Published on January 19, 2014
Guyana Islamic Trust R4D2-Georgetown District FAMILY SEMINAR Sunday, 18th January 2014 Presented by Shazad Sookram
It was narrated that ‗Abd-Allaah ibn ‗Umar (ra)said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) say: ―Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The ruler is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his family and is responsible for his flock. A woman is the shepherd of her husband‘s household and is responsible for her flock. Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.‖ Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 583;Muslim, 1829.
Responsibility: The Prophets were responsible for their followers, the leaders are responsible for their citizens, the husband is responsible for his wife and children, the wife is responsible for the family in her husband‘s absence and as parents you are responsible for your children. Patience: Being a shepherd teaches you as a parent to be patient. The flock (children) will fight and squabble, they will play and want to hang about. You can't say, 'it's time to leave' to a flock of sheep, you have wait for them to finish what they're doing. Protection: There are dangers which we can't see and there are obstacles which animals cannot see. Animals need protection from diseases, from attacks, from toxic food and dangers. Only an alert shepherd standing tall can be on top of it all. The same applies for children. Why Sheep?:In the biography (seerah) of Prophet Muhammad, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, we learn he was a shepherd of sheep. Most of the prophets cared for the same, but why sheep? As a dim-witted creature, the sheep is weak and needs more guidance. It cannot direct itself without assistance and easily falls prey to predators. The animal that leaves the flock will be eaten by the wolf. Our children are like sheep and we have a responsibility to protect them and keep them within the family1. 1.http://www.theecomuslim.com/2013/05/lessons-prophets-shepherds.html
The Messenger of Allah(sas) said: ―Upon death, man‘s deeds will (definitely) stop except for three deeds, namely: a continuous charitable fund, endowment or goodwill; knowledge left for people to benefit from; and pious, righteous and God-fearing child who continuously pray Allah, the Almighty, for the soul of his parents.― (Muslim)
Do you wonder what to do to get your child to listen to you? Do you feel that nothing you do makes your child do as you want? Do you feel frustrated and do you despair? These guidelines might help you in the right direction. Many parents wonder what they could do to get children to abide to the rules they set. Some important information about setting and maintaining rules in what is called ‗the 5 C‘s.‘ Try to answer the following 5 C questions below to discover if you have a strong foundation for discipline.
Are they, in other words, suitable for your child? They are suitable if they take into consideration the needs and abilities of your child. If you want your toddler to be quiet all the time and sit in his room for the most part of the day, then your rules are not considerate because toddlers need to be active physically and verbally and they are not able to be quiet for a long time. Do you want your adolescent to always be at home and do you prohibit him from sharing his wishes, then your rules are likewise inconsiderate because adolescents feel the need to be with their friends and they feel the need of sharing their opinion and being valued for it. Inconsiderate rules are bound to be broken.
Clarity of rules means that your child understands them. It‘s best for rules to exactly describe the desired or expected behaviour. A rule like: ‖Don‘t be aggressive‖ might be clear for older children but is unclear for young children. What does aggressiveness mean? Is it not hitting (physical aggression) or not screaming (verbal aggression) or something else? A rule like: ―Let go of each other‖ or ―Hold the toys in your hand‖ would be better alternatives because they let children exactly know what to do. It‘s even better to combine this with a rational explanation, like ―Hold the toys in your hand, toys are not for throwing‖ or ―Let go of each other, squeezing hurts.‖
Rules should be steady because an important aim of rules is to provide structure. If the rules change every day, they have an opposite effect. Your child wouldn‘t know what to expect which isn‘t helpful for his behaviour. Consistent rules provide predictability and structure which creates a feeling of safety in children. This doesn‘t mean that rules can‘t be changed. They can be changed if it‘s in the benefit of the child. If a child grows older, then a rule like: ‗You have to walk hand in hand‘ can for example be changed to: ‗Let me know where you are when you go out‘.
