• Making Friends

Should I worry about my grandchildren making friends after a move?

Published: May 31, 2014 | Last Updated: May 31, 2014 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading
With another upcoming move, a woman worries about her teenage grandchildren making friends.



My grandchildren (girl, age 14; boys, ages 12 and 15) are moving interstate and changing schools yet again. (Parents divorced).

My understanding is that at this age, it can very difficult for teens to make new friends. Is there any research into this? Can you advise me?

Signed, Nellie


Hi Nellie,

Yes, research suggests that frequent moves can make it difficult for children to make friends. These effects are most pronounced, however, for children who are introverted and already have difficulty making friends. Many children are able to easily handle such a transition.

For better or worse, moving from place to place is more common in our very mobile society: People move for education, jobs, social relationships and quality of life. What’s most important is that your grandchildren’s parents do whatever they can do to minimize any adverse effects of these moves on their children’s friendships.

  • Can the move be planned to coincide with the end of the academic year?
  • Do the children understand the necessity of the move so they buy in and see some positives in it, too? Can you and their parents provide opportunities for your grandchildren to express any concerns they have?
  • Leading up to and after the move, can your grandchildren’s parents help them stay connected, to some extent, with their old friends?
  • Can they work with your grandchildren and their teachers to help them integrate socially in their new setting? Perhaps, planning some summer activities (e.g. at a camp or swim club) in their new community could give them opportunities to make new friends before school starts.
  • Does one of the grandchildren require more support than the others? If so, can his/her parents make efforts to provide it?

Since the kids are fairly close in age to each other, it’s nice that they will still have the stability of their sibling relationships. On another note, I certainly can see how this also might feel like a personal loss if they are moving away from you. It’s nice that you are so concerned about them and I hope it works out better than expected for everyone!

Best, Irene

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Comments (1)

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  1. Amy F says:

    In my experience working with children, kids are resilient and they often have an easier time adjusting to moves than adults. Because of school and the availability of intramural and extracurricular activities, they often have more avenues to meet new people than adults. Computers, cell phones and social media make remaining in contact with old friends much easier in previous generations.

    The divorce and seeing their noncustodial parent will be another stressor for your grandkids, although if both parents can set aside their differences, communicate respectfully, and coparent successfully many kids are happier and less stressed than living with feuding married parents.

    Your grandkids are lucky for your concern and to have you in their corner.

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