Passport country, Third Culture Kids, Culture Shock, Reverse Culture Shock...these are terms I was very unfamiliar with and very unprepared to deal with 4 years ago. I still feel unprepared to deal with them, but deal with them we must, for starting tomorrow it's "U.S. or bust!" The U.S. is my kids "passport country", but it is not a place they fully understand how to deal with, it is in many ways a foreign culture to them. They think it's fun and novel and if you ask them if they miss it, they will tell you they miss FAMILY, not the U.S.
We have been here long enough that they are now Third Culture Kids or as defined by American sociologist David C. Pollock, They Have "...spent a significant part of (their) developmental years outside the parents' culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background." You see, my TCKs don't view the world the way I do or the way you do.
"TCKs tend to have more in common with one another, regardless of nationality, than they do with non-TCKs from their passport country.
TCKs are often multilingual and highly accepting of other cultures. Although moving between countries may become an easy thing for some
TCKs, after a childhood spent in other cultures, adjusting to their passport country often takes years."
As you can probably imagine this has advantages and disadvantages and it's tricky knowing how to help them adjust back and forth, but overall, I have some pretty amazing kids. Recently we had to renew there US passports. Here they are proudly holding passports to a country they love, but do not completely understand. We are thanking God the passports arrived just in time for our trip and that God provided the money for all five of them.
Why are we headed to the US this week? To apply for our Mexican temporary resident visas! We will be staying as long as it takes to get them. Pray with us that the process goes quick and smooth so we can get back home (Mexico).
Aside from dumping your kids smack in the middle of another culture, what are you doing to make your kids more culturally savvy? And for those veterans, how do you help your kids cope with the transition between cultures?