Third Culture Kids, Culture Shock and loss

It’s only a month! Only a month ago that we left Qatar. It feels like it has been at least a half year. So many changes, so much happened and so much done! No wonder I feel hurried and stressed.

As a mum I always try make the transition as smooth as possible for the kids, so their basic needs are look after (safety, food, health, place to stay, be there for them when they need a shoulder, discovering our new environment and most of all INTERNET!) .

I feel guilty enough to drag them out of the life that they felt comfortable with; That they have to deal with the new surroundings, new people, new customs, new habits to get used to and feel comfortable with. We’ve done it before and my children know by now, that it will take some time but that they will overcome this culture shock aswell. They have moved and had to switch between many cultures already. 

The nationality in their passports doesn’t mean that that is where their roots lay and feel comfortable, in fact many of these -so called- Third Culture Kids (TCK) don’t have roots. Their identity is flexibel and they get used and adapt to new and different situations very easy. Which is a big advantage in a world that is changing so fast. They learn that their roots are with in themselves and that their identity is not relied on a culture and background but within their own values. 

There are many benefits in being raised a TCK, but the losses that are related to the culture shock(s) are definetly a very big disadvantage and a unsteady fact in their upbringing. When I’m speaking of losses, everybody can imagine the loss of close friends, relations, a home, environment. There are also a loss in values and customs; Values and customs which have become integrated with a way of living and which we accepted as normal/good and take for granted but we find out -sometimes the hard way- is not accepted in the new environment. Which is very hard because in the end everybody will try to be a member of a society/group and feel they belong and accepted. Which means letting go of old values and customs and adopt new ones. The challenge here is to find ways to integrate those new values and customs in a way that they feel good and  comfortable for you.

In this case for me. I’m a very impatient person and I can’t wait to get that comfortable feeling back again. But as much I would like to, I can’t force this and it has only be a month.

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