Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find websites and information, upcoming webinars, programs and events. FLO does not endorse organizations or companies linked-to in this blog, the views they express, or the products/services they offer. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Monday, June 23, 2014


If you have children and are getting ready for an unaccompanied tour or any kind of separation; you might be interested in the workbooks available from FLO.  Below is an excerpt from one.  If you are interested in finding out more all the workbooks are available on our website or by writing FLOaskUT@state.gov. 

Talk as a family before separation: Before she/he leaves, the employee is usually
preoccupied with many preparatory activities for both the releasing and receiving jobs, often
requiring extended hours and increased workload. Consequently, employees may come
home tired and reluctant to address painful concerns related to the separation. Family
members often join in this resistance in order to keep things peaceful for their remaining
time. However, planning and coordination are essential for coping well with the separation.
The Family Meeting sheets provided in each of the UT Family manuals are designed to help
all members make plans as far ahead as possible.
Delegate rather than “dump” responsibilities on family members: Although everyone is
called to take up the slack after the employee leaves, children in particular balk at having to
do “everything.” Positive reframing of the re-distribution of household chores and duties
will help them see the mutual benefits of helping out. That is, while acknowledging their
complaints about increased work and doubts in their ability to carry it out, also point out how
valuable their contributions are to the family as well as your confidence in them. The more
they help the at-home parent, the more energy that parent has to spend on them.
Parents Manual 8
Commit to consistent and active contact: This involves both the at-home parent’s
committing to the mechanics of the distance bonding activities as well as the employee’s
committing to making the activities a priority in the midst of a stressful work situation at
post. Some parents (especially of young children) might complain that the tasks suggested in
the manuals are tedious, made more laborious by overseas technological pitfalls. However,
keep in mind that you would be having the same kinds of interactions with your children if
you were all at home, and if you want to stay connected, the extra time and work you put in
to making the interactions happen will definitely be rewarded.
Maintain family routine and discipline: A steady family structure with respect to routines
and discipline provides children with order and predictability in life. It is particularly
important to maintain structure (e.g., meal and bedtimes, etc.) so children have a sense of
normalcy rather than chaos in the midst of the changes brought on by the separation. Expect
children to test your limits as the family adjusts. Be firm about expectations related to
bedtime, morning routines, cleaning up, chores, homework, and accountability. Follow
through with clear and predictable consequences, both rewards and discipline to keep the
structure intact.
Listen to children’s worries; answer questions as truthfully as possible: Do not assume
you know what your child is asking or feeling. Explore their thoughts with open–ended
questions until you reach their real concern. Using age appropriate language, give as truthful
and encouraging an answer as possible without giving false assurances as to the employee’s
safety or return. When your child appears “done” or is satisfied, do not pursue the issue
Talk to your children: Because they are with you at home and they rely on you, children are
prone to show more immediate worry over you than the away parent. Not only will they pick
up on your signals if you are troubled, inaccessible, preoccupied, tired, irritable, or
depressed, they will likely interpret it to mean something negative about themselves. Often a child’s fantasies about what’s wrong are much worse than reality. Even though you
may not be able to lift yourself out of a mood, simply acknowledging the mood and “owning” (i.e., that it’s about you, not them) it will help your children a great deal. It tells
them that although you’re down, you’re still in control and you can function. Be relatively open in explaining things to your children.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Save the Date! Please share!

The Family Liaison Office
The Foreign Service Youth Foundation
cordially invite you to the

2014 Youth Awards Ceremony

as we honor our
FSYF Contest & Award Winners,
AAFSW Scholarship Merit Award Winners,
Children with Parents Serving at Unaccompanied Posts

Friday, June 27, 2014
12:30 to 2:00 pm

Please arrive early!  Doors open at 12:00 pm.  
The ceremony will begin promptly at 12:30 pm.

Light refreshments will be served following the ceremony.

Location of Event  
Department of State's George C. Marshall Auditorium
2201 C Street NW,  Washington, DC 20520
Use East Entrance on 21st Street