Parental help is essential to children trying to overcome ECS, although some expat kids may show resentment towards their parents initially.
Some of the most beneficial ways to help a child struggling with expat child syndrome are:
Communicating with teens may be difficult but do your best to talk to your children. Ask them specific questions about settling into expat life like:
- Is it easy to make friends at school?
- What is your favourite thing about your new school?
- What is your least favourite thing?
- What do you like about our expat life?
- What do you miss most about our home country?
Really listen and acknowledge any difficulties they may be having. Do not dismiss them as normal teenage challenges. This in itself is likely to help your child feel understood but if there are practical steps you can take to help, that is even more useful.
2 Positive social interaction
If your child is struggling to meet or make new friends at school try to encourage them to find other opportunities to interact with people their own age by:
- Joining extracurricular activities either inside or outside school
- Trying a new sport or activity
- Finding a youth group
- Volunteering in the community
Taking part in some of these activities could help your child find others with similar interests, if they cannot be found in their new school.
3 Find a balance
Help your child find a balance between staying in touch with friends at home too. Sometimes a Skype call with a good friend from home will help them to touch base and ease their transition into their new life abroad.
Don’t forget your children’s health and wellbeing while you are abroad. We include an Expat Assistance Program as part of our international health insurance plans which offers multilingual, professional and confidential support services for families.