It's hard when your child disappoints you after all your many sacrifices to raise them up right. As parents we should want our children to reach their full potential and have the best that this life and the next can offer. However, there will be times when our children let us down, have poor behavior, unsatisfactory work ethics, hurt our feelings or even break our hearts. There were definitely times we made it difficult for our parents too! How we deal with those disappointments is one of the most critical and defining moments of parenthood.
What lead me to write this blog was of course feeling disappointed with one of my children. The soul purpose of the Halaal Household is the actual journey of "establishing" peace, beauty & balance in the home. It is always a work in progress and I am no where near what I envision my home to be. I continue to learn along the way. I’m going to do my best by relying on the timeless wisdom of Islam, good counsel and life experiences. I hope these principles will help us all as we navigate the most rewarding (and most challenging) task we’ll ever have…Parenting!
One of the most fundamental concepts for parents to understand is that children are a test and that we will be held accountable for on the Day of Judgment with how we handled this test. Once this is realized, there should be a profound change in how we relate to, and deal with our children. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says, “And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward.” (Qur'an, Surah Al-Anfal, 8: 28)
I can not stress the importance of having clear & outline expectations for your children. These expectations need to be specific for each individual child depending on their age, gender and abilities. There should also be expectations that are standard for everyone in the household. Try to observe your children regularly and consistently to determine if there is need for improvements or rewards. Most importantly the expectations must be attainable.
Whoever said that parenting gets easier as children get older was not being completely honest. Things were simple when I was just dealing with timeout corners. My girls are older, I try to use natural consequences and withhold certain privileges to combat negative behaviors. I absolutely hate punishing them. However, having restrictions in place helps to correct them more often than not.
Here are some positive tips for parenting during "difficult" time.
You can not pray for your children enough. As a mother, your most powerful ally is Allah and who but He to requests ease and guidance for our children. While praying, you find that your frustration turns to faith, and faith produces hope. The best way we can protect the hearts, minds and actions of our children, especially when you are hurt and feeling disappointed, is through prayer.
2. Love Them
Our love must be the foundation for our relationship and always let them know that your love for them is bigger than their behavior. It is easy to say that we love our children when they are being good but when they are causing us stress and disappointment it can be hard to show compassion.
Consider physical and emotional factors — hunger, fatigue, anxiety, puberty, PMS, workload or distractions can all make it much more difficult for children to control their behavior. Like us parents, sometimes children become overwhelmed with their circumstance which may lead to frustrations in the form of negative behaviors.
Sit down with your child and present the negative behavior you have observed verbally. Try to deal with it immediately instead of allowing it to continue overtime. Remind them of the expectations, even if they “should” know what is expected. Clarifying expectations, limit misunderstandings and helps to bring forth accountability. Determine why the negative behavior is happening and establish solutions to correct the behavior. Give a warning!
5. Follow Through
"Mean What You Say & Say What You Mean!" Appropriate consequences must be followed through! Whether it is a reward or a warning, our children need to know that our word is our bond. Giving your child positive reinforcement for being good helps maintain the ongoing good behavior. Positive attention enhances the quality of the relationship, improves self-esteem, and feels good for everyone involved. However stick to disciplinary actions as well. If "no screen time" is the established consequence for incomplete chores or school work; be sure to stand firm on that. By not being consistent, you undermine the system and makes it harder for your children to connect behaviors with consequences.