I thought parenting rules were universal: don’t let your kids don’t eat too much junk, make sure they go to bed at a reasonable time, use their manners, clean their teeth … Until I moved to Jordan.
After arriving with my four-year-old son a month ago, all my preconceptions have been thrown out the window. I’d presumed his aunts, uncles and grandparents swarming him at any given time of the day or night, catering to his every whim, had been because our previous visits were for brief holidays.
But no, that’s what happens ALL THE TIME. And that’s just the tip of the dust storm.
Here are a few of the other differences I have encountered so far …
Getting up at 6.30am is unheard of here unless you are a goat
This is problematic when a) you are an early bird, and b) there are between 10 and 20 visitors per day during the first week, some arriving at midnight. The visitors and the 30 family members then proceed to sit outside where you are trying to sleep and talk (all at the same time and at the top of their lungs).
Your child will be force fed by 30 family members and you will hear the word "strong" 1000 times each meal time
Everyone will think you are weird because you want your child to eat meals before chocolate and biscuits. They think you are cruel because you won't let him drink Pepsi or coffee. Why would I not want to give my child whatever he wants and make him happy?