Monday, December 05, 2011

I've got TCKs

No, it's not a typo and I don't have ticks... following on from my acronymic life post, someone pointed out to me that as a family with two Irish parents, living in France, my kids are TCKs ( Third Culture Kids). Intrigued, I googled it to find out that this refers "to the children who have spent a significant part of [their] developmental years outside the parents' culture" ( thank you wikipedia). As DOH ( Darling Other Half) and I are both Irish , my kids, living in the South of France fit into this category.
Again from wiki :
"TCKs tend to have more in common with one another, regardless of nationality, than they do with non-TCKs from their passport country. TCKs are often multilingual and highly accepting of other cultures. Although moving between countries may become an easy thing for some TCKs, after a childhood spent in other cultures, adjusting to their passport country often takes years."
I just had this conversation the other day with DOH about our kids having an Identity crisis. While he was engrossed in a munster rugby match, I asked them what team were they shouting for, fully expecting them to say Munster. Dylan my 4 year old started shouting "USAP! USAP! ( Perpignan's rugby team). Alannah thought "her team" was from Cork or Ireland. They genuinely did not know what mast to pin their colours to. Quite worrying.
Further research on TCKs ( from the US) has proven:


  • 90% feel "out of sync" with their peers.
  • 90% report feeling as if they understand other people and cultural groups better than the average person
  • 80% believe they can get along with anybody, and they often do, due to their sociocultural adaptability.
  • Divorce rates among TCKs are lower than the general population, but TCKs marry at an older age (25+).
  • More welcoming of others into their community.
  • Lack a sense of "where home is", but are often nationalistic.

[]Cognitive and emotional development

  • Teenage TCKs are more mature than non-TCKs, but in their twenties take longer than their peers to focus their aims.
  • Depression is comparatively prevalent among TCKs.
  • TCKs' sense of identity and well-being is directly and negatively affected by repatriation.
  • TCKs are highly linguistically adept (not as true for military TCKs).      

Education and Career

  • TCKs are 4 times as likely as non-TCKs to earn a bachelor's degree (81% vs 21%)
  • 40% earn an advanced degree (as compared to 5% of the non-TCK population.)
  • 45% of TCKs attended three universities before attaining a degree.
  • 44% earned undergraduate degree after the age of 22.
  • Education, medicine, business management, self-employment, and highly-skilled positions are the most common professions for TCKs.
  • TCKs are unlikely to work for big business, government, or follow their parents' career choices. "One won't find many TCKs in large corporations. Nor are there many in government ... they have not followed in parental footsteps".
Hmmm, food for thought. C'MON MUNSTER!!!!! Right kids?!


  1. Betty O'Reilly BanaghanDecember 5, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    Very interesting Karen,I would like to know Marie's view on this, working in an "Educate Together School", with all different Nationalities. One year she had 30 pupil's and only 4 of those children had 2 Irish parent's, so are we going to have a lot of TCKs in Ireland in the future? PS.,the 2 Scallywag's look lovely.xx
    PPS., what would you call 3rd and 4th generation TCKs? what about the Irish American President's???

  2. Wow... I'm a TCK and I totally relate to everything that's been said here... great article to read.

  3. Very interesting and on many points amazingly true. I, too, am a TCK and my daughter ... well, she would be a FCK, I guess (but that looks rude, doesn't it?)

  4. Very interesting... Recently I had a conversation with my 7 yr old son who told me that he was half English and half French. He isn't he is half English and half Irish.......

  5. Thanks ladies, very interesting to hear your feedback!

  6. Thanks for a really interesting post. We came to France from Ireland 5 years ago - from West Cork. My kids were 14, 11 and 4 at the time. They're fully Frenchified outwardly but still Irish inside, although they reckon they can't remember much of the language any more! I consider all of us to be European rather than any particular nationality now. Or maybe Expat can be a nationalilty.
    I love the photo of your TCKs - very sweet!

  7. Thanks Stephanie, what part of West Cork? My Mom is in Clon and MIL in Allihies ( can't get more west than that!!)

  8. Yes very interesting. I'm a TCK too (Dutch) and I write about TCKs on my blog. Would love you to hop over and have a read.

  9. Hi Drie, yes, I'll pop over and have a look when I get a chance.


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