Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Do I know what I need to know????

As a parent of three Expat Teenagers, I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse of what is going on with my kids. So when I start to ask myself questions, such as, ‘Why is it that we seem to cope so well with our many international moves?’, I soon realize that it is necessary to also ask myself, ‘Am I missing something? Is there anything going on with any of the members of our family of five that I am missing??’ I like to think that we are all happy -- we seem to communicate well, openly express ourselves, and focus on being solutions-driven, both when things go well, as well as when things do not go so well. But, then I find myself wondering again, ‘Is everyone and everything as OK as I think they are?’ I suppose I will never really know. I cannot realistically expect our teenagers to come to my husband and me wanting to confide in us about all the details in their lives. I am sure we do not hear about the ‘mini’ conflicts they have with their friends, peers, teachers and other individuals they come in contact with. That’s the reality of raising teenagers…
So, what is that like in your household? When you, as an Expat Teenager, hear/read that a parent expresses similar opinions to what is indicated above, do you find that it is similar to your own experience with your parents? If so, then you may be in the minority, as Dr. Lisa and I have found that, at times, the questions that I ask myself are not questions that other Expat Parents ask themselves, even though they should. Many times, parents just are not aware of how important those questions are.
For you Expat Parents who are reading this blog, ask yourself this question: How do you prepare and support your children in becoming independent, confident, and empathetic individuals when the life you present them with is so full of change and uncertainty, and with the reality that every place that you live in is temporary? It isn’t always easy and we do not have all the answers. All we can do is try to be there when our children need us. This includes checking in proactively, and asking if everything in ‘their world’ outside of the home environment is okay. We can also provide them with resources and tools, books, and access to other people who can support their well-being needs., They may also benefit from mentorship and guidance from you, as parents. Dr. Lisa and I acknowledge that it’s not always easy to find those resources… and that’s where Expat Teens Talk comes into play. Watch this space for more information about our upcoming book…
In the meantime, TALK to us and let us know what’s on your mind!

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