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LEVERAGING OUR CHILDREN’S GLOBAL EXPERIENCE In the context of the living in Beijing Dr Lyn Wren Western Academy of Beijing 31 st January 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "LEVERAGING OUR CHILDREN’S GLOBAL EXPERIENCE In the context of the living in Beijing Dr Lyn Wren Western Academy of Beijing 31 st January 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 LEVERAGING OUR CHILDREN’S GLOBAL EXPERIENCE In the context of the living in Beijing Dr Lyn Wren Western Academy of Beijing 31 st January 2013

2 Our Aim Today

3 EXPAT CHILDREN THE NEW PROTOTYPE Global citizen, first culture, second culture, third culture and cross cultural kids – these are all terms that may be used to refer to our living in Beijing children. The prototype citizen of the future is said to be the global citizen – especially the children that are at ease with moving within and across cultures, building bridges and making connections. But is is all good news? Studies have shown that these global children have a unique set of challenges to overcome. The pressure of moving to a new city, exposure to a foreign culture, starting in a new school, having to make new friends and watch friends leave, all create stress. These stressors are then linked to many emotional and physical health problems. Behavioral issues, anxiety, depression, eating and dieting disorders, alcohol & substance use and suicide, can all be triggered by the stressors our global citizen children are facing. As a parent, understanding how to turn these challenges into assets is absolutely essential. CHINA DAILY WAB’s FAVOURITE NEWSPAPER - Since forever


5 CROSS CULTURAL & THIRD CULTURE KIDS Cross Cultural Kids: meaningful interaction with 2 cultures during the developmental years Third Culture Kids: 1 st culture is your ‘home’ culture; 2 nd culture is the one you moved to; 3 rd culture is the one you make in your ‘new home’ which is usually a combination of the two.. THE NEW ‘NORMAL’ = GLOBAL CITIZENS THE NEW ‘NORMAL’ = GLOBAL CITIZENS

6 LEVERAGING IT TO OUR ADVANTAGE “ TCKs are cross-culturally mobile children, born into a first culture and raised in one or more additional cultures. Their emergent life-style produces a third culture that lacks national or cultural boundaries. TCKs are marginal, mobile in body, soul, and intellect. Their roots lie in uprootedness. They fit in everywhere, nowhere in particular. They are simultaneously insiders and outsiders….” Ayla Delin, Istanbul, writing in Time, March 1, 1993

7 Parenting & Our Global Citizen Children - Advantages Problem Solving Flexible WORLD VIEW Strong Family Ties Mature Tolerance ADAPTABILITY Skilled Culturally Sensitive Linguistic Skills Empathy

8 Parenting & Our Global Citizen Children - Challenges Feelings of being rootless Worsen ADD/ADHD Behavioral Problems Depression & Suicide Education Out Of Phase Stress & Anxiety Insecurity Clashes with different value systems Eating & Dieting Disorders Unresolved grief & sadness Alcohol & Substanc e Use

9 Individual Response To Stressors Depends on Many Factors PersonalityAge of ChildGenetics Strength of family values & traditions How Many Moves Strength of Family Bonds Duration Co-existing Health Problems Home Environment

10 PARENT POWER Evidence Based Research Confirms… Strong family management Strong family attachments Pro-active involved parenting RISK PROTECTIVE Lower risk of child & teenage health & safety problems

11 Part 1 THE LOVE LANGUAGES Learning how to communicate love in a language your children understand Communicating Love A strong family is one where the members genuinely feel loved

12 Research has concluded: To feel loved is the primary human emotional need It is like each of us has an ‘emotional love tank’ Conflicts and issues are more easily received, discussed and resolved if the parties feel loved & accepted With our children our aim is to increasingly lead by the strength of our relationship NOT by the power of our authority Of course we DO LOVE THEM but our expressions of love may not make our children FEEL LOVED. GENERAL PRINCIPLES – No formulas

13 The Idea of Love Languages Love is expressed as an ‘emotional language’ There are 5 basic languages of love Each person is different – what communicates love to one person may not communicate love to another Everyone needs a little of everything but people have ONE language that speaks LOUDER than all others (some are bilingual) Children under the age of about 5 years need ALL 5 love languages

14 5 Love Languages Quality Time Words of Encouragement Gifts Physical Affection Acts of Service

15 Part 2 Our goal is to raise children that have their own “moral compass” rather than just ‘rule obeyers’. Instilling A Moral Compass Using the power of influence rather than the power of our authority as parents

16 Introduction We have established that growing a healthy, loving child- parent relationship is the MOST important The next step is ‘TRAINING’ Love and “training” have to go together Our goal is to lead by the strength of our relationship NOT by the power of our authority Our goal is to equip our children with a moral compass, so they can make good choices as they navigate the challenges of living in Beijing

17 What Is A Moral Compass? A value system that has been ‘inbuilt’ over the years A value system that enables children, teenagers, young adults & adults make good, morally responsible decisions for themselves A value system that keeps ‘steering’ them in the right direction A value system that is independent of ‘rules’ and ‘the law’. How we instil this moral compass changes as the phases of parenting change

18 How Do We Instill A Moral Compass? Teach them the reasons ‘why’ The reasons ‘why’ need to be genuine/accurate Teaching them ‘why’ instills in them a set of values and morals which they will keep with them for the rest of their life The GOAL is to empower them to make decisions for themselves We want to raise morally responsible young adults….NOT rule obeyers!

19 Down Side of Instilling A Moral Compass Takes more time than just saying ‘because I’m the parent and I said so’ YOU need to know the reasons ‘why’ Parents need to MODEL the moral values they are seeking to instill Expect rich discussion on all the reasons ‘why not’ and ‘why you’re wrong’ It might still come down to ‘well I appreciate your opinion BUT….” Even in this situation, you have instilled the value even though you have to fall back on parental authority

20 Moral Compass Versus Rule-Obeyers Rule Obeyers Obey when there ARE rules Can ‘disobey’ when there is no one watching Can ‘disobey’ when they think they can get away with it Motivated by an inbuilt ‘moral compass’ Can make decisions: Independently of whether there are rules When there is no-one watching or telling them what to do To do the right thing even if there are no rewards or punishments

21 How We As Parents Can Make All The Difference Be Flexible Make them Feel LOVED Keep a Healthy marriage Keep Family Traditions Change Your Parenting Style as Your Kids Grow Build Strong Family Relationships Be INVOLVED Learn how To be a ‘coach’ as your kids get older Be an informed parent Look for Opportunities To teach Your Kids ‘Why’ Get support If you need it

22 Conclusion

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