My Dad – My ATM

atm

Behaviour is not a production of any moment. Behaviour surfaces on the basis of maybe the past ten years of someone’s life. It has a long-term history. It is based on the state as well as the strength of emotions. Particularly, when children are young, they need their parents’ support for emotional strengthening.  In today’s overly distracting world, parents are likely to be oblivious of children’s emotional needs and reduce their role to managing logistics.

In the prevailing culture, relationships are in danger. Tragically, in many families, for the kids their parents don’t matter. Fathers have become ATM machines for their children. The kids approach their dads when they are in need of finances or logistic support. Alarmingly, in many households, even wives talk to husbands for the same reasons, as usually they are not around. This was proven in a survey I conducted among fathers asking them for what reason were they approached by their families the last four times during one month. The reason was money. They had nothing else to share between them.

My Dad is not my Confidante

Religious families have a bigger crisis on the roll. They do not enjoy many forms of entertainments that are naturally impermissible for them. Hence, they refrain from it. But parallel to this, what they fail to do is raise their children with appropriate Tarbiyah (upbringing). By the term Tarbiyah, I refer to a process of purifying one’s desires to ultimately seek the Creator’s pleasure. It is a life-long training that enables you to want what God wants from you.

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(Part 2) Parents as Counsellors

Counseling-triennale[Continued from here]

What are the opportunities/signs of counseling for parents?

If the child appears:

  1. Unhappy
  2. Aloof, uninterested/withdrawn
  3. Unusually reserved
  4. Seems nervous and afraid
  5. Shows unusual behaviour or looks disturbed

Even under the above tremendous pressures, each child has a different absorption capacity. As a parent, we need to develop such a bond with them that we can read their unsaid words, silent body language, etc. If we suspect some turmoil, we should be available for him at the cross roads. As the right moment occurs, he may share his miseries with us. We can’t be over inquisitive or nosey- especially if the child is older and a self-driven individual who wants to assess his own developmental capacity. He may share with parents once the trouble is overcome as he reflects back and relieves himself. It is a moment of growth and wisdom for him.

What does it mean to be your kid’s counselor?

  1. Your children feel comfortable to open their personal matters before you. (They can unload the emotional garbage which might include crying, blaming, accusing, swearing, etc.)
  2. They feel safe to share their worries and most personal concerns with you. (He needs to feel heard completely with no hurdles, judgments, rebukes, threat of punishment, negative reaction from your side as a parent.)
  3. They consider you wise and trustworthy and therefore value your advice. (Perceived credibility is the actual credibility.)
  4. You can easily know when your child is disturbed and need support. (He might withdraw, stop eating, slam doors, look moody, try to be aloof, etc.)
  5. All of you feel good and relaxed after the session. (The emotional strength of the parent needs to be developed so that he/she doesn’t end up needing a counseling session after hearing out his/her child’s worries.)

 The counseling framework for parents
1. Prepare yourself
Do your mental homework before approaching the child. Imagine all possible problems and their causes, the kid’s perception of the problem, expectation of the people around the kid from him, etc.

2. Spare time for a session
Find a peaceful place and choose the best time.

3. Be happy and stay calm
Tend to your own emotional landscape so as not to react before the kid when he is unloading his emotions before you. It is essential to conquer your own mood first.

4. Encourage your child to express his problem
Convey care and warmth through your body language, facial expressions and tone, etc.

5. Listen actively
This means no interruption, no pretend listening while you are multi-tasking, etc.

6. Rephrase what you understand
This is important so that the child’s intention and purpose is understood with clarity and no miscommunication happens.

7. Acknowledge the feelings of your child
Albert Einstein once lamented: “Why is it that nobody understands me, yet everybody likes me.” Taking care of your child is easy. Taking care of your child’s feelings is challenging.

8. Ask about the causes and expectations
Analyze the problem and situation with your child. Don’t offer an immediate solution or suggestion yourself.

