20. Mother has problem yelling at kids
Truth be told, I need real help. I am a mother of 2. My son is 6 and always talking back. He makes me mad and I yell when he doesn’t listen. Then I tap his back to make him. He is such a good boy when he is told nicely. Yes, I know it’s me . . . but I feel so much stress on my shoulders—housework, the kids screaming. I’m always told to use the behavior chart—I did that. It never works. My 3-year-old follows whatever my older son tells her to do. And I can’t get my 6-year-old to do his homework. Please tell me where I am going wrong and I will do anything to fix it. Which book would you advise me to buy? I want anything that works.
First, I’d like to say that you are probably doing a better job than you realize. Parenting can truly be challenging at times. None of us is perfect. I sense that you are making much effort in trying to be the best mother you can.
You mentioned that your son responds well when he is spoken to nicely. This suggests that at times you make an effort to manage his behavior in a calmer manner. This is something you can build upon, insha’Allah. Whenever you respond to your son in this manner, think about what the circumstances were that led you to act in this way. Try to create more situations like that so that you can get in the habit of responding to your son in this manner. You can even develop an incentive chart for yourself and reward yourself when you get 10 stars for managing your son’s behavior in a positive way. Then buy yourself something special, watch an interesting documentary, purchase a good book to read, or go somewhere special. Mothers need incentives sometimes, too. (smile)
Likewise, when you notice yourself responding to your son in ways that you dislike, once the situation has passed, think about how and why the situation led you to respond in such a way. Notice what triggers led you to want to respond this way. Let these triggers (child is whining, you didn’t get enough rest the night before, you drank too much caffeine lately, etc.) be your warning signals. Be extra conscious of your behavior at these times. Make a lot of dua asking Allah to help you to maintain your composure; seek refuge in Allah from Shaitan; take a few deep breaths before reacting; retreat to your room. Think of other ways you can calm yourself down before responding to your son. Patience is something that we learn over time and through practice, Insha’Allah.
You mentioned that the star chart system doesn’t work with your son. I would suggest using the behavior chart once again. Often times caregivers aren’t consistent with the system. This can lead to its lack of success. Also, sometimes caregivers neglect other aspects of parenting that must be in place prior to or along with using behavior charts. Some of these prerequisites are ensuring you are giving your child sufficient affection and attention. In addition, make sure you are setting a proper example for your child to model after.
When children see parents reacting with impatience to frustrating situations the children sometimes imitate this manner of coping.
Another important factor is to make sure you affirm your son’s good behavior more often. When we’re angry, we tend to focus more on our child’s improper behavior and disregard their proper conduct.
There could certainly be other factors that can contribute to a star chart system not working as well. These might include a child having severe behavioral problems, but your letter doesn’t seem to suggest this, and Allahu Alim.
You mentioned that house work and day-to-day responsibilities were overwhelming at times. No doubt about it . . . our daily responsibilities can become burdensome. If your spouse isn’t opposed, perhaps you can allow yourself a break every now and then. What I mean by this is you could minimize the importance of a tidy house, long-cooked meals or whatever else that seems to take up a lot of your time and make you frustrated. Maybe you could use paper plates and cups once a week so you don’t have to wash dishes. You could decide that the house doesn’t have to be properly maintained at all times.
Also, make sure you are taking the time to relax. If you enjoy reading books, writing, crocheting or whatever, be sure to take time to enjoy these things periodically. They help calm your mind and replenish your energy. And, of course, try listening to or reading Quran regularly. It’s a reminder of what we are here for and an encouragement for us to persevere.
Here are a few links you might find useful. And please continue visiting Grandma Jeddah’s website and blog as I think you will find much information from them that will be helpful for you, insha’Allah. Also, remember to make dua often, asking Allah to help you with your problems.
This is an excerpt from Grandma Jeddah's e-book 67 Discipline Pearls for Your Most Challenging Discipline Problems. Order your copy today at www.grandmajeddah.com
Grandma Jeddah is the mother of 11 children and 16 grandchildren. She has taught hundreds of students for over 30 years at an Islamic school in Los Angeles, California. She has written dozens of articles for Muslim magazines, newspapers and blogs. She is the author of, 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 e-books at: http://www.grandmajeddah.com/