Effect of Emotional Suppression on Children

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“Not in front of the children” – how many times have you heard this phrase being said in movies, in shows, in your own house? As parents and caretakers, we’ve been taught to suppress negative emotions in front of our children. We’ve been told that the virgin mind of a child is highly fragile and vulnerable to negative emotions. While there is some amount of truth in this, it’s equally possible that this emotional suppression is furthering their vulnerability.

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Latest studies suggest that emotional suppression on a child only creates confusion and a sense of self-doubt in children. Since a child is able to pick on emotional cues easily, suppressing them with something altogether different only creates emotional conflict in a child. This results in an unhealthy mental status that could affect the personality of a child.

So what’s the best parenting option in this case? Let them know of the entire trajectory.

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Instead of completely suppressing negative emotions, it’s a good idea to let them see how the conflict pans out – from the beginning to the resolution. This will not only be a good learning experience for them but also improve their mental health and well-being. It’s important to recognize your children as people who can understand your emotions; rather than hiding the truth, it’s healthy to be straight forward about it.

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What not to do when meeting relatives and friends over this Eid ul Fitr

As we approach the end of Ramadan and still try to guess when exactly Eid is, let’s try and make this Eid beautiful not only for ourselves but also for others around us by knowing what not to say.

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None of us mean to say the wrong thing but sometimes we just do especially when we meet our extended family after several months. Sometimes we meet new faces as families expand, or even unexpected guests. Now that I am older, I also see myself sometimes passing the irritating comment, ‘Arey masha allah tum kitney Barry ho gaye.’ It happens to everyone. We often end up asking questions that seem entirely innocent to us but can hurt and/or irritate the other person emotionally.

In the list below I share some of the questions that are not as polite as we might think they are.

What not to ask people this Eid ul Fitr or any other party? 

  1. Do not ask anyone when they are getting married. People might be looking aggressively for an appropriate rishta and sometimes finding a suitable rishta is not easy. And no, it’s not suitable to tell them about certain single women who you think might be extremely lonely. There is no point in showing the grim side of not being married. Sometimes, they do not want to get married any time soon and they have other plans. At times it gets so infuriating that many young adults do not want to join their family during ‘House hopping’.
  2. Do not ask others when they might be having kids. Infertility issues, miscarriages or sometimes just not planning a child might be the reason for a couple not having a child. Other people reproductive health and decisions are none of your business. You don’t know who is dealing with infertility or grieving miscarriages or struggling with health issues. You don’t know who is having relationship issues or who might not be in a position to have their ‘next’ child straight away. You don’t know your seemingly innocent question might cause some people grief, pain or stress. This is one question you must stay away from.
  3. Do not comment on anyone’s weight. You can simply say, ‘It’s so good to see you.’ We will surely meet someone who might lost a bit too much weight or someone who has drastically gained a lot of weight. Weight is sometimes not just about being lazy or over indulgence. Whether you believe it or not, it’s not necessary at all to tell someone about how bad they look due to their weight. They probably do have mirrors at home and know exactly how they look. Their weight is their business. Some people are confident and secure in whatever their weight may be. Some people are struggling. So it’s best to avoid any conversation that revolves around weight.
  4. If you meet a young child, do not ask them who their favourite family member is or who they love most. Love is a huge word and it’s meaning can’t possibly be understood by a young child. Also do not force them to eat something. Nut/gluten allergies are more common than you might think so let the parents choose what they want their kids to eat.
  5. This one is also a basic etiquette that you must have when meeting a young child. Do not say, ‘hug/kiss me and I will give you a treat.’ Please do not invade a child’s private space. They are still learning about trust and do not tell the child that its alright to bribe for certain ‘favours’

So yea, that’s about it. Sometimes empathy is more important than anything else. And the best thing about it is that it doesn’t cost anything.

A Glimpse of Turkey-Part 2

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After waiting (agonizingly, mind you), our transport FINALLY arrived. After loading the luggage and settling in the window seat (It’s essential I always get the window seat), the ratty old car sprang into action and immediately started buzzing by other cars with a speed I did not imagine it could go with. Fearing for my family and my life, I wondered if the “vehicle” would just collapse. Maybe the window seat wasn’t such a good idea after all. It finally stopped at our hotel and I never got out of a vehicle faster. Thanking the Lord, I took in the sight that lay before my eyes.

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The first thing that caught my attention was the street that stretched before me, going on and on. One whole side of the street was laden with fruit stalls. And what a sight it was. Fruits of all kinds graced the stalls and their color was nothing short of vibrant. Imagine one whole side of the street covered with green, red, yellow, orange, maroon and brown, vibrant at the start and fading away as the street stretched on.