9. Give confidence and offer helpful tips
Let the child take a responsible decision himself.

Lastly and most importantly, children will learn best, when they are trusted, valued, owned, encouraged and made comfortable. This does not mean that we surrender to their whims and fancies, let them disown their responsibilities, bend and break the family rules. It certainly means that we treat them with respect and empower them to take value-based decisions in life.

Adapted by Rana Rais Khan from an interactive workshop at L2L Academy Karachi

[Part 2] Parenting by the Horns

bull_by_the_horns_9518Based on an Islamic Online University Webinar

When children crib and cry we can tackle them in the following steps:

Step 1: Conflict

Every tantrum starts with a conflict. The moment the conflict appears in front of you, how you deal with the conflict shows what kind of connection you have and the result that you will get.

In life we get a lot of conflicts. How do you deal with those conflicts? Do you panic when a conflict comes? Or are you more relaxed when a conflict comes? In psychology, we call it either you ‘flight or fight’. Hopefully with children we don’t have to do either of the two. We have to reason between the two; we’ll not fight and not run away from them; rather, we’ll face the conflict.

One of the most important rules in parenting is that children do not hear, they see. You can tell a child hundred times do not do this, do not speak on the mobile late, and do not chat late but if they see you calling someone late at night, they see you doing the same thing; hence, they will not obey you.

One of the most important rules in parenting is that children do not hear, they see.

Once there was a huge earthquake in Japan and as the earthquake spread people started starving. Grocery stores closed down and there was a shortage of food. There was one juice dispenser company with different kind of juices. It was dispensing one juice at a time. There was a big queue at that juice company headquarters for everybody to take a juice. There was an American manager in this Japanese firm and he also was in the juice queue. Every Japanese could have taken more than once juice on their turn but they took one juice and went back to end of line to take another one, just so that everyone gets an equal opportunity. This manager was tired and hungry. When his turn came, he got four juices immediately and he went home. Nobody said a word to the manager. A few days later, word spread that the manager was not a man of integrity. He could not lead a team, because the people did not accept a leader like him.

Are we the kind of leaders as that manager was? Or are we like the people who are waiting in the queue to show our children? It is not talk the talk, it is walk the talk.

Conflict usually happens when we say something but we do not implement it. This is one lesson that Luqman Hakeem gave to his son: “And do not turn your cheek (in contempt) toward people and do not walk through the earth exultantly. Indeed, Allah (swt) does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful.” (Luqman 31:18) He is admonishing his son; do not turn away from people and do not walk in arrogance. How you walk shows what kind of a person you are.

Where are our manners? Abdullah ibn Mubarak said twelve hundred years back that today the Ummah needs more Akhlaq than Ilm. What would he have said if he was alive today?

Where are our manners? Abdullah ibn Mubarak said twelve hundred years back that today the Ummah needs more Akhlaq than Ilm. What would he have said if he was alive today? It is our Akhlaq that the children are watching. It’s the way you are driving, not the lessons that you give while you are driving. While I was living in Dubai, a Sheikh once said that Islam will spread faster if we drive a little nicer. Children are noticing the way you flash lights and honk people from behind. Don’t ever think that they are not noticing.

Are you a Tiger Mom?

A tiger mom is someone who is very clear or strict with the child’s upbringing. She wants him to succeed all the time. She wants him to always achieve first position. She wants him to take part in the painting competition, the debate competition, become a Hafidh of Quran – in short, she wants him to be the best at everything. She expects everything from one child – which is why we say please have more children! If you have any of the traits of a tiger mom, please reflect your position. Our children are not trophies. “Oh you know my child knows Surah Fajr or Surah Naba.” Please don’t treat your child like a trophy in front of others; just let them be what they are. This method is not bad all the time, but we don’t want them to be performing monkeys.

The opposite of a tiger mom is a helicopter parent, who is always hovering over a child. You choose their clothes, you choose their toys etc. A tiger mom lets the child take responsibility. We do not want to become roaring, growling tiger moms and make our home an emotional jail, as a child would put it. There needs to be a balance between the two.

