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Friday, 14 June 2013

A Very Special Friday with Janneke of DrieCulturen

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DrieCulturen is one of my very favourite blogs. Janneke's posts made me realize that living between cultures seems easy to me but is not easy for everybody. In this post, Janneke shares great tips on raising resilient children and how to take care of our children's cultural identity. Besides, go over to Janneke's blog and say: "Happy birthday!"- her blog is 2 years old today- and funnily enough, it's almost as old as mine! I hear there will be a giveaway over at DrieCulturen so watch that space! Thank you, Janneke!

Sharing a Secret about Raising Resilient Kids

Don't we all want to raise strong healthy kids? Children that can face challenges and overcome them. Children who grow and develop into healthy independent individuals. Well I recently discovered a secret to raising resilient kids.

What is resilience? Resilience is a powerful word. Psychological resilience is an individual's tendency to cope with stress and adversity. So is there a key to raising kids that can cope well with stress and adversity?

I read the article "The Stories that Bind us" in the New York Times. In the article the author explains that they have discovered that resilient children are the children that know the most about their family history. The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives was and the higher their self-esteem was.

So the secret to raising resilient kids is to tell stories. Tell the story of your life. Tell the children about their grandparents. Make the telling of stories a tradition in your family. I'm Dutch but I grew up in Africa. I remember the times when we went on camping holidays on the shores of Lake Malawi and my dad started to telling us stories. He had grown up on a dairy farm in Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands. He told us about the life on the farm. I enjoyed listening to the stories and even though the farm was very far away I probably got to know my grandparents a little through the stories my dad told. This of course was long before the existence of Skype! Even in the age of technology we need to tell our stories.

Make sure your kids know the answers to these kind of questions:
  • Where did the grandparents grow up? 
  • Where did mom and dad go to high school? 
  • Where did you as parents meet each other? 
  • Do you know an illness or something really terrible that happened in your family? 
"The bottom line: if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come." 

Photo credit to Greyerbaby Morgue File.

Guest blog by Janneke Jellema. She is a blogger at DrieCulturenJanneke grew up in Africa, and discovered she was a hidden immigrant when she returned to her passport country the Netherlands. She blogs about kids growing up in other cultures. You can follow her on twitter @DrieCulturen.

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  1. Thank you Olga for having me on your blog. I want to let you know that I just posted the giveaway on my blog: it's a signed copy of the book Expat Life by Apple Gidley!

  2. You brought back great memories for me of my own grandparents. I'd never though of things in these terms (resiliency), but I loved hearing their stories and it's always given me a stronger sense of my own identity, knowing where I came from.

    1. Hi Carol, thanks for commenting and sharing your stories. I have never thought of this in terms of resiliency, either, so I'm really grateful for Janneke for bringing this to my attention.

  3. Great ideas! Recently my husbands parents came to visit us in Taiwan. They lived here years ago, so at the dinner table I'd ask question about when they first moved here and let them tell stories. It was great because the kids got to hear them first hand. Now, I want to write them down so I don't forgot them.

    1. This is great! That way you can give your children both wings and roots!


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