Parenting in Turkey can be hard at times especially dealing with the different cultures and being far away from family. Recently I was questioned about how I discipline my child by a Turkish women and told how Turkish Mum’s are better at disciplining their kids. Here is my answer.
Bringing a child up in Turkey has been so far for me easy in some aspects and hard in others. We live far enough away from the in laws to escape their constant interferences, being told what to do and what not to do even if the advice is maybe a little outdated or even seems a little crazy. But we also have no family or close friends around us for help when we need it and if you are a parent you will understand how important that help can be.
Recently I was asked by a teacher who is not yet a parent about how us westerners discipline our children. Her opinion is that we do not discipline or correct our children that we allow them to do as they please. This made me laugh because it is commonly thought by us expats that Turkish parents don’t take a hard enough line with their kids and that they are spoilt and allowed to do as they please.
Having recently spent some time at the In Laws, I watched as my little boy went from a reasonably behaved 11/2 year to a spoilt brat in two weeks all due to the fact that when he cried he got given, and if he didn’t get he threw tantrum and got given. I tried in vain to stop this happening and all I got told was you can’t let him cry (all crocodile tears I may add).
It was harding not being listened to or understood on how I wanted things to be done with my child. If I got annoyed with him or took something off him that he shouldn’t have, I got looked at as if I was being a bad mother, when they gave him sweets before breakfast and I took them away or given a lollipop that turns into bubblegum I felt like I was being insulting but not letting him have them.
It also hard when often Turkish men won’t go against their mothers advice and it wasn’t until we arrived home and our spoilt brat was causing havoc did my hubby understand how important it is to set boundaries especially for a strong willed little boy like ours.
I am not hard on my child but I expect ‘NO’ to be exactly that and not ‘NO’ now you’re crying so ok you can have it. How is a child to learn where the boundaries are unless you draw them for him. Boundaries not only show a child what he can’t do but also how to do things safely and help you when they really have to hear you.
So as to the question of discipline. Well I think that Turkish parents when a child is young is likely to be softer than westerners they are given to so they don’t cry, but as the child gets older, they are taught to respect their elders, to respect their culture and their family and given strong values for life.
I remember my nephew about 4 years ago was wild and a little out of control and allowed to do so. I would often say to hubby that they should be setting boundaries and teaching him right from wrong not letting him have his own way. Yet now he his a lovely boy, with good grades and is great with my little boy. What a dramatic change from the wild toddler. I look at my neighbour’s grandchildren the oldest is well mannered, bright and respects his elders, his younger brother just 4 is non stop and naughty, yet in the few years I have known him I have watched him slowly become better behaved and become more like his brother.
From spoilt brats to well behaved and rounded children, does that make the way Turkish parents raise their children better from us or worse than us?
As parents we never know if what we are doing is right, the quietest well behaved child can rebel and the wild crazy child can become a top student and go far. We never know how life and the world will mold them. So who is right and who is wrong, who are the better parents Turkish or Expat. Well neither, we are all doing our best all trying to achieve the same thing. To raise our children to the best they can be and give them the start at life they deserve.
© 2013 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.