Relative Social Status of TCKs

11 Mar

Read an interesting article on Culture Shuttle, a blog by grown up TCK Larisa Naples. In it she proposes than in many expat communities a TCK’s social status depends largely on what brought the family to that location. Is Dad working for a high profile company, on a high profile project? Is Mum high up the ladder of a well known company? She rests it on that one question: Who’s Your Daddy?

I must say, this isn’t something I’ve consciously noticed in my work with TCKs, but I think that’s probably in large part to do with the context in which I work. I work through church youth groups and also with the kids at a Christian international school. I suspect that this measure of a family’s status would show up more in the larger international schools, where there is a much higher turnover – kids coming for a 2-3 year stint while a parent works on assignment, before moving elsewhere.

I’m really interested to hear what experiences others have had – is the parent’s status linked to the child’s status?

One other thought:

The only things we have in common are the experience of being new, and the desire to identify and access useful information and resources.

I think the phrase “the only things we have in common” is key to the social interaction of TCKs. TCKs in Beijing are thrown together in school, youth group, and anywhere else they meet. The one thing they have in common is having been brought to China without choosing it. That being said, there is a HUGE difference between those who have settled in China longterm and those who are on a short-term contract (with a clear end-date). That’s probably a topic for another time, though :)

1 Comment

Posted by on March 11, 2011 in Expat Life, TCKs


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One response to “Relative Social Status of TCKs

  1. KB in Beijing

    March 11, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    As both a parent who relocated children to Asia and an educator, I have definitely seen that in China and Korea, What Dad Does and Why Are You Here are crucial details to the integration of TCK’s into a new setting.
    I am most hurt for the kids who are overseas because God has sent their parents, but the Sending Org has a mandate of secrecy. Then, students can’t claim an important part of their spiritual identity.
    Children of employees of big companies reap social benefits instantly — not through any particular status that the company might have but through the benefits package. Which Compound? Which school? What kind of travel allowance? These are unstated dividing lines amongst social groups. Those who go to Thailand over long holidays or those who go to the US. fall into separate spheres.


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