There is a great parenting tip in how Muhammad (sa) dealt with young Sahabah. He was not their father but far greater than a father. When the treaty of Hudaibiyah was about to be signed with Suhail bin Amr, Abu Jandal (rta) came running in chains. He escaped from Makkah somehow, from the jail and torture and came running to the best refuge. Now this was the greatest test that a leader can have.

Abu Jandal’s hands were tied. He was still crying, “Please save me. Will you leave me alone?”

Suhail (also the father of Abu Jandal) said: “He is the first example we’ll take and I’ll take him back with me.”

The Prophet (sa) said: “But the treaty has not been signed yet.”

Suhail refused saying: “We’ve agreed to the terms.”

All the Sahabah were looking at him. The Prophet (sa) told him we’ve now negotiated and you’ll have to go back.

Such a difficult decision it was! This is walk the talk. It had a lesson not only for Abu Jandal or the Sahabah but even for the Mushrikeen. Do you not believe in a man who’s keeping his word even for a companion? Did Abu Jandal’s Iman increase or decrease? It only increased. If your children see that their father stands up for principles, they’ll only love you more.

Step 2: Connection

Now that you’ve resolved the conflict, how do you go back and make a connection with your child? In the next verse, after the arrogant part, Luqman Hakeem tells how to make a connection. “And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.” (Luqman 31:19)

Please don’t treat your child like a trophy in front of others; just let them be what they are. This method is not bad all the time, but we don’t want them to be performing monkeys.

Please follow the middle path and whenever you see a conflict happening; do not be arrogant. Let’s become a parent of the middle path. The child cannot go out and buy everyday everything that he wants; yet it’s not that none of his demands are fulfilled.

Luqman did not say that your voice is like a donkey. He is not pointing to the child directly. When you shout, children get scared. For example, we say, “You are lazy.” That’s a big thing to say. Instead make Dua that your child is protected from it. Who gave you the right to say so? Our language is not like that of Luqman. He truly was Hakeem.

Dolphin Dad

Fathers need to spend time with their children. A Dolphin dad is a father who is helpful; he is a father who is playful and wants to raise happy children. These are the fathers we are looking for.

Fathers are directly involved in character building. They should use the correct language. The first words that Luqman Hakeem used were “Ya Bunayya: O my Son!” Address them in the best manner.

When you tell your children how beautiful their names are, they feel good.  We give them such good names but do we ever tell them what their names mean?

Do not raise your voice. Do not compare your child to a stupid donkey, etc. Become a dolphin dad and not a complaining dad.

At the end of the day, our mission as parents is as follows:

“O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell)…” (At-Tahrim 66:6)

Parenting by the Horns

bull_by_the_horns_9518Based on an Islamic Online University Webinar

Today we’ll be discussing some of the challenges that we face as fathers and mothers. What does parenting mean to us? How much time do we give to our children? How much time do our children expect from us? Where do we have all that joy in parenting? What we are going to share today is all based on experience and whatever we’ve read and heard.

The first Naseeha that I would like to share with you is what Allah (swt) says in Surah Tahreem. This is what Allah (swt) is saying to all of us as teachers, as students of knowledge and as Daees. He says: “O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell)…” (At-Tahrim 66:6)

Our first responsibility, our first duty that we have, Allah (swt) says is you and your family, save them from the hellfire. Allah (swt) did not tell us to go ahead and save the world because that’s where we have to work on; charity begins at home, Dawah begins from home, good deeds begin from home and it is here we need to start with. We have seen in many families that the husband is a great Daee. He goes around the world talking about Islam whereas his children at home get none of his time. They just keep waiting for him. “When will my father come home? When will my mother come home? When will I get my share of their time?” If only we have to take one Naseeha, if only we have to take one advice, it is this question: “Where are we with regard to our family?” You might be a very polite, fun loving, smiling person outside, but at home people are traumatized with you; people are scared by you. Maybe you are short tempered for a very short time but those short times are very dangerous times. So remember this advice that Allah (swat) gives us. Let us take care of this particular area which is much neglected.

