Why I am Happy to raise my Child in Turkey | Raising a Child in Turkey

Raising a Child in Turkey, isn’t really much different to raising a child anywhere else in the world, but is Turkey the right place to raise my Son?
As a parent you want the best for your Child and sometimes it is hard to know if what your doing is right, or what is best for your child. But we can only do our best and hope that it all works out.

When I set out to live in Turkey with my Husband children where a distant thought, we knew we would have a child but we hadn’t really prepared for the “When”, then nearly at the end of the first year of my life in Turkey I became pregnant.

I really didn’t know what to expect and I was of course nervous about giving birth and becoming a Mum but it all worked out and we have a lovely little boy who is happy and content.

Listening recently to a few conversations and thinking about our life here, it made me think if we are doing the right thing by raise our son here in Turkey. Maybe we should be looking at the UK where the supposed education system is better, there is more freedom, less religious politics and so on.

I am certainly not one to base life on what the papers and media dole out because they are apt at sensationalising and homing in on issues and making out its the whole world involved in stead of one small area in life. But in recent months and years I have watched read and been told about how life is changing in the UK and I am not sure it is all for the best.

To me it seems kids are being brought up thinking they are owed everything, education, jobs, money and when your not in a job, money and housing should just be given to them. And when its not the Government and everyone else in the world is to blame not themselves!

While here in Turkey education is still seen as a privilege and working hard to earn good marks and get to University is something to be proud of and kids aren’t bulled for being bright. Getting to University doesn’t mean you are guaranteed anything but it gives you a better fighting chance of a good job. If you don’t work you don’t get money very simple and the same goes for housing and healthcare. It may seem hard, but it means kids are brought up with a good sense of worth and working ethic and they don’t blame all their problems on someone else.

Kids in the UK expect to have the latest phone, the flashy clothes, computer games and laptops, even when their Parents can’t afford them. They start drinking and hanging out in the streets at an early age and think its ok to be abusive to whoever they like and think they should be given respect.

With the low wage bracket in Turkey, it means most families can’t afford to buy their kids mobiles or laptops or computer games. They don’t act beyond their age and you will still see kids here out playing in the parks not hanging out drinking, playing in the streets with their friends and being kids and not expect their families to pay out for fancy electronics and the latest trainers.

They are also brought up to respect their family, friends and elders. The culture and religion (though I know this will be argued) make up for a community and expectation that elders should be respected and that family is important and comes first above all. Going for picnic or having a family gather is normal.

I also feel here kids diets are better, all kids love sweets and crisp and of course a MacDonalds or Burger King, but in Turkey home cooked meals are normal, a salad is part of nearly every meal, yoghurt is part of life and fruit and veg are sometimes all you get with meat being so expensive.

But overall it makes for a good healthy diet for most kids here in Turkey and I am yet to see any kids in our family and friends circle turn their nose up a veggies or fruit. There are very few ready meals and probably the worst thing kids have here is tea with too much sugar!

When I think it through, I would rather raise my child in a place where he can still play in the park and be a child for as long as is possible, not to grow up thinking electronics and clothes are throw away items and he understands the value of these items. I want him to appreciate his education and not take it for granted and that life is not handed on a plate and when it goes wrong its not the rest of the worlds fault. I want him to live in a world where if you want something you have to work to make it happen. I want him to grow up with respect for people and family and I want him to be healthy and happy.

Turkey is certainly not perfect and there are many faults and probably many changes on the way but at the moment and in the whole Turkey is a much more suitable place for me to bring up my Son and allow us to bring him up with good values and ethics. I can only hope we have made the right choice.

I would love to hear your thoughts on raising your child in Turkey and if you think it is better than your home country or not!

© 2013 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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7 Responses to “Why I am Happy to raise my Child in Turkey | Raising a Child in Turkey”

  1. 7th May 2013

    justinhoca Reply

    I would add to the above that in general it’s a family-friendly atmosphere. You don’t see pornography on the TV (even cigarettes are blurred out) or much alcohol on the streets (as you point out), something that appeals to parents with conservative tastes. Adults love to smile at and play with strangers’ kids they see. We always had multiple playgrounds within walking distance and fantastic parks and malls with kid-friendly things. That said, we do hear a lot of stories of abuse, and what statistics are available tend to bear out that it’s worse than in the West. Practically speaking, you have to pick your babysitters very carefully.

