Moving during teenage years is particularly difficult. Friendships have been forged; groups established, and after-school activities have been implemented. Leaving the security of one’s environment can incite a broad spectrum of responses…from despair, anxiety, or anger to passive acceptance.
Executive Arrangements Guide Caroline Merk is a Northeast Ohio expert with a teenage daughter of her own. She understands the issues families face when considering a relocation or moving during a child’s teenage years. Here are her thoughts on how to successfully support and encourage a teenager relocating to our region.
When we, at Executive Arrangements, provide Northeast Ohio orientation days to a family with teenagers, we are very mindful of how daunting it is for a young person to face such forced changes. Whenever possible, we try to have a teen meet other kids with common interests. So, depending on those interests, there are places that teens can be taken to, or shown, in order for them to begin to see that a new life is possible. For parents faced with this task, I’ve put together some ideas, although I fully understand that teens prefer to do activities with peers rather than parents.
I consulted with my own 17-year-old daughter, Gigi, whose interests include playing soccer and computer games, and who has a close group of guy friends in two different high schools. She felt, first and foremost, that a teen should shadow in a few schools to see where he or she would feel comfortable. Some factors worthy of consideration are: a bigger, more diverse school versus a smaller school with fewer kids in classes; type of scheduling (block versus periods); athletics when applicable; single sex or co-ed; and availability of clubs. Gigi created a few categories, although there is some overlap, in order to group activities that teens might enjoy: the nature lover, the athlete/sports enthusiast, the arts/music-oriented teen, and girls who shop. Many of these are season-dependent.
- Hiking or biking in the Metroparks or Cuyahoga Valley National Park, maybe the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad too
- Taking a ferry to Put-in-Bay for boating, fishing, jet skiing, or tooling around in a golf cart
- Canopy walk and emergent tower at Holden Arboretum in Kirtland
- Tribe, Cavs, Monsters, or Browns game
- Toboggan chutes in Strongsville at Mill Stream Run Reservation
- Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in a former factory on the near West Side offers Mountain and BMX biking for every level – novice to expert (closed in summer – not supposed to take the place of the outdoors)
- Play: CLE in Avon is a huge indoor adventure park offering ziplining, climbing wall, bouldering, ropes course, ninja warrior obstacle course…
- Renting kayaks or paddleboards in numerous locations
- Cleveland Velodrome (I-77 at Broadway) is a bicycling complex and racetrack
- Shows at Playhouse Square or Beck Center for the Arts
- Concerts at Blossom, Severance Hall, Jacobs Pavilion, Edgewater Live, or RocketMortgage FieldHouse
- The Cleveland Museum of Art (I made Gigi see the Yayoi Kusama exhibit and she promptly wanted to take all her friends)
Girls Who Shop (plenty of options)
- Crocker Park in Westlake
- Beachwood Place in Beachwood
- Legacy Village in Lyndhurst
- Chagrin Falls
- Eton in Woodmere
Almost all teens would enjoy going to Cedar Point!
My last idea is about food. I suggest going to the West Side Market and indulging your kid in whatever he or she wants! Go to dinner along one of Cleveland’s waterfronts, watch a freighter go by, and see the sun set over Lake Erie.