I’m in the middle of preparing a training for TCK parents and still not sure what are the most important topics. On one hand I’d like to talk about all the great experiences TCK’s make and about all the nice people they meet, the amazing places they go to. I’d like to talk about the great opportunities they might have when they are adults because of their language skills, their cultural competence and their personality…..
But on the other hand there are all the articles and books from Adult TCK’s who write about how they experienced changing school every few years, being the new kid in school again and loosing all the good friends and places they loved. Every change to a new country is a loss of what they had before. I never saw it that clear. Of course grief is connected with it. It’s not that someone died, but do we know if we will meet one of those gerat friends we have in all the different parts of the world again? Will we ever come back to one of those great places we have so wonderful memories of? We don’t know and neither does a child.
So, it is not all good about living a nomad like life. Moving around from one place to another might be easy for some but be a major issue for others. Starting in new cultures needs time. The children are part of one culture, they are involved in that culture. When they are leaving this culture they go through a transition which means they have to leave one culture and step into another. During this transition they experience a lot of unresolved grief. Often unresolved because they and we as parents might not identify their mood. And even if we know, there often is little time during a transition to acknowledge all the losses a child could have. Often we don’t have the time to comfort our children.
Then, what can we parents do about that? I think the most important thing is to observe our children’s mood, even when we are busy with organising the movers, selling stuff and planing farewell parties. Listen to them about how they feel about the move, ask them what we can do to make them feel better. We need to appreciate their feelings and don’t let them be alone with their emotions. That’s easy to say considering we go through this transition as well and have feelings about that. But maybe this is a good way to start. Telling the children that they are not alone with their feelings…..