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Having a 3am wobble

(16 Posts)
StMary Wed 02-Nov-16 03:29:49

I'm having a middle of the night panic about our impending move abroad!

The guilt/worry about our parents age and health concerns me. They are all ok now (early-late 60s) but I'll feel so dreadfully sad if their health declines. And they are going to miss our DC so much sad

The coming back bit worries me. My DC are 5 and 2 so if we live away for 2/3/4+ years will it be disastrous for them when we come back in terms of social stuff and friends or academically (they will go to French speaking school in Switzerland)?!

My irrational panic is telling me they will feel 'different' to the other kids and not be up to speed with all the games, fads, TV stuff, learning, rules, ways of doing stuff and will end up being bullied or rebelling and never feeling like they fitted in and it will sod up their whole potential will be damaged by the whole experience.

The idea of it being a great adventure and fab to learn another language and all that is all very well in theory but now it's coming to the crunch, it all feels a bit whimsical and scary.

pontificationcentral Wed 02-Nov-16 03:34:33

My 16yo is in her 9th setting in third country. She is gifted, makes friends easily, and has a much broader horizon and world experience than than her original uk peer group. She also gets along fabulously with her grandparents grin

BusterGonad Wed 02-Nov-16 03:53:07

Try not to worry too much OP, I'm currently living abroad with my family, my child loves it but he's also excited about moving back home when we choose to. He's up with all the new toys and fads that are happening. He takes everything in his stride. Xx

Selfimproved Wed 02-Nov-16 03:55:07

Hi, don't worry! One of mine is in french school, one in french creche and one in bilingual international school. We come home every summer and the only difference between my kids and the locals is not knowing the most up to date slang.

Bikes, scooters, pokemon confused and the latest film at the cinema are international.

The best part is that my kids have learnt 2 languages without much effort. Does your 5 year old speak any french already? If not they will in a year. Your 2 year old won't even notice learning it!

Newyearnewbrain Wed 02-Nov-16 04:39:34

Hi, we're on our second country now, having lived away for more than 4 years. DDs are 5 and 3 and are more or less bilingual.
I don't think the worry or guilt goes but for me, my parents think it's a fantastic opportunity for the DCs and would not want us back! They really miss their gds but we visit at Christmas and several weeks over the summer, more than we would if we were in the U.K. I suspect.

As a pp said, third culture children (there's some really interesting studies on this group) tend to be more resilient and adapt easily if the moves are handled well. To learn a language at such a young age is an incredible life advantage. They'll thank you in the long run, I'm sure.

In fact, we lived in Switzerland for the last four years in Geneva and loved it!

MizzEmma Wed 02-Nov-16 04:39:41

We moved abroad from the UK earlier this year. We didn't have any language issues to worry about but the children have slotted into their new school fairly seamlessly.

There are cultural differences and contexts that are lost on the children (particularly around sports) but it doesn't seem to bother them.

Kids are kids wherever in the world they live. They find the differences interesting.

The children have suffered homesickness. Not because they haven't made friends or because they don't like their school but just because it isn't home.

They got through the worst of that in the first three months and although we have odd moments it's mostly ok.

Our DC were very close to their GPs in the U.K, seeing one set every day and the other set every week but they don't seem to be missing them particularly. We do regularly face times and use WhatsApp to send pictures and quick updates. The children are excited about seeing their grandparents at Christmas but the distance (12 hours flight away) hasn't impacted their relationship at all.

Academically I'm actually extremely pleased with the school here. If there's any gaps when we go back we'll arrange a tutor to bring them up to speed but I'm not expecting any issues.

We're expecting to be here for 3 years. All in all I think we're going to look back on it as having been an excellent experience for the children. Certainly not "damaging to their potential".

I understand very well that emigrating is terrifying - it will all be fine.

ShanghaiDiva Wed 02-Nov-16 04:42:39

I think it's completely normal to have an - oh fuck, what were we thinking moment!
I have two children who have lived overseas their whole lives - currently in China. Academically I put some time in to check their reading was okay (DS was at a German speaking school) and used Jolly Phonics and Oxford Owls - there is so much available on the internet. I also read to them a lot in English too.
There are obviously curriculum differences. At DS's school in Austria the emphasis was on core skills, but the UK curriculum is wider including ICT etc. When DS moved to a British curriculum school he was therefore behind in that area, but caught up really quickly and soon there was no difference between him and his peers.
My children are older (DS is 16) so they use social media and are aware of the latest trends in UK. DD is younger (10) and I imagine her interests are pretty much the same as a 10 year old in the UK - lego, bike, music and singing and she was in Beavers.
Fitting back in to the UK does concern me as we have been away a long time. My kids have had a lot of experiences that many children will never have (DS, eg, has visited over 35 countries) and they need to be aware of that when they return to the UK as not everyone will be interested in their - when I was in Cambodia - type comments.
It's natural to be concerned about ageing parents and their health, but as you are in Europe you can get home quickly and it will be easy for them to come and visit you.