The S4 case study

Let’s go to this case study of a nine year old boy Mubeen and her mother Rashida. Put yourself in the mother’s role now. A lot of relatives have come to visit and like a typical little boy he knows when to get on the mother’s nerve. Mubeen starts howling and crying in front of all the relatives so he can play with the mother’s new S4.

One good advice is not to get any expensive phones. Allah (swt) will save you from this kind of trials. Insha’Allah.

Rashida is now helpless in this case. Mubeen is making havoc and the mother has no idea what to do. What will you do if you are in her place?

Not to create a scene, Rashida handed over the mobile to her son; do you agree or disagree with her?

These situations come up in every home. Actually the built up to this situation was wrong. What we know is that the nine year old is crying. Let us go one scene behind. What was going on in Mubeen’s mind when he started shouting for the s4? Somewhere along the line Mubeen did not get the attention from his mother before the relatives came home. Do you see my point? I am not saying that our children do not misbehave when guests come home; I am just trying to share a parenting technique here. Children know that to get attention we need to create a scene.

There is a rule that during Salah the chest should be facing the Qibla otherwise the Salah is invalid. Although it is a Fiqh rule, the same rule applies to child care. Whenever you talk to children you should be facing them.

There is a rule that during Salah the chest should be facing the Qibla otherwise the Salah is invalid. Although it is a Fiqh rule, the same rule applies to child care. Whenever you talk to children you should be facing them. When you face them when they are calm, they treat you as someone who is caring and concerned. When you face them when they are hyper active and making tantrums, they treat you as someone who is big and bullying them. Remember this golden rule. Do not face them when they are showing tantrums; ignore them or redirect their attention. Give them their due attention beforehand. When children misbehave in public:

  1. Ignore them.
  2. Take them aside and talk to them.
  3. Before going out tell them what you expect from them. A child does not know sometimes what misbehaviour is. Please be reasonable.

Remember that you have to treat the problem, not the child. When you go to the doctor, the doctor diagnoses the disease. Likewise, the child is good; it is not that he is problematic; it is the behaviour that is problematic. Treat the behaviour, not the child.

There was a boy once who said that I love to get lost in the supermarket. His counsellor asked: “What makes you say so? Won’t you cry?”  He said: “No, whenever I get lost, my name is heard on the loud speaker; I love the attention and when I cry, the uncle in the supermarket gives me an ice-cream or a chocolate.” End of the story. Do you realize what children want? They want your undivided attention. This is one simple rule to learn in parenting: children want undivided attention. They want to hear about themselves and they want to be the centre of attention, which actually is the same thing for the spouses, so you can’t become a great father or a mother, before becoming a great husband or a wife.

Children are not absolute little gems that listen to us all the time, that’s why we need to use technique. This is what we call parenting by the horns.

Watch out for Part 2 of this article in which we will discuss two main steps to deal with cribbing children.

Ask the Savvy Parent: Kids Bored at Home

im-bored-cover-e1372184590438Dear Savvy Parent,

My kids complain that I am always asking them to study. They feel bored at home and with me. What should I do?

Dear parent,

First of all, your children are all aged 10 and under. They are still very young. Why do they need to study so much? Constantly pushing them to study isn’t helpful at all. Some parents put way too much pressure on their children from an early age to succeed academically. I understand that in some countries this is considered to be a cultural norm, but as a teacher, I can tell you that pressure and constant study is NOT an effective method for learning, regardless of culture.  Education should not be just about memorization and forced learning; it should be about understanding the material. Memorizing and understanding are two completely different concepts. It is important as parents and as educators to instill a love of learning without pressure.  Learning shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. Make it fun; be creative; make it into a game and most of all, be encouraging! Remember, a child is more successful when the experience is enjoyable.

Encouragement versus praise

Most parents enjoy praising their children with words like “Well done!” and “That looks great!” However, research shows that encouragement (not praise) has a more significant effect upon a child’s motivation. So what is the difference between praise and encouragement, you might ask. Though they sound like the same thing, they are not. The difference is that words of praise lead the child to rely on YOUR assessment of his or her accomplishments, while words of encouragement lead him or her to form THEIR OWN positive assessment of himself or herself. Examples of encouragement are: “Look at that drawing; I can tell you have spent lots of time on it. It must be a great feeling knowing you worked so hard on it,” or “It didn’t work out the way you planned, did it? I can tell you are upset about it, but it’s okay. I know you will try again next week. What could you do differently next time?”

Next, you say your children feel bored at home and with you. Do you spend time with your children just having fun? If not, set some time out in the day and spend some quality time with your kids, as a family. Have fun, play with them or do something with them that they enjoy. One of the best and most obvious things about spending quality time with your children is developing stronger and positive relationships with them. Be sure that both parents also spend individual time with each child. This will help build memories as well as trust. This is an integral part of having a healthy family dynamics as well as happy children. The benefits are endless, so set aside one-on-one, quality time with your kids.

Quality Time Ideas- What Does It Look Like?

  1. Cook or bake together.
  2. Play sports.
  3. What are their hobbies? Do some with them.
  4. Have a family movie or games night (age-appropriate, of course).
  5. Go on a bike ride or walk together.
  6. Read a book together; this works great for younger children.
  7. Make a craft or start a project together.

These are just seven of the hundreds of things you can do together. Start making quality time for each child. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make!

Insha’Allah I hope this helps. Happy Parenting!

The Savvy Parent

Ask The Savvy Parent: Overcoming Shyness

handholdingMy son aged 5 years is very fussy with eating. Secondly, he is very, very shy and reluctant at school. Kindly suggest some ideas that can be helpful in resolving these issues peacefully.

First off, you are not alone in this. There are many parents who face similar challenges. We have covered fussy eating last week; you can check it out here: Mealtimes are Wartimes.

Here is the answer to the second part of your question. Shyness is a personality trait/temperament. There is nothing wrong with being shy. First, recognize that you are blessed with a sensitive, deeply caring, reserved child, who is slow to warm up to strangers, approaches social relationships cautiously, but generally seems to be a happy person. It is very common for parents to respond very apologetically to excuse their child by saying, “He’s shy,” especially in front of your child. This is the first thing one should stop doing; in many ways this makes you an enabler vs. empowering your child. Here are some tips:

  1. The more you push the more he will retreat: It is natural for a child to feel socially awkward when meeting adults and especially new people/children. It is a very common practice amongst parents to try to coerce a positive response from the child but in doing so, it is more likely he will retreat and clam up. It is best to help create a comfortable environment that lets his social personality develop. For example, if you are going to visit a friend and you want your child to make a good impression, avoid the standard: “Don’t be shy; say Salam to aunty.” This is guaranteed to make him even more recluse. The child is already self-conscious and this will make him even shyer. Talk to him beforehand about what is expected of him and keep your expectations reasonable, for example, a simple ‘Salam’. Another option would be to have him bring along a toy or activity. This can act as a communication bridge with aunty. It essentially distracts the focus and attention off him, allowing him to ease into the situation and get comfortable on his own.
  2. Avoid putting him on the spot: Your relatives are visiting and you are excited to show them that your son has memorized a short Surah, for example. Rather than putting him on the spot when they arrive, prep him beforehand. Talk to him in a gentle tone saying, “You recite the Surah so well. Can you please recite it for grandma when she visits today?” Some children are natural born performers; others are cautious and need time to become comfortable. Think about, for example, if you were put on the spot to recite Surah Yasin you just memorized in front of a group, with all eyes on you, how would you feel? Even for a social person like myself, it would not be easy; so cut your child some slack.
  3. Create smaller social settings: As a teacher, I have discovered that it helps for parents to have one-on-one play dates with fellow classmates. Are there any children that your child seems to gravitate towards or you feel would be a good companion for your child? Ask the teacher for suggestions. This allows your child to form bonds with other children in a more intimate setting and will help him come out of his shell at school.

