Saturday, August 6, 2011

One Mother's Anwer to the 1st Question of the RAMADAN PARENTING CONTEST

Discipline Problem:
1st week:
Your 3-year-old daughter is watching as you mix together ingredients for banana muffins. Soon, you slide the pan into the oven. After a few minutes, the sweet smell of fresh baked sweet bread fills the house. Finally, you remove the muffins from the oven and set them on the counter to cool.

“I want one.” Your daughter says.
“ After dinner, insha’Allah,” you tell her.
Your daughter tiptoes and reaches up to the counter to get one. You move the pan away.
Suddenly, you hear a loud wail from your little one. Then she drops to the floor and flails her arms and legs. Her howling gets louder. . . it doesn’t stop.
What do you do?


Asalaamu Aliekum,

Initially, when I began to read your post, I began to think how do you even make the muffins with the 3 year old at your side in the kitchen. I have encountered and overcome this issue (with my now 4 year old and 14 month old as well). Even though that was not your "problem," I wish to share as it is important to make children feel included and significant even though they are small. One thing is to allow them their own space in the kitchen. This may mean a cabinet or a drawer that has safe items for them to explore. If the child is old enough, they can help select and mix items for the reciepe. I think they would find smashing bananas quite fun. Finally, and what I find works best, is allow them to do water play in the kitchen either in the sink while standing on a guarded chair or on the floor. It is easy enough to spread a towel on the floor...water doesn't really hurt anything including clothes that may get wet and need changed. It is a matter of acknowledging that play and exploration are part of a child's learning and that mess is a part of that process. Be ready with towels for drying and a dry set of clothes. My girls could do water play for 20-60 minutes from a young age. If they prefer playdough, perhaps this would also be an alternate activity and they could prepare a baked item 'just like mom.'

To answer your actual 'problem,' I would personally remove the child from the kitchen and find a distraction. For instance, I would acknowledge the child's want by saying, "darling, I understand that you want the muffin. You may have a muffin after dinner (and if you say so many minutes then you can help the child watch the clock). For now, let's go wash up and then make a game of racing to the bathroom and using the child's favorite soap." A parent could use any other alternative activity and room change. It does help to know the child well enough to know what distraction would work best. It also helps to be prepared with items of interest that would distract the child. Furthermore, a parent could include statements of positive affirmation like "I like when you are a big girl," "you are such a good helper," "It is helpful to mommy when you follow directions," etc.

Your May 30th post would imply that 'counting' to 3 after stating the change you wish to see could work. Your May 29th post implies that ignoring the outburst could also work. But I like the May 28th post the best in that you state to first acknowledge the child's feelings and then say 'yes' as a delayed yes not an immediate yes. Finally, I will say that staying calm, as you mention in the June 25th blog can have significant workings. Too, after mom takes a deep (cleansing breath), she can say, "we have to make good choices, mommy wants to eat the muffins too, but just like you, I will have to wait until after dinner."

Salaams,
Judy Atlagh

Judy Atlagh is a nurse and mother of four children (9, 7, 4, 14 months). She also home schools several of her children.  Jazakalakhair, Judy, for your answer.

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Please follow the below Link for instructions on how to participate in Grandma Jeddah's 2011 Ramadan Parenting Contest and win Grandma Jeddah's new e-Book -- Discipline without Disrespecting: Quick Tip Guide. http://grandmajeddah.blogspot.com/2011/07/ramadan-parenting-contest.html

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