Thursday, 3 November 2011

Needing Support is OKAY!

There are often times in life when we struggle to deal with what we are experiencing. We should not have to feel like we have to get through these difficult times alone. Asking for help is not a bad thing! Asking for help is often the solution we need to get through the challenging times in life.
Psychologists say the following are the most difficult and stressful things for people to experience:

      Illness of a parent or sibling
      Death of a parent or sibling
      Separation or divorce of parents
      Moving and adaptation difficulties

If you stop and think about the fact that ‘moving’ is on that list, take a moment to think of the impact an international move has on a person. You are confronted by endless change: new country, city, language, culture, job, colleagues, cultural norms, professional norms, house, neighbourhood, school, teachers, academic system, teaching methodology, peers, friends, sports, climate, arts, music, politics, religion, and the list goes on. How does moving from one country to another country impact a person? Should we be expected to deal with these changes all on our own? Is there something wrong with us when we find it difficult, when we find ourselves  struggling, regardless of whether we are an adult, a parent, a teenager? Below is a list of things that are difficult to deal with when moving around the world as an Expat, having a transient life that is more full of change than stable norms:

      Change in roles, responsibility, career, identity of parents and impact on teens;
      Peer relationship difficulties (peer pressure, friendship issues, romantic relationships, sexual identity issues);
      School related issues (academic pressure/stress, organization difficulties, homework/project difficulties, working independently, school expectations);
      Alcohol, drugs, sex related issues;
      Moving to a boarding school: developing independence, making decisions, finding balance with non-boarding friends (freedoms, time, independence, cultural differences);
      Reintegration issues: going back to an environment you no longer feel a part of (or never were a part of) or don’t identify with. This often happens when, for example, Expat Teens go to their passport country or country of birth for university studies.

Having problems, challenges, or some difficulty adapting to change as an Expat Teen, an Expat Parent or an Expat Professional is OK! Asking for support or finding the resources you need to have access to support can be, and most often is, extremely beneficial, as it helps support you in finding new directions, learning about solutions and being exposed to advice to make the transition easier.

“Expat Teens Talk” offers advice, support and solutions from Expat Peers, Parents and Professionals, to Expat Teens who have written in and shared the challenges they feel confronted by as a result of living a transient Expat life. In the meantime, TALK to us and let us know what’s on your mind…

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