Moving to a new neighbourhood, town, or country can be challenging for children, especially teenagers. Since they are already going through rapid physical changes and have neither the resilience nor experience of adults, they may have a hard time adjusting to a change of environment. Here are 5 ways to help your adolescents adjust to a change of environment.
1. Help them accept reality. As harsh as it sounds, it is important to let your children know that change is inevitable and that siblings will grow up and leave home; friends will move away or marry; and different circumstances, including change of job, transfer, promotion, may force their family to move. Rather than letting your children dwell on negative thoughts that may overwhelm them, help them accept the reality.
2. Help them settle into their new environment. You can do more than just enrolling your child in a new school. Meet his teachers and talk to them Make sure that your child is comfortable in his new home and school. Encourage him to learn new hobbies, cultivate new interests, make new, trustworthy friends at school or in his new neighbourhood. Identify one or two nice, serene places in the new environment that you can go to with your children to enjoy a relaxing evening as a family.
3. Help them look ahead. When children are confronted with change, they are likely to dwell on the past and wish they could remain in their old, familiar environment, with their old friends. But help them concentrate on the future and let them know that constantly thinking about the past will do nothing to change the situation.
4. Help them focus on the positive. Let your children know that not all changes are bad and even when they seem bad at first, they can become advantageous to them. Encourage them to see the good in their new environment, home, school, or place of worship. For instance, you can show them that this is another opportunity to start afresh and make new friends. When your children focus on the positive aspects of the change, they become more willing to adjust to a new environment.
5. Be there for them. Sometimes, all your children need is a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to hold. You do not have to smother them, as they may react negatively to this, but be there for them when they need to talk or play or bond. Remember that they are still adjusting to a new environment and they are lonely without their old friends, so always be there for them.