One of the more interesting discussions made on many forum sites is about teenage expats and their travails and difficulties adjusting to their new life in a new country. Many discussions revolve around families that move to another country for work assignments and the following are some of the emotional aspects that are greatly affected with the changes. As shared in these discussion threads, the most greatly affected are children between the ages of 11 and 13.
Leaving friends and family
This is one of the greater problems that families encounter when they choose to move to another country for any extended period of time. The fact that children would be leaving their "friends for life" often results in tantrums and emotional outbursts. Do not fret though as this is only for the short term as children, once they have acclimatized themselves to their new home and country would bounce right back to normalcy.
Having older children though has a different set of situations altogether. If they are already 14 and above, then they have already settled into their comfort zones and uprooting them will definitely meet some opposition from them. Do talk to them as adults explaining the economic as well as social benefits they can enjoy with the move to another country. Keep an open mind to their reactions and having open lines of communication with them would definitely help in the transition.
Many countries, owing to the ease of transoceanic travel, have significant numbers of expat communities. To answer their needs, schools have been established for the expat children. These include state schools, private schools and international schools. In order to avoid any dislocation of your children's education, look up the possible schools near your projected residence. Soon enough, you will find the best school best suited for your children and that will greatly help in the transition into the country for your children.
One aspect of many expat educational institutions is that they have curricula designed under the "British style education". This kind of system allows your child or children to expand their thoughts, ideas and experiences. This education at an early age will definitely help in their growth and maturity.
One of the concerns for expat parents is the social life of their children. Do remember that children need time to adjust and be able to make new friends in their new home. Once given the opportunity to integrate with their peers, they can easily make friends and get easily acclimatized to the new country.
Some expats opt to protect their children within the expat community. Many problems can stem from this as they may have a very limited viewpoint and experience socializing with others. It is best to allow them to expand their social circle with the local community to enrich your children's personal as well as social life. Having the expat community as a safety net will always be helpful in your adjustment but you can fully experience being an expat is immersing yourself in the local culture and community.
Choosing where to live
When in another country, where you set up your residence is pivotal for the adjustment of your children. It helps to have facilities that you didn't have in your old home in keeping them from being homesick. You also need to be aware of the local facilities such as recreation facilities and parks for your children's activities. Also, having a handle over services and activities can give time for your children to acclimatize to the new country.
There is an interesting phenomenon that is truly unique to expat families. It is seen that children have problems adjusting to the new country. Once adjusted, many become unwilling to return to their home country after spending some time overseas. This is a clear testament to the abilities of children to adjust to their local surroundings. Though not all the children have this ability as some find it hard to adjust to the expat way of life, many if allowed to adjust would be able to acclimatize themselves to their new environment.
Future development of your children
People do not always welcome change and many resist the change from even their home town much more to another country altogether. The difficulties in the distance is bridged by the Internet now allowing more time and venues to learn, enjoy and even be employed. The Internet has become one of the centerpieces of the everyday lives of children and adults. With their experiences and expertise, the short stint in another country can surely help your children in the future for overseas ventures or overseas employment.
How your child is nurtured during their formative years greatly influences their mindset and demeanor when they grow older. If you do get a chance to live overseas, keeping your children sheltered would only stunt their growth and even scar them emotionally and psychologically. This would lead to more problems later in life so it is highly recommended that you give them free rein to experience the country with you keeping a watchful eye over them.
When moving overseas, there are many issues and concerns you need to address. Your children will rank high on that list as how they adjust and accept the new life and surroundings away from their old home and relationships. Many have opted to decline overseas assignments precisely because of the fear of the effect on their children. It is good to know that children will often be better at adjusting to a new country and the younger they are the faster they are able to acclimatize.
This is a reality in the new global marketplace of employment, tourism and education. The opening of borders allows families to set up residence in another country easily. The vast developments in telecommunications most especially the Internet has given new and exciting opportunities for people to work in other countries. Having some experience as an expat at whatever age will surely help you both personally and professionally when given the opportunity in the future.
Do remember though that the advice given is not the hard and fast rule because of the differing temperament, personalities as well as capacities of individual families. The keys in moving children overseas are communication and time, to make the experience truly an enriching one for all.