'Eid is not about expensive gifts but family time' | 2019-08-11

'Eid is not about expensive gifts but family time'

Khaleej Times

11th August, 2019 12:46:30 printer

'Eid is not about expensive gifts but family time'

Eid is about family bonding, culture and religion - and not about expensive gifts:

This is the message some UAE parents are trying to teach their children during this Eid-ul-Azha, as their young ones demand high-end presents this holiday.

Eid-ul-Azha is when Muslims sacrifice a goat and share it with the less privileged and their family members. The Islamic festival commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son following Allah's command.

However, some parents think children these days don't understand the value of religious holidays like Eid.

A mother in Dubai, Saira Ammar, said: "Eid is very different now to what it was a decade ago. If I talk about myself, even in my teens, Eid was about sacrificing the animal, taking care of that animal for about a week or so, getting Eidiya (money given to youngsters during Eid), and enjoying a meal with the family.

"These days, kids' demands are as materialistic as the era is. They wait for those huge advertisement pages and select high-end products that would make them happy.

"My five-year-old son has said 'if you cannot buy me this iPad, I won't be happy, I'll be sad." Another mum, Hina Afreen, said she used to get Eidiya on both Eids from elders. And she would spend her Eid money to purchase small gift items for her friends.

"But now, our kids send Eid greetings to their friends via WhatsApp," she added.

Alam Adnan said she had told her children that they would only be receiving goat meat this year, and no materialistic gifts.

Harmful effects

Psychologists have warned that continuously giving material gifts to children instead of spending quality time with them can lead to 'identity loss and lack of confidence' among the youth.

"It is expected for children to request many expensive gifts from their parents. They are marketed in a way that children could easily feel they are missing out on something by not having these items," Dr Bene Katabua, educational psychologist at KidsFirst Medical Centre, told Khaleej Times.

"This belief system can make it difficult for children to develop the emotional skills they need to deal with disappointment, boredom and frustration. Studies show that when children are instantly and frequently given toys and gifts, they tend to develop difficulties in relationships, decision-making and perseverance.

"Ultimately, parents should keep in mind that time is much more valued over toys. Actual quality time - away from distractions such as phones and other screens - is engaging in a game or conversation with your child."

Another expert, Dr Andrea Tosatto - a clinical psychologist of children and people of determination at LifeWorks Holistic Counselling Centre - said giving youngsters meaningful experiences rather than gifts can pay off in the long run.

He said: "Happiness from an experience lasts more. It helps them improve their behavioural, social and cognitive skills. Here are some of the non-materialistic gifting ideas - membership to an art gallery, museum, a ticket to sporting events, zoo, aquarium, children's magazines, gift for charity or even a short vacation."


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