Things That Annoy Me About West Ammani Parents

Look, I’m not a parent, so this isn’t one of those preachy I-know-best posts. At least it’s not intended that way. I’m positive that parenting is the hardest job in the world so I’m not going to pretend to endow my wisdom upon the masses. But I am a critic. And this is a country where the society still raises the kid. True, city life has made it out that neighbors don’t even speak to one another, but families and their extensions are large organizations that still meet regularly and still participate in creating that environment.

Now all that being said, let me say what’s on my mind:

There are times when I really want to walk up to parents in Jordan and just slap the hell out of them. What goes through their minds is just, I don’t know how to describe it. I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen parents laugh at their kids’ misbehavior, in essence, cheering them on and encouraging them. The two biggest things seems to be curse words and smoking. When a 3 year old learns a curse word, his parents will parade him around like a sideshow. They’ll demand every one listen to the little cute kid saying a word, that even I feel embarrassed to say out loud, let alone in front of my parents.

And what the hell is it with encouraging kids whose legs still don’t touch the ground to “try” argeelah, or even worse, “warm it up” for the parents. This basically consists of sucking on the pipe for a good 3 minutes before handing it off to the adults.

Do parents not realize that kids are sponges that absorb everything? If you validate their cursing, and even encourage it, giving them the attention they so craze, they’re going to do it over and over again. And sooner or later they’ll embarrass you in front of someone and you’ll slap them for it, and the psychological twisting of their minds ensue.

Its a wonder to me why parents become so surprised that their 15 year old started smoking. I wish I could slap them in the face and scream “well, duh!”.


When you’re going out, say to a concert or a dinner at a nice place, please, for the love of God, leave your kids home. This isn’t the west where you “can’t find a babysitter”. There are 100 people willing to accept your child in to their home for a few hours while you go out and do adult stuff, like watch a movie. Bringing them along and having them cry, or run up and down aisles kicking people, is not an option. And if you’re kid is just a weeks old, STAY THE HELL HOME! Don’t get all frustrated with the baby for crying in the middle of say, a poetry reading, and start shaking him like crazy. That’s what babies do. They cry.


Mothers. I love you. But please. Try. I mean just try. You know. Mothering. I mean, please don’t go out shopping and bring your Sri Lankian, Philapino, Malaysian, Indonesian maid with you to hold your kids hand, or carry them for you, or look out for them for you. If you can’t do any of those things on then please reconsider bringing another dysfunctional sri-lankian speaking kid in to this world. And if your planning on becoming a mother, use the aforementioned as a checklist; if you can’t do them, then you’re not ready.

How many times have I seen all dressed up young to middle-aged housewives walking around malls and places like Safeway, while their kid is crying and the Indonesian maid is rocking them to sleep? Some of them will even send the maid to get their kids from school while they wait in the car.

It’s no wonder kids these days don’t know who their real mothers are anymore.

Parenting has been absent in the city these days. Most parents don’t even bother, while others are uncomfortable getting involved in the parenting of others’ kids (which is understandable if most can’t even handle their own kin).

Like I said, I’m not a parent, but parents really have to invest a lot more time into parenting. And maybe city life should have a society that gets involved in raising other people’s kids as well. It does in fact take a society to raise anyone.

They are a product of their environment and a reflection of their parents. In most of Jordan, kids spend most of their days out of the house being raised in the neighbourhood. They are scolded by neighbors and relatives and brought up to be tough. Rarely have I seen a kid start to cry and turn to run home looking for his mother (or the non-existent maid). Probably because they know they’d get a second beating if they did. Instead they fend for themselves, they learn the rights and wrongs in a communal environment. Some environments are more positive than others, but that’s another story.

Anyways, I’m not Dr. Spock.

I’m just a frustrated observer who needed to rant.

p.s. also, please stop buying them expensive cars.


