5 Ways To Help Our Third Culture Kids To Cope in Home Country; Our Personal Story.

Globalization means many adults working and living abroad from their home country. The wives and children are not spared the privileged to get this opportunity to live and go to school in another country than their home country. Children who are brought up during their formative years in a country different than their parents’ country is known as the third culture kids (TCK). They are raised in a culture that is different from the culture of their parents’ original country or nationality.[1] There are estimated to be 230 million TCK all around the world. The third culture kids develop a sense of relationship to all of the cultures but specifically, they do not have full ownership in any of them.

As parents who have six children raised abroad for more than nine years since they were small, we didn’t realize the issue about the TCK until we were relocated to our home country. We lived in Oman and several other middle eastern countries; our children are happily adapting to life there.
Coming back home is not as easy as we thought it would be, primarily for our teenage children. Even though they frequently visited our extended family members in our home country when we lived abroad, but coming back home and live here is a significant change for them. They are still trying to adapt even two years after our relocation.

The TCK loves to be at the airports

We decided to send our kids to local schools to help them to adapt to our country’s education system and culture. By going to a local school, our children have to try hard to blend themselves with the children that are so used to the local cultures and slangs. Vice versa, if they go to an International School, they will be with other children who are in the same boat with them, but they will not get the opportunity to learn about their country thoroughly. Which one is our priority?

Every parent has their priority for their children, and we believe in what we want for them. Undeniable, it is a struggle, and the struggle is real for them and us. We always find ways to help them to adapt, and we are still working towards it. Here we list some of the ways that we believe would allow them to reduce their struggle as TCK in their home country.

  1. Finding the most suitable school

When we moved back home, we did a lot of research about schools. We tried hard to find schools that have local values but with the most international language usage and culture. But yet, it is still not easy for them. The children in the schools have known each other since small. They have got used to the local culture since the very beginning.

2. Reassurance

As parents, we have always tried hard to reassure our children that everything would turn out good. We always assure them that with every difficulty, there will be ease as Allah says in the Quran ‘For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.’ [3]

outdoor sports

3. Keep our children busy with outdoor activities and sports.

What is the best way to relieve stress other than doing sports and be outdoor? Children and teenagers need to spend more time outside, with nature for them to appreciate the blessings of Allah and to do sports activities to relieve their stress. [4]

4. Acknowledge their feeling 

Others are teasing them as being difficult, showing off, speaking with a different accent and many more. As parents, we understand their pain and ask them to have patience and take the words with an open heart and reassure them that they are just doing right. 

5. Dua, Dua and Dua

Last but not least is the power of dua. Allah says: “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me—indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of every supplicant when he calls upon Me …” [5]. We had never stopped making dua for them and reminded them to make dua continuously. One hadith that is powerful and we have always reminded our children about dua is one hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He said “Whoever has the gate of dua opened to him, has the gates of mercy opened to him. Allaah is never asked for anything that He gives, which is more beloved to Him than being asked for good health and well-being. Dua is beneficial concerning what has been decreed and what has not been decreed. So, O slaves of Allaah, you must make dua’.” [6]

We believe there are many other things we can do to help our children to cope with life as TCK in our home country. We are still doing and still learning to help them cope with their struggle. May Allah make it easy for them and us.

Allah says that “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” [7]. All the best kids. Our dua is always with you. 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_culture_kid#:~:text=Third%20culture%20kids%20(TCK)%20are,of%20their%20child%20development%20years.
[2] https://www.pacificprime.com/blog/third-culture-kids.html
[3] Surah Al Inshirah 94:5-6
[4] https://www.mottchildren.org/health-library/aba5971
[5] Surah Al Baqarah 2:186
[6] Hadith narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3548
[7] Surah Al Baqarah 2:286

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