Monday, June 27, 2011

Reach for the Stars By: Grandma Jeddah

The weighing on that day is the true (weighing). As for those whose scale is heavy, they are the successful.
And as for those whose scale is light: those are they who lose their souls because they disbelieved Our revelations. (7: 8-9). 

One effective technique to disciplining your child without hitting, scolding or shaming is using an incentive or Star Chart system with your child in which he can earn stars toward a desired goal.  The stars work as rewards themselves, as they provide a fun and exciting way to work toward an enjoyable objective.  Write your child’s name on a sheet of paper. If you have several children, place all of their names in a column on the paper. Draw a horizontal line between each name to separate the names.  There are more elaborate methods of designing star charts, which can be a dandy activity for parent and child to work on together.  But for parents with many children and little time, a simple blank or lined paper will work just fine.
 When you hear Karima, for instance, using phrases that you‘ve taught her, such as-- “Stop annoying me, you’re being a pest,” instead of her old phrases such as “Leave me alone you stupid bum; I hate you,” give her a star. When she gets 10 stars, take her shopping to buy a toy or play a game with her, or let her bake cookies with you. Use your imagination and make a list of rewards your child will be inclined to strive for.  Share it with your child; even better, let her select the reward herself. 
            When you set up your Star Chart system, explain the new program to your child. Let her know you've found a fun new way to help her do the things you’d like her to do.  Be sure to emphasize the positive aspects of your reward system.  Let your child know how she can receive stars. It’s best to select several actual behaviors you wish her to improve on rather than simply stating she will get them for good behavior.  Good behavior is a vague term.  Giving your child specific actions to accomplish is more effective.
            Determine which behaviors you want your child to stop or begin doing.  For instance, let's say you want to encourage your child to make salat soon after hearing the athan or around the time you’ve told her it’s time.  Let her know whenever she makes salat early, she’ll get a star.   When she does make her salat promptly, tell her she has a star and place it on the chart.  Or for a “stop” behavior, let’s say your daughter has a problem whining after you’ve asked her to perform a chore and you want her to stop the complaining.  When you notice she hasn’t complained after you’ve instructed her to do something, tell her you appreciate how she didn’t protest and tell her she has a star.
It’s easy for parents to fall off the wagon and forget to put up stars when their child is doing things as desired—nobody’s perfect.  Be mindful that this is when parents often begin seeing the old behavior returning.  This is also when parents start to feel like hitting, or shouting again.  Keep up with the positive reminders.  You’ll see positive results, insha’Allah. 

This is an excerpt from Grandma Jeddah’s e-Book: Discipline without Disrespecting: Discover the Hidden Secrets of How to Effectively Discipline Your Muslim Child—And Keep Your Peace of Mind While at It.  To order her e-Book or receive her free newsletter, visit her at www.grandmajeddah.com

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