  • Right on the dot… Though, I have some more rants concerning Ammani parents:
    1- Those parents who throw their kids out on the street to get them out of their hair. (Mostly East Amman)
    and, on the other hand:
    2- Those parents who don’t give a damn what their children are watching on tv, or the internet.
    3- Fighting with other kids because they disagreed with your kid! (I’ve seen it happen a bunch of times)
    and related to that:
    4- Never admitting ur child is wrong, even when the child is.
    5- 8 year olds with mobile phones! (’nuff said, lol)

  • About taking kids in public places. Every time I take a long flight, the crying babies drive me nuts. Listening to a baby cry for 12 hours is cruel and unusual punishment. I think it would be great to have a sound-proofed section in the back of the plane where they can seat all the babies and their families away ftrom the rest of us !

    Also in some countries they have movie theatres especially for babies to save the general public from having their movie ruined because someone didn’t wanna pay for a babysitter.

  • Nas, preach it! This is a message that BEGS to be heard (yea, make sure you submit it to Living Well, IF they would risk offending their readership)

    As I parent, I see this happen and CRINGE. At my kid’s school, their are KG kids who don’t even know how to clean their own bottoms, as the maid does it!!

    God help you all, it is these kids who will be running the country when you are old.

  • Also Nas, while you’re at it. I hate parents that actually shut their children up or resort to shouting or screaming at their children whenever they become playful. For God’s sake, children are playful, it’s common sense and maybe the parent should’ve seen it coming! Also, I hate the way parents never try to instill a sense of imagination in their children. Our schools teach them how to read and write, but children are never taught to create, or draw, or think of something new and creative, and parents do not encourage it either.

    And frankly Nas I know that most kids in Jordan spend their days in the street, but I really do not approve that and I think it is wrong. That’s how they pick up all of these bad habits that never cease to exist in our country. Yes, they do become tough, but what’s the use of being tough when you are stupid? These kids normally mix with grown-ups or older kids that just corrupt them and twist their sense of innocence and pervert their way of thinking. Children should stick to playgrounds, watch cartoons, read books that enrich their imagination and play with games that help sharpen their creativity skills.

    I think the reason that we suck at parenting, is because giving birth to children has become another tradition like Jaha, or visiting your relatives on Eid. So people just give birth to kids, regardless of handling the consequences. Each married coupled is expected to do it, whether they are prepared for kids or not. Some parents are just not fit to be parents and society NEVER acknowledges that.

  • so true! there’s nothing wrong with getting help, but not a subsitute mother for your children!

    What i also hate, is when children disbehave at other people’s houses or restaurants and the parents are just sitting there…
    for God’s sake teach your kids manners

  • About the maids– I recently visited my kids’ pediatrician who discussed with me this growing problem (newly in Jordan)of maids raising the kids. It is horrific. Yes, I had a maid (she left the country last week…hoorah!) and yes, I have a bad back and needed help with my house. I did not, however, need anyone to raise/discipline/instruct/feed my children. My children. She could not handle that, because she thought she was coming to work for me as a surrogate mom, I believe.

    Anyhow, the pediatrician said that his tenure in Saudi Arabia was horrifying, because whenever he would question moms on the behavior of their infants (tiny infants) in the night, night feedings, etc., the moms would kind of shrug their shoulders and ask the maids, “How often do you feed him/her, what does he/she do,?” etc.

    I could go on and on about this subject. In short, if you are a mother, be a mother. We moms all need breaks from time to time, but we do not need to hand over our children to anyone.

  • West Amman rich family suck and I hate them with the bottom of my heart ,they are detach from their children and have no concept what is life all about,they are racist i toward poor people and anybody who does not wear expensive and lavishly made clothes.
    In other words, they are punch of losers racist walking scumbags.