Newyearnewbrain Wed 02-Nov-16 04:44:54

Oh and if you're heading to Geneva, feel free to pm me with any questions, though I'm feeling homesick now for GVA!

StMary Wed 02-Nov-16 12:05:12

Thank you all for your kind posts. We are all very excited about it generally (eldest DD thinks she's going to live in Arendelle grin), but it feels pretty surreal at times. We had a great weekend with some close friends and now I'm just thinking we are happy here, we have a nice life, why are we disrupting it!?

I moved homes/schools (within the same county) when I was 8 and I think overall it was fine, I settled well and am still best friends with one of my school pals. But I really envied my friends who's life was just "straight through" and who hadn't moved. My house move was the result of my parents divorcing so clearly not a wholly positive reason, but it's struck me as I've got older how important stability is. I think DH and I can provide stability between us and we are hugely positive about going out there, but what we are leaving behind and how different we'll all be when we get back is playing on my mind.

Also, we are moving for my work and I've had the odd comment about being "really career driven" and get the impression some people think I'm being selfish taking the kids away from all they know and "making" DH become a SAHD.... I know that's not the case and to an extent I don't really care what people think but it still niggles at me...

It will be great.... I hope!

Vagabond Wed 02-Nov-16 15:08:02

This move will be great for your family. For a start, you are giving your children the ultimate gift: bilingualism. You can't underestimate how much that will benefit them in life.

You are also so close to home that you can nip back. Your parents are young. Stop fretting and start getting excited!

Good luck and ENJOY!

StMary Thu 03-Nov-16 11:37:48

Thank you vagabond.

I am excited, just a total over-analyser too so wondering about all the ifs buts and maybes.

Now I need to buy us all some cozy winter gear!

PinkPlastic Thu 03-Nov-16 18:29:04

We're in Suisse Romande OP. Don't panic, it is fab here. Your eldest will go into 1P or 2P? Either way they won't be behind as 'proper' education doesn't start until 3P.

And i feel that UK is much more trend orientated than CH. Eg. Frozen is still quite big here whereas in UK it is considered soooooo outdated.

You will need winter wear; salopettes, snow boots, which can all be bought here.

And if you work for "the birds home in the tree" you will find plenty of SAHDs in the area.

PinkPlastic Thu 03-Nov-16 19:12:47

Feel free to PM me too OP

StMary Thu 03-Nov-16 19:56:14

Thank you PP, I will pm you later!

Yes that's where I'll be working wink

Eldest will be P1, am glad it's less formal so she's got time to get her head around French before having to read/write in French too. Though I'm worried about her uk stuff - she's really got the hang of phonics and is hungry to learn more. Ideally we'd keep this going ourselves at home but the thought of it overwhelms me a bit!

PinkPlastic Fri 04-Nov-16 08:20:13

I try to keep their English going but it is hard. My eldest DD is in 3P and she does get very confused. I will say one thing - French is a hard language to learn, your DCs will struggle but they won't be alone. Even native French speakers struggle at school because French is so complex. So when your DCs are having tough days just remember that a lot of the native speakers will be struggling too. It will get easier once the basics are masted. And so many Swiss kids speak more than one language, it is a very mixed country.

1P kids will no doubt attend school 4 mornings and 1 afternoon, so there is plenty of off time to work on the English (or go skiing, well it is only 10 mins away).

Limitless Fri 04-Nov-16 08:37:00

Our kids were born overseas each in a different country and we didn't return to the Uk until they were in their teens and late teens. They are not particularly outward going but non of them had problems settling in. They are at Uni now and have all said that they think they find it easier to move and make new friends than a lot of their contemporaries.
Depending where you live when you return to the UK they might find there are plenty of other kids who have lived overseas - having an accent etc isn't exactly unusual.
Even though we visited the UK every year they did lack knowledge in British culture. Most notably they didn't know who Ant and Dec were grin There were other things too but it hasn't caused a problem. They still use 'foreign' terms and have jumbled accents.
Nearly all the expat kids we came in contact with did well but I don't agree that all kids cope with expat lifestyle well. Some kids find it unsettling and I have known kids not be able to fit in. It's rare but it does happen. The line that kids are adaptable and are little sponges etc is true but not 100% of the time. I think there is a little element of luck involved.

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