Parenting and Teaching TCKs

Arrogant or Confident? Depends on who’s asking . . .cap and gown, grads, graduation

Parents and Teachers of TCKs and TCKs themselves will be blessed by the honesty and vulnerability with which Cecily Paterson shares her experience as a TCK and dealing with the topic of arrogance. Not only do TCKs fall into this predicament, but adults living and working abroad can come home to their homelands with a spirit of arrogance if we are not careful.

At the end of her wonderful two-part article she states:

Children blurt out what’s on their minds, but as TCK adults we have a choice; we can constantly talk about our past experiences and places we’ve been and risk being thought arrogant and difficult to get on with. Or we can live more fully where we are, embrace what’s around us and be aware that when we bring other knowledge and experience to the conversation we need to do it with respect for the people we are with and the culture we are in.

Here is more of an introduction to her article on The Arrogance (confidence and fears) of Third Culture Kids:

Arrogance is…

…one person saying to another, “You’re not good enough because you don’t tick my boxes.”

I had a lot of boxes when I was a young adult.

The things I valued included being smart, educated, globally-aware with a broad outlook on life, well-traveled, interested in social justice, opinionated, hard-working, straightforward, sensible, clear about your goals, kind, funny and a good conversationalist.

All of those things were fine in themselves. In fact, they were better than fine. They were good, worthwhile, valuable, necessary and community-changing. The problem was that if other people didn’t match up to my standards, I dismissed, disregarded, disdained, disrespected and even despised them. My version of being human was better than theirs. Of course, I hid it – or I tried to. But you can’t stop arrogance leaking out the cracks.

As a third culture kid I put on arrogance as a protection. It was hard to fit nowhere and always be on the outside of every group.


TCKs have a lot to bring to a conversation and to life . . . and have a lot to learn from parents, teachers, peers, colleagues, and life. I believe that one of the greatest things we can teach our kids (next to how to have a deep relationship with the Lord) is how to be a humble learner (and this is best caught rather than taught).

Delana H. Stewart

Please check out both of Cecily’s articles as posted on the blog Communicating Across Boundaries:

Another great article on Communicating Across Boundaries:

Saudade — a word for third culture kids

Links on The Education Cafe to more on third culture kids:

Third Culture Kids


Is parenting and teaching overwhelming at times? Do you ever feel caught in an emotional undertow?

Three Days at Sea: Soul flotation when the waves are pulling you under

One thought on “Parenting and Teaching TCKs

  1. Pingback: Third Culture Kids | The Education Cafe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s