This means that your response to behaviour is the same at different times and in different situations. Some parents reward a behaviour one day, punish it the second day and ignore it the third day or they tell children to clear up the toys one day and the other day they say it‘s okay to leave the toys on the floor. This makes the child feel that you do not really mean what you say as a result of which he will take your rules and instructions less serious. It‘s recommended to do as you say and to respond in the same way to behaviour. This doesn‘t mean that if a situation or occasion makes a change of behaviour beneficial or even necessary, that this shouldn‘t be done. If it is a Saturday and your child has no school the next day, you could let him stay up for a bit longer for example while letting him know that it‘s only on that day so that he does not take the exception as the rule. Likewise if a child is sick there is no harm in taking him into your bed if you usually require him to sleep in his own.
This means that you and your partner both have the same set of rules and that both your responses to your child‘s behaviour is similar. If this doesn‘t happen, your child will always have an excuse to not abide to a rule. He could for example say: ―Dad doesn‘t mind me having a cookie, so… ‖ This couldn‘t be the option if parents parent cooperatively. If you‘ve responded to the most of these questions in the affirmative, then it‘s likely that you have a strong basis for discipline. If you don‘t, then it might be beneficial to incorporate the C that you are not practicing at the moment. If you did answer the most of these questions in the affirmative but your child is still not following the rules you‘ve set, ask yourself the following questions:
If your child is playing calmly with his sister without fighting for example, do you give him a complement or do you ignore his behaviour? If you only give attention at moments your child shows undesired behaviour, your child might learn that attention is to be literally fought for. If a child doesn‘t get positive attention (i.e. attention when he does something ‗good‘), he will seek negative attention (i.e. attention when he does something ‗bad‘).
Do I scream and swear when I want the child to change his behaviour? It‘s recommended to come close to young children, call them by name, look them in the eyes and tell them what you want them to do. The benefit of coming close to the child and looking him in the eyes is having his full attention. The bigger the distance is, the more likely it is that the child is not focused and thus doesn‘t absorb what you say. This might prevent him from following your instruction. After you know you have the attention of your child, you could for example say: ―I want you to clear up the toys when you‘re finished playing, so that the room looks tidy again.‖
This means that you tell a child what he can do when you tell him what he can‘t do. If he draws on the wall, you could for example say: ―the walls are not for drawing, you can draw on this paper instead.‖ When you tell him that he can‘t have a sweet now, you could tell him when he can have a sweet or what he can have instead. It is even better to not give the child the feeling that he can‘t have or do something. If he asks if he can play outside and you do not want to allow that because he hasn‘t had his dinner yet, you could say: ―Yes, after you had your dinner‖ instead of saying ―No, not now. You haven‘t had your dinner yet.‖ The first sentence would likely make your child less frustrated while letting him know what is required of him (eating dinner). It may also motivate him to eat his dinner because he knows that after he finishes, he can do something he desires.
A logical penalty means that the consequence that follows your child‘s misbehaviour, is logically related to his behaviour. If you told him that he should walk and stay close to you when you walk with him and he starts running, then a logical consequence is to not allowing him to run by telling him that he has to hold your hand. It would be illogical to say that he is not allowed to watch his favourite cartoon for example. The more logical the consequence is, the more reasonable it is and the more the child will learn from it. It is important though to tell the child what the penalty will be if he doesn‘t do as agreed upon (walking nearby for example) so that the penalty will not come as a surprise.
Remember, changes might take time. Applying the C‘s and other points mentioned above can take effort and training. Also your children could resist to changes in the beginning. If your child is used to you always giving in for example, then being consequent in not giving in can cause him to resist. But no worries, after a while, he will most likely conform to the rules.
