One of the main learning points I’ve had as the parent of an expat child is about maintaining a positive feeling in the home. Being an expat is at times a demanding lifestyle and what can be said and done in the home during stressful times can impact greatly on children.
So I have the following recommendations:
1. Self-care and family needs
Make sure you as the main carer / parent finds time to look after yourself. These questions may help you to consider how you are doing:
Q How did you spend your time before you became a parent and also before becoming an expat?
Q What else are you doing now besides being a parent? If you have recently become an expat consider before and after your moves too.
Q How well do you think you look after yourself?
Q What would you like to change about your life and if you can’t change living abroad, how can you change how you feel about your life now?
Q What effect has having children had on your relationship with your partner? What effect has being an expat had too?
Q Write down 10 words that represent your family before you became expats?
Q Write down 10 words that represent your family as it is now?
Q What words do you like or not like on these lists? Write a list for what you want your family to be about whilst you live abroad.
Q Consider your new list and how will you make these changes in daily life?
More parts to follow
Nicola McCall, expatriate coach, mum and spouse