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Interpreter of Maladies

Dr. Nighat Ara, Psychiatrist

Q. How can I handle my teenage children a daughter 17 and a son 14, my life has become so difficult with both of them revolting against my dos and don'ts in life?

A: Handling teen-age children is indeed a challenge for many parents. How difficult you find your child depends on the teenager's temperament as well as your competency as a mother. You seem to be concerned about them revolting against your dos and don'ts in life. I guess this is a very common problem with teenagers. Adolescent children do not like to be totally controlled by their parents. They develop their own opinion and like to experiment with life. They don't want to accept all the rules imposed on them without a question. Adults feel challenged when their children are demanding to be treated as equals and asking for clarifications or alternatives. In this hierarchical society, parents consider themselves superior to their children. Today parenting has become a stressful job. Society is changing slowly but definitely. Eventually autocratic families (e.g. where husbands hold the supreme power) are gradually changing into families of equality (e.g. women are claiming equal rights). Children growing up in this transitional society are also asking for their share of equality. Here equality means equal dignity and respect (children are definitely not equal to their parents in terms of knowledge, experience and skills). Lot of parents are struggling between the traditional and modern parental roles. Among different parenting styles (autocratic, permissive, democratic etc.), choose the right one for healthy growth of your children. No wonder, parenting sucks like hell at times, but again it is so wonderful to be a parent. It would be wise not to take everything personally. A lot of this parent-child conflict probably reflects social and generation changes, not merely your personal situation. Respect is essential for good communication between two individuals regardless their age gap or relationship. It is also important that we listen to them and allow them to express their feelings about us. Teenagers sometimes need to rebel against their parents in order to define themselves. They do this to own their values and beliefs that could be different from yours. If they don't rebel as teen, s/he may rebel as an adult and there are plenty examples that children who were very difficult as teen-agers grew up into matured, responsible young adults. Just make sure your teenager is rebelling in a relatively non-harmful way (e.g. odd dress, loud music, junk food, bedtime etc). Make them aware of the consequence of each behaviour. Sometimes observational learning is enough for them, other times they need to experience it first hand and learn from their own mistakes. No doubt, the world is a dangerous place (not only for Bush and Bin Laden, but for ordinary people like us too!), safety is a big issue for many of us. As a parent, talk about safety rules without creating unnecessary pressure on them. Most important is letting them know you are both physically and emotionally available to them. Don't beat yourself up on small things. Otherwise you may win a battle but lose the war, when your teenager will choose to rebel in a way you find totally unacceptable. Keep up your spirit and remind yourself what you like about being a parent

Dental wise
DR. Mahfujul Haq Khan BDS, DDS, FSDCE (USA), PhD (Japan), Post Doc. (Japan) Specialised: Crown and Bridge work, and Periodontal plastic surgery (USA) Senior Medical Officer, Department of Dentistry, BIRDEM Hospital

Dear Dr. M.H. Khan
I am 37 years old. I am suffering from bad breath for the last ten years. I tried many things to get rid off this. Can you explain about bad breath and how can I get cured?
I am your regular reader, Thanks
Humaon Azad Mirpur, Dhaka

Answer:Dear Mr. Azad,
Don't be frustrated. This is a very common problem in our society but unfortunately but very few people feel free to consult it with their physician/Dentist. Bad breath (halitosis) can cause embarrassment, create social and psychological barriers. I will give you a brief regarding causes of bad breath and its management.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Every disease has definitive treatment, but diagnosis should be correct. I think I should point out to my respected reader that causes of "bad breath" originating from oral region is about 50-60%, whereas rest comes from other systemic problem. I do understand that you are maintaining strict oral hygiene by yourself, but did you have professional cleaning in every year, did you check whether you have any caries or not? Sometimes or it is real difficult job to clean your hidden plaque/tartar by regular toothbrush and paste yourself. Please try to use dental floss and inter-dental brush for cleaning in between the spaces of teeth. Without examining you its seems very hard for me to advice for any further investigation to evaluate other systemic problem. Bad breath sufferers should feel encouraged to seek treatment because of the high success rate in managing.

The majority of bad breath problems begin in the mouth.
· Bad breath that is of oral cavity origin can be traced to a sulfur compound produced by bacteria. Dead and dying bacterial cells release this sulfur compound which gives the breath an unpleasant odor.
· Bacterial plaque and food debris accumulates on the back of the tongue. The tongue's surface is extremely rough and bacteria can accumulate easily in the cracks and crevices. Large amounts of sulfur compounds can be produced in this area, making it a frequent site of origin for bad breath.
· The tooth attracts bacteria containing plaque and if not cleaned regularly and thoroughly, this can result in large accumulations of bacteria that result in bad breath.
· People who have periodontitis (Gum disease) often experience bad breath because of bacteria accumulating in areas that are not cleaned easily, such as deep pockets around teeth.
· Fortunately, treatment is very effective for people who have bad breath of mouth origin.
Other reasons for bad breath (other than the mouth) are:
· infections, especially in the sinuses or lungs
· diabetes mellitus (acetone smell to the breath)
· kidney failure (can produce a fishy odor)
· malfunction of the liver
· disorders of metabolism (foul, fishy odor that comes and goes and may be difficult to diagnose)
· fasting (when the body is not provided with fuel in the form of food, fat and protein will begin to be broken down; the result is bad odor from the waste products of this metabolism)
If your bad breath continues once potential oral health problems have been treated, see your doctor to rule out any other causes.

