My DD1 tells everyone she is Romanian as she lived there until she was 3 (she is not, she is British). DD2 lived in Romania until she was 7 months and has lived in Belgium since then. She has no idea where she is from, thinks she might be Romanian, but fairly sure she is not Belgian.
They attend an international school.
Does their lack of sense of identity matter, and if so, how do I get them one?
My dad was in the army and I never lived in one place for more than 2 years - we lived in Cyprus, Germany, Holland, Canada and all over the UK and I had been to 8 schools by the time I was 11 but I never felt rootless. The most important thing is to feel loved and stable within your own family and then you can deal with anything. In fact I would say that I am more confident and curious about the world as a result. Although apparently I spoke with an amazing array of accents throughout my childhood!
We had a similar upbringing. Lived all over the world and went to about 9 different primary schools and then boarding school.As parents so far away for most of our childhood (PNG) we couldn't make it there every holiday, so there was a lot of staying with grandparents and friends.
I wouldn't have changed our life for the world though, and interestingly, my sisters and I all now live similar lives.
We have a very strong sense of self, due mainly to my father being Welsh, and always having spoken Welsh with us and maintaining strong family and geographical ties. My parents ALWAYS came (still do as still abroad!!) 'home' to the UK at least once a year, unlike some people who completely turned their back on that then 20 years down the line, wondered why old friends and family couldn't be bothered with them!
Another army child, moved every 2 years, ut only til i ws about 7. However i do think it has affceted how i make friends and my ability to settle in any one place for more than a couple of years. I get itchy feet if i am in one place longer than 2 or 3 years, though i try not to put it into reality for the sake of the kids.
Ideally i would take the kids out of school and travel round the world with them, educate them that way, but that's when i have money !
I only lived abroad for a while, but a few of my friends had lived there forever, or moved around.
I think they did feel British because of the way we lived, it was so separate to the Belgians, like we always went out to certain places in Tervuren/Brussels very expat. The school also ran Brownies and gym club and stuff which helped establish roots (this is BSB btw). My best friend recntly said she finally feels British having moved back about 2 years ago.
I think maintaining close ties to England, and just being in that expat community do mean that eventually you find your feet.