The Pros And Cons Of Parenting Abroad
By Leah Freeman-Haskin
You’ve booked that flight, and now you’re eagerly counting down the days until your departure. However, as a parent, hesitation can creep in and have us questioning the pros and cons of parenting abroad. Concerns about safety, adapting to the new lifestyle, and being away from your support network can seem daunting. Although the concern will always be there, traveling abroad with your children is always a good idea. Here are a few of the pros and cons you should consider before hopping on that flight.
Whether on vacation or an extended stay, the discipline and routine that we are so adamant about at home can often fall by the wayside when traveling abroad. Our rigid standards somehow feel less necessary when the relaxation of vacation settles in, or the laid-back culture of the region influences our attitude. Strict bedtimes and timing of meals, discipline habits, and certain restrictions seem less important when far from home.
Watching Your Children Flourish
Exposing children to travel at any age is hugely beneficial. Watching them adapt to a new culture, learn a new language, and connect with children from around the world is an awesome thing to watch. Encouraging your children to take risks and step outside of their comfort zones to gain a new world perspective or to learn to be an adaptable person, is one of the many highlights of parenting abroad.
More Family Time
Being away from the grind of hectic schedules, work deadlines, and stressful commutes allows for more quality family time and interactions with your children. If you’ve moved abroad, work expectations are often less demanding then in the United States. With shorter work days and a stronger emphasis put on work/life balance, more time is available to connect with your children and be a more patient and present parent.
Parenting abroad does come with a new set of fears and worry. Safety concerns, limited access to emergency medical services, and language barriers can often weigh heavily with parents. Doing your research ahead of time and having a plan in place can help mitigate some of these worries.
Distance From Family And Friends
Coping with homesickness or not having the support of nearby family and friends can be difficult for parents and children when traveling abroad. Parenting without your “village” can feel isolating. Weekly check-ins at home and building a local network of other parents and friends is essential.