I had two that had to make that adjustment. They went to college after having lived all their lives overseas. Each had major adjustments to make, but God was always there to help them. One tip is NOT to say to American (or other sending country) kids "in Spain (or whatever country) we do it this way." It's better to keep observations to themselves. Yes, they grew up differently, but most American teens have a very narrow worldview and think America is always right. Another one is politics. It's best not to even enter into those conversations. It helps for our missionary kids to have open minds and be willing to learn new ways of expressing themselves, doing things, and thinking. In a way, they are the foreigners now. Another thing is not to ostracize American kids by always hanging out with kids from the country--or language group--they grew up with. They need to stretch themselves and accept where they are. Make new friends. Adapt. Each child will have one year that is rough in this way, but most do very well. By the way, one of our two children married an American and the other a Mexican. Both grew up in Spain.
I asked my kids to answer this. One of them gave this response: What hindered me the most is the American society not understanding that I had a different outlook. But that is something you should not let affect you. Yes, it will bother you, but it shouldn't affect your attitude. I allowed their attitude to make me bitter as a 17-year old, and it drew me away from God. I guess maybe to allow God to heal your heart and realize that it takes time. Knowing that I wasn't returning to Russia broke my heart, when God brought Josh into my life. It took about 3 years for my heart to heal. Stay in church; stay close to God. Study Psalms. Don't try to be too busy to avoid feeling the emotions from leaving. Allow your heart to hurt, for in hurting, there is healing. But allow yourself to fall in love with the next area God has brought you to. Don't have a dead heart. Let God give you "an heart of flesh."
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