You or your spouse have landed a good job overseas and decided to take it. You both see an excellent opportunity to improve both your lives and that of your teenagers. Unfortunately, it’s highly likely that your 13+ year olds will vehemently disagree with you.
Older children have lives outside the home. They have friends whom they may have known all their lives. They have a social life which involves friends and not parents. They have a school which they may love or hate, but it’s familiar. They probably have plans for their future which they may not have shared with you. To suddenly leave all this can be very hard for them and they may strongly resist, threatening to leave home, move in with their grandparents or friends. How do you go about changing their minds?
Get your Children Involved from the Beginning
As soon as you know that the move is going to happen, discuss it with your children.You could casually try and get their thoughts on moving to a new country before you make your final decision, so you know what you’re up against but it’s wise to wait until you know the move is on before telling your children. There’s no point in unsettling them for months on end for no reason.When it comes to packing, let the kids decide (within reason) what they’d like to take with them. They need things that are familiar and comforting, not just their laptop, game consuls and iPads.
Scour the internet, library and travel agents for information on your country of choice. If your children don’t want to learn about their new home, leave books and leaflets around the home. Send your kids links to various websites. The odds are they’ll have a look when you’re not around.
This is the big one. It’s so important to choose the right school and the right system. If you are moving to pastures new for a few years only (and your employer is paying), then the right option would be to find an international school that does IB (International Baccalaureate). The IB syllabus is the same the world over, so your kids wouldn’t struggle with new curricula when moving to another country.
Which ever school you choose, ensure your older kids are in on the decision. Introduce them to the school through its website and try and get a Skype call set up with pupils and/or teachers. Select a school which offers the sports, subjects and extra curricula activities that your teen is interested in.
Your teenagers will probably settle into their new environment far quicker than you will. The chances are that they will either stay in their adopted country or develop wanderlust and move on to experience another country and culture. Remember that it was you that opened their eyes to new horizons and pat yourself on the back.
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