· Treatment begins with a complete oral examination and health history, you may have an "odor-meter" test done. This test can accurately measure the volatile sulfur gases and the extent of a halitosis problem.
· Periodontal disease and /or cavities should be treated and repaired.
· Oral infections must be eliminated or impacted teeth may need to be removed.
· Good oral hygiene must be stressed, including cleaning the teeth and tongue (By using tongue scraper). Once the oral infection is treated and cured, mouthwash and toothpaste may have some effectiveness in managing oral odor. Ask your oral health professional for a product that may be helpful to you.


Beat the heat

The rainy season's started, but the weather's still hot. What better way to cool off than by taking a quick dip in the pool? The more adventurous people could try diving into a pond or stream, like the stalwart skinny-dipper in our picture




The Queen B

You know her, I know her too, I have been her once in a while, maybe you too have been her, and some of us are still…the Queen B.

Definition: A female (usually) who resides in a small group of men, overpowering all other females near, far and there, hawking attention, spreading feminine estrogens, believing that she secretly owns the dreams and wishes of the group of men that she has claimed as "friends," "family" or "Significant others." The word queen is self-explanatory and B can stand for anything from a Bee to a female dog. The phrase is put together to create the whipped effect and the characterisation and implementation of the phrase is up to a person, to make it fit as necessary, from over-possessively-caring to psychotically-vicious.

Being away from Bangladesh and living abroad, many Bengali men crave that companionship of a proper Bengali woman. Growing up in Bangladesh, and being segregated from females most of their lives, Bengali men often have a make-belief, half-false image about Bengali females. And a Queen B is said to take full advantage of that situation.

Imagine you are a single Bengali man in America, living with four other Bengali men who are as pathetic as you if not more, and then a Bengali girl walks into your lives, a girl who reminds you of someone who you looked forward to seeing on the way to school or college in Bangladesh, or a girl you use to stare at from your roof top to her intentionally wide open window. She is either a newly married bride who one of your lucky buddies have brought over from Bangladesh or a semi-girlfriend of one of your roommates and if not the first two then you have met her at the community college you are taking night classes at. You and the group of your friends simultaneously grow a secret crush on her, a crush not deep enough to be called love, but grave enough to make her the focal point of your group, to listen to her ideas as obtuse or brilliant as they might be, to boost her ego, giving her the power to have a say over your lives, your attractions and your denials. You seek approval from her silent or talkative eyes, because her presence gives you a certain satisfaction, it gives you an exposure to an unknown world, a Bengali female willing to hang out with a bunch of harmless yet pretending to be macho men, it makes you feel special. You include her in all things, give her undivided attention, and this one girl becomes almost sacred to you, the Queen B of your empire.

Slowly she starts having an opinion about your taste in women and choices in life. You realise your idea of beauty has changed to something that would fit her appropriately and you dismiss and mock with her any girl she remotely finds threatening. She hides her insecurities and you feed her self-esteem, until one day you loose half of yours. You see her residing at the height of perfection, her background, her education, and her decisions in life. Even her foolishness you categorise as misfortunes.

Things do get uncanny when another female is present in your all-male-one-female group. The Queen B is quick to point out how much cosmetics this other female has on, or the mischievous tales and bad reputation of this woman, or how boring and just-not-good-enough this new female is to be worthy of any attention from such fine young men like you. The attentions of other females only go so far in your life and the Queen B with her invisible sword destroys all outside female involvement and interests involving you.

Luckily one day you do realise how wretched and distressing the life of a Queen B is, and you move on, as her possessiveness now binds you in an untied monogamy amidst the world full of options.

So you or some well-wisher of yours finds you a new woman, who becomes your girlfriend or wife, with all strings attached and without most foolish games. And with your girlfriend or wife, who utterly hates the Queen B, you make fun of her overbearing, manipulative and ghastly behaviours. You slowly loss touch with the ex Queen of your life while she goes to find a different hive, finding equally clueless and pitiable Bengali man like you, to stroke her confidence and harvest her insecurities.

By Iffat Nawaz
*You can contact the writer by emailing nituta@hotmail.c



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