When your adult child goes to live overseas 81



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When my daughter went overseas for a year-long, round-the-world trip, I had no idea how to feel or what to do.

I didn’t know where to get support or advice, and because I have separated from my daughter’s father, he was going through his own thing with it.

It’s sort of like giving your child away to someone else, but by someone else, it’s the whole world. You don’t want to share them and yet you do – you want them to be successful and happy and explore.

I’ve never been to Canada, so I can only imagine what she will see and do with her boyfriend, but it is still sad for me.

After the first few weeks, I began to adjust to life without my daughter visiting or sitting down with me at a coffee shop. But we kept in contact and I have to say, it made it a lot easier to know that there are a number of ways to communicate and not replicate, but make do like they were there with you.

Here is my advice for anyone whose children or grandchildren are going overseas either for an extended holiday or to live…


1. Sign up to Skype and Viber

Many of us use Skype to contact our family and friends overseas, but if you’ve never tried to before, it’s as easy as signing up to the program on your computer or phone, and connecting with the person. Voice calls cost money (a very small amount) but voice calls are free. It’s wonderful to see my daughter on the screen, and I can take her along to the coffee shop as if she were there. Viber allows you to make voice calls and text messages for free as well. Very handy!

2. Check the news bulletins from their city and keep up to date

My daughter is in Banff, Canada and I keep abreast of the news there, as well as in other Canadian cities. I find it helps to keep up with her local surroundings so we don’t run out of things to talk about (which I doubt would happen). It’s also good for your peace of mind to know where they are is safe and sound.

3. Give them space

I learnt early on that this working holiday was about my daughter having some time away from life in Australia, and I was careful not to bombard her with questions and let her call or talk to me when it suited her. This turned out to be a check-in every few days.

4. Send letters/postcards

I just loved sending letters home to my own parents when I went to London for a year in the 70s. Back then, we couldn’t just pick up the phone very few days, especially when you’re living on pennies, so we’d send postcards and letters. It was so exciting opening a package from my parents. I try to do the same for my daughter for special occasions, like sending Vegemite and Nutella to her. It means a lot when you’re home sick.

5. Visit

Why should your child have to come visit you every few years or months while they’re away abroad? I see this happen a lot with my daughter’s other friends and they always seem to be coming home yet their parents rarely return the favour. With that said, obviously there are money constraints and not everyone can just flit off overseas at any point they like. I personally won’t be visiting as my daughter only plans to go for a year but if it were longer, I’d consider it.

6. Don’t try and make them move back

One mistake I made in the first few months was getting upset on the phone and asking her to come back. It just made her angry and want to avoid speaking to me. If there’s one thing us parents and grandparents need to know, is that being your own person and being independent is crucial, and the more your dragged one way, the more you’ll lean the other. You have to exercise a bit of self control when speaking, and not make it about yourself and how bad it is without them. Jealousy is not nice when it comes to your kids either.


My biggest advice is just to accept that they’re gone, but it’s not goodbye – you will see them again, and you will be together once more.

This is a great photo I just had to share of my daughter’s boyfriend’s mum’s clocks! She has one for John in Banff, and one for her other child in London.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 9.43.09 am

Do your children live overseas? What advice can you give? How do you stay in contact?

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. one daughter went to live interstate for a year. .. I was thrilled when she returned back to Melbourne, just knowing we are in the same state makes me happy, funny I do not always have to see her, just knowing she is close by makes it all good.

  2. My family are half u k half oz and I miss them but glad they have the lives they want they have to make there own choices so I have always encouraged them go look at the world and they have I am very proud of them

  3. My daughter returns on fri after 18 months living in headingley and teaching in Leeds. We skyped every Sunday night. We had an arrangement that she would check in morning and night with a one liner on messemger. That way we knew she was safe. We also went to visit which was great. And also had uk time going on our phones.

  4. My daughter and husband and 2 little ones went to live in UK for about 18 months back now, but things are not what they used to be so very rarely Sed them. Our son lives in Glasgow, Scotland, he has settled there with his wife I miss him tremendously, he will not come back which is so very sad

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  5. Yes Vivienne my son married a lovely Canadian and now have a granddaughter he would like to come back home New Zealand but that is not going to happen soooo sad visited last year too hard to say goodbye

  6. We moved to US & stayed for 7 years. Missed family & friends but tried to visit back as often as able. Daughter hated the airport that made us disappear. Now we are back & she is 2 hours away

  7. One of our girls went on a 3month holiday to see the World. She ended up in Africa which wasn’t even on her itinerary when she left. And only returned when her sister, who had been at college in USA for 2 1/2 years, went to visit her to convince her that we all needed her back home. She was away for 3 years. Communication was irregular. Missed them both, but was so glad they had that opportunity before they settled down.

  8. In a nutshell it is sad when they move so far away. Skype and Viber are just not the same as being beside them.

  9. Before our younger daughter (a vet) went to work in the UK 3 years ago my husband had no interest in visiting Europe, even though I had been twice in the 1970s. Since then we have made 3 trips over and are now planning a fourth for next year! Our daughter has been home twice for family weddings during that time, and (at this stage) is planning to return to Australia at the end of 2016.

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