but the excitement isn’t always shared by children, especially teenagers. To them, life is being uprooted, they’re leaving everything they know including some of the most important people in their lives. 

Parenting an expat teen can be tough, but we have some tips to help.

If your teen is at a crucial point in their education moving them to another school could impact their school results negatively. Could your child see out their education in your home country by staying with a family member? 

You might also consider allowing your teen to stay home with family if you feel that moving them could have a negative effect on their mental health. They could spend school holidays and summers at your expat location instead. 

If these options are not available, do what you can to ease negative feelings. Pre plan trips home, discuss the move with your teen and their expat school to see what options are available in terms of certification and try to arrange for their friends to visit. 

Keeping in touch with friends in another country is easy. Through Skype, Messenger, Facetime and other apps your teen can video call and message the people they’re missing in an instant. For this they will need a phone or tablet with a camera. Perhaps you could gift them one of these items to help them adjust.
Does your teen enjoy any hobbies or extracurriculars in your home country that they could join in your expat location? Joining a team or club is a great way to make friends. Making friends is key for your teen to settle into expat life. Having a hobby is good for mental health and means less time at home  missing friends. 
If you’re moving to a country with a new language and customs, it’s important to prepare your teen with language lessons and to teach them about the culture they will be living in. Avoid culture shock by researching the location together, sampling some local cuisine recipes and learning the language. 

One of the best things about being an expat family is that you’ll get to explore and experience a new country together. Spend time together looking at travel guides and plan trips to the local sites, museums, galleries and other places of interest. Discuss the benefits of your new climate - will you get more sun? Will you be able to ski? What are the possibilities?

Another way to help your teen get excited is decorating their new bedroom. Work with them to create a haven that matches their style and personality. 

Teens like to be treated like mature adults. Be honest with them when you explain the reasons for going on expat assignment. Explain the benefits and all the sacrifices being made by each member of the family to help them understand the situation better. 

Reassure them that there will be Wi-Fi to keep in touch with their family and friends, that they can have close friends over to visit and can make trips back home and that you are all in this together. Keeping an open and honest dialogue between you and your teen is essential for avoiding or recognising early signs of expat child syndrome.

Parenting is difficult, and parental guilt can be a contributing factor to expat failure. Try not to be too hard on yourselves as parents and remember how you were as a teenager and base your approach on what may have worked for you then. 

Give your teen time to adjust and find their identity in their new home. If they react badly to the decision to move consider family counselling or therapy to help ease them into their new life. 

Try consulting with other expat families for advice on moving overseas with children. Ask your global HR team and new school for recommendations on making the move easier on your children and search for local expat support groups in your location. 

It’s natural for your child to feel nervous or anxious before a big change such as moving countries but with some preparation and understanding your teen can settle into expat life and reap its rewards. 



Remember to protect your teens’ physical health and wellbeing with international health insurance tailored specifically to expat families.