As an expat parent, you may not have a model on which to base your parenting so you may be constantly seeking new ways to do things and you might also be questioning yourself daily.
These expat parenting waters are uncharted territory. You are navigating a new environment with its own set of challenges and obstacles. You are forced to think outside the box and often adapt to new situations quickly. This requires resilience, resourcefulness, and a willingness to take risks. These things you are doing, is amazing and you are modeling really wonderful skills for your child.
This expat parenting gig can look romantic from the outside but there are times when it is a rollercoaster of emotions, especially when you or your child is struggling. It is in these moments that the romanticism of the whole idea is thrown out the window. It is also the time when you need the most support, from a system that may not well developed. Feelings of loneliness, disconnection and lack of support may be blaring which challenges and puts strain on all your relationships.
Understanding, navigating and managing these challenging feelings and emotions takes a toll on the whole family. When kids are struggling couples have challenges as they work to navigate their different interpretations of the problem. When a parent is struggling it puts more pressure on the other spouse and it also impacts kids many times in unrecognized ways.
As an expat parent it is easy to feel isolated and alone in this journey. This is i especially true since we live in a culture where everyone seems to be doing their best to give off the impression that everything is perfect. But the truth is, we all have struggles, and it’s okay to ask for help. In fact, asking for help can be one of the most courageous things we can do as parents.
Just as your child is learning how to take risks, be resilient and resourceful, your child is also learning to understand, manage and navigate their own big emotions by the way you are understanding, managing and navigating your own big emotions.
So often expat parents we are forced to navigate big difficult feelings alone. Many times partners travel extensively or are consumed by the demands of work and providing for the family. It’s hard to vulnerable and share struggles and challenges you and your children are having with strangers you don’t know.
As an expat parent thinking outside the box is required, being creative and willing to try new things is essential, but not always easy. You will surely encounter setbacks along the way but being willing to find and utilize support along the way will help you out of the slump more quickly.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional support if you are struggling with the emotional or psychological toll of expat parenting, reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Expat parenting is both a challenging and rewarding experience. Be kind to yourself, be patient with your loved ones but also prioritize honest communication and building a supportive community.
If you have an expat friend who might be interested in the information I share, please share this link.
Never lose sight of the excitement and wonder brought to this adventure in the first place. Expat parenting can be the adventure of a lifetime for the whole family.
Sending you love,
Pssstttt…..if it has been one of those days where you just wonder why you ever thought being an expat parent was good idea, don’t worry hold on tight, you will get through this. You are amazing and you are giving your child the opportunity of a lifetime.