My boy is a wonder. Yes, of course, I am biased! And it’s still not just me; to be honest, many other parents, teachers and everyone else we meet appreciate and comment on his energy. However, it was not so before. He was cranky, ignorant, distracted, selfish, insensitive and afraid – but not anymore.
I have been blessed with two sons. The elder one is a sweet, loving and intelligent kid, who never gave me a hard time; he understood easily, listened and acted, as he was told to, and was an apple of the eyes of the whole family. I thought I was a great parent, until I gave birth to my younger son, who became my greatest parenting challenge.
There is no one way to be a perfect parent but lots of ways to be good. We just have to try to manage our emotions, while sleep deprived, and commit not to yell, stay calm and choose love and hard work. Yet, no one is ever satisfied and is always coming up with advice.
My younger son was born with a skin disease called eczema. It might not seem to be a big issue for others, but for me it proved to be a life-changing experience. He would get small, red, itchy pimples on his body. My husband and I thought it was some allergy, but it was later diagnosed as eczema. On scratching those pimples, they would turn into blisters and get infected; after medication, they would disappear, leaving a black mark on his body. Since our elder son had no had such problems, it was a major issue for us.
We took him to almost every dermatologist we heard of. We tried homeopathy, allopathic, herbal and all alternative treatments – they all worked for as long as we used the medicines; the pimples would disappear, only to reappear a few days later.
Kids at school were not friendly with him. They made fun of him and ridiculed him. Parents and all other people stared at him, as if he was some alien. They would ask him questions that he was too young to answer. All these experiences disturbed him, and he became an introvert. The marks were not on his body only but on his mind, too. He had disturbed nights – not only because of itching, but also due to behaviour of others to him. People differentiated him from the rest, and he became a special child for them.
Being only five years old, he was too young to filter, why was he treated differently. Why were others scared of him? And why was he made fun of? He became aggressive, hyper, agitated and abusive; in short, the very opposite of his elder brother. This became a great parenting challenge for me.
Along with medication, I tried to counsel him about why he was different. I tried being strict, hard, harsh and all other strategies that I read about in different articles on the net and heard about from others. I tried reasoning with him but I failed to realize that he was too young to comprehend whatever I told him. I was agitated and agonized to watch him being mocked, to witness him having sleepless nights and mood swings. Despite our explanations, nothing could take him out of the angry state that he was always in – the defiant state, where he refused to eat what was given, to go out to make friends or play, to go out wearing shorts even in the hottest weather. Nothing seemed to work. I then changed my attitude towards him and his tantrums – I made love my weapon.
I changed my regimen completely by showering him with total love – no yelling, no punishment, no shouting and no beating became my rule and… it worked. Now, his tantrums have decreased in number. And after each tantrum, he apologizes. He has become more receptive to what I say, more friendly, more energetic and less worried about what others say. The black marks are now a source of pride for him that only he has them; he now takes it as a special gift of God bestowed upon him. At five years of age, he goes to the mosque himself, without being prompted. It took a lot of patience on my, his father’s and the elder brother’s part, but now my special child is like any other normal kid.
We can’t educate others, but having had several heartfelt conversations with my husband and elder son along with my little bundle of joy, we have witnessed real change in him. The difficult moments have been an opportunity for him and me to connect better.
The ultimate parenting weapon in any relationship is love.
The love I showed him with, the love, with which I treated him and the love I gave him has brought us closer to each other – now, he faces the world with confidence. With Allah’s (swt) help and my endless love, I took care of him and healed him spiritually, mentally and physically.
Being a parent is not easy – I guess, it is the most challenging and toughest job.