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The other side of the street didn’t disappoint either. It was just as beautiful but in a totally different way. Now, it might be my hunger speaking, but it was honestly beautiful! Maybe it was the way that the restaurants that lined the whole street weren’t your average restaurants. They were small and quaint, with seating done outside on the street, with very adorable wooden benches and table, and equally beautiful umbrellas casting a much needed cool shade over the seating area. A chalkboard was placed right next to the entrance, displaying today’s special. The whole look was completed with the waist-high wooden fence with vines enfolding it like garden snakes, wrapping the whole restaurant in a giant hug.

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The aromas of different Turkish delicacies went through my nose and straight to my heart, and I just knew at that moment that I would fall in love with Turkish food and fall in love I did. Our stomach took control after that making the whole checking in the hotel and freshening up process ten times faster. With a giddy smile on our faces, we made our way to one of the restaurants on the street and sat down going through the menu, excited to finally experience authentic Turkish food.

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A Glimpse of Turkey- Part 1

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It was on August 4th, 2014, that I got my first glimpse at the shore of turkey. Despite my groggy state and red eyes that begged me to give them a rest, courtesy of the 5-hour flight from Dubai, I couldn’t help but stare at the vast expanse of the Mediterranean through the plane window. The sun had just come up an hour ago, and the sunlight hit the ocean at just the right angle to give the illusion of diamonds floating in the water. To say I was flabbergasted by the beauty of it would be an understatement.

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Having grown up near the sea for the majority of my life had made me love the oceans, sea, beaches, lake, you name it and I’m pretty sure I would be in love with that water body. So just imagine my state when my eyes laid upon nothing but water as I stared out the window. I could see small ships resembling raisins from such a height. I kept on watching as the ships became denser and the variety increased as well. And finally, I could see the coast of Istanbul and nothing- not even the wailing baby-could have me take my eyes off such a majestic sight.

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Fast forward 2 hours and I’m standing outside the airport with my family, the sun beating down on us with such a ferocity that had me thinking if it had some personal issues with us. I guess you could only appreciate the sun when you’re sitting in a comfortable seat, in a cold environment with a blanket wrapped around you, looking out of the plane and thanking the sun for make it look like barrels of diamond exploded in the sea.

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 Too bad I couldn’t glare back at the sun. I don’t think my corneas would have appreciated it. Anyway, squinting my eyes and assessing the view before me, the very first thing that I noticed was the diversity. Of course, standing in front of an international airport of the world’s most 2nd visited country will make you notice that. But the diversity I noticed was not among the crowds of people rushing past me. No, it was the taxi drivers that caught my eye. I could see people of all skin tones, speaking different versions of Arabic, I saw Chinese, I saw Americans and some South Asians here and there too. Being a big fan of diversity, I felt a smile gracing my lips.

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What are the skills a child SHOULD be learning in school

Why do we send our children off to school? So that we can see them evolving into beautiful and independent adults. And while academics are extremely important and necessary, it is not everything. And while schools are great for this, all of them share one flaw: They are depriving children of learning basic skills!

I mean it’s great that you’re getting educated, it does help put food on the table. But what about other necessities and skills which help children to survive in this world? Not only in their youth but also as adults. I’ll be talking about what skills a child SHOULD be learning in school.

For starters, and I think we all agree on this, children should be taught on how to be socially active and confident. Educators have failed miserably in this area. We often see children shying away from public speaking. And that’s fine, they are children after all! But it’s the school’s and parent’s job to encourage them forward socially. Many children all over the world are being bullied, but they don’t know how to cope with it because they are neither aware nor do they possess the courage and confidence to stand up to their bullies. This area of skill is in dire need of attention!

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Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, right? This is something which has been burned into our memory! Wouldn’t it be nice… to I don’t know learn about taxes, mortgages etc. in the same way that we were forced to learn about mitochondria? I mean, sure it’s nice, but it’s of no use to us, right?! It’s essential that the children are educated about these topics so that they understand the importance of it and hence, can function like good and responsible adults.

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Basic cooking! It’s imperative that children know the basic know-how about cooking. God forbid, they can be faced with unusual circumstances when they are alone, or their parents or babysitters can’t attend to them, they should at least know how to put together a simple meal for themselves. We wouldn’t want them to starve right?

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Another major skill children should be taught is to call the right authorities if something goes wrong. There should be enough sense instilled in them that they know what course of action to be taken in which situation. For example, alerting the fire department or calling the police depending on the situation. They should be taught how to act fast and their wits should be sharp!