It‘s hard finding a parent these days who isn‘t worried about their kids‘ emotional well-being. Whether we care to admit it or not, the steady onslaught of violent images on television, video games, the Internet, movies, music lyrics, and in our newspapers are hurting our children. The result: too many kids are becoming desensitized to violence, and have learned that anger is the only way to solve a problem. While that‘s the bad news, there is some good news and here it is: Here‘s six ideas to violence is learned, but so is calmness! get you started:
The best way to teach kids how to deal with anger constructively is by showing them through your example! After all, you don‘t learn how to calm down by reading about it in a book, but by seeing someone do it. So use those frustrating experiences as ―on-thespot lessons‖ to your child of ways to calm down. Here‘s an example: Suppose you get a phone call from the auto shop saying your car estimate has now doubled. You‘re furious, and standing nearby is your child now watching you very closely. Muster every ounce of calmness and use it as an instant anger control lesson for your child: ―I am so angry right now‖ you calmly tell your child. ―The auto shop just doubled the price for fixing my car.‖ Then offer a calm-down solution: ―I‘m going on a quick walk so I can get back in control.‖ Your example is what your child will copy.
One of the toughest parts of parenting is when children address their anger towards us. If you‘re not careful, you find their anger fueling emotions in you that you never realized were in you. Beware: anger is contagious. It‘s best to make a rule in your home from the start: ―In this house we solve problems when we‘re calm and in control.‖ And then consistently reinforce the rule. Here‘s an example of how you might use it. The next time your child is angry and wants a quick solution, you might say, ―I need a time out. Let‘s talk about this later‖ and then exit calmly and don‘t answer back.
Many kids display anger because they simply don‘t know how to express their frustrations any other way. Kicking, screaming, swearing, hitting or throwing things may be the only way they know how to show their feelings. Asking this kid to ―tell me how you feel‖ is unrealistic, because he may not have learned the words to tell you how he is feeling! To help him express his anger, create a feeling word poster together saying: ―Let‘s think of all the words we could use that tell others we‘re really angry‖ then list his ideas. Here‘s a few: angry, mad, frustrated, furious, irritated, ticked off, irate, and incensed. Write them on a chart, hang it up, and practice using them often. When your child is angry, use the words so he can apply them to real life: ―Looks like you‘re really angry. Want to talk about it?‖ or ―You seem really irritated. Do you need to walk it off?‖ Then keep adding new emotion words to the list whenever new ones come up in those great ―teachable moments‖ opportunities throughout the day.
There‘s dozens of ways to help kids calm down when they first start to get angry. Unfortunately, many kids have never been given the opportunity to think of those other possibilities. And so they keep getting into trouble because the only behavior they know is inappropriate ways to express their anger. So talk with your child about more acceptable ―replacer‖ behaviors. You might want to make a big poster listing them. Here‘s a few ideas : walk away, think of a peaceful place, run a lap, listen to Quran, hit a pillow, shoot baskets, draw pictures, talk to someone, or sing a chant. Once the child chooses his ―calm down‖ technique, encourage him to use the same strategy each time he starts to get angry.
Explain to your child that we all have little signs that warn us when we‘re getting angry. We should listen to them because they can help us stay out of trouble. Next, help your child recognize what specific warning signs she may have that tells her she‘s starting to get upset such as, ―I talk louder, my cheeks get flushed, I clench my fists, my heart pounds, my mouth gets dry and I breathe faster.‖ Once she‘s aware of them, start pointing them out to her whenever she first starts to get frustrated. ―Looks like you‘re starting to get out of control.‖ or ―Your hands are in a fist now. Do you feel yourself starting to get angry?‖ The more we help kids recognize those early angry warning signs when their anger is first triggered, the better they will be able to calm themselves down. It‘s also the time when anger management strategies are most effective. Anger escalates very quickly, and waiting until a child is already in ―melt down‖ to try to get her back into control is usually too late.
