How to Get Your Child to want to Obey
By Grandma Jeddah
“It’s time to go to bed.” “Take your bath.” “Make salat.” Your children hear countless commands from you throughout the day—no wonder they sometimes feign they don’t hear you. You probably would too if you had to hear “Do this,” “Don’t do that,” on a constant basis. But that’s your job, no doubt . . .to teach your children right from wrong and how to be good Muslims. There must be an easier way, you’ve probably wondered on occasion, to encourage them to get their homework and chores done. There is! Here are a few ways to get your children to follow your rules and instructions in the home with less obstinacy.
1. Show your love often. A child who feels loved by you has a stronger desire to obey you than one who feels unloved. The Prophet (saw) was known to be extremely kind to his grandsons, Hassan and Hussein. He kissed them, set them on his lap and made dua for them. He even allowed them to play on him while he was making salat.
2. Treat you children fairly with their other siblings. No one likes the feeling of being oppressed. It makes you feel angry, sad, and vindictive. These three emotions can discourage your child from wanting to obey. Instead, he may choose to show you how angry and hurt he feels—which is often expressed through inappropriate behavior. The Prophet (saw) gave clear advice for parents to be fair when dealing with their children.
3. Avoid excessive punishments. Although you might be extremely angry with your child for spilling milk on the new sofa, wait until your anger has subsided before reacting. Once you have calmed down, you are more likely to see the situation for what it truly is—an accident. The Prophet (saw) has advised us to not get angry. These are words of wisdom when disciplining our young ones.
4. Use Incentive Charts. A lot has been said about rewarding children for good behavior. Some can’t imagine disciplining without it. Others say it can make kids dependent upon rewards. There is no doubt from both sides that incentives encourage compliance. If you are looking to get your child to obey with minimal effort and stress-incentives are certainly the way to go. Allah provides us with numerous incentives to obey Him. The righteous will be gifted with gardens beneath which rivers flow, among other desirable rewards.
5. Make dua, asking Allah to bless your child to be a good Muslim. The dua of the parent is answered, according to hadith.
The next time Abdullah doesn’t want to take a bath, or Noor doesn’t want to go to bed, check to see if you’ve been keeping up on the 5 tips above. If not, no problem—work on it. If yes—then you’re likely already seeing an improvement, insha’Allah.
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. order her books or Subscribe to her free newsletter at --