Your attitude as the adult and parent is going to greatly influence how your children settle in the country and accept the move.
We can decide whether to be positive or negative about becoming expats. The more positive parent results in a well adjusted child who looks at the glass half, finds the positive in every situation and tries to adjust as much as you do.
The positives, in themselves, of living in a new and different environment so outweigh the negatives. We can start with that fantastical dream of living abroad (the “Out of Africa” experience or exotic India thoughts), this is an adventure for you and them and it needs to be embraced as such.
Perhaps it is the benefit of a better environment, climate, economic situation, better job opportunities and prospects, a better political situation, safer country iow less violence, the reason you have left your country of origin is your positive and this positive must be lived every day by the family.
What you and your family are achieving can be what your peers back home can only dream of ever achieving one day. Your attitude back then, when you were deciding to take this adventure, was one of hope and opportunity, of adventure and new beginnings and this is how this dream needs to be lived.
Trudie says : We saw this move as a wonderful opportunity to expose our children to the world and maybe broaden their horizons.
I was 36 weeks pregnant when we arrived and I was stressed beyond mention. Adjusting to this part of the world was the hardest for me. I gave up a whole support system at home to have a baby in a strange country and had to cope on my own- with just Craig by my side. For Matthew (8) coming to this part of the world is associated with so many wonderful things-he got to be with dad again (as Dad was always away when we lived at home). He finally got a sibling that we had been praying so hard for. And he got to go to a new school, make new friends and take up a combat sport-For Matthew life was grand.
Shirley says: I hated where we moved to with a passion. It was cold, wet, windy, the people were not as friendly as I thought they would be and it was a really hard and lonely time for at least a year. My first six months I told my husband that I could not handle this place and wanted to go home, but the thought of the crime back home and the safety of my children was more important for me and that was an absolute put off. I really wanted my children to be able to come and go as they wanted and not always worry about whether they would be safe, or if I had to drive them somewhere, would I get hi-jacked. It took me long time to stop hugging my handbag to my chest, to stop looking over my shoulder to see if I was been followed or whether someone was going to snatch my bag, to stop locking all my car doors and putting my handbag under my seat. That became a plus in my book and I had to really work hard to change my attitude and that is what I did.
I still miss my family and my friends, but I have made new friends here and it helps a lot. I don’t worry about locking my car door anymore or worrying about whether my bag is going to be snatched etc, it makes life more simple and therefore I just carry on with life and hope and pray for the best. My children are happy and that is what counts.
Each of these parents has had a positive attitude towards their circumstances, even if it did not start off as positive eventually expat parents realize that only their positive experiences can result in their children having a positive attitude too.