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Growing Up Among Worlds

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Presentation on theme: "Growing Up Among Worlds"— Presentation transcript:

1 Growing Up Among Worlds
Understanding the “New Normal” of a Cross-Cultural Childhood Facilitated by Ruth E. Van Reken

2 Overview My story Defining our terms
Where we’ve been Where we are Why a cross-cultural childhood matters Why a highly mobile childhood matters How to grow from both gifts and challenges

3 My story…

4 Where we’ve been…a short history

5 Origin of the term “third culture”
Third Culture (International Lifestyle) First Culture (Home/Passport) Second Culture (Host) (“Neither/Nor World”)

6 Dave Pollock’s TCK Definition
“A person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents' culture(s)... Pretty basic…we’ll understand more of her insights in a couple of minutes.

7 Characteristics of third culture?
Cross-cultural lifestyle High mobility Expected repatriation Often a “system identity” Make the point that it is this expected repatriation which affects all as you can never quite settle down”? Are there different ways TCAs and tCKs process the pros;pect of one day returning ‘home”?

8 Where are we now?

9 Evolving understanding…
In 1984, Dr. Ted Ward declared Third Culture Kids (TCKs) as the “prototype citizens” of the future. Why?

10 Time for new language?

11 Cross-Cultural Kid (CCK)
A Cross-Cultural Kid (CCK) is a person who is living in—or meaningfully interacting with—two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during developmental years of childhood (first 18 years of life). A Cross-Cultural Adult (CCA) is one who made first significant cross-cultural interaction as an adult Adult Cross-Cultural Kid (ACCK) is someone who grew up as a CCK. Ruth E. Van Reken, co-author, Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds, 2002

12 Examples of Cross-Cultural Kids
TCKs Cross- Cultural Kids Domestic TCKs Bi (Double?) cultural Kids Children of Minorities Biracial Kids International Adoptees Children of Immigrants Children of Border- landers Educational CCKs Children of Refugees

13 CCK Poster Child

14 Barack Obama’s Circles
Bus. Kids Other Growing Complexity Barack Obama’s Circles Mil. Kids Foreign Ser.Kids TCKs Cross- Cultural Kids Domestic TCKs Miss. Kids Bicultural Kids Privileged Children of Minorities Biracial Kids Discrimi nated International Adoptees But our discussion is not for academic pupspose alone…The reality is that many TCKs are not only TCKs but members of the others subgroups as well. Many who live and work in the international and global workforcs have grown up with increasintly complicated stories. We can no longer put people in this convenienet box or that…even a TCK box….how are we going to think through the complications of cultural identity presnet among us? How do we deal with the issues of the oftne hdiden diversities now among us rather than the convenient categories of the past? ; So that’s why we have congregated this panel today…to look at the complexity of cultural worlds and upbringings in our see what are common themes, what may be added layers and to start the discussion on where we now are and where we are going. I wantt to welcome Doug Ota, Smitha Day, Foojahn Zeine, and Doni Ambrosine. Children of Immigrants Children of Border- landers Educational CCKs Children of Refugees

15 A quiz…What’s your story?
Cross- Cultural Adults (CCAs) - ) Those who made first significant cross-cultural interaction as an adult Third Culture Adults (TCAs) - Those who make their first long-term international cross-cultural move as adults. Cross-Cultural Kids (CCKs) - those who interact menaingfully with various cultural worlds as children. Third Culture Kids (TCKs) -“Children who accompany their parents into another culture.” Ruth Useem’s definition Adult Cross-Cultural Kids - those who grew up as CCKs of any sort Third Culture Kids (ATCKs) - Those who grew up as TCKs Other?

