Parenting in Turkey | What’s it like Raising a Child in Turkey?

IMG_0941What’s like Raising a Child in Turkey? is a question I have been asked a lot recently and its one question I find hard and easy to answer. Being a parent in Turkey is the same as being a parent anywhere in the world, its hard work and also extremely rewarding at the same time. It will be the hardest job you have ever done but the best job in the world.

Why is answering this question both hard and easy to answer?

Well as I have just started out into parenting, my little boy is only just heading to 2 and ½ years old and so I haven’t managed to cover all the parts of raising a child yet, like choosing a school, dealing with the teenage years and all the bits in between.

The easy part, is I can tell you what I know up till now and I hope it will answer some of the questions I have been recently asked and tried to answer as honestly as I can.

As I have said raising a child is already hard work, living in Turkey away from family can make the task just that little bit harder. You don’t have your parents to fall back on for babysitting duties or help when you are ill or just worn out and need a break. If you are lucky and get on well with your in Laws then you will get some support from them but in general terms I think all us girls need the support of our own family especially as a first time parent.

What I will say is do lean on your in-laws a little and let them help, ok they may not do it your way or their advice may seem out of the dark ages, but don’t make yourself a martyr if there is help to be had take it.

Where we live I am totally isolated, I have to rely on my neighbours and only in an emergency or if I just can’t take Baran somewhere, this is the only time I will ask them to take him for a few hours. This means I never get a break or a few hours off. I am not complaining I do just get on with it and I don’t find it to hard, though there have been days when I have been ill or exhausted and I have wondered how I will manage, but I do.

You will get a lot of advice you will be told all sorts of things, one of the favourites is even in the middle of summer at 30 + degrees heat, your child doesn’t have enough clothes on, they will get cold! Everyone from your Mother In Law, Aunties, Uncles and even strangers in the street will be full of good advice for you. Don’t get upset, they just love kids here and think us Yabancis have no idea how to raise them or look after them and they want to help us out.

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Smile say thank you, you may even have to put up with your Mother in Law heaping another blanket on top of your already sweating child. Then do what you want, take the blanket of when she’s not looking. Don’t take it to heart they all mean well. But every now and then you get a pearl of wisdom from them and it makes it worth listening.

One neighbour taught me how to help my baby with gas and another told me if you are always smiley and happy no matter how you feel, you will have a smiley and happy baby. She was right!!

So do listen don’t just pour scorn on their ideas you never know what might help.

The Husband, well this is a bit of a mind field. Some are hands on and many are not. I often feel like a single mother even when hubby is in the house, he prefers to play and be the fun guy and when my boy was still a baby I was the one who did everything, I was breastfeeding so I did need to wake up for him to feed. But in general terms my hubby is best left doing things his way. As our boy has gotten older he is taking more of a role in his life now, he can walk and play and has nearly stated talking, hubby is happy to take him out and I think he will get even better once there are no nappies to deal with!!

Doctors and Hospitals, well so far so good for us, we have a good local GP Surgery where our boy has had all his jabs, weighed and measured monthly after he was born. When he has had the odd cold they have checked him over well and given medicine when required.

I have already written about my experience of giving birth here and overall it was a good experience. After my birth a few of my friends in the UK gave birth and I was honestly surprised at the problems they had and how little care they seemed to have had. Every birth is different and everyone has different experiences. Just make sure to research your hospital and find a Doctor you like, you are not restricted to one hospital. If you can afford to go private then this may be a better option for you.

I enjoy the fact that I can be a stay at home Mum, that I get to spend those precious years while he is small and developing. We couldn’t afford for me to be at stay at home Mum in the UK. I love the child friendly atmosphere of Turkey which was certainly missing on my last visit home to the UK and the way everyone here loves kids and make exceptions for them and always does something nice for them. We are forever been giving things while out with our boy like a free bar of chocolate or take him for a little play while we eat our meal. Just the other week we had to go to the tax office and the lady in the canteen gave him a biscuit and carton of juice free. It just seems the way here and it makes it so much easier while out.

I hope I have helped in some way answer the question What’s it like Raising a Child in Turkey? As our little boy grows older I hope to write more about raising a child here in Turkey and how I feel about it.

If you are Mum living in Turkey please add your advice and experience of Raising your child/children in Turkey in the comments below.

If you have a question about What’s it like Raising a Child in Turkey, then please don’t hesitate to ask and I will see if I can help.

© 2013 – 2016, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to “Parenting in Turkey | What’s it like Raising a Child in Turkey?”

  1. 19th December 2013

    janegundogan Reply

    I am blessed to have a wonderful mother in law. One that I will happily leave my daughter with. Yes some of her advice is straight out of the 16th century but all advice is given with love (and a grain of salt).

    • 27th December 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      You are blessed to have a lovely MIL Jane, so many are not and it does make life so much easier!

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