    We lived in Ankara for just over a year, we had our 4 year old enrolled first in a Turkish-only preschool and then in an international English-speaking school. But he has special needs and we found that was harder to get accommodated in Turkey, and much more expensive. I also taught 2-4th graders at a private school and can say most of those kids had smartphones, iPads, and were used to taking international trips. They definitely don’t fit the profile of the typical Turkish child in your post, they expected the world and their parents were giving it to them (making it hard on the teachers when they bring those expectations to school). My colleagues told me that they see that problem worsening as the middle class grows (a mixed blessing). Many parents with special needs kids are in denial, insisting their child be given the same education as everyone else when they could certainly benefit from other methods (I met an American researching this for her doctorate).

    I would LOVE to spend the rest of my child’s life in Turkey, and I know so many people who have raised kids there and loved the atmosphere. But you have to go in with eyes wide open.

    • 7th May 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Thanks for your comment Justin, I had so many ideas in my head for this article and one of the points I missed is the child friendliness in Turkey. Having been to the UK last summer and my first time with my child I really got fed up of people saying we will find a child friendly restaurant! Where here in Turkey most places so called child friendly……

      Child abuse is a terrible thing throughout the world and I would be just as worried sending my child to day care in the UK as here thankful for me I don’t need to consider this but I agree there is an issue here.

      My perspective of kids and school come from our community and my husbands school he works in a Government school teaching Primary kids. These kids I would describe as the average child here in Turkey rather than those lucky enough to attend private schools where their parents are either both working or are in high paying jobs. There is one child at my husbands school who was run over by a car and has brain damage, his mother brings him to school and attends him so he can be taught and learn. He does reasonably well and is accepted at the school but this is unusual and there really needs to be a large change in attitude here for kids with disabilities.

      I hope you continue to be happy here and to raise your children here. Kerry

  2. 7th May 2013

    backtobodrum Reply

    Great article Kerry. I wholehearted agree with all your points. I feel my daughter had the best start in life in Turkey, with respect to diet, climate and attitude to children. But, and it is a big one, my daughter is not academic at all and school life for her was hell. Bright kids here do very well and are often much more advanced than their counterparts in the UK, but if your kid is not good at maths and remembering facts, they are told they are thick – usually straight to their faces, and my bright, outgoing confident little girl came home crying for almost 2 years until we decided to move.

    • 7th May 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Thanks for your comment Back to Bodrum 🙂 I have just read your comment to my husband and he is disgusted. We are planning to move soon to the coast to get away from the city but we will be very sad to leave my husbands school behind, it is excellent and the kids are all treated well and if it wasn’t for the area I would love to stay just for the school! I am dyslexic and I understand how your daughter must have felt, I was treated well at school but once I got into the working world it was employees that treated me as if I was stupid. It is heartbreaking that someone should treat a child in that way. I hope she is happy and settled and found her own path.

  3. 8th May 2013

    sharyn minehan Reply

    Hi Kerry,as usual your info is wonderful…and can hardly believe how ur little boy has grown… he sure looks happy and i think that is the best judge of all’…what u said about Britain is idententical here in Aus.i hate it…no respect 4 any thing and 5 yr,olds getting mobile phones and such like…makes me sick..stay PUT. your husband appears a great guy.. best of luck ..u are doing a wonderful job.

  4. 13th August 2013

    Leisa Reply

    Hi Kerry, another great article! I would agree with Justin though, as I work at a prestigious middle-school in Istanbul where parents compensate for their lack of attention to their children by buying them whatever they want (no different to upper-class western families, I guess). This makes it increasingly difficult for us as teachers. And as BackToBodrum also points out, only the ‘smart’ kids are rewarded & praised, and the less-academic children are not offered any support, and certainly don’t receive it from their always-at-work parents either. And with SBS exam after SBS exam, I see 10 year old kids stressed in ways I could never imagine being at that age in Australia. The pressure on them to perform is outrageous! Regardless, I’m also happy to bring my kids up in Turkey, maintaining an active role in their education, socialization, and giving them the support system that emotionally developing minds need.

    • 4th September 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      All schools differ and so do the kids. You will mostly like now have seen the new exam system brought in this time, my husband is hoping this will relieve the strain of one exam for the 8th grades and make it easier on them, we will wait and see. Education is very important to people in Turkey and getting to University hopefully securing a good job is the top priority. But you can understand this when more than half the country lives on the bread line.

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