16 What do you consider gifts and challenges of this lifestyle for the children? (Remember “paradox”!)
Large world view vs. ignorance of passport culture Switching between school and home culture vs. opportunity to interact with others of different backgrounds Linguistic skills vs. linguistic confusion Cultural chameleon: adaptability vs. lack of true cultural balance Arrogance: real vs. perceived Belonging “everywhere and nowhere” Great opportunity to travel/see the world vs. rootless and restless Independence vs. isolation Guardedness in forming close relationships all rights reserved Ruth E. Van Reken

17 Practical skills often acquired
Can be effective cultural bridge Language skills Observational skills Thinking “outside the box” Adaptability Confidence To start something new To move and start again

18 Common long term challenges TCKs may face
Question of identity “Which of my many selves am I?” “I never feel like I belong anywhere….” Unresolved grief Depression Withdrawal, etc all rights reserved Ruth E. Van Reken

19 To understand the identity issues…
What is the difference between a traditional monocultural upbringing and a cross- cultural upbringing?

20 What is culture? “Customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.” --Webster’s Tenth Collegiate Dictionary\ “. . . System of shared assumptions, beliefs and values. It is the framework from which we interpret and make sense of life and the world around us.” --Paul Hiebert, Cultural Anthropology, 2d ed.

21 Role of the visible and invisible elements of culture
Dr. Gary Weaver’s Cultural Iceberg Food Traditions Customs Language Values Beliefs Worldview The visible and invisible…visible has traditionally identified the invisible….now not so much

22 Culture How is culture learned?
How is a sense of “cultural balance” learned? How does that relate to identity development? This is true for anyone..not just TCKs..makes a point later on….that it is world in which they learn culture that is different, not the process…culture is caught, not taught, so goes one saying…

23 What is the difference in how traditional monocultural kids and TCK/CCKs “learn culture” and thus, identity? Not the process but the worlds in which their development takes/took place Home in Afghanistan of Chinese Canadian mom, White Canadian dad, children attend multinational school

24 Possible Multiple Spheres of Cultural Influence in a TCK/CCK’s World
Parental Sponsoring Organization? Caregivers School Cross-Cultural Kids Where They Live Now Ethnic Subculture? Previous Place(s) They Lived Adapted from chart by Norma McCaig, Founder of Global Nomads International

25 The “Changing Mirror” of TCKs/CCKs’ Cultural Identity in Relationship to Surrounding Dominant Culture Foreigner Hidden Immigrant Look Different Think Different Look Alike Think Different Adopted Mirror Look Different Think Alike Look Alike Think Alike PolVan Cultural Identity

26 This leads to… Hidden Diversity— a diversity of experience that shapes a person’s life and world view but is not readily apparent on the outside, unlike the usual diversity markers such as race, ethnicity, nationality, etc Ruth E.Van Reken and Paulette Bethel, CIES,

27 Common reactions as TCKs/CCKs try to sort out identity issues…
“Chameleon”—tries to find “same as” identity “Screamer”—tries to find “different from” identity “Wallflower”—tries to find “non-identity” (be invisible)

28 In the end, even parents and children in the same family may not necessarily share…
A common sense of national identity A similar sense of “Where is home?”

29 Other fallout … In interpersonal relationships
Spouses/significant others Peers at university or workplace Teachers

30 Understanding the impact of a mobile lifestyle

31 What creates “high mobility” in our world?
Cycles of mobility Frequency of mobility Community of mobility Obviously, high mobility is an adult issue too….

32 What happens with each cycle of mobility?
Each move involves going through a transition cycle Multiple mini-transitions may be in each big one

33 Stages of Transition Cycle (David C. Pollock’s model)
Involvement Leaving (Change) Transition Entry Re-involvement

34 What happens with each cycle of mobility?
Everyone in the family will be going through transition but not all at the same pace!

35 What happens with each cycle of mobility? What happens with each move?
Each transition cycle involves loss as well as potential gain

36 What happens with each cycle of mobility? What happens with each move?
The loss of something you love leads to grief Grief will always be expressed, either consciously or unconsciously

37 Expressions of unresolved grief stages based on Dr
Expressions of unresolved grief stages based on Dr. Elisabeth Kühbler Ross’s work Denial Anger Bargaining Sadness/Depression Withdrawal Rebellion Vicarious grief Delayed grief This is where the hiding begins to come…not wanting others or HR to know of all this yuk going on behind closed doors…and yet, this is what will spill over into the workplace as well…none of us can totally segregate ourselves from another part of ourself…at least not healthfully or for long. Anger can come out again at HR, fellow employees, anyone. Depression can lead to missed work days, to lower productivity, just as any depression can. Vicarious grief…putting on someone, something else…overreactions to things. TEENANGEL GRIEF will ALWAYS manifest…need to learn how to mourn. Perhaps develop rituals of mourning for our mobile community!