How do I know if it’s just shyness or something more?

Mostly, shyness or quietness is not a serious problem. However, in some rare case, it may indicate that your child needs professional attention. Ask yourself the following questions. Does your child cry or throw a tantrum on a regular basis before or at school? Is he significantly withdrawn most of the time, making little eye contact? Does he act violently in school, hitting other kids or teachers? If the answer to these are no, you have nothing to worry about.

Insha’Allah, I hope this helps. Happy Parenting!

The Savvy Parent

Catch more tips by Farah Najam in her article: Working with Shy Students.

Do you have questions for The Savvy Parent? Click here to submit them.

Ask the Savvy Parent: Mealtimes are Wartimes

Image courtesy http://mommabird.net/

Image courtesy http://mommabird.net/

Dear Savvy Parent,

How do I get my 4-year-old son to not be such a picky eater, and also eat on his own without my husband or I having to feed him?

Dear parent,

First off, you are not alone in this. There are many parents who face similar challenges. It is important to remember that picky eating is temporary. If you don’t make it a big deal, it will usually end before school-going age.

Change will not happen overnight. It will take some time for you to see any changes or improvements. Don’t give up and always be consistent. Relax and take it easy. The key is consistency.

Here are some proactive things you can do to deal with fussy eating and help your child learn to eat on his own and try new foods:

  1. Offer the same foods for the whole family. Don’t be a “short-order cook,” by making a different meal for your child. Never cook something for your child that you would not eat yourself. Most children like to eat the meals their parents are eating.
  2. Make sure your child eats with the whole family. There is no point making him or her sit and eat, while no one else is. You would end up fighting a lost battle.
  3. Most kids like to try foods they help make. Encourage your children to help you prepare meals and snacks. Let them help you with the grocery shopping. Teach your child to tear lettuce or add veggie toppings to pizza, for example. You will be surprised what you can get children to eat if they have helped to prepare it.
  4. Try to make meals a stress-free time. Talk about fun and happy things. If arguments often happen at mealtimes, your child may develop unhealthy attitudes toward food.
  5. Offer two choices. Rather than asking “Do you want broccoli for dinner?” ask: “What would you like for dinner: broccoli or cauliflower?”
  6. Use the Bowl of Bites Method to decide the number of bites the child must eat.  At times, trying to negotiate the number of bites can be never ending and lead to arguments. This is where the bowl comes in (explained below).
  7. Your children will be okay even if they don’t eat a meal now and then. Children never starve themselves. If they are not eating, leave them be. Make sure snacks are out of reach, though. Carry on with your meal. Eventually when they do get hungry and want food bring out the plate of food that was not eaten during mealtime. Eventually they will give in and eat it. At this time, give them verbal reinforcement.

Bowl of bites
For some parents, establishing a required number of bites can help. Select a reasonable number of minimum bites, for example, five. Two or three bites are not enough. In a bowl, keep about 10 pieces of small paper, folded in half, with a number written inside them. Have a variety of numbers ranging from the minimum (in this case, six) to about nine. During mealtime say, “Let’s see what the bowl of bites decides for us.” Allow your child to pick out a piece of paper and read the number on it. Whatever the number says is the number of bites that are required to be eaten. If your child is the type to go back and forth negotiating to get his way, the best way to get around such a situation to remove yourself out of the negotiation. These “bowls” can also be adapted to be used in many other situations.

For a child who will not eat on his or her own, the bowl of bites can also help by establishing the number of bites the child has to eat on his own. In this case, the numbers could start smaller such as three. Alternatively, taking turns can help. Your child takes a bite on his or her own and then you feed them the next bite and so on. Eventually, as they get comfortable with this, you can feed less and less bites.

Change will not happen overnight. It will take some time for you to see any changes or improvements. Don’t give up and always be consistent. Relax and take it easy. The key is consistency.

