Saudi Arabia: Are Saudi Children Allowed to be Blameless?

misbehaving children


In one of the social forums I routinely follow, an expatriate in the Kingdom asked if Saudi children were simply overlooked when being rude or behaving inappropriately.  Specifically, she was at one of the malls with her two year old and they were sitting on a bench together.  Suddenly, a Saudi child came up and pushed her child without any provocation or warning.  The Saudi mother collected her child but without any apology or comment.

I will admit that Saudi children, like most Arab children, are perhaps more coddled.  But, that does not mean they are not taught right from wrong and disciplined.  Yes; an apology from both the child and the mother would have been nice to have.  Maybe the Saudi mother was embarrassed or did not know what to say to an expatriate, fearing she might not be understood.

However, one example of a Saudi mom and her experiences and disciplining of her children is “Mama B” at Ya Maamaa blog.  Mama B writes candidly and shares with her following the challenges of being a mother not only in Saudi but anywhere in the world.

Mama B has categorized her blog so a reader can easily find her posts on specific topics such as:



Reading Mama B’s blog a mother will find that mothers all over the world share the same challenges, including that sometimes even children who do know better will try to test boundaries.  But most importantly, reading Mama B’s blog you’ll learn that Saudi mothers are warm, loving, caring and attentive to their children!


8 Responses

  1. I remember an incident at a mall in Qatar with Qatari children running amok in the mall, not listening to the nanny and generally being ignored by the mother.
    They made the mistake of reaching into our cart, pulling our just purchased items out, nearly breaking a couple of items before I recovered them.
    It quickly halted when I asked the children and nanny, “Where’s your father?”
    Both mother and nanny quickly corralled the children, literally downcast over the incident. I said, “It’s not a big problem, I was quite a handful as a small child myself.”
    For, it is a universally unpleasant experience for the misbehaving child when dad has been embarrassed by his children’s behavior.
    A lesson I remember learning for myself as a small child.

  2. If I pushed anybody’s child when I was a child, I would not be able to sleep on my backside for a week or maybe I wouldn’t be allowed to go out for a while. My parents were very strict on discipline and would never let me embarrass them in front of the outer world. Luckily, I was a very good child and I would rather be on the receiving end of such naughtiness than vice versa.

    I have never met any Saudi children and the Qatari children I met in the malls created no problems when I was around. Who knows, I may have been lucky. However, some time ago, I read an article in “The New Yorker” about a maid’s execution in Saudi Arabia and the author tells about the two Indian men who managed a small Internet café near his hotel – one of them pointed to a chubby Saudi boy who was a regular at the café and called himself “Funky Monkey” (his video-game username). “Every time he feels like, he would slap me. It is the same with other local customers. You are a little late complying an order and they bark at you, slap you.”


    There was also an official document released by the US department of State regarding marriage to Saudis and it mentioned that “American wives must suffer silently when the children of various relations run riot through the house. One wife related the story of a brother-in-law’s child who carefully doled out chocolate pudding on the brand new furniture. When she scolded the child, she was in turn scolded for making a fuss about something that could be cleaned.”


    In conclusion, children can be naughty everywhere but I’m wondering if Saudi kids imbibe a sense of superiority from the adults around them. Sometimes even a brief casual remark, such as “those Indians”, may have a profound effect on a growing person’s mind. There’s no way to know about it until you become a fly on the wall in a Saudi house in order to check if that’s true or not. But you have to know the language as well.

  3. I certainly saw and experienced ‘hellish’ children in Saudi. Of course the parents are the ones to be blamed.

  4. Let’s face it, the majority aren’t little terrors, only a minority are and they most certainly make an impression.
    I remember hearing stories from my Saudi friend on their after school activities that were typical unsupervised boys having fun… Rather sounded familiar, save for the one time he and his brothers angered a camel.
    That said, had they misbehaved when out with their parents, they’d have had a tough time finding a way to be seated comfortably for quite a bit.
    So, I do suspect it does come down to the parents and what the child perceives they may get away with. That may factor in the mother’s authority or perceived authority in the home, inexperience as a parent or even a sense of privilege in that family.
    From what I’ve seen, experience is varied, with some helping in caring for siblings or cousins, others with no experience. And let’s face it, children are complicated and don’t come with an instruction manual.
    We coached quite a few young families, when asked, which was quite often.
    And helping with babies and small children was and is still our most favorite activity. 🙂

  5. I like your comment, Wizard!

    On Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 9:14 PM, American Bedu

  6. Well, it’s true. We wanted a large family, but after two live births, one ectopic pregnancy that was secondary to fallopian tube damage from a nosocomial infection (a student nurse “thought women only had two holes” in giving an enemy and was unacquainted with hemorrhoids in postpartum patients and was unsupervised in her first attempt (we’ll suffice it to say that the nurse administrator did not enjoy our conversation on her training supervision)) and the rest all miscarriages, we’ve gained common ground with my mother, with her incompetent cervix and PCOS, leaving me the only surviving male (my elder brother died before I was born from a virus).
    So, we love to help with children and they fill a void left by bad fortune in our early years of marriage.

  7. SO I have obviously not been reading my blogs as regularly as I usually do! Thank you for your comments Carol 🙂 They mean a lot to me!

  8. My pleasure, Mama B. You are so special and gracious allowing others to learn the challenges and sweetest times of raising children in Saudi Arabia.

    On Sat, May 4, 2013 at 1:06 PM, American Bedu

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: