My Child’s Mistakes – I

This article deals with the erroneous parental behavior patterns in reaction to children’s mistakes. The majority of parents react to these mistakes, at the time they are made, with anger and the desire to exact retribution from the child, under the pretext of discipline. This is especially true when the mistake is recurrent, and, more precisely, when the parent has admonished the child not to make that mistake again; here, the catastrophe takes place.

What is the correct way to establish channels of communication between us and our children?

Should we deal with them unreservedly so that they lose respect for us?
Or, should we keep a distance between us and them so that they fear us?
Can you hold a successful dialogue with your child?

Should a child be punished for something he does not regard as a mistake? Or, is his opinion insignificant?
Do parents believe in the necessity and importance of having a quiet dialogue with their child?
Do you utilize your authority as a parent to impose your opinion on your children when you want to end the discussion?

How could you express your feelings of love and affection in the absence of any channel of dialogue and contact between you and your child?

Dear father, Dear mother,

A clear policy of dealing with children is necessary, not only when mistakes are made, but also when the child is rewarded for doing something right. Strong and continuous channels of communication should be opened to provide a safe haven for the children to resort to for consultation and advice when they need it, and for the parents to utilize when there is a need for guidance to change a certain behavior, create a new pattern of behavior, or do a certain job.

Here are some guidelines on how to change or create new patterns of behavior among the youth. However, it is noteworthy to say that children, who, in the past, used to listen to parental commands and hasten to implement them, are no longer the same. Today’s child needs an affectionate and delicate method of communication, in order to facilitate understanding and be convinced.

Guidelines for changing patterns of behavior

1- Sitting with him: how, when and where?
2- Kindness and leniency.
3- Make him feel safe and secure.
4- Note that this is a dialogue (between the two of you) and not a set of commands (from you to him).
5- Listen to him attentively.
6- Give him freedom of choice.
7- Reward for achievement and punishment for negligence
8- Keep the door open: so that he can come approach us (at any time).
9- Supplication.
10- A compassionate parental touch and a motivating word.

Let us, in this article, address in detail the first four guidelines towards behavioral change and creating new patterns of behavior among our children.

1- Sitting with him: how, when and where?

Do you wish to benefit your child or terrorize him?

The answer to this question contributes to determining the form, time and place of sitting. According to educationalists, there are three forms of sitting:

a- The “from above” session in which you are sitting and the child is standing in front of you, and you are giving instructions. This is the posture of the teacher. The message he receives from this form of communication is the following: "You had better understand, for I have more knowledge than you." This form will not achieve the desired purpose. Rather, the child’s attention will be focused on how to answer you, or he will listen to you without any interest in what you are saying.

b- The “from below” session, in which you are standing while he is sitting. This is the posture of the investigator. The message the adolescent receives from this form of communication is: "Listen (and obey) because I am stronger than you. I can beat you at any moment", especially when the father is turning round the sitting child and pacing about him without stopping. This method, also, is not successful, for the child is braced to receive a strike from any direction, or is disturbed by your non-stop movement.

c- The parallel session, which is the posture of the friend in which you are both either standing or sitting. This gives the child or adolescent a feeling of reassurance, comfort and even love, which causes him to hasten to listen to you attentively, talk to you frankly, and respond powerfully to what is right.

When do you sit with him?

Choose a suitable time in which both of you are not engaged in anything else, and seek to make the duration of the session sufficient for the topic at hand, and do not make it at mealtime or bedtime.

Where do you sit with him?

Choose a familiar place out of sight of other people, and not the same place where the problem occurred. It is preferred to be outside the house, and to change the venue from time to time.

2- Kindness and leniency

It is narrated on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that she said, "The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Never is kindness found in anything but that it beautifies it, and never is it taken from anything but that it distorts it.’" [Muslim] This is indicated by the quiet relaxed tone of voice, facial expressions and patience during the dialogue.

3- Give him a feeling of safety

In order for an adolescent to express himself clearly, truthfully and forcefully, he has to feel secure and not under threat, and that what he is going to say about himself, which may injure him, will not be used against him after that, by putting him to shame in front of other people, or his family and friends. He has to feel that the purpose of that session is nothing other than the desire for reform and guide him towards a good habit.

4- Note that this is a dialogue (between the two of you) and not a set of commands (from you to him).

The term “dialogue” means exchange of conversation between two parties. Whether it pertains to a problem that we are trying to outlaw, or a good behavior that we seek to implant, some proscriptions in this respect should be observed, including:

a- Not to pick on mistakes.

The adolescent cannot often express himself well with words. He sometimes uses inaccurate words which may be misunderstood. So, be eager to inquire about the intended meaning of ambiguous words, and do not give words different meanings. That is, make your child feel he is secure and not fearful of the consequences of his words.

b- Beware of destroying the dialogue

That is, by using such frustrating words as: "What have you got to say after what you have done?” “This is useless” “You must be dreaming!” “Impossible!” “You are hopeless!" “This does not make sense” “No one in his right mind would say that.”

The parents’ dictionary is filled with many similar expressions which are sufficient to damage any hope for a constructive dialogue.

In the second part of this article, we will address the remainder of the ten points and guidelines to change our children’s behavioral patterns.

My Child’s Mistakes – II

2017-11-07T22:50:37+00:00 November 7th, 2017|Beliefs, Islam, Society|