Readers' Submissions

Bringing Up The Kids

  • Written by Dreamer
  • November 15th, 2004
  • 5 min read

cloud nine thailand

For those of you that have struck lucky, and now settled down with your new wife, whether ex-BG or not, here are either some handy hints, or maybe things that you’ll already know about.

Let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, that you’ve picked a good’n as your life partner.

So then, it's inevitable that the need to breed takes over, the result of which is a bouncing baby boy / girl.

Now, this is where you really find out what culture shock means.

If you’re of my generation (European, in fact UK, and mid-40’s), then when you were young, you ate each day at the family meal table, at set times. At the age of 5, you would have been in bed by 7pm, and not allowed out until
the next morning, whether you were sleeping or not.

Be prepared for a serious change of lifestyle. You are at work most of the day, so no matter how good or firm your intentions, realistically, you have no control over how your child is brought up.

In my case, I made the mistake of thinking that, since my wife already had a 16-year old daughter, she would already have some experience of motherhood.

How wrong can you be? In this case, and it is very normal with Thai families of that era, mum had to go out to work, leaving her first daughter to be brought up with the grandparents.

And yes, mum did end up working in a gogo, in order to earn sufficient money to ensure that her daughter would not be forced down the same line of work, and that is where I met her. However she swiftly got promoted from dancer to mamasan,
and this in a top Pattaya gogo, run by a very well connected guy who does not tolerate idiots (except when I threw up on his Mercedes, but that’s a different story.)

So, roll forward a couple of years. We have a new daughter, and the Blue Peter daughter (one she made earlier) had also arrived in the UK. Elder daughter has turned out absolutely peachy, for sure it took her a year or two to adapt, but she’s
been through school & college, found herself a proper job, though like any other 21-year-old, she doesn’t exactly help around the house as much as mum would like.

However, back to younger daughter:

It took me a long time to realise that, since my wife had effectively given control of her first daughter to her parents, this was really the first baby where she had the opportunity to be in control – and it was something that she
grabbed hold of with both hands (and probably her feet as well!) She was completely determined not to lose time with her daughter as had happened on the first occasion.

The result? She would never leave the baby's side for more than 10 minutes for the first 3 years, she was just catching up on all those missed moments with her first daughter. That is despite me telling her to go out with her mates once a week, to
start to undo those apron strings.

Do they ever listen? No!

So, when she started school at the age of 4, she lasted exactly 20 minutes before she started to wonder where mummy had gone, and it took her a couple of weeks to get her past that, and even now, a year later, she still has her ‘mummy’

Here is the difference in the Thai way of thinking:

Whatever your kid wants, they get immediately. The Western view is that you teach your child to wait, even if only for 5 or 10 minutes. The problem that I have, according to the Thai way of thinking, is that when I won’t respond to
her demands immediately, my wife accuses me of not caring about my daughter! No, I’m just trying to teach her a little patience, because if she doesn’t get used to that soon, she’s in for some serious disappointments later
on in life!

However, there are bonuses. My daughter is entirely bi-lingual, though I have to say that she has picked up some words from mum and her friends that in Thailand would earn her a serious clip round the ear, but I have to say I just find it
funny! (Maybe Stick can translate Ii huak for me, I just know it’s not polite!)

So does anyone out there have an answer? I have my own ideas about how children should be raised, but in reality, since I have to go out and work, I’m not the one that is in control.

As is normal with Thais, discussions can turn quickly to argument or worse, and it is rarely worth the bother. The key problem is that, because they don’t understand things the same way as you do, and (especially in the older generation,
who never went through the education process they have now), they have a serious problem adapting to different ways of thinking, so in such circumstances it is most often the guy that has to adapt, if major arguments are to be avoided.

However, what is the outcome? Regardless of the above, and the various arguments that go on, I have an absolutely lovely 5-year-old daughter, who is very bright, and completely bi-lingual. I’ll even ignore the fact that my daughter
can be very insulting to me in Thai when she’s told off, that’s just something she’s picked up from mum and her friends (though I wish they didn’t talk about me like that!)

Just be aware that, if you’re lucky enough to pick a good girl, whether BG or not, that is possibly not the end of your problems, there are many more compromises to be made after that.

In any case I wish you luck, and for any of you that have children, needless to say that they have to be your first priority. (Except in Dana’s case, but I’m kind of guessing that he was just trying to provoke a discussion,
actually I think that if it happened to him, then unless it was a real scam, he’d make a great dad!)

Feedback is not only welcome, it’s kind of essential to make sense out of all this!

Stickman's thoughts:

Great stuff! Best of luck with your daughter – just watch out for her cursing you!