Calm, Cool and Collected
By Grandma Jeddah
“So be patient with gracious patience." (Quran 70: 5)
Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm with glad tidings and do not repulse them. (Bukhari)
There are several reasons why you should remain calm when disciplining your child. One reason is because you want to develop a loving relationship with her. A child that feels loved and respected is more inclined to want to please his parents. This makes things easier for the parent in her role of parenting. You are your child’s primary teacher. You don’t want to lose that connection between you and your child. Even though your child will go through periods in which peer pressure reigns, your child will still be open to your suggestions if you have an understanding relationship. This helps you continue exercising your influence into the period of adolescence and beyond.
Another reason to maintain your composure when disciplining is because when you become angry when correcting your child, rather than emphasizing that you want him to behave, you are instilling in your child that he has the power to control your emotions. Let us say your child is angry because you're not letting him play his Play Station for three days because he neglected to complete his homework three days in a row during the week. He is angry and vindictive. Even if he has to sit in his room for 30 minutes, it’s worth it if he can ruffle your feathers and make you feel the frustration and pain he’s feeling right now for missing out on his games.
Remaining calm also shows your child that being rude and saying hurtful remarks are not the way to solve his problem. For some high-spirited children, your anger and shouting are likely to escalate and intensify the child’s resistance and encourage a battle of wills. He is likely to start a tantrum or other aggressive behavior that you feel helpless to control. Usually when you feel helpless and at a loss as to what you should do with your child, you tend to resort back to what you're comfortable and familiar with—hitting. Controlling your anger can stop this power struggle before it starts in the first place.
Remaining calm shows your child you’re in control--you have the reigns. The strong-willed child needs to know you’re the director of him. This actually helps him feel more secure. He wants to know what his limits are, and he wants to be guided.
Narrated Abu Hurairah: The Prophet (saw) counseled a man who asked for his advice and told him three times “Don’t get angry.” (Bukhari Vol 8 no. 137)
Sometimes parents themselves need to calm down and deal with their own feelings first before they attempt to handle the behavior of their child. If you are in a bad mood or your child has done something that really ticks you off, do not immediately react. Take a breather. Go to your room for a few seconds—or minutes. Count to ten. The Prophet (saw) counseled not to get angry. He also recommended that when you are angry you should sit down. If you’re already sitting, then lie down. 31 Don’t act upon your anger. Be still until you have calmed down. You will be in a healthier state of mind to make the proper decisions for both you and your child.
When your child observes your actions during your episodes of frustration and anger, he learns from you. If you tend to become physically violent with him when you’re angry, your child will learn this as acceptable behavior. If you rant, curse and shout, he will learn this as acceptable behavior during his periods of anger, too. You are his role model, his teacher. Your actions are what he will emulate.
Grandma Jeddah is the mother of 11 children and 13 grandchildren. She has taught hundreds of students for over 30 years at an Islamic school in Los Angeles, California.This is an excerpt from her 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. Subscribe to her free newsletter at --http://www.grandmajeddah.com