When cross-cultural kids are rejected by their own family

From this side of the ocean, I don’t have a chip on my shoulder. Those little moments of laughter or mimicking or side comments are natural and usually not out of a mean, mocking spirit. Perhaps it’s more a reaction to what a normal monocultural ought to look like. Or, out of this strange place of familiar-unfamiliar, as if to say:

I remember what those kids sounded like before but they sure sound different today, and I feel uncomfortable. I remember when they played games similar to my childhood, and now I feel judged for the life I lead, as if it wasn’t good enough for them. They were more like my life before, and I miss what we once had.

Please know that their world is not a judgment of your life. Sure, they don’t fit your paradigm, and this may bring up a host of emotions within you. Those certainly deserve to be processed with skilled professionals. Skilled professionals – because our children are not the right people to carry your pain and frustration.

Unfiltered, your laughter or side comments or untactful gifts reminding them of what they should be according to so-called normal standards all build that wall of rejection towards them. One day, the moments TCKs were rejected by their own family will become just another source of grief the Third Culture Kid in your life will carry around, trying so hard to make sense of his world.

What an honor to guest post on the MKB website this month on the subject of Third Culture Kids. You can read the whole article on MulticulturalKidBlogs.com here.



3 thoughts on “When cross-cultural kids are rejected by their own family

  1. I kind of chuckled at your comments about “ deserve to be processed by a skilled professional “ and shared with my husband as he was raised in a third world country and I knew his grandparent had difficulty with it. His perspective humbled me. He said ,” yes. My dad parents stopped having contact with us and we didn’t really have a relationship with them, but it was understandable. They had no frame of reference. They grew up in a small town with no exposure to the outside world. How could they understand? That conversation seems totally appropriate. They just miss them. “ WOW , I thought. I guess he turned out ok ? one of the things I’ve been learning as a coach is how to ‘ get off of my map’ and onto someone else’s. To try and see what it’s like to step into and live in their world. What do they feel? Just like traveling and living in a foreign country and how open you probably are to being curious about their culture .. If we can learn to take on that same curiosity with our relationships, especially the people we are struggling to understand , what opens up from that place? I’m learning to shift from judgement to curiosity and compassion by pausing when I’m perplexed by their behavior, placing a finger alongside my chin and saying, “ I wonder?”

    Believe me , I don’t always do so well at this, but it’s beginning to shift my relationship with my parents.
    Hang in there!

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