New Teen on the Block

New Teen on the Block
Resources to help adolescents acclimate after a PCS

By: Nicole Waite 

“Being a teenager is easy” said no one, ever. Pressure to fit in, gaining “likes,” taking risks, and learning how to navigate the world are all cornerstones of normal teenage life. On top of these pressures, military teens have the added stress of Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves.

When a PCS occurs, teens often feel sad leaving their friends and anxious about finding a new social group. While this can be an overwhelming and difficult time, Military and Family Life Counselors (MFLCs) can help ease the transition into a new place by inviting teens to join lunch groups, connecting them to peers with similar interests, and sharing local events. In addition to MFLC support, there are resources available for teens and parents as they acclimate to their environment.

Youth Resources

  • On-post youth centers offer military youth a fun, safe place with activities for a variety of interests. At these centers, teens can connect with their peers and support staff.
  • Military teen adventure camps, Operation Purple, the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, and 4-H all offer age-appropriate opportunities for military kids to join a social group, learn new skills, and build confidence.
  • School programs such as Student 2 Student can help teens feel supported and connected when starting a new school.

 Parent Resources

  • Military OneSource provides information on the Interstate Compact and the Exceptional Family Members Program, which can be useful to parents when they register their children in school and have concerns about loss of credit hours or setting up 504 or IEP plans.
  • The Military Child Educational Coalition offers resources for families such as a PCS checklist and a military student consultant.

A PCS move during teen years can be life-changing for military-connected kids. However, with the help of MFLC support and the many resources available to them, it can also be a fun, exciting, and positive experience.


About the Author

Nicole Waite

Nicole Waite, LCMHC, started with Magellan as a School Military and Family Life Counselor (MFLC) back in 2014 at Fort Campbell, KY and has worked in schools, child development centers, and as an embedded MFLC at Fort Campbell, working with soldiers and their families. While taking time away from full-time work to be home with her daughter, she was afforded the opportunity to use the experience she had gained as an MFLC on the ground as a member of the presentation refresh team. She is currently back to her MFLC roots, working as a school MFLC near Fort Liberty, North Carolina. In her free time, Nicole enjoys working out, spending time outside, and traveling with her family.