A very effective strategy for helping kids to calm down is called ―3 + 10.‖ You might want to print the formula on large pieces of paper and hang them all around your house. Then tell the child how to use the formula: ―As soon as you feel your body sending you a warning sign that says you‘re losing control, do two things. First, take 3 deep slow breaths from your tummy.‖ (Model this with your child. Show her how to take a deep breath then tell her to pretend she‘s riding an escalator. Start at the bottom step and as you take the breath, ride up the escalator slowly. Hold it! Now ride slowly down the escalator releasing your breath steadily at the same time). ―That‘s 3. Now count slowly to ten inside your head. That‘s 10. Put them all together, it‘s 3 + 10 and it helps you calm down.‖
Teaching children a new way to deal with their anger constructively is not easy– especially if they have only practiced aggressive ways to deal with their frustrations. Research tells us learning new behaviors take a minimum of 21 days of repetition. So here‘s a recommendation: Choose one skill your child needs to be more successful and emphasize the same skill a few minutes every day for at least 21 days! Besides, the possibility your child will really learn the new skill will be much stronger, because he‘s been practicing the same technique over and over, and that‘s exactly the way you learn any new skill. It‘s also the best way to stem the onslaught of violence and help our kids lead more successful, peaceful lives.
Do you find yourself saying things to your child during an argument without even thinking about it? Let‘s face it, it‘s almost impossible to be detached or objective when your child is in your face fighting with you. And naturally, it feels like a personal attack when he‘s saying rude things or calling you names. During those moments, it‘s all too easy to respond with something hurtful. All of a sudden, your feelings take over—your emotions jump into the driver‘s seat and your thinking moves into the back seat. What comes out of your mouth doesn‘t always get into your child‘s ear the way you want it to. Almost every parent has gotten mad and said things to their kids they wish they could take back. The trick is to figure out how to remain in control so you don‘t end up saying something you‘ll regret. Though this is easier said than done, trust me, it is possible—and it‘s a skill you can learn, just like anything else.
If you have a teenager in the house, you‘ve probably seen him get upset about issues that seem insignificant or petty. You wonder how he can stomp into his room and slam the door just for the slightest things. While his behavior might seem ridiculous by adult standards, try to refrain from invalidating his feelings. Think about a scenario where you‘ve been upset and someone has brushed off your emotions. How did that make you feel? When a child believes his thoughts or feelings have been denied, not only does he feel more isolated, he‘s liable to get even more angry, frustrated and moody. So if your child says, ―You never take my side; you‘re always on my brother‘s side,‖ during an argument, and you reply, ―No, that‘s not true,‖ that‘s also a form of invalidation. Instead of saying, ―That‘s not true,‖ I think you could say, ―Well, I see that a little differently. Tell me more about how you see it.‖ By the way, you wouldn‘t want to ask that question during an argument, because it will just draw out the fighting and give your child more ammunition. Do it afterward, when he has calmed down and is ready to talk.
Even though it sounds fairly harmless, this one-two punch knocks down your child and his dad or mom. When Dad is frequently criticized in the home, for example, it‘s not a compliment to your child to be compared to his father. And every time his dad is put down in the future, your child will receive two more punches. It‘s uncomfortable for kids to hear their parents saying negative things about each other, and if a child has been labeled as being ―just like his dad,‖ he will feel anger and shame when Dad is criticized. It‘s also a mistake to say things like, ―Why can‘t you be more like your brother?‖ This is a pitfall for parents, especially when you have one child who acts out and one who behaves fairly reasonably. When you use this kind of comparison, it‘s hurtful and also pits your children against each other—you are tapping directly into sibling rivalry and actually fanning the flames between your kids. Remember, they are unique and each has good qualities.
Being called a screw-up or an idiot is demeaning. These things are said to make people feel shame, or to put them in their place. Though many people think shame is a good way to punish kids, but it does not give children the tools they need to learn new skills. In fact, it will often have the opposite effect because it may cause them to withdraw. In the long run, shame will make your child less capable of making the right decisions. By the way, shame is different from guilt, which can actually be a healthy emotion. Feeling guilty is not bad because it contains feelings of remorse and accountability. You should feel regret when you do something wrong or hurtful; that‘s natural. You want your child to feel some guilt when she borrows her sister‘s sweater without asking and then ruins it—and you want her to be accountable for that action. But don‘t use shame to try to make your child feel guilty. Shame has the effect of saying, ―You‘re a worthless person.‖ When the message is one of embarrassment and humiliation, it doesn‘t teach accountability.