Insha’Allah, I hope this helps. Happy Parenting!

The Savvy Parent

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Ask The Savvy Parent: Aggression in Toddlers

Dear Savvy Parent

My 2.5-year-old son is unable to express himself. He hits continuously till others respond and others think he’s a bully. All I want is to help him but how? How to stop him and what should I do to help him express himself with words, not actions?

When he’s not bothering others, give him lots of attention and praise so he eventually learns that negative behaviour will not work and will not get him any needed attention.

Dear parent

First off, he is not a bully. He is just 2.5 years old and is still learning. He’s not trying to be mean; rather, it sounds like attention-seeking behaviour. If this is the case (and you know best), one should not give any attention when he behaves this way. He seems to be doing it because he can’t get the attention he wants by behaving well; so he misbehaves to get attention. Children will get attention any way they can. They prefer positive attention, but if negative is the only way to get it, they will purposefully do perform actions to get that negative attention. The way to nip this in the bud is to give no attention when he misbehaves. He knows he is doing something wrong; use minimal words and remove him from the situation. When he’s not bothering others, give him lots of attention and praise so he eventually learns that negative behaviour will not work and will not get him any needed attention.

If you are in a public place, such as a park, you have to be more mindful and keep an extra eye on your son. Intervene if he starts to hit another child. Use language such as “Be gentle” and show him how. Sometimes children at a young age don’t mean to be aggressive; sometimes they touch out of love and because they are still learning to control their body it can be rough. So give him a chance to be gentle. If he is really being disruptive, redirect him away from that area of the park to some other area. If he has had several chances and is still not listening, then it’s time to let him know that if he cannot behave, you will take him home. Making sure you follow through with this.

If he is hitting without any reason, then you need to take him away from the child or children he is hurting and find something else for him to be busy with. 

As far as hitting or bothering other children, since they are also young, the adults (you in this case) need to intervene and may need to remove your son from this situation. First of all, try to identify why he is hitting. Did the other child do something? Did he hit him first? If this is the case, then you need to teach your son the appropriate language, such as “Please stop!”, “I don’t like that” and resolve the situation together.

If he is hitting without any reason, then you need to take him away from the child or children he is hurting and find something else for him to be busy with. Have a brief and calm conversation and let him know that this is not kind; if he hits someone again, you will remove him and he will not be able to play with the other children. Don’t elaborate any other reminders; when it happens, you can simply say, “You are hurting (name of child), so now you have to leave and do something else. Redirect him towards something else that he can be busy with. The next time after that, you don’t need any words. After a few times of doing this, he will learn that you are not giving him attention for this negative behaviour.

Yelling at your child will not resolve the issue. One has to be calm and level-headed. 

Remember to give him LOTS of positive attention when he’s not doing this. This way he learns that he gets attention ONLY when he’s behaving well. When he’s misbehaving, don’t say anything and don’t make eye contact because all of this is attention and the point is to NOT give attention in ANY FORM when he’s trying to seek it doing something inappropriate. Depending on the situation you either need to help resolve the conflict or redirect the behaviour. Be mindful of your reaction and tone as well. Children learn by example. Make sure you are using a calm manner to discipline your child. Yelling at your child will not resolve the issue. One has to be calm and level-headed. It is difficult, I know, but take a deep breath before you act and Insha’Allah, it will get easier to handle.

With regard to your son learning to express himself, he is still young and learning language. Teach him appropriate words and the correct language. Be a role model of positive language and help elicit the words from him. For example, short phrases like “Milk, please” “I don’t like that”, “No, thank you”, “I want ____”, “More, please” etc. Have him repeat after you before you do what he wants. Do this throughout his daily route; this way he will begin to pick up the language. Encourage him to use the language and reward him when he does. It is even more important to make sure he at least attempts to use his words, when upset.

Insha’Allah, I hope this helps. Happy parenting!

The Savvy Parent

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Parental Pressure – Tips for Teenaged Boys

life

  •  Are your parents forcing you to select a particular field in studies?
  • Are they giving you too many responsibilities now that you are growing up?

