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February 25, 2005

Transitions and the TCK

Notes to self
from the essay Transitions and the TCK
by Jean M. Larson
From Raising Resilient MKs

Successful Adjustments: Four Cornerstones

1. Parental Relationships

    a. Worldview
    b. Relationship with each other
    c. Showing affection
    d. Problem-solving techniques
    e. Sharing responsibilities
    f. Leisure time

2. Child’s Perception of How He is Valued

    a. Key: not whether child is valued and loved, but whether child feels valued and loved.
    b. Love communicated, not simply loved
    c. Verbalize love
    d. Spending unhurried time (especially during the harriedness of transitions)
    e. Playing
    f. Listening
    g. Allowing child to voice opinions
    h. Involve child in decision making.

3. Child viewing what Parents are doing is valuable

    a. Perception of meaningful work
    b. Child understands need for adjustments

4. Practical and Persistent Faith

    a. “A parent’s persistent faith provides a hopeful perception of life for the child.”
    b. Balance: “God will provide.” And “God enables us to help ourselves.”
    c. Hope and transition

The Process: Children given the freedom and context to “process” the transition—talking, feeling, thinking, sharing with others, understanding, finding meaning in change, etc. Allowing children to experience and express feelings. Necessary to move into re-engagement stage.

Transitions: Five Phases

    Phase 1: Engagement
    Phase 2: Leaving
    Phase 3. Transition
    Phase 4: Entering
    Phase 5: Re-Engagement

RAFT Technique for Goodbyes

    Think Ahead

Websites to Remember:

Families in Global Transition
Interaction International
MK Connection
Youth Compass
TCK World
MK Links


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Great notes! You have piqued my interest in this book you speak of...

Posted by: ~Leann at February 25, 2005 11:32 PM


If this topic interests you, the book The Third Culture Kid Experience: Growing Up Among Worlds has been highly recommended to me. I just don't have a copy of that book, so I'm using the resources I have. . .

Posted by: TulipGirl at February 26, 2005 11:16 AM

wow! you are really on my hot button topic. i won't write in detail about it here. don't want to bore you with all MY opinions on the topic except to say that my opinions have been rounded out this year by a 40 year high school reunion with classmates who were mostly mk's (including myself). it is interesting to see which ones are still walking with the Lord and which are not. what their outlook on life is, etc.
we were all in a boarding school for high school in the US from 1-5 yrs. it was a very rigid, legalistic school. a few of the students never saw their parents during their time in the US. some saw them only once. long distance phone calls were considered prohibitive (cost-wise)and there was no email. is it any wonder that almost all have experienced depression in their lives in some form or fashion? (not all have really DEALT with it!) the importance of the CHILD'S perception of whether they are valued is really true. that is true in any family! the child who performs well may often be doing it NOT b/c he feels secure but b/c he is trying to earn love and acceptance. the same behavior can be motivated by such different attitudes. the quiet child seems to be agreeing with all that is going on when inside they are full of resentment and fury and biding their time until they day when they can get away from this set of values and spread their wings. only God's grace can enable us to be wise in our dealings with our kids. we can NOT assume that their hearts are in agreement with ours unless we hear them expressing in their own words, the values that we are hoping to instill in them. that is not to say that we do not teach catechism and scripture memory, but we make sure they understand what those things look like. i had a friend who would ask her son when he misbehaved, which kind of sin he had commited--commission or ommission. he was learning his catechism at the time. it was very concrete and he KNEW! he was 4!! it is great for our kids to KNOW that they are not just merely irritating their parents, they are sinning against God...and there is forgiveness.
the people who are no longer walking with God from my class are not all surprises, but some have very much surprised me. i know that in terms of mks, much has been learned from the huge mistakes made in those early years. relationships were looked on as fluff. you were to "leave your family and follow God." talk about scripture out of context!! of course, our example is Christ who was willing to do what it took to come into relationship with us. there was nothing "fluffy" about it. it was very gritty, dirty, messy and ultimately bloody. but He did it. now we are to do the same thing in our world! there is the challenge.
i've scratched the surface and rambled a lot on this topic but had better stop. martha

Posted by: martha at February 26, 2005 04:22 PM

Tulipgirl, I read The Third Culture Kid Experience when I was in Bible College at CIU. Really good book. It opened my eyes to the challenges of MK's and other TCK's. Though I am single, I know that it will be helpful for me as I build relationships with teammates' kids. And maybe I'll have TCK's of my own someday too!

Posted by: Sandra at February 27, 2005 03:13 AM


Thank you for sharing your perspective and experiences. I remember filling out our initial application forms, and the questions about the kids--well, let's just say I was so naive with a good dose of idealism thrown in.

I really can't imagine growing up in a time/place with the assumptions you described. And personally, I don't think I would have fared well here and now, even with my husband and kids, had I not had e-mail.

the importance of the CHILD'S perception of whether they are valued is really true. that is true in any family!
I read a study once that had a huge impact on me. In it, a huge percentage of kids responded they knew they were loved. A much smaller percentage felt that they were loved. I realized how much I take my love for my kids for granted--and how I can slack off in communicating that to them. And it helped me realize that my actions and patterns of behaviour have a greater impact--that sometimes goes against my intentions.

Kids don't always "get" that our motives are loving, if they percieve our actions as rejecting. It reminds me of my friend whose son was dx'd with Reactive Attachment Disorder. She loved her baby dearly. Interacted with him lovingly. But she adopted ideas that led her to think it was good for her to let her baby cry to sleep. And, even though it wasn't a LOT of crying, it was more than his little body could take. And even that well-intentioned decision had negative, long-term impact.

Anyway, all that to say, it's helped me realize that I need to pay close attention to how my actions, words, and habits are being heard and felt--not simply how I intend them.

Posted by: TulipGirl at February 28, 2005 02:44 PM

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