Emotional intelligence first founded by psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer, refers to the “ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guidance’s thinking and actions” (Salovey & Mayer, 1990, p. 89). They claim that the individuals’ decisions and behaviors, are often determined predominantly by feelings, which act to guide their responses. Individuals therefore do not rely exclusively on intellect but in addition will employ their feelings and emotions to direct and guide them, particularly when facing challenging times.
Further proposing “the organized response of emotions is adaptive and is something that can potentially lead to a transformation of personal and social interaction into an enriching experience” (Salovey & Mayer, 1990, p. 186). Individual’s with well developed emotional skills are more likely to be content and effective in their lives (Goleman, 2005). Goleman argues this is primarily because emotional intelligence is responsible for dealing with life’s challenges, and those who are emotionally competent are therefore at an advantage during difficult times in any aspect of their life. For transitioning TCKs well developed emotional intelligence will positively assist their transition, with many emotionally competent TCKs often becoming active participants in their communities (Pollock & Van Reken, 2009; Quick, 2010). RelationshipsAs a result of shared, changing environments TCKs are dependent on their family for support, emotional security, encouragement and role modelling (McCaig 1984). Maintaining strong familial relationship, and the ability to make new relationships is clearly pivotal to TCKs successful transition (Hervey, 2009; Peterson & Plamondon, 2009; Pollock & Van Reken, 2009).
A family relationship built on strong foundations can assist to support and sustain individuals during transition, assisting positive outcomes (Pollock & Van Reken, 2009). Peterson & Plamondon (2009) study further revealed that the parental relationship impacts how well TCKs adjust during transition. Schaetti, (2002) claims the parental relationship to be essential in assisting TCKS to integrate all cultures and experiences to develop a sense of cultural balance and worldview. Hervey (2009) believes parents providing opportunity for their children to discuss their feelings, answer any questions, provide consistency in family traditions and family dynamics will not only reassure but also enable them to feel valued, considered and secure. TCKs recount having closer relationships with their family members due to the family unit being their only constant relationship that TCKs have amongst their consistent change (Pollock & Van Reken, 2009). It is therefore understandable why TCKs are attached to the family relationship and why the family relationship becomes significant (Gilbert & Gilbert, 2012; Lijadi & Van Schalkwyk, 2004; McCaig,1994). For many TCKs family can remain “home,” amidst the uncertainty of mobility helping to provide security (Gilbert & Gilbert, 2012).
Along with strong familial relationships, relationships with other individuals who had similar experience growing up outside their passport country can also have a positive impact on transition (Collier, 2008; Davis et al., 2010; Hervey, 2009; Martin, 1984; Tetzel & Mortenson, 1984). Ensuring a strong emotional connection to family, and parents in particular, decreases the likelihood of future emotional stress (Goleman, 2005). This is particularly important when TCKs are transitioning to their passport countries as this considered one of the most stressful times for TCKs (Quick, 2010).Parent’s involvement and awareness of their child’s needs at the time of transition is essential to positive outcomes (Collier, 2008; Hervey (2009).
Huffs (2001) study on MKs repatriation results showed “parental attachment was found to have a direct effect on perceived social support and college adjustment” (p. 246). Lijadi & Van Schalkwyk (2004) study expanded on this, recognising the success of transition was reliant on how parents managed the challenges of transition specifically in regard to the TCK social relationships.Pollock & Van Reken (2009) assert “TCKs usually place a high value on their relationships” (p. 136), because of this they believe parents need to be aware of the significance of relationships when caring for their TCKs needs during transition. They further propose that “parents must ensure that the right planning, support and guidance is provided for their TCKs in their new environments” (p.
15). Time Length of time is another contributing factor in TCKs transition. TCKS transition experiences have been identified to improve the longer individuals spent in their new environments Improvement over time was likely a result of individuals eventually being able to understand the culture and establish their, identity within the new setting (Bredeman, 2015).Hervey (2009) points out that the TCKs transition to their passport country and culture differed in terms of time required to feel adjusted. She highlights that family and friends needed to be aware of assuming it was complete in within a certain time period.
She further adds that providing ongoing support and understanding remained crucial to transitioning individuals. InternetTechnology allows TCKs living abroad to stay in touch and up to date with the changes in their passport country, which plays a significant role in TCKs re-entry (Lambriri, 2005). The internet at the same time, readily assists in providing information for TCKs, parents and educators.
Transitioning TCKs are able to maintain friendships with people throughout the world, by the ability to stay connected through the internet, a momentous change from previous generations of TCKs. Furthermore, increasing number of internet sites and blogs specific to the growing population of TCKs, have also helped to support and inform TCKs (Lambiri, 2005). Some of these include: http://3rdculturekids.blogspot.com/; http://tckid.
com/; http://denizenmag.com/; http://militarybrats.net/. A study based on Chinese TCKs, suggests that there is connection between the effect of microblogging and reduction of reverse culture shock. The study highlighted the positive effect social media has on building mutual understanding, common language and maintaining relationship with people, which can help reduce sojourners’ reverse culture shock (Chaoran Zheng’s 2013, p.39).It is clear that the internet enables communication with others of similar experiences which Hervey (2009) claims helps to support and inform TCKs making the readjustment process becomes less difficult when TCKS are transitioning to their passport country.Further supported by Ittel & Sisler (2012) study that found communication through internet beneficial for TCKs, suggesting that frequent use of the internet to connect and maintain contact with friends and communities with similar backgrounds meant TCKs have less difficulties with socio-cultural adaption when transitioning to their new environments.
Furthermore, Timmons (2014) study on TCKs personal transition experiences affirms communication to be essential to supporting TCKs cross-cultural adaption during transition as this enables TCKs understanding of self and how the third culture evolves. However, Lambiri (2005) proposes the impact of the internet on TCKs is an area worth further exploring.