Tips to ensure the expat posting has a positive effect on your family
The impact of overseas living on family
An expat posting inevitably affects family relationships. The good thing: they mostly change for the better. Families who put in some extra effort are rewarded with a bond that is stronger than ever before. Here are some tips to ensure the expat posting has a positive effect on your family:
1. Build excitement about the move and to be positive. There will inevitable be bad days, andyou have to find a way to go on, a good sense of humour will help.
2. Take advantage of the unique surrounding and explore all the new sites at your disposal.
3. Stay in touch with family as you are separated. Technology today makes it easy to stay
in regular contact with the ones you have left behind.
4. Never say "no" to an expat opportunity because of your children, who should instead be
a reason to go abroad. If you do accept the assignment, remember that the way you approachthe move will make an impact on the children and affect their experience.
5. Go with the right attitude:∙ Be open‐minded and courageous about this adventure.∙ Learn to embrace change.∙ Make the best of it while you can.∙ Consider it a once‐in‐a‐lifetime opportunity.
6. Although you do not have to "go native," do not try to keep everything the same as at home either because it will be different. Some things, however, will encourage familiarity and security.
7. Talk openly about everything, and be there to listen and support each other. Keep your
children informed before and during the relocation process. Get involved in your children's school.
8. Besides being flexible, maintaining routine, good communication, making life exciting and
staying in contact with home, it is better to involve children as soon as possible in the decision‐making process. Let them hear your arguments and let them state their opinion. They are important family members and they want to be treated that way.
9. The adjustment will also be easier if you give your children a little freedom and be flexible about the rules you had at home. Be willing to let them exercise more independence, even if it is a little frightening for them ‐ and for you. By using common sense, they will build confidence and develop a strong bond with you, based on mutual respect.
10. And if you're a non‐working parent, make the effort to be active, even if it is forced at first. Take the children on visits to the surrounding region and spend valuable time with them.
The book Practical guide to a successful expat assignment by author Marcia De Wolf is now available at Amazon