In our first post in this series, “Preparing your kids to move abroad” we started to discuss what and why it is so difficult to move kids in pre-teen and teen years. At that age, kids whole world revolves around what their peers think and respond to. They have interests and activities outside the home, and the teen years provide the most socialization learning opportunities that they have ever had. This may be good for their friends, but certainly most of us, initially at least, have some overcoming to do.
You’ve no doubt not been greeted with enthusiastic applause about the great adventure that relocation UK will bring to them and how excited they are to relocate to London where they know not a soul, but will be ready to adventurously meet new and exciting people? Yeah, I thought not. As we said and it really does bear repeating, this is a PROCESS you have to take your kid’s through as you prepare them for moving to London slowly over time, and in stages. So let’s get down to it.
Really how you begin is one of the most important parts, and it will be difficult because likely you are getting the drama that you’re ruining their lives and relocating your family just to make them miserable. So know they couldn’t feel more out of control and completely scared by the unknown. Remember, you are the one relocating to London for work, jobs in London, extended schooling, whatever the circumstances, the teens and children know it’s not about them it’s about one of their parents. So you have to accept they are completely at your whim and don’t have any ownership in the decision making process. This can feel as though they are being forced and that only adds fuel to the fire.
So the best thing you can do is to share some power with them. Get them INVOLVED making decisions. Now of course they aren’t going to embrace this and based on the level of your teens social life this may be harder than you anticipate. But again, know it’s a process, just keep presenting them with options of choices involved with the relocation to London and let them get involved in the process of deciding how you will be living in London.
Its human nature to accept the decisions and actions that follow that each of us have a hand in making, and it’s no different with children. As much of the decisions that they can have an instrumental part in making only then will they take ownership of that decision and the actions that support it. This is hard to do as a parent. It involves giving up some control and really taking into consideration your children’s input.
There are so many things that have to be done by mom when a family is relocating, let alone moving to London. But the opportunity is so great to share the world’s most covenant city with your children, you will be giving them the perspective very few are privileged to have at their young age. You ARE opening up the world for them and expanding their horizons beyond their own world and country to a one steeped in world history, cultural diversity, and brimming with life. But teens cannot see through our eyes, they won’t see those things, but those are the important decisions you are making for their lives, let them make as much of the smaller decisions for their own daily life once they get here.
The biggest part of children’s lives is their school. It takes up most of their waking hours a week, and most of their weeks every year. There are so many schools in London, from private to public and with all different diversities. All schools are happy to provide as much information as possible to really get a feel for each school academics and campus life. Get as much information as possible from as many schools as possible and leave them for your children to go through on their own. Inform them that you respect their right to have as much input into what they want from their new life after the relocation to London, and that you want them to be mature enough to evaluate the choices of schools and see what appeals to them as they will be spending their days there. Let them know that you are truly depending on their input as to what schools they like and that that will directly influence the neighborhoods your London relocation agent will show you.
London apartments and flats now have many pictures that you can share with them that can be emailed to you by your relocation services agent. Show them possibilities of what their new home could be. INVOLVE them completely in as much as at all possible. Do it consistently and without high pressure. Remember they have to feel safe enough and truly believe that you are going to let them help decide their own future life and living here. Only the decisions they have a hand in making will they take ownership of. Therefor let them start small, leave the school thing in their lap for as much time as possible, and involve them with photos and information about neighborhoods, activities, things that interest them and any choices they can make will empower them to make more of them on their own. Start small and build and you’ll find this process begins to build steam and you’ll begin to notice changes for the positive slowly as you empower them to help decide how they will be living in London.