February 16, 2017
Tina Quick, a nurse, cross-cultural trainer, author and founder of International Family Transitions, taught and facilitated an interactive workshop for 40 diplomats and their spouses. Her insights – based on lifelong experiences growing up in a military family and marrying a medical doctor working in global health management – provide guidance to families in transition or living cross-culturally.
Tina asked the audience to consider what actually takes place in families during a global relocation. What are the challenges they face and what strategies can they implement? Specifically, why do the children in such families feel different: “from everywhere but belonging nowhere”?
She said the overarching challenge for such families is understanding and managing the five stages of transition:
– Involvement (a sense of belonging)
– Leaving (anticipation vs. sadness)
– Transition (chaos, emotional instability)
– Entering (desire to connect, vulnerability)
– Re-Involvement (feelings of security & intimacy)
Quoting Robin Pascoe, author of Raising Global Nomads, Tina said, “Children are silent partners in relocation,” and that transitions work best when children are informed, know what they are getting into, and have at least one parent to count on as a stable presence.
While acknowledging that a few transitions can be so difficult as to require help outside the family, the reality is that the transition experience offers positive ways for families and children to grow. “It is my conviction that being a TCK is not a disease, something from which to recover. It is a life healthily enriched by this very TCK experience and blessed with significant opportunities for further enrichment” (Pollock and Van Reken).