Helping Your Teen Prepare for a New School

Moving can be stress all its own, but for school-aged children, it can mean much more than just leaving a familiar home behind. They have been faced with the challenge of starting a brand new school, make new friends and get used to a new way of life.

To prevent your teen from going down a bad path in their new environment, see below for some great tips on how to help your teen adjust to their new school.

Sympathize with their plight. Moving is hard for anyone, but if you dismiss your teen's feelings about the move, it may result in them becoming more distant or withdrawn. Express your concerns about the move with them, but be sure to let them know what you are excited about as far as the new neighborhood, school, amenities in the area, etc. It also helps to prepare them for the brighter side as well, such as possibly better finances, or a better education opportunity that will open more doors for their future.

Be honest. There can be many reasons for a move, and including your teen in the conversation will make them feel like they have a say in what will happen. They are on the verge of adulthood, so talk to them in an adult manner. Lay out the reasons why the move has to happen and be specific about how this is the best thing for your family at this time. They may seem angry at first, but showing the logical reasons will help them to understand why the move is essential.

Offer the prospect of reinvention. A new school can mean an entirely fresh start for your teen, so if they've had trouble in the past, now is the time for them to become the person they want to be. With all new classmates, there are no memories or preconceived ideas to go on, so he or she can change their style, attitude and hobbies. Be sure to let them know that changing everything could be jarring, so to take it slow and keep interest in the things they loved before.

Allow them to grieve their old life, and offer solutions to what you can. Leaving beloved friends can be very hard, and it may feel almost like a death to your teen. They may seem to mourn the loss of their old life, and it’s important for a time to allow this. However, to soften the blow, offer them solutions on how to keep in touch, such as a new cell phone or a laptop for emailing, social networking and face to face phone calls.

Know when to seek help. If your teen starts to spiral before or after the move, know when it's time to have a professional step in and assist your family. Research the area for the best troubled teen programs, online programs for teens, or even wilderness or summer camps for teens if you feel they need to get away from the stress for a while.