Principal's Message

Message from the Principal: Brother Eric Ali-- When guiding our children toward proper Islamic character, we must remember that part of being a wise teacher or parent is being kind and gentle with our children. During the time of the Prophet (saw), a Bedouin urinated in the masjid. Immediately the Prophet’s companions rushed toward the man to beat him. But the Prophet (saw) told them to leave him alone. After the man finished urinating, the Prophet (saw) told him, “Verily, filth and urine are not permitted in these masjids. Indeed, it is for the remembrance of Allah.” The Messenger said to his companions, “I was sent to make things easy, and I was not sent to make things difficult.” And he poured a bucket of water over the urine. Even though our children were raised in Islam, eventually they will have to choose to be Muslims. Let’s help make the proper decision easy for them.-- Al-Madinah School: 1635 South Saint Andrews Place, Los Angeles, California 90019-- (1-323) 296-5961

Saturday, August 13, 2011

One Mother's Answer to the 2nd Question of the RAMADAN PARENTING CONTEST

Discipline Problem:
2nd Week:
            It’s after school and your 10-year-old son is on the computer. ”Did you do your homework?” you ask him.
            “Uhhh. . . no,” he says.  “I forgot.”
            “ Okay, I need you off the computer by the time I count to three.  One. . . two. . .three.”
            Your son is still on the computer.
            What do you do?
First, I will say that my children are homeschooled, so this 'dilemia' doesn't occur quite the same, but keeping children on task and focused is significantly important and can be a battle of wills since the child has desires that outweigh his needs (HW).

I think it is important, as always, to set the ground rules on day one or even before school starts. I also think it is important to take the child's desires into consideration. That's where a flexible afterschool routine comes into play. Child comes home and mom offers a healthy snack. She sits at the table with the child and asks about school, including homework (perhaps there is even a homework folder that she can review) and grades for that day. She goes over a plan for the evening so that the child knows when his best opportunities to complete school work will be (in case there is shopping or other errands to be run that might interupt the 'normal' schedule). They make a plan together that includes a little time to 'unwind', say 1/2 an hour and they include a time frame like "you need to have this task / these tasks done before dinner / before bed. 'Tasks' might include chores in addition to homework. Any sports practices should be considered as well.

In my house, we use a dry erase board to write out the daily plan. In this way, the child can either check off or erase (I prefer the former in case they really didn't do something but erase it anyway and mom doesn't forget) tasks as they are completed. This is very motivating to my children. My children are also motivated to know what the can do after their tasks are go for a bike ride or play this computer or have ice cream after dinner.

As the child implements the plan, it is crucial that mom check progress and re-direct as necessary, offering words of praise and encouragement as well as offering to help if needed. If the child falls too far off course (i.e. as in your example, gets carried away with a computer game and not start HW) then gentle reminders first, followed by a firm statement of what they will loose today and tomorrow if they countinue to make bad choices. For instance, "I see that you are over your 1/2 hour of free computer time. You should have begun your HW 15 minutes ago. Your choice will cause you to loose 15 minutes of your free time this evening (alternatively: I guess you can only have 15 minutes of computer time tomorrow when you return from school). Now you need to begin your HW so that we can all have dinner together on time. If you continue to make poor choices, we will have to re-think your after-school plan."

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.

If  you would like to join the 2011 Ramadan Parenting Contest, Please see blog post for 7/29/2011.  Jazakalakhair.

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