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New Book: Emotional Resilience & The Expat Child

28.04.2011
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New Book: Emotional Resilience & The Expat Child
"Moving to a new country is difficult for every family member. Yet while the adults in the family have a large vocabulary of words to call upon and use in order to articulate their feelings, a child, most often, has not. This book is both unique and practical in its approach to helping a child develop both resilience despite moving and the kind of emotional intelligence that will set him or her up for a happy, confident future.

Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child provides a step-by-step guide that is designed to increase a child’s emotional vocabulary and emotional intelligence.

The bond between an adult and child is key to the psychological health of the child. For the expatriate child, this bond is more vital than ever. This workbook has been created for families to use together and provides the perfect place to connect.

With easily understood and practical steps and more than 20 ‘stories’ any parent can apply, you can start to create and enjoy your family’s ‘emotion stories’. This book will help parents to develop the mutually respectful and loving relationships with their kids.

The approach, using storytelling, is so innovative that it is valuable to provide an extract below:

I’m not angry, I’m mad

Jackie and Grant are playing on the floor with a variety of toys. They are peacefully building a Lego town and a car area but they are not playing together. They are just occupying the same space of the living room floor.

“Can I help?” said Grant.

“No, you might mess up something” Jackie replies.

“No, I won’t.”

“Yes, you will.”

“But I can build you a great car wash.”

“I already have a car wash.”

“No you don’t.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Can I see it?”

Jackie picks up a small part of her Lego town and shows him reluctantly.

“Can I play with it?” Grant asks.

“No, it is part of my town.”

“Can I help?”

“No”

“You never let me play!”

“That’s because you always mess things up.”

This could so on and on. As a family, we are lucky; seldom do Jackie and Grant explode into anger. They are not destructive towards each other. Nor do they do mean things on purpose. This might be because they are three years apart in age, or the fact they are different genders. I might just be a lucky mother. Who knows!

But this type of constant ongoing bickering is just as destructive to a family. When it gets to the level where it is a no win for both children an adult has to step in. I feel that parent intervention has to be quick and before things become ‘hurtful’ to either child. This works well with my children.

“Okay, let’s quiet down and talk about this. Grant, are you angry?”

“Yes.”

“How angry?”

“Really angry!”

“How does it feel to be really angry?”

“I feel bad.”

“Tell me how your body is feeling.”

“I feel like I want to kick something. My heart is pounding too fast.”

“And your face?”

“My face feels red and hot.”

“Would it be okay to hit Jackie or to kick her toy town?”

“No, I guess not.”

“Why?”

“I could hurt Jackie and get into trouble.”

“You are right; it is not okay to hurt someone in our family.”

“Jackie, how do you feel?”

“I’m not angry, I’m mad.”

The only thing you can be sure you can move around the world is your child’s ability to increase his or her interpersonal skills. In today’s global world, each of us is searching for effective tools that can help our children to thrive.

In this example, young Jackie, herself the daughter of this book’s author, can articulate that she is not ‘angry’ but ‘mad’. Further, she can see the subtle difference between the two. Gently, her mother helps her to explain how this ‘madness’ makes her feel and how it affects her body and her face.

Emotion stories
The bulk of this book is made up of stories, similar to the one above, that will help children to develop a strong sense of personal narrative, find their own ‘voice’ and in grow into confident, happy teenagers. The happy, confident child is more likely to construct and communicate his emotions. The richer his vocabulary is in emotions, the more competent and powerful he will be in reflecting on his behavior and how his actions and interactions are intertwined.

Well-written by an American educator/counselor with an MA in clinical psychology and over 20 years overseas in five countries with her children in tow, this book is sensible, straightforward and based on real experiences of expat families.

356 pages, paperback

More information from Jo Parfitt





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