I was recently interviewed by Sandra at Maine Familienagentur, a service for expat families in Frankfurt am Main in Germany. Sandra helps families find all the leisure, sport and extracurricular activities they need to feel settled and start to make Frankfurt their home. But she also takes it further and offers Family Assistant services – help with doctors appointments, registration for Kindergartens, etc. I love the all-round-family-care offering she has. Find all the details on her website.
It was fun putting some of my thoughts into a different format so I wanted to share some excerpts with you. Please hop over here for the full interview. Some of the highlights:
... on TCKs (Third Culture Kids)
What parents caught up in the midst of raising kids and adjusting to life in a foreign country don’t always realize is the flip side. TCKs often struggle with identity issues (Who am I?), a lack of belonging (Where do I belong? Where do I feel “at home”?) and grief, brought about by the many ways in which they have to say good-bye to people, places and things in their lives.
These issues usually don’t manifest until they are adults. Then they may have difficulties committing to anything or anyone, tend to change jobs often and break off relationships. Mental health issues are not uncommon in TCKs that haven’t processed their experiences and haven’t developed a strong sense of self or belonging.
(note: read more about how I use the term Third Culture Kids here)
...on parenting TCKs
The first step is for parents to understand and acknowledge that their children’s childhood experiences are fundamentally different from their own. Parents can actively support their children by being curious about the TCK experience, gathering information and being open to learning more.
(note: I recently wrote a blog about parenting abroad.)
Be curious! Be adventurous! But develop routines as quickly as possible and mirror them as closely as you can to what you were doing in your last location. Children of all ages love routines because they are predictable and comforting. When everything around you is changing it’s good to know that every morning starts the same – maybe bring a favorite cereal bowl along in your suitcase – and every day winds down with bathtime and reading. Maintaining routines as much as possible will help the entire family adjust more quickly.
(note: sign up for my newsletter and get my “Top 10 Tips” for moving with kids)
...on arriving in Germany
It was funny to watch our children adjust to life here. They weren’t used to the independence so the first time we sent them off to a explore the playgrounds on their own they came back after 5 min, unsure of the new freedoms.
(note: read more about our repatriation adventures)
Only when we are healthy and strong, can we be fully present and supportive of our children.
(note: have you seen this list of mini self-care breaks?)
I enjoyed reflecting on the things that are important to me for this interview. Taking care of ourselves as parents and looking after the children in our lives are things I am very passionate about.
If you would like some support in these areas, please get in touch. There are a variety of ways we could work together – let’s explore your perfect fit.