LAOS: Parenting Interference

LAOS: Parenting Interference

phtooeyWhat are the rules for parenting other children or giving parenting advice or just plain parenting interference? And what is the appropriate response?

I imagine it differs by country and culture, by personality and preference. I’ve been scolded in both Mexico — and now, in Laos — about not dressing my children “warmly” enough during the “cool” season: (Here, what is considered “cold” to the locals is perfect and refreshing for us to enjoy, say, in jeans and a t-shirt without wrapping ourselves in sweaters and down jackets like everyone else around us.) With an understanding nod and smile, I always reply with a cheerful yet emphatic, “To us, this isn’t cold. It’s perfect!”

For all the concern in other countries about my children being cold, there is a surprising lack of concern for their over-consumption of sweets. One time while waiting to board our plane, a troupe of Korean men and women each gave my kids a piece of candy, repeatedly. After one or two, I asked my kids to politely say, “Thank you.” After the fourth, fifth, sixth piece, I made them do the same while I motion a polite, “Thank you, but please, no more.” Then, when they cojoled my kids to take even more, I resorted to a stern-faced, “NO thank you,” and prohibited my kids from escaping my firm grasp. Enough is enough no matter how kind the gesture.

(Another candy incident that elicited an immediate “No” from me without even a “Thank you” was returning to our hotel in Vietnam late at night with two obviously over-tired kids and having the doorman hand them a bowl (yes, a bowl!) full of candy to grab!)

Dee Harlow (Laos)

One of Dee’s earliest memories was flying on a trans-Pacific flight from her birthplace in Bangkok, Thailand, to the United States when she was six years old. Ever since then, it has always felt natural for her to criss-cross the globe. So after growing up in the northeast of the US, her life, her work and her curiosity have taken her to over 32 countries. And it was in the 30th country while serving in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan that she met her husband. Together they embarked on a career in international humanitarian aid working in refugee camps in Darfur, Sudan, and the tsunami torn coast of Aceh, Indonesia. Dee is now a full-time mother of three-year old twins and continues to criss-cross the globe every two years with her husband who is in the US Foreign Service. They currently live in Vientiane, Laos, and are loving it! You can read about their adventures at Wanderlustress.

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