Recommended reading: October 17, 2017

I’ve read some great TCK/expat resources lately, so I decided that after a year of quiet (during which time I’ve been burying myself in studies and unexpected life complications) it was well past time for another “recommended reading” post!

Third Culture Kids: Tips on Belonging & Identity for Expat Children
Sassy Mama – Singapore
This is a helpful little post about a tricky little question – “where are you from?” This is the question that turns an eloquent TCK into an awkward stammerer. But in this post Sarah gives parents tips on helping children prepare to answer with confidence, walking through two different approaches. One particularly good insight: a child may feel most connected to a different country than their sibling or parent – which is not only perfectly okay, it’s totally normal!

From School Abroad to School Back Home
I Am A Triangle
A great little article about the transition to a new school in a new country – when that new place is the one you’re supposed to call “home”. Every school has a different culture, different norms and expectations. The difficulty of the transition for a TCK starting school in their passport country can be minimised or overlooked by teachers and school admin, but this post has great tips for parents seeking to better support their child’s re-entry transition.

Expat child – a gift or a curse?
Expat Child
Obviously I say “gift”, but there are corresponding difficulties connected with expat life that need to be mitigated. This was a great read, discussing the emotional impact of moving abroad and offering solid advice. Corporate families in particular often lack organisational support to guide them in the emotional consequences of an international move.

Why I don’t worry about multilingualism
The Piri-Piri Lexicon
I really appreciated this post, and it’s stress-less approach to developing multilingualism in children. The basic point is that if languages are part of daily life, they’ll be picked up, and if they’re not, it’s not worth the effort to impose them artificially. If multilingualism is important to you, for your family’s identity or any reason, then make it part of your regular life – and relax. A great quote that sums up a great post: “if multilingualism is to truly work, it needs to be natural. You cannot force anything. If you impose a language on your kids for whatever reason, it won’t work (not in the long run anyway). For me, it is just like forcing your child to learn to play the violin when all they want to do is play football. They might do it to please you but they won’t enjoy it and may resent it forever.”

5 Ways to Wellbeing for Expats
Cultural Intelligence Collective
A great little post with five simple things expats can do to increase their emotional wellbeing. Trish cites recent research that shows expats have significantly more struggles with mental health than their home country peers. The little things we do are significant – so this is a great encouragement/reminder.

What being stuck between two cultures can do to a person’s psyche
The Conversation
This post discusses ways those with bi-cultural influences (particularly mentioning immigrant families, but also applying to expats and TCKs) can feel caught between or rejected by the different cultural groups they identify with. A particularly helpful quote: “Research has found that people who have a more fluid sense of self are less likely to feel rejected from their heritage culture, compared to those who have an independent sense of self. This is because they are better able to reconcile both their cultural identities without experiencing conflict.”

Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds – Third Edition
Not a blog post, but if you haven’t already heard – the brand new Third Edition of the classic “Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds” is now available! I’m delighted to have a copy, though I’ve only skimmed so far. (I’m not letting myself sit down with it until the semester is finished.) But I’m already particularly impressed with wider discussion on Cross Cultural Kids and advice for parenting TCKs.

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