  • hahahahah 😀

    stop buying them expensive cars:P


    walla Naseem i dont know, y3ni of course i agree with all what you said, but sometimes, although i want to slap the mother for bringing the baby to the nice resturant and leting him cry the hell out of him and annoy just everyone in the restaurant and spoil the evening, but then for a second i think: how hard her life must be, having to be around him all day and night? i mean we all hated ourselves for being about him for an hour. think how miserable she must be having to sleep beside him etc? she probably never went out for months because she never has the time to take care of herself and look nice and go out etc? y3ni as you said, being a parent, specialy being a mother, is seriously the hardest job in the whole world, 24/7, no rests, and no pay check! and the results are never guaranteed too, the little brat could grow up and treat her bad too!
    so yeah.
    i agree with all what you said, 100%, but also, give poor mothers a break 🙂

  • I’ve been living in Jordan for more than one year. First I was -positively- impressed by the numer or kids I found everywhere, because I come from Western Europe, where couples have one or perhaps two kids or even none. That’s how it is when both parents have to go to work and a housekeeper/maid or whatever the name cost 1200 euros a month (for 8 hours a day, five days a week job…).

    But this positive feeling soon dissappeared when facing the incredibly bad mannered behaviour of western-Ammman children and yougnsters… and their lazy parents… I have hundred of stories because I work in a totally-Jordanian enviroment (friends, neighbours). I’ll “annoy” you with only one or two of them.

    When visiting a car dealer with a Jordanian colleague & family, his 7-years old son give me a punch in my tummy because I refuse to give him a 10 JD note he has seen about to fall from my pocket!!!!!. When I satared at his father and saw him laughing at this (idiot…), I slaped the kid gently but trying to humillate him… you know how to do it… and losted one Jordanian friend…

    Some days ago two kids in his tens were splashing water from a fountain in a quite an expensive restaurant… at 11 pm!!!!. I warned their parents -seated next to our table- and, of course, they do nothing. I called the waiter, he called the manager and this guy finally lectured the parents… who then forced the children to seat down (for minutes, eventually they had to sent them out of the room…) and threw us this “you fucking foreigner, hope you’ll need something from us in a future… we’ll let you die of starvation in the middle of the desert….”.

  • So I don’t want to brag or anything..:)but I’m a west ammani mom, who does not have a maid, who does not accept to hear her kids speaking rude or offensive words, and who would go crazy if she sees her kids pretend to smoke..I don’t take my kids to adult activities, and if all of the extended family can’t babysit, which rarely ever happens..I just stay at a poetry recital..who does that? That was a great post Naseem..most west ammani wives boast their maids around like a purse..still a huge complex obviously, the ultimate accessory to declare your financial status.Anyways..can you imagine my shock when one of these women invited me to go have coffee at her place the other day?she said please bring your daughter and come one day, I would love to have you over for coffee..but will let you know as soon as my maid comes back form Philippines..BEACAUSE TILL THEN SHE CAN NOT FUNCTION PROPERLY…akh!! sorry for the long comment, this incident was worthy of a blog post to me, but she reads my blog:)

  • now the maid part is so totally true but its far from new, for as long as i could remember (we are talking here for more than 20 years) this was happening.
    The way i see it is that in the first place the baby is not wanted but needed, to solidify the marriage contract (less likely to divorce) and to stop the family hecklers (boy they love to gossip) plus a baby in jordan comes with free maid included in the package so thats also a bonus. so a lot of them are not particularly interested in the baby itself really so why bother. being a parent could be a part time job regardless of how moronic that sounds.

    now the ppl who go out to concert and such with their kids actually earn points for being better parents but damn lousy and annoying decision makers so that sux too, but what i think is more damaging than cheering wrong behavior is the fact that no matter what the biggest influence on a child is his parent.
    Children prime learning ability is imitation so if the parent is doing all these things that you say they are cheering them to do (thats how they picked it up in the first place) then they will grow up to be like their parents.

    i am seriously all for offering free castrations to the public, some people are better off not being allowed to have kids

