The trouble with learning to parent on the job is that your child is the teacher. ~Robert Brault

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

“NO”, says the toddler.
In a parking lot, a two-year old grabbed her mother’s keys and ran with them.
“Give’ em to me,” ordered the mother.
“No,” said the toddler defensively.
“Give’ em here,” yelled the mother.
“No”, yelled back the toddler.
If you are a parent and you can relate to this scene, chances are you may be responsible for your toddler’s behavior. Simple steps can make your toddler change her attitude but only if you change yours.
The first step in the healing process is to admit that you might be as stubborn as your child. Your answers to most of her requests may be “no”. Therefore, she does the same. You should not say “no” to your child unless you have a good reason and by that I mean that her demand is either forbidden in Islam, dangerous, or you are sick. If none of the mentioned reasons is true, then say “yes”. The less “nos” your child receives, the more “yeses” you will get in return.
Respond to your child’s needs so that she learns to trust you and rely on you. Don’t let her feel that her tears don’t mean much to you but don’t hand her anything just because she is crying for it. Express to her that you understand that she is upset and state the reason you believe is behind her anger. Give her words to express her feelings instead of tears or worse screams. When you have her attention, list your reasons for saying “no”.
Change the subject
Sometimes the wisdom relies not in the confrontation but in changing the subject. In the example of the toddler grabbing the keys and refusing to hand it back. The child is too young and the parking lot is not the best place to hold a discussion with a toddler. The solution may lay in the mother’s purse or pockets. Holding another interesting toy or item that you’re not afraid of losing may be just the easiest solution. Show it to the toddler and explain how cute it is in an enthusiastic way. The child may drop the keys or you may be able to make a quick switch while admiring the toy.
Toddlers go through phases of independence and the last thing you want is a confrontation with an independent toddler who relies on you all the time.
©Marwa Sabry 2007
A mother who studies the art of childhood and a Project Corners


Asiya said...

True, toddlers are pretty hard to train. For me I can't prevent my toddler from saying 'NO!'. 'It's really hard. so it's a good idea to write an article for those who need it.
Thanks sister Marwa.
-Asiya Abdelkader

Veiled Knight said...

Sister Marwa,
I have awarded you the Awesome Blog Award at my blog:
-Veiled Knight

Slave of God said...

Sister Marwa,
how do we follow your blog? Jazaki Allahu klhairan!

Anonymous said...

as Salamu 'Alaykum,

I liked this post ma sha Allah... it had some very good insights.

One question I have is how do you deal with children fighting with each other? In our home, it seems like an ongoing battle all day! To the point where the oldest especially is very rude with her siblings. How would you address this problem?

Umm Umar

Marwa Sabry said...

Dear Umm Umar:
Thank you for your comment and question.
When you say ‘fighting’, Do you mean physically or verbally or both?
Physical fighting between siblings should be out of boundaries as it may lead to injuries.The idea of using violence to express anger needs to be addressed and discussed with the children no matter their age. The consequences have to be according to age as well. Before you decide that, it’s important to pay attention to what the defense of the child. Sometimes, the one who screams for help is smart enough to start a fight and then blame it on the other sibling.
Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) never beat a child or a woman. Unfortunately, this information may not affect older kids the way we would like. So we may have to use other ways to get the message across.
Violence whether verbal or physical may be a sign of low self esteem and a defensive technique to cope with it. It may also be a fight for your attention. Raising kids is not easy, and you have to work around their individuality to reach them. At all times, your goal is to make the child see the problem.
Once the child is convinced that her actions are serious and that she needs to cooperate, reaching a solution should not be as hard as it is now. Also, keep in mind that your daughter may be going through mood swings as part of her growth. Maybe all she needs is some space and your acknowledgement that she is growing. Sometimes, a hug is all that is needed.
Marwa Sabry

Anonymous said...

Jazakillaahu Khayran sister, what you said makes a lot of sense because I know that when I am more loving and gentle with the children, they are easier to handle.

I have another question for you if you don't mind!

How should a parent handle the constant tattle-taling that children do? For example, my daughter will come to me complaining about her sister and it goes both ways? I try to listen to both sides to see the issue, but it becomes a constant battle eventually where I can't reason with either of them! How do we handle children fighting with each other?

Marwa Sabry said...

Assalamu alaikum,

My answer will be in my next post in shaa Allah