Raising Global Nomads: A Book Review

Reviewer: Alan Farlin
Author: Robin Pascoe

“What are you doing to your kids?” It is a question parents moving globally hear from family and friends. Robin Pascoe’s book, Raising Global Nomads: Parenting Abroad in an On-Demand World addresses it in a sensible and comprehensive discussion of key “parenting abroad” issues, thorny challenges, and thrilling joys.

Pascoe talks about how to move through culture shock with kids. Our kids remember stories of their childhood. Experiences that seem frustrating now, eventually become fodder for stories filled with laughter. She encourages people to relax; after all, the exhaustion related to transition will pass. Grief plays a crucial role in our children’s adjustment. She also addresses how to use and not use technology in dealing with culture shock.

A key issue for kids (and us) is avoiding burnout. Pascoe elaborates on achieving a “work-life harmony.” She offers a practical strategy of “switch and link” to focus on a healthy process. She encourages all the family to be present at the evening meal. To fully engage, parents need to create new friendships and encourage their kids to make friends. They will take cues from their parents.

Pascoe gives pragmatic tools for learning about and getting involved in international schools. She uses humor to address the financial culture shock of what a quality TCK education actually costs. Kids need options, demographics, ethos, and school culture introduced to them in a way they can understand and thrive in that environment.

Pascoe values keeping the family healthy and provides tools for researching local medical services and as well as holistic health. She encourages parents about not turning into helicopter parents.

There is a valuable chapter on the complex task of repatriating global nomads. Everyone is changed by being overseas. Parents’ feelings about returning to their passport country(ies) affect their children. The shock of reentry is frequently more difficult than the original culture shock of going overseas.

Pascoe’s target audience is international expatriate families from Western cultures, not specifically families with MKs nor families from non-Western cultures. However, the principles and skills shared are universally applicable regardless of passport country. It is a valuable addition to every TCK parent’s library.