One of the most common questions I get from parents is how to control their temper when disciplining. So here is a step-by-step method that parents can use to help avoid unwanted hitting and shouting when disciplining their children.
The more you take responsibility for changing your behavior, the greater your success, insha’Allah. To help you take direct control of your new parenting ambitions, get a sheet of notebook paper and write down specifically the change you wish to make. For instance you could write,
“I want to stop shouting at my son when he misbehaves, and I will select an alternative discipline method from my list of shouting alternatives. I will do this for 2 weeks, insha’Allah”.
Make a list of ways you can manage your child’s behavior without shouting. Here are a few options:
- You can have him go to his room for a time out (the minutes should correspond with his age)
- You can discuss with him why what he’s done is improper (perhaps he needs to be taught rather than reprimanded)
- You can ask him why he did what he did (maybe there’s a logical explanation)
- You can remove a privilege such as computer time, phone time, game time, or a pleasurable outing
- You can offer incentives for avoiding the behavior in the future (place stars on a behavior chart when desirable behavior is performed)
- You can visit parenting websites for more alternatives
Next, imagine how you will feel when you begin disciplining with control, and write down those feelings on your sheet of paper, such as:
