Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child: practical tips and storytelling techniques that will strengthen the global family, Julia Simens
I was excited to be asked to read and review Julia Simens book, having raised three global nomads. I guess I wanted to see where we’d gone wrong and where we should have gone right.
In our defence, at the time our family headed off overseas more than 15 years ago there was little out there in the way of resources to help families deal with the inevitable emotions of change and loss associated with international relocation.
It was only after we moved that the internet came into existence – can anyone imagine life without that resource tool now? Most of the ground breaking books about international relocation of families had yet to be written.
What surprised me about Simens book was how much we had managed to get right working on instinct and emotional intelligence alone. It also outlined how much we got wrong.
Although the book is aimed mostly at children up to 8-years-old, it will be of interest to anyone who works with global children of any age. I learned an awful lot despite my youngest child coming up to senior year in High School.
Simens has spent over 20 years as a psychologist specialising in family therapy and international relocation, survived seven international moves and raised two global nomads along the way. Professionally and personally she has experienced the unique problems children face relocating globally.
She has used this knowledge to formulate a programme helping families to become emotionally resilient in coping with international relocation. It provides a practical framework and work book, which parents can use alongside their children, helping them recognise and understand complex, frightening and intense emotions.
‘To children who successfully navigate a lifetime of change, the world is a garden of exotic gifts, a house of treasure to explore and take in. Transferred from place to place, young and porous, global nomad children collect and absorb experiences. Their personalities become amalgams of those cultures they internalize and claim as their own. Perched for a while in a new environment, they experience each move as an occasion for growth, a chance to blossom in new ways… ‘ – Unrooted Childhoods – Memories of Growing Up Global
Simens has used real stories and quotes from global children, and includes family case histories to illustrate her work – the book is worth reading for that alone.
This is a book I’d heartily recommend to any global family with younger children – wish it had been available 15 years ago.
Forward by Doug Ota.
Published by Summertime