extremely stressful experience, especially if you’re into your early junior high or early senior high year. Students tend to have established a very strong peer network during that period in their lives. Often this has more influence on them even than their families in some cases, and when they’re torn from that there’s often resentment.”

However, Turner adds that while moving isn’t easy, there are things that you and the school can do to help your teen cope with the change. “When they first arrive at a new school, I think encouraging the young person to make a connection with one or two people rather than to win over a whole group is best. You can talk to school counselors and ask for peer helpers to smooth the way. It’s important that parents stay in touch with the school and find our what resources are available.”

Finally, if your teen is having difficulty with this major transition, seek professional help, through the school. Moving can be tough on everyone, and kids may need a little extra help to smooth the transition.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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