This study investigates the over-parenting of children in Bangkok and considers how findings might be relevant to play therapists. Research involved a mixed methods approach, designed to explore three specific questions: 1) What factors could be included in a definition of over-parenting amongst high socioeconomic parents in Bangkok? 2) What factors influence the parenting practice of this specific demographic? 3) Does over-parenting exists amongst high socioeconomic Thai parents in Bangkok?
The study involved three types of data collection: a questionnaire completed by private mental health practitioners and school counsellors working in Bangkok; a focus group with Thai parents; and, a focus group with Thai child psychiatrists and a child psychologist.
Findings suggest that over-parenting of Thai children does exist amongst high socio-demographic parents in Bangkok. Mental health practitioners working with children requiring emotional or behavioural support consider over-parenting to be a problem. Indications show that there is a cultural shift in Bangkok, where modernisation, Western influences and increased wealth is having an effect on the parenting practices of this particular demographic. Further research is needed to investigate whether these findings relate to the general population.
This study is considered relevant to play therapists as an example of the need for a culturally sensitive approach when working with families from a culture which is not shared by the therapist. Recommendations include self-reflection and acknowledgement of countertransference on the part of play therapists and training on cultural awareness as part of play therapists? professional development.