Ask Anna

Parents ask the questions worrying them about raising kids abroad - Anna answers. 

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I grew up a loooong way from my grandparents but always felt close to them. How did we do that? The short answer: intentional connections.

The long answer: intentional connections and not sacrificing quality to quantity. It’s lovely to be able to be in contact every day but remember to build memories together and have longer conversations and time to really get to know each other.

Some tips to get started:
Choose who you want to stay close to
– Pick things to do/how you want to connect
– Schedule so they actually happen
– Tell them about it
– Stick to your commitment 

You can also read this blog about staying connected.

I was going to write a clever response but my oldest TCK saw me preparing this post so I’ll just quote her for you: “No. You’re giving them so many opportunities!”

My answer is a bit more cautious: It’s unlikely, if you are aware and educate yourself about the challenges your TCKs are and will face; if you have conversations with them and give them words to help them express their complex feelings. Common TCK issues are questions about identity and belonging and the long-term effects of unresolved grief. 

All of these can be mitigated and balanced out by the many superpowers they will gain, growing up between worlds. Healthy TCKs and CCKs are the bridge builders the world needs.

Why should you strengthen your family bonds?
Research has shown that when families enjoy activities together, children not only learn important social skills but also have higher self-esteem.

Strong family bonds also encourage better behavior in children, improve academic performance, strengthen parent-child communication, and teach your child how to be a good friend.”

The key to building these bonds is to do things you all enjoy TOGETHER, REGULARLY and being aware of the long-term effect they are having on your family. This way they become something you do as a family, who you are; giving your children a sense of family identity, belonging, stability through consistency and bonding through shared experiences.

Expat Family Flight School is a great way to stay connected and grow closer as a family. Check it out!

In my opinion the best way to relate to the experience your TCKs are having is to learn about it from them. Observe their life at eye-level, using all your senses.

Ask them questions – if they don’t feel like answering, ask how their friends are experiencing things.

Explore life through the eyes of your children by activating all your senses, by being open and observant of their daily life and routines. By diving into what gets them excited and learning a bit more about it. By really listening to what they talk about (and play) and being curious without judgment you will learn a lot about their inner workings.

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