  • This is so true. Ok, let me tell you the worst I have ever seen, the most shocking, an “OOOOOH MY GOSH!” scene (with too many O’s)!
    I have been to Mecca Mall once –a Thursday I think, it was totally crowded, people was walking over each other’s heads, when I say crowded, I mean crowded! Like when you can’t walk without hitting people on every step, “ka2enno 3aj2et tawze3 mo2an”! It’s not that I came across a woman bringing her child along with her, that’s normal, nor a maid holding a crying baby shaking the hell out of him just to shut up, nor a lost baby on the reception crying for his/her mother! What I saw is a puppy baby! Yes. A western Ammani woman, full of make-up, dressed up like an 18 years old teenager, with that stupid arrogant look, having her child tied with chains, puppy’s chains!!! WTF MAN! I was… What can I say??? I was just like, I don’t know, killing her, giving her a hard speech, or should I just picture it and email it to my friends, that are the new generation, the future leaders, the politicians, the writers… For god sake! What was she thinking; it’s humiliation. If that mother is able to put her child on chains just for shopping, imagine what she would do for the really serious things. And BTW, I have seen many later on, and haven’t been to crowded malls since then…

    Disappointing, isn’t it?

    Excuse my bad writing skills!

  • Sorry, I have something to add. I’ve been through a situation when my marriage request (6olbeh) was refused for age and financial reasons. Many aspects in regard of this subject. But believe me, there are parents who take critical decisions on behalf of their sons and daughters in an irresponsible way without even listening to them or even investigating it, they don’t even bother. What concerns them is their picture, their own sake, and their own interest. They just decide! Like if it’s they are not satisfied with the price you offered. They don’t care how their sons feel.

  • No one can be a better observer of parenting style that one who was at some point, well, a child. You’re not a parent Nas, but one day you’ll be inshallah, so you have every right to speak it out loud…

    Seriously, what is it with babies who are like 1.5 days old in theatres!! Let alone action movies, why would anyone subject their kids to that?

  • Spot on Nas!! Very good analysis… However,although I do agree with all the negative points that you have sited, I think that Kids who are disciplined can be placed in any situation without causing people around them to get annoyed… It is true that Kids are playful and that their playfulness might(or most likely than not WILL) annoy other people, but my sister has two toddlers and they know that when they are in a nice restuarant they can not run around or scream and that if they are in a poetry recital then they have to listen!!! This is how u culture u r kids, otherwise you will end up with kids who are 12 and have never been to a restuarant??!!! I think that it is the way that they are raised and not what places they should or should not go. This is not to say that u can take kids everywhere but I have every intention to take my kids to a poetry recital because if u read to them every day, this will be an extention to their education rather than another playground!!!

  • I was watching The Kingdom in the theater the other day when some parents brought their one-year-old kid into the theater and sat down. What, no babysitter?

  • Good observations all! I have a little baby and I will tell you that while babies do cry it is generally not something they need to do for very long. Only a baby with gas or who is sick will cry for very long. The parent just needs to be attentive.

    Also, over at Zara Center you can take your kids to the play area and pay the nice ladies there to take care of them while you go see a movie. Seems like a good solution to me.

    Finally, the thing that was strangest to me is how few children in Jordan have toys. Playing with toys helps with brain development and keeps them out of the street. And I’m not talking about toy guns when I say toys! How about toy cars, train tracks, toy animals–stuff like that.

  • oh usualy u speak my mind, but SO much more eloquently 😀

    i have to add the insanely common scenario of moms having their baby carriages INFRONT of them as they wanna cross a street! i mean!! Hellooo!!!

    fi nas ma byelba2la il 5elfeh…

  • Although I agree with most of what you (and the comments) said, I detect too much generalization. I also don’t like the general tone that portrays Asian domestic helpers in some sort of negative light.

    Working mothers (and fathers) need help. Not all of them fit the lazy, spoiled stereotype.

    Domestic helpers are sometimes an important part of the family. As long as the mother and father have a healthy and involved relationship with their kids, there is nothing wrong with a domestic helper also sharing the burden of taking care of them.

