Parent Chronicles

Resilient TCKs

Our FREE parent chronicles  are written by adult TCKs, and every issue includes unique insights into your kids’ lives and their experiences. Sign up for our Parent Chronicles to receive exclusive activities.

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Parent C

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RESOURCES, TOOLS, AND COMMUNITY FOR PARENTS OF THIRD CULTURE KIDS

(So you can be confident you're not screwing them up!)

Ever wondered how your third culture kids can become as resilient as Elastigirl from the Incredibles? We definitely have! No matter how hard we try to avoid it, hardship such as loss and grief is inevitable, especially for a TCK. At KLDSCP, we believe that a TCK’s resilience allows them to thrive in even the most precarious of circumstances. We’ve found a few tools to be especially helpful in empowering kids to build resilience and process tough experiences well, and we hope you find success with them, too:

  1. Acknowledge past losses and prepare for future ones, no matter how big or small. If a TCK wants to work through hard emotions and experiences, we dive into the mess with them. If they are grieving the loss of something relatively small or inconsequential, we give that equal airtime. We discuss past and current losses insofar as they are part of their stories, and teach them the tools to say healthy goodbyes. Talking about loss helps us process our experiences and avoids unresolved grief further down the road, resulting in a greater ability to recover after future losses, a.k.a. resilience.

  2. Give them language. A big part of helping TCKs learn resilience is by talking about emotions. Learning to express both negative and positive emotions is key to living a life of resilience. We aim to continue to expand your TCKs’ emotional vocabulary and teach them to identify their feelings!

  3. Make connections. Friendships for children and teens teaches them essential life skills, such as empathy and compassion. Because of a TCK’s highly mobile lifestyle, making new connections can sometimes feel hard or scary. It is essential to encourage TCKs to remain present and make friends, even if it is only for a week; value the practice of learning how to connect with others around us, even if it means risking another goodbye.

  4. Be an example. Tell your own stories and share appropriate emotions with the TCKs in your life. Hearing others’ experiences helps TCKs understand that they are not alone, and feel connected. Feeling connected is an essential part of building resilience.

  5. Listen to their stories! When TCKs get to tell their stories, they can make sense of their world and connect with those who listen their life journey—even if they’re just 5 years old. Processing their experiences through reflection and sharing develops their emotional resilience as they continue on their paths. Wait until next month where we will dive more into personal storytelling.


Listen

Josh Sandoz is an adult third culture kid and Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with TCKs. In this podcast you will hear more about Josh's story, challenges that TCKs face, and how you can help your kids develop emotional resilience as they grow up in between cultures.

TCK Heroes

Our FREE parent chronicles  are written by adult TCKs, and every issue includes unique insights into your kids’ lives and their experiences. Sign up for our Parent Chronicles to receive exclusive activities.

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Parent C

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RESOURCES, TOOLS, AND COMMUNITY FOR PARENTS OF THIRD CULTURE KIDS

(So you can be confident you're not screwing them up!)

What makes a better story than a character being plucked out of their culture and sent on an extraordinary adventure where they meet different and lovable characters along the way?! You can use music, movies, and TV shows as tools to help the teenagers in your lives process their experiences and become more self aware. The really cool part is that a lot of stories use third culture kids (sometimes without even realizing it!) as their heroes and heroines.

In the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, the main character, Peter Quill, happens to be a TCK. Peter was born on Earth, and when he was about 10 years old, was snatched away to grow up in space. The movie fast-forwards to when he is an adult, and we see him on an alien planet, surrounded by others who are unlike him. His “family,” friends, and even enemies not only look different, but belong to different cultures than he does.

We watch Peter face classic TCK situations:

like when his humor fails to come across properly…

...and he attempts (and sometimes fails) to get others around him to appreciate the aspects of his passport planet that he does.

Sometimes people think he’s a little strange…

…and we see him face challenges that are familiar to our own TCKs, such as accumulated loss, feelings of loneliness, and unresolved grief.

Get the family together to watch this film and talk about the similarities and differences between your teen TCKs’ experiences and those of Peter Quill and company.

Understanding Your TCK

Our FREE parent chronicles  are written by an adult TCK and every issue includes unique insights into your kids’ lives and their experiences. Sign up for our Parent Chronicles to receive exclusive activities.

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Parent C

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RESOURCES, TOOLS, AND COMMUNITY FOR PARENTS OF THIRD CULTURE KIDS

(So you can be confident you're not screwing them up!)

Since our world is an ever-changing one, it is important to define the term TCK. In the new edition of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, authors Ruth Van Reken and Michael Pollock present an updated definition that might be a little bit different than the one you are familiar with:

A traditional third culture kid (TCK) is a person who spends a significant part of his or her first eighteen years of life accompanying parent(s) into a country that is different from at least one parent's country(ies) due to a parent's choice of work or advanced training.

Mixing blue and yellow paint is a common way to explain what makes third culture kids unique. This is a fun, messy activity we do with your kids! Blue represents a TCK's passport country, and yellow represents the country they have spent time in, or their host country. When these colors blend together, it makes green. Rather than losing either color, a new color is created. The same thing happens when a child moves from the United States to Kenya, for example: a new, unique culture is gained!

Each TCK is a different shade of green depending on how much they are influenced by their host and passport countries. However, a unique quality TCKs possess is their ability to relate to one another, no matter where they are from or what their shade of green. Whether TCKs grow up in South Korea or South Africa, whether they are missionary or military kids, they all share this commonality of "being green."

How do people who have grown up on opposite sides of the world find themselves becoming best friends, you ask? Find out next time as we explore the unique pieces that make up this third culture.


WATCH

What better way to explain what a TCK is, then our good old friend, Buddy the Elf! In the movie Elf, Buddy is a quintessential TCK. Too tall to be an elf, but different than other humans, he has to try to figure out how he fits into the busy metropolitan life in New York City. Check out our blog post for discussion Q's, and theIMDB page for parental advisory content and plot details.