38 The Grief Wheel stages based on Dr. Elisabeth Kühbler Ross’s work
Wheel model by Pam Davis, counselor

39 Biggest long term challenge of high mobility…
Unresolved grief

40 To understand why grief from these losses is often unresolved…
Lack of awareness Losses are often “hidden” because they are intangible or invisible: What might some be? Loss of a world Loss of the dream Loss of status Loss of a sense of “system identity” Loss of a sense of cultural balance Loss of cultural cohesion in the family Loss of lifestyle Loss of possessions Loss of relationships Loss of system identity Loss of the past that wasn’t Loss of the past that was

41 To understand why unresolved grief occurs…
Lack of permission to grieve Grief is discounted Grief is compared to the higher good Grief is denied Lack of time to process Lack of comfort Difference between comfort and encouragement

42 Helping TCKs/CCKs Grow and Build with Cultural Piece

43 How to help – Understand!
“Normalize” the process – remember they are KIDS!!!! Understand the dynamics Recognize and validate relationship with “international culture” or “cross-cultural culture” as well as national/family culture

44 How parents can help with identity issues
Develop a strong sense of family identity Use portable traditions Vacation as you travel Maintain close contact with relatives here and “there” Keep threads of connection strong “Sacred objects”

45 For identity issues For globally mobile families, try to keep a permanent “home base” of some sort in passport culture if you plan to return Consider how each move works in the grand scheme of entire family’s needs

46 Validate and build with “intentionality” on practical skills often acquired
Intentionally learn about places you live and visit History Geography Culture Maintain languages learned Teach kids good packing skills!!

47 Help educators know your child’s story…
Application forms Parent-teacher conferences Writing, art, discussion in class

48 How to help When TCKs/CCKs react
Remind them that they don’t have to reject either the past or the present to preserve the other – they can be both/and (But don’t be mad at them!)

49 Helping with other challenges Recognize possible symptoms related to “identity box”
Try to understand the “statement” they are making with their behavior Is it the only way they know to try and find their unique identity? Is it grief? Is it fear of losing their past?

50 How to help (cont.) Help TCKs realize they can be both/and, not either/or “My life is like Window Each part is open and accessible, but I have to operate in the one that’s on the screen.” Journey of clarification

51 Helping TCKs/CCKs Grow and Build with Mobility Piece

52 For mobility: In Second Stage - Leaving (Change)
What we can do Build a RAFT Reconciliation Affirmation Farewells To people To places To pets To possessions Think Destination How do we build a RAFT for different ages?

53 For mobility: in transition (and later) stage…
Name our losses, (obvious & hidden) sometimes by affirming the past! Journal Scrapbook Talking to someone who will listen without “fixing” Painting Music

54 Critical point when entering: flip side of the RAFT – the Bye/Hi
“Unpack your bags and plant your trees” Say hello well Accept invitations to meet others Help kids explore new environment Find good mentor Invite others over

55 Strategies for growing through transition
Find ways to keep in contact with the past while moving to the future Journey of clarification Internet Skype

56 Strategies for growing through transition
For “reentry,” help children think through the answer to “Where are you from?” before they repatriate For families sending children to university in a culture outside passport culture, maintain “sense of home” here and seek to make connections for support there

57 Strategies for growing through transition, including reentry
Remember your kids may need some extra help Don’t assume they know all you do Tutor Practical lessons from you!

58 Strategies for growing through transition, including reentry
Remind your kids that they can never lose what they have gained as TCKs/CCKs Moving towards the future (including their passport culture) is simply building on that foundation

59 Other thoughts from you?

60 My personal conclusion…
To quote Garth Brooks… “I could have missed the pain, but I’d ‘a had to miss…the DANCE!” Garth Brooks, “The Dance”

61 Enjoy the journey!

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