Many of you wanted to improve your relationships with your children over these 40 days. One of the areas I find particularly difficult is that of discipline - children these days just don't listen like they used to!
So I asked a wonderful sister for some advice on how to get my children to listen without turning into the Wicked Witch of the West. Her name is Rose Ali, otherwise known as Grandma Jeddah and this is what she had to say. Feel free to respond or comment below.
Assalamu Alaikum Sister Na’ima,
Disciplining without hitting is a skill that is developed. It also involves certain techniques. You certainly haven’t failed in training your children. You may simply need to learn a few effective techniques that will help you to better control your children’s behavior. Also, keep in mind that children have different temperaments. Some may need a different approach than others.
The first thing you want to do with your children is offer them incentives for desired behavior. Most people resent exerting themselves in activities they don’t enjoy. They need a good reason to do it. Mothers clean their homes because it would be difficult to live in a messy house. Fathers work because if they didn’t they wouldn’t have a home for their family to live in. Kids need incentives, too.
One of the most successful incentive programs--it’s worked wonders in my home--is the star chart system. Without my going into detail, you will find this discipline method in my book on pages 83 – 90 insha’Allah. Believe me, it really works. Accompanied with the star chart system, you’ll find information on the penalty system . . . which leads to my second point—consistency.
Make certain you follow through on your penalties when your children fail to perform their chores. If they see that sometimes rules are enforced and other times they are not, they will learn that if they stall long enough, they won’t have to get the job done.
Another important point about penalties (such as removing stars, putting up checks or removing privileges) is not to show negative emotions when implementing your penalties. Do not show your child you are angry with his behavior. Some children starting around about 7-years-old may intentionally wish to make you angry. This often occurs when the child feels he has been treated unfairly. The benefit and resolve he feels in getting you angry may far outweigh any penalty you can dish out—this includes hitting. The way to combat this behavior is to remain calm during the discipline process. This leads to my next point. Sometimes we parents need help controlling our own emotions.
Many times parents hit their children because they’re angry at the child’s behavior not because they want to correct the behavior. It’s very important to make sure you are in control of your emotions when disciplining. This may sound like a cliché, but counting to 10 or retreating to your room to calm down when angry can indeed help you release steam. Also, according to hadith, The Prophet (saw) suggested sitting if you’re standing and reclining if you’re sitting when angry. Once you’re in control of yourself, you can consider ways to correct your child’s behavior without hitting or shouting. Secret 4, pages 73 – 104 in my book lists over a dozen ways to help control children's behavior without hitting or shouting.
I strongly suggest complimenting your children when you see them picking up their clothes off the floor, not eating in their room or putting the jam away. Give them a pat on the back, a hug, a kiss. Tell them how much you appreciate it when they do these things. This might correct 90 % of your problem.
Remember, too, your children are just that--children. They get distracted, they have dislikes, and they are not of mature minds. With your love and consistency, they will remember what you taught them during their childhood, and grow to be responsible adults, insha’allah.
Finally, make du’a for them frequently, and ask Allah to help you guide them in the best way.
Let’s put all of what I said in a nut shell.
1. Remember, disciplining children is something that involves certain skills and techniques. These skills must be practiced.
2. Give your children incentives for completing chores and responsibilities.
3. Be consistent with penalties.
4. Avoid showing your anger when disciplining.
5. Remember that for some parents, hitting is a habit and is often done out of anger not for correcting behavior.
6. Praise your children when you see them fulfilling their duties.
7. Explore, on your own, ways of disciplining without hitting.
8. Try to emulate the Prophet’s (SAW) character in raising children, with gentleness.
9. Remember-- they are just children.
10. Make dua often for Allah’s guidance.
May Allah bless all your children to be a comfort for you and your family and to grow up as Muslims who will please Allah.
Your Sister in Islam
If you'd like to get a copy of the e-book Sister Rose is referring to, simply click on this link: http://grandmajeddah.books.officelive.com
Don't forget to tell us about your reactions to this post and how your 40 days are going!