The stress of moving with teens

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Moving home is stressful at the best of times, but when you throw a surly teenager into the mix the stress increases ten-fold.

We all know that moving house is stressful, it is in fact so stressful that it slots right up there with death and divorce on the stress tables. We have, however come to conclusion that these stress levels soar off the charts when you move home with teenage children.

Firstly, teenagers don’t understand the concept of forward thinking and planning and will only start to pack when they see the headlights of the moving van in the driveway. Reason and logic are utterly wasted on them and as such they are prone to unpacking stuff that has already been packed because they allegedly can't live without it.

Likewise, they are easily distracted and if they go quiet this doesn't mean that they are busy putting their prized belongings into a box, it probably means they have found the Lego set you bought them when they turned eight and have started a new project. It's not just old toys that will grab their attention and although you might think that their squirrel type attention spans are a thing of the past, you would be wrong. Old photo’s, old lunch tins, old clothing, old DVDs and the like are guaranteed to grab their attention and stop them from actually doing anything remotely constructive in the moving process. Don't ask them to throw anything away and for goodness sake don't take the initiative and fling something that belongs to them in the dustbin without their consent - this will lead to all-out war.

Most teenager’s ability to argue is on par with the country’s top litigators mainly because they haven't just learnt how to argue without using logic, they also know the best time to strike. Moving home is probably the easiest time to start an argument, because the parents are super stressed and are going to react to the slightest provocation. For example, as we all know, teenagers adore junk/fast food that is until you opt to buy something in because you are exhausted from all the unpacking. Suddenly all your lectures regarding the dangers of eating junk come to pass and your teenager decides to go on a health binge and wants you to cook something.

As we all know, teenagers know everything and as such instinctively know where items of furniture should be placed. Being experts on Feng Shui, they will insist the couch stays exactly where the movers left it (in the centre of the room.) They will also argue that their clothing remains in boxes because they will be leaving home the moment they turn 18 and that only the exact number of plates for people in the household be unpacked, until, of course theirs is dirty.

For obvious reasons, parents who actually want their teenagers to help unpack should not connect the Internet, TVs or computers until the final box has been emptied and the furniture is in its rightful place.

Speaking of help, parents should stoically ignore pleas for all known friends and acquaintances to come around on the day of the move “because they will be a big help and it will be the last time we’ll ever see them.”

Lastly, there is no medical evidence showing that a teenager’s ability to unpack will increase 10-fold if they down four energy drinks and a half a dozen chocolates to keep their blood sugar up on the day of the move. They may however, live beyond their teens if they pull their weight and actually do something constructive

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