    Portraying the whole thing as a “they will not know their real mothers” horror scenario is a bit simplistic. Of course kids will have an emotional relationship with domestic help. But affection is not a zero sum game.

    How some Jordanian (and Arab) mother and father deal with parenting can be truly horrendous. But I just wanted to add a bit of a contrarian voice here.

    Happy parenting (to those of you who have children)


  • In general I fully agree with your concern about the situation with child rearing in Jordan. It’s also very hard when you have kids to constantly have to explain that so-and-sos parents may allow that, but in our house it is not acceptable. I also think there are ways to acculture your child appropriately. The beans typically visit the children’s museum (rather than the adult version). And, when we go out with them to eat, it’s usually a fast food place because you expect it to be noisy and child friendly. That way they gain the experience without too much worry over disturbing others.

    I will admit that I do have a helper and would, in fact, be lost without her. Not that I can’t function, but it’s a choice we’ve made to make our lives easier. I applaud all those parents who can manage without and retain their sanity, I’m just not one of them :(. Teehee.

  • its really frustrating,to see a kid acting like an adult but in the rude way,kids are very rude these days,when you try to chat with a kid or ask him a question and he’ll answer you or talk to you rudely! gosh where is the innocence!
    and when you go to the cinema waiting the movie to start, you see a gangs of “2 inch height” kids walking around smoking or trying to act like adults (or bad adults!)
    ya3ni lil asaf its all because of the parents especially the mother,2day’s mothers are really spoiling their kids in an incredible way!
    and the cars issue,gosh ..i’d like to see a spoiled kid hitting his parents by his car they bought him!i bet the dad will buy him another car!

  • Too right. Reminds me – couple of days ago, I was pelted with stones by a bunch of kids on bicycles, to the delight of some adults who were standing by and egging them on.

    Musta been my brown Sri Lankan a**.

  • Another thing I’ve noticed … parents never play with their children here! So their kids are hyper-rambunctious, and then their parents get mad at them. If they just got down on the floor with their children and played with them, their kids would be a whole lot calmer.

  • Salaam ‘Alaikum

    It’s pretty hard to have to go out shopping with a toddler and get anything done. I don’t see anything wrong with having your maid / helper come along. It was very frustrating and difficult for me to get anything done — from shopping to dealing with Dakhlia and the school — when I had to do *everything* alone with the baby. Do you know how many taxis refuse to pick you up when you have a child with you (esp. if you have the gall to bring a collapsible stroller)? Or how hard it is to climb the stairs at the Ministry of Education – al Khas when you have a 25 lb toddler with you? So a little bit of the broad brush there, b/c there’s a difference b/t having her help you out and then having her raise your kids. We always hear of kids in the Gulf who speak Tamil before Arabic, or kids in the US who speak Spanish or patois before English.

    Why the lack of toys here? Why is it so against the mindset? I’ve had to argue to get toys for my kids. It’s like people don’t think they’re necessary. Well, like I’m going to let them run around with the street kids to cultivate bad habits with a helping of head lice on top of it?

    The other thing that bothers me is the way parents encourage or cheer on cruelty against cats, even kittens. As though it proves the child will be a ‘real man’ or ‘real woman,’ as though these animals are not Creatures of God, without feelings. It’s sickening.

  • PS : Please, don’t be so hard on kids and parents on flights. When you have to fly, you have to fly, and little toddlers and babies often either don’t understand or can’t adjust to the air pressure or the lack of space. Most parents are 100% aware of the fact that their kid is crying or screaming or generally being annoying — they are annoyed too. Don’t make them feel worse by getting in their face about it. We know. Believe me, we know. I know, we can always drug the kid up (there’s a good idea), but sometimes you don’t want to do that or it doesn’t work (Benedryl et al can make some small children hyperactive, not drowsy).

  • Dont believe its!
    How thats moms dont care better theses childrens!
    I am HOUSEMAID and in the past Iwas babysister and all those childrens were very weel care.
    Today are adults normal.
    Welcome the new future of world.

Your Two Piasters: