We’ve discussed the London Pass, and that’s a great way to get them to see the sights and get integrated into the city and all its history. But it’s also important to take them to open markets and throughout the new London neighborhood where you’ll be living. Take them exploring so that they can become more familiar with where they are living in London. Now that this is home you want them to feel as comfortable in their new surroundings as possible, and that can only happen with repeated exposure to their surroundings. In our last post in this series we discussed the importance of letting them keep in touch with friends back home through mediums such as Skype and via the internet.
In the beginning this will be more prevalent and something you want to encourage and allow (even though the time difference may keep them up a bit later), until they meet their own new group of friends locally. Attending places and meet ups with other people who have relocation to London experience and if they have children gives you a built in way to meet people you and your children will feel comfortable around. It also gives them the opportunity to share with other expatriate kids their own age who have already acclimated after their relocation to London. The key is to really put emphasis on keeping the lines of communication open between you and your teens throughout the entire relocation to London and afterwards while living in London. The settling in phase is the most important time and the time of the highest anxiety for them, new friends, new school, new home, new country, it can be very overwhelming for kids, so they will need more positive support than ever. Should your teen take the negative approach to all of it don’t be too surprised, this is just fear of the overwhelming unknown for them, your understanding and patience will be vital at this time for them. You really need to focus on truly listeningto your child.
You don’t need to have all the answers or deduce solutions for all that they are feeling and facing, but you do need to listen and be supportive during this time. Regardless of their attitude keeping communication lines open between you is vital. The positive emotions of adventure and excitement during your relocation to London can easily be fear and anxiety, let them know this is normal and that you are experiencing these feelings somewhat yourself at times. Again, it’s about opening up and truly communicating with them so they will talk openly as possible, the overwhelming newness and the lack of support or acquaintances outside the family right now leaves them little choices but to lean on you. This can create anger that they feel they have no one, so be understanding and again, take them out places, get them out of the apartment and integrate them into your new London living as soon as possible. Keep letting them know that you know what a terrific person they are and that soon those they meet their own age will discover that as well. While this may be a bit overwhelming for you as you have just experienced your own feelings and anxieties about your relocation to London keep your focus on empathy and not sympathy. Being supportive during this uneasy time for them is so important, they really need your support regardless of the fact that they won’t come out and ask for it directly.
Remember, they are still teenagers and things still come out sideways most often. Don’t be too surprised if they are rebelling and experiencing a lot of mood swings, this is normal and you will want to prepare for it so you can keep your cool. Those are really just cries for help that you need to help them through the adjustment period. A great outlet for them to do that is online support from other teens experiencing their own relocation. Ask your relocation agent where there are family meeting places in the neighborhoods surrounding your apartment. Many Americans moving to London end up living in just a few boroughs with others from the states. But for online support, have your teens check out sites like “Teenxpates.com” and “TCKid.com”, these are sites with great resources for teens by other teens, all who have experienced similar situations as your kids who have finished their relocation to London.