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Other skills include tackling different situations, compassion, tolerance etc. It is of utmost importance that schools include activities in which a child not only excels at academics but is also given an excellent platform for learning new skills and applying them in daily life situations, in and out of schools! Naturally, we can’t give children a career to prepare for, but we can integrate skills in them which will help them adapt to different situations. They will certainly thank us for a long time to come!

But life goes on…

Written by Kanza Naseem

Death is hard. We have lived to see people in pain, and watched them deteriorate into nothing. In the end all we are left with are memories, like deep cuts in our skin which scar so horribly, every time they are touched they bleed, seems as though the cut becomes deeper, similar to how we fall so far deep, in to water. The fear of it all takes over. Suddenly you can’t seem to breathe, somewhere, somehow we are supposed to learn that its just life, and this is the way it works. We never do, there is no time, ‘bury heads in sand, but our future’s in our hands, it means nothing, if I haven’t got you’.

A persons touch can leave you breathless. Every aching moment when they pass away makes no sense. For a while you just want everything to stop. You want to stop zhurting and feeling pain, just until everything is over, so you don’t have to deal with it. It’s natural. ‘That’s enough for now’

Everybody moves on, it be too soon for some. We like to hold on, clutch onto hope, so tightly, that we forget what people meant to others. We went slowly we took it easy, we stood still. Somehow we forget that others didn’t, they did not stop, and wait for emotion. They persevered, their grief is over, ours has just begun. We mourn what we have lost, on our own, sometimes its better this way, no body understands now. Grief meant their problems have disappeared (not), they let go to soon, we were not ready. Now we are. ‘And I’ve been knocking but no one answers
And I’ve been knocking most all the day.’

Time is a healer, we are supposed to understand, not forget. We never do, its easier to forget to get caught up, with other things, to bury ourselves with work, tasks things to accomplish, goals, a light to chase. Its all fear of some sort, how can we understand it? For it takes over everything, its seeps in to every empty crack, there is no balance, no way, or one to stop it. In summer we plant our seeds and hope to watch them prosper in to something beautiful, a sweet pear, and oozing ‘tamato’ 😉 a flower, we are consumed in their beauty. We forget come autumn they will fall, and disappear, in to the winds they blow, where they end up nobody knows, everything is meant to fade. ‘He must have been a gardener that cared a lot. Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop, Now we pray for rain, and with every drop that falls. We hear, we hear your name’ ♥ We are blinded by lights, which make things look easy. Feelings are not. They take over. They don’t make sense they make things difficult.

This is reality, it’s your grief, and it’s allowed; this is your life. It hurts and sometimes it’s supposed to, it bruises but somehow you have to feel it, you have to deal with it, fear is uncontrollable, but it always will be. Use your pain to come out the other side stronger and always remember someone’s watching over you.

The Relationship between late night Television and Sandwiches

Written by Fatima Majoka

Toast a largish piece of bread with a slice of cheese until it starts melting, lay on a cutting of salami, add a crunchy salad leaf and cover it with a half fried egg sprinkled with a pinch of salt and pepper. Top everything with another piece of bread and press it gently until you hear the satisfying plop of the yolk breaking. Now bite into the contentment. Sip some soda in between the bites as you watch senseless late night television.

This had been my ultimate treat after I had put the kids to sleep, for years their bedtime ranged between ten pm to two am and I led myself on to put up with it by dreaming about this very moment. Of course most days I went to sleep while putting them to sleep or would be too tried to even sit on the sofa and some days there was nothing left in the refrigerator to make a sandwich out of! But the addiction to this, the moment of satisfaction, that bite into a big juicy sandwich was what mostly kept me going through. So much so that it became almost an addiction. I wanted to savor this feeling of elation every single day; it was my drug of choice. Cold chicken sandwiches, garlic mayo and leftover sandwiches, mince beef and cheese sandwiches and when there wasn’t anything else boiled eggs and tomato sandwiches. Needless to say I could whip up a sandwich anytime and from almost anything.

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Then quite dangerously I started buying foodstuff that complemented my sandwich addiction, I started getting DVDs to make my sandwiches worthwhile and drinking more and more soda to make everything last longer. So much was my ‘me’ time taking over my life that I would resent anything or anyone that came between us. I wanted to be home on weekend nights and even wanted my husband to go to sleep early so I could enjoy this time by myself. I dislike guests staying late and hated it if the kids got sick and I was too exhausted to stay up for my addiction.

At one point; around 20 pounds overweight and quite mentally deranged, I realized that this was becoming a very ‘unhealthy’ obsession. Late night high carb food and resenting your own family has its toll on your mind and body. I do enjoy my sandwiches but now I make them for picnics or weekend movie dinners with the kids. And yes I am much healthier, still a little obsessed but with healthier things now.