Listen up
You need to take it to your head that you’re growing up, and anyone would expect a boy to be mature in thinking as well as responsible! It’s not necessary to start arguing, because that’s not manliness!

Explain clearly
Talk to your parents about what you wish to choose and why. Sometimes, they may not even know what your choice is.

Be organized
Being organized can help you a lot with your responsibilities! If you are forgetful, maintain a little notebook where you can write down what you’re supposed to do!

If you are stressed out, always turn to Allah (swt) first!
As a boy, you may be a little hesitant to express your emotions or tell anyone how stressed out you are. But remember, you don’t have to lock yourself up, because Allah (swt) is willing to listen!

“If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me. They should therefore respond to Me and believe in Me so that hopefully they will be rightly guided. (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

May Allah (swt) make your tasks easy!

Parental Pressure – Tips for Teenaged Girls

life

  • Are your parents planning to get you married off to someone you DON’T like?
  • Are they planning to stop you from acquiring further education?
  • Are they planning to stop you from working?

Listen up, girls!

It’s not necessary to get into a fight with your family members, or depressed over their decisions. They will always want the best for you!

Speak up
There’s no harm in doing so, but be wise. Use your words carefully. Be gentle, and lay out your reasons on the table clearer than a logarithmic table! (You know it looks ugly when girls start shouting, and getting angry).

Be patient
“Oh you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for God is with those who patiently persevere.” (Al-Baqarah 2:153)

Keep praying!
Sometimes, no matter how much we speak, it doesn’t work. Always remember only Allah (swt) can change people’s minds! Don’t ever undermine the power of Duas, and pour your heart out to Allah (swt).

May Allah (swt) give us what’s best for us! Ameen!

Dear Haadia

HaadiaQuestion: I am a single girl in late twenties. Circumstances indicate that I may never get married. I want to know what should be my purpose in life? Can you quote any example from the Islamic history of any such females and their mission in life?

Answer: Dear sister, never be disheartened with the will of Allah (swt) and never give up on His mercy, for we have absolutely no clue what He has destined for us. The mother of the believers, Aisha bint Abu Bakr (rta), got married to the Prophet (sa) when she was 6 years old, whereas Fatimah bint Muhammad (rta) got married when she was 18 years old, which might have been considered late during that time (1400 years back). So there is no right time, except the time that Allah (swt) has willed for us.

Regarding your purpose in life, unfortunately, we, females, have been conditioned to believe that marriage is the be-all and end-all of our existence. Although the Sunnah stresses that marriage completes half of ones Eman, Allah (swt) says in Quran: “And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship me.” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56) So irrespective of who we are, the sole purpose of our life is worshipping Allah (swt).

How do we worship Allah (swt)? The answer is simple – by living our life according to His Deen (Islam). Whatever you are doing right now, see to it that it is done with the intention of seeking Allah’s (swt) pleasure. Whether you are pursuing education, looking after your parents or working for your living, do it with all sincerity and right intention.

To discover your purpose in life, ask yourself what it is that you wish to do. Do you want to pursue further education? Are you interested in a particular hobby? Probe yourself and you will discover that there is a lot you might want to achieve – and this will boost your self-esteem a great deal.

If you are disheartened because you have a lot of time and you don’t know what to do with it, then do think about serving the community. Join a philanthropic organization, volunteer for different causes, take up some specialized courses which match your interests, start giving tuitions to your neighbourhood children or set up a home business. The possibilities are endless.

One great example from Islamic history is that of Maryam (as). She was not married, yet we know from the Quran that such was her stature that Allah (swt) sent her food through angels. She had to face great trials and tribulations as a single mother – but she did so with great fortitude.

So, dear sister, don’t believe for one second that just because you are not married yet, you have no purpose in life at all. There is a purpose out there, waiting for you to discover it.

May Allah (swt) help us all in our pursuit of happiness in this world and the hereafter, Ameen.