The #LOL Guide For Parents With Teenagers Moving Country

Changing country is an exciting adventure. But sometimes, not all family members are on the same page.

teenagers tired of expat life

Here are a few humorous tips to help you handle your #OMG teenagers when you tell them about the move.

1. How to deal with guilt

Teenagers do their best attempts to make you feel guilty. It’s normal. They want to challenge your authority and your confidence.

They’ll tell you you’re selfish, you only think about yourself, your career, your money, your… But that’s because they’re short-sighted. They don’t see the huge benefits they’ll reap from such an international childhood.

Don’t worry. They would do the same even if you didn’t move. After all, teenagers are never happy anyway.

2. The friends “problem”

In the olden days (80’s or 90’s), it was hard to keep friends if you moved away. Do you remember? You had to write letters that took ages (10 days) to come to their recipient. International phone calls were expensive. Only landlines were available. With a corded phone sitting enthroned in the middle of the dining room, forget about any privacy.

But today losing friends is just a joke. How can your teenagers come up with such a lame excuse? By moving abroad, they’ll keep the same number of friends on Facebook. They won’t lose any follower on Twitter, Instagram, Digg, Snapchat. They won’t see any difference. After all, who is talking face-to-face to each other nowadays? You text, you post everything on FB. Maybe their friends won’t even notice they’re gone! 🙂

3. The cultural gap

Are you worried about culture shock for your kids? No need for a cross-cultural training and a language course: teenagers already know everything, right?

4. Identity search

Adolescence is THE time when you look for your identity: peer approval becomes more important than parents approval. Tricky moment: you’re losing control.

Add to the adolescent quest of the self, culture shock and expat grief and they’ll be completely lost. They’ll spend days figuring out: “If I don’t find myself, is it because I’m changing in my body, in my mind or my new surrounding?” They might start to smoke and drink to cure the headache. Time to take a grip and to stir them in the right direction.

OMG I said “Direction”!! #YOLOSWAG

5. Playing with the rules 

The really cool thing about frequently moving when children are entering their teenage years is that you delay their adolescence.

Why? Because adolescence is by essence the time when you challenge the boundaries, the rules your parents and society have imposed to you. When you move frequently, you first have to figure out what are the new rules in the new place before being able to challenge anything. By the time your kids figure this out, you’d better buzz off quickly.

6. The magic formula

The most important thing to tell your teenager “Don’t worry. I’ve checked: we’ll have a broadband internet connection”. After that, there won’t be any more questions. You can take care of all your other serious business.

7. School choice

Have you checked the school policy? If they ban nail polish and makeup, forget it. #uncivilizedpeople

8. Food

The cool thing with teenagers is that when it comes down to food, they like continuity. Your boss should at least send you to a place where there’s a McDonalds.

Don’t forget: in some countries, dogs and cats, worms and snakes, snails and monkey’s brain are on the menu. You want to play it on the safe side, not face another outrage!

9. Location

The perfect punchline: “xxx is a great city. They’re hosting “One Direction” next month. You see? It’s NOT in the middle of nowhere.” #civilizedpeople

10. Last but not least: shopping

Your daughter’s motto:

“Shop if it rains, shop if it’s sunny. Shop if you’re happy, shop if you’re depressed. Shop if you’re frustrated, shop if you’re hungry. Shop alone, shop with your friends. Shop, just do it.”

With the new currency calculation, she’ll at least work on her maths.

And you, how did you manage your teens? A shame, there’s no app for that.

Big kudos to my 2 older kiddos who introduced me to the world of YOLO, SWAG, and #
I reluctantly have to admit that their help has been invaluable in writing this article.

Credit music Piano society



  1. Hilarious! You know, when I received your mail today, I was actually a bit worried it would be another serious and sad one (no offence, I love your articles! I really do!). But that one made me laugh out loud. May I add one thing: a FAST broadband internet connection. For the online games, you know, with those friends all over the world, at odd times of the day (and of the night).

  2. Dear Anne,
    Thank you so very much for sharing this article. I had a hard time reading it to the end, I have to frankly admit. It was so full of witty humor, I could not stop LOL. Wonderfully gorgeous. I have recommended it to my readers of the Legal Guide to Germany, I did not personally experience all what you have gone through but I can very well imagine the difficulties/possibilities (used and unused), frust and lust.
    All the very best
    Alexander von Engelhardt,
    Foreigners Lawyer


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