“It’s great to finally see a conference on parenting and for parents! Parenting is a full-time job; it’s the hardest job ever and it deserves to be treated like any other professions and careers. Parents need a platform to connect and learn about the latest research and build their skills and update their knowledge.” Those words by Anisa Al Sharif, Parenting Educator and Founder of Tanshi2a, sum up the sentiment of those attending the first Parent & Child Wellbeing Conference of the country.
Organized by Mediaquest – the company behind major regional events including the “Top CEO Conference and Awards” and “Arab Women Forum” – in partnership with Baby Arabia, the event took place on April 28 at the Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children in Dubai.
Attendees discussed the core issues and concerns of parenting in the digital era with experts in the field.
The conference kicked off a session dedicated to “Emotional Intelligence: Are we repressing kids’ emotions unintentionally?” with emotional intelligence expert Tanya Fakhoury, clinician Dr. Khaled Kadry, mental health counsellor Chastity O’Connell, care sector expert Dr. Hussein Museeh and co-founder of The Developing Child Centre Dalya Tabari. This was followed by a deep dive into “Nutrition: Are we really what we eat?” with Zahra Abdallah of Cooking with Zahra, Wellness Coach Bernadette Abraham, pediatric dentist Dr. Yasmin Kottait, nutritionist and dietician Mirna Muslmani, communication manager of Tetrapak Abdullah Hassan and author Taghred Chandab.
Attendees also explored “Connection in the Digital Era: Analogue versus digital, is there an argument?” in a session led by parenting educator Anisa Al Sharif with life coach Linda Bonnar, clinical psychologists Dr. Elena Andrioti and Dr. Azhar Abu Ali and medical professional Dia Buti.
The final key session, “Are We Good Enough?,” was hosted by founder of Makooky Sarah Abdullah with Motherhood blogger Helen Farmer, Omaira Falooq Al Olama, founder of the ALF Foundation; Iman Batthika, child health blogger; Dr. Sara Rasami, family psychologist and professor; and Hussein Al Alatoli from Pearl FM, which is part of the Al Jalila Foundation.
Alexandre Hawari, co-CEO of Mediaquest, said: “In the digital era, parents are facing a new set of challenges when it comes to engaging, supporting and educating their children, and we are pleased to have provided them with a platform to discuss these issues with parenting experts via our ‘Parent & Child Wellbeing Conference.’ The event contributed to building the confidence and understanding of parents and children, equipping them with the vital knowledge they need to navigate difficult family situations ranging from tantrums and autism, to pregnancy and infant mortality. With so much conflicting information online, we are pleased to have offered them clear, reliable advice based on the latest research and in-depth experience of our experts.”
Dr. Elena Andrioti, clinical psychologist at Kidcare Pediatric Clinic, added: “The PCWC 2018 brought together experts from different fields to offer parents the opportunity to connect and communicate about their parenting experiences. The conference offered parents the chance to hear more about engaging issues they are likely to experience on a daily basis in a welcoming and empathetic environment. Giving parents an opportunity to feel like they are not alone can have a tremendous effect on their confidence and well-being. I believe PCWC will set a precedent in the region and look forward to the upcoming editions of the event.”
The conference continued with a practical seminar on healthy eating habits and further workshops on tips and tricks for expecting mothers, learning through play, sleep for you and your baby, talking together: empowering your child to be the best communicator and how storytelling can help children overcome their fears and articulate their emotions. The event also engaged children with a full day of activities including Lego painting, pottery and much more.