It’s 2020, the world is in chaos and as society moves increasingly online I am worried about one thing. Socialisation. My children do not need to be socialised. But, it’s time I recognise they are TCKs & socialisation will be heavily influenced by this fact. A simple solution to this is social media. However, they are too young to be exposed to the digital world. Which I speak about in more detail in my latest podcast episode. So their social experiences are by and large up to me.
What is a TCK?
A TCK is a Third Culture Kid. These are children who are being brought up in a culture that is not their parents’, nor is it the culture of their country of nationality. A challenge faced by many TCKs is a difficulty adjusting to their ‘home-culture’ and country. Something I anticipate we will face upon our eventual return to the UK. In part, made easier (I hope) by the continuation of home education and family connections.
Making and maintaining friendships
Last week during their online language lesson their teacher taught them how to introduce their friends. B (5) burst into tears, “I don’t have any friends, they’ve all forgotten me!”. While this could be a symptom of the current global pandemic and indication of his real fears. Which are unfounded thanks to weekly play dates which involve plenty of snacks and plenty of fun. I also can’t argue with him.
Last summer we experienced the reality of ‘returning home’. Nobody cared. I messaged other parents to organise meet ups and play dates. I told them that we were back for a month and eager to catch up. Promises were made, but nothing was set in stone. Play dates were cancelled at the last minute. Our month of keeping busy, became a month of cancellations and dreary drizzle. Comforting my disappointed children I began to wonder if the problem was me.
Could I have done something different?
The short answer is no. At this age, friendships are down to the parents. The people who we were able to meet up with were MY friends and their children. The children they socialise with now are from families with a similar outlook on life. The responsibility of maintaining those friendships falls on us, the parents. It has nothing to do with how many children they spend time with, or even how often. It has everything to do with the relationship of the parents.
My children may adore another child, beg me for play dates and sleepovers (which we avoid). But, if I cannot build a relationship with the other parent due to language or cultural barriers, that friendship is doomed to fail. Until they are old enough to meet up with friends by themselves, they are limited by my abilities. Is this the destiny of a TCK?