What About the Kids?

What’s It Like for Missionaries to Raise Kids Overseas? 

By Elisabeth, TCK-Family Consultant, Pioneers-USA 

The stress of living in a cross-cultural context presents unique challenges. Normal day-to-day stresses may be magnified in a foreign setting. As both parents and their kids are in transition and out of their comfort zones, emotions run high. Pioneers works to support TCKs (third-culture kids) and their families on two different fronts.  

First, teams overseas are encouraged and empowered to help families adjust and settle. We recognize that field leaders and teammates are on the front lines of caring for new families. Second, these efforts are reinforced by our Member Development TCK team. This group of dedicated specialists at Pioneers offices provide resources, advice and support for each family—for everything from homeschool consulting and referrals to specialists to parenting. 

TCK team members, all experienced missionaries themselves, are available to partner with each family and their home church to help them make decisions affecting their family and to provide resources for them as parents. 

How Do Third-Culture Kids Do School? 

As they prepare to leave for the field, appointee families meet with our TCK team to discuss options for their children’s education. Pioneers recognizes that each child has unique needs and gifts that impact parents’ educational decisions. 

With that in mind, we do not require members to use a specific method of education for their children. However, TCK consultants equip families with a tool for Family Education Planning, helping them to discover the options available to them and the best resources based on their children’s needs.  The TCK team also works to make annual educational testing available to every family around the world. And when a family’s needs change and as kids get older, TCK consultants advise and equip parents to identify those needs, finding new solutions that will allow the family to continue to thrive on the field. 

Parenting Third-Culture Kids 

As you move your family overseas, no one is more important in your child’s world than you!” says a member of the TCK team. “It can be a challenge to remain available to your children while trying to learn a language and adjust to your new home. But it is absolutely critical for their well-being. Children who receive support and love throughout these transitions are able to develop resilience. These kids will also be able to enjoy and benefit from all the richness of living in a new culture.  

Because Pioneers values healthy families participating in church planting, we focus on providing support for parents to meet their children’s emotional, spiritual and educational needs, even in remote locations.  Through age-appropriate programs at field conferences and retreats, training programs at the base, and ongoing care from the TCK team, our goal is to see every member of the family thrive.   

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