As parents, we know the challenges of living here.
Pollution, ultra-aggressive traffic/commuting, and home-sickness.
But, we have still made the choice to live here, and there are real benefits for our kids and ourselves.
So when you have a tough day, think about the reasons why you’re here and feel reassured by them.
Kids can escape peer pressure
It doesn’t matter what our home country is — we’re sure that yours is the same.
Kids have huge peer pressure to like the same music bands, TV shows and mainstream media pushes.
They think they should have boyfriends/girlfriends early. They are pressured into going partying and drinking at younger ages. They don’t want to spend time with their parents.
The good part of Chinese culture is kids being happy within the family unit. Of course, locally, that comes with massive added pressures also (study achievement, early marriage), but we don’t have to opt in to the whole thing.
Our kids can remain as kids for a longer time, without mass-society peer pressure of back home.
They know more than kids back home
Your kids have travelled and will travel to more places, see more things, eat more types of food, speak to more people than if they were in your hometown, where kids ask “Shanghai? Where is that?”
They speak Chinese (and get Chinese culture)
Native level multi-lingualism. A huge advantage and a great gift to have.
Even if they are still learning Chinese, they get the culture. They know about one of the most important cultures in the world. They know about the food, the society, the differences and similarities. It’s all going to help them later in life as they travel around the world.
Your family unit is much tighter
There’s a feeling that you need to survive and succeed together. With other people coming and going, the city and country constantly changing, and being ‘away from home’, your family unit is much tighter and you have a tigher bond due to your experiences of succeeding in another place in the world together.
You have perspective
Living away from your hometown gives you perspective on your own country.
You can look at your own socierty and culture and realise what is good and worse about it. You will feel grateful at the small aspects of your own country when you visit or return, that before you just took for granted.
Your family is international
You have a foundation, links and network around the world. It helps you build a successful family and even a successful legacy that will help your ongoing generations flourish.
You are a better parent
Challenges make us better. If you can succeed as a parent in Shanghai, it means that you are facing the battles of a hectic society, daily obstacles, different languages and cultures and trying to take care of both the little day to day parts of your kids’ lives, as well as the big theories and thoughts of life.
This is very difficult, but you are taking every challence and making it through.
You are a much, much stronger person now rather than having just stayed in the routine back home.