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Moving to France With Teenage Children

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 10 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
France School Teenage Children Older

Moving away from your friends and social activities is a huge upheaval for teenage children.

This is the time in your life when you are just starting to get to know yourself, building good friendships and thinking about university or work.

It is not to be underestimated how difficult it can be for a teenage child to be move, especially if they have been in the same town until now.

If you and your partner have made the decision to start a new life in France and your teenage children are of the age where they must come with you, how you handle the next few months will be crucial in the success of your move.

Involve Your Teenage Children in the Decision

You will need to engage your teenagers in the potential opportunities the move will bring and not to focus on the things they will be leaving behind. You must allow your children to talk about how they feel about the move, though, because if they feel like they are being forced into the move, which is your dream, not theirs, then not only will they resent you but they may also jeopardise the whole process.

Be sensitive to the concerns and requirements of your teenage children. This will mean that you need to consider their views when you choose the location of your new property, for example. If you currently live in a town where your teenagers are able to walk or cycle to meet their friends independently of you, it would be unfair to move to a rural location where they cannot make friends easily. When you visit France to look at locations and properties, think about what will make your children happy as well as you. They will need good local transport links, amenities that they can be involved in and a town that is not only full of retired English people.

Highlight the Benefits

By talking to your teenage children in an open and honest way about your upcoming new life in France, you will learn about their views in a non-judgemental way. In order for your child to gain the most out of this new opportunity, they need to feel part of the decision. You can highlight the benefits of the move –

  • They will learn a new language in time, which will not only be a very cool skill, but will also help their job prospects
  • Friends from the UK will be able to stay
  • They will enjoy a healthier lifestyle, with chic clothes and summers on the beach
  • French schools do not cater for the lowest common denominator in classes, bright children are encouraged to flourish
  • ; the list goes on.

Think About Timing

It is a good idea to plan the timing of your move to fit in with the school year. Joining a new school, in a new country, in the middle of term is a little too much to inflict on your children. Make sure your child feels good about themselves before they start the new school – they could have a new haircut they like, have nice shoes and learn as much French as possible. French children are more and more used to English children joining their schools and the teachers are more geared up to integration, however the schools can be strict, so your child will be expected to be strong.

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