We‘ve all been fed up with our kids and thrown up our hands, but this phrase makes children feel isolated and should be avoided. ―I‘m through with you,‖ is an angry threat often said with the desire to hurt the other person. In the longterm, continuing to say these types of remarks to your child will hurt your relationship. Think of it this way: A child depends on his parents for survival. Parents provide protection, food, clothing and housing. So if the person who is in charge of nurturing the child makes a statement saying, ―I‘m cutting you off,‖ it‘s shocking, frightening and can be very
First of all, I want to say that you‘re not a monster if you‘ve felt this way. We are all capable of feeling negative things at certain times. After a difficult day or a crushing argument with your child, you might think, ―Sometimes I wish I never had children,‖ because you‘re exhausted, drained and upset. It‘s important to understand that this feeling is ―of the moment,‖ and is not your overall emotion. When you‘re feeling this way, it is recommended that you bite your tongue and take some time to yourself to decompress and get back on track. Using these words to make your child feel badly for something he‘s done will usually only serve to make your relationship with him more volatile. If your child thinks he has nothing to lose—including your affection—he will often act out more.
When you say, ―I hate you, too,‖ to win an argument with your child, you‘ve already lost. You‘re not your child‘s peer and you‘re not in a competition with him. By saying ―I hate you,‖ you‘ve just brought yourself down to your child‘s level of maturity and left him thinking, ―If my parent finds me repulsive, then I must be.‖ If you do say this to your child in the heat of an argument, it‘s important to go back later and say, ―Listen, I realize that I said, ‗I hate you, too,‘ and I want to apologize. It was wrong to say that to you. I am going to try to do a better job with my anger in the future.‖ Keep it about your issues; you don‘t have to give your child a long explanation.
Parents wield a lot of psychological power over their kids. We tend to forget that sometimes— especially when our children are making us crazy. This happens to every parent, but we have to remember to hold back our emotions and our words and only say the things that are going to help teach the lessons we want our kids to learn. If you‘re in that moment of extreme anger and frustration with your child here are several things you can do.
Take a deep breath: Take a deep breath when you‘re upset. This will make you feel less tense and the pause will give you time to stop yourself from saying those hurtful words. Look at it this way: what happens when one side lets go of the rope in tug-of-war? The line goes slack and the other side has nothing to struggle against anymore. Take a deep breath and let go of that rope. This will give you time to calm down and regroup.
Refocus: Learn how to refocus your child on the task at hand. If you‘re trying to get your 12-year-old to do their homework and he gets angry and says, ―I hate you,‖ I suggest you respond with, ―We‘re not talking about whether you love or hate me right now. What we‘re talking about is you doing your math. Let‘s focus on that.‖ Kids will sometimes try to manipulate parents into a power struggle in order to avoid doing something they don‘t want to do. Try to focus on what needs to be done—and don‘t let their words derail you or bring you down to their maturity level.
Replace your words with an action: Recognize that if you‘ve gotten to the point where you‘re about to blurt something out that you may regret, it‘s a sign that you should leave the argument altogether. What you need in this situation is an exit strategy. Simply state, ―I don‘t want to talk about this right now. We‘ll talk later when things are calmer.‖ Then leave the room.
The notes for this presentation were taken from the following sources with slight adaptation: 1. http://muslimparentingpages.com/default.aspx 2. http://micheleborba.com/6-ways-to-helpkids-handle-anger/ 3. http://www.empoweringparents.com/6-thingsyou-should-never-say-to-yourchild.php?&key=Abusive-And-Violent-Behavior 4. http://www.effectiveislamicparenting.com/201 2/06/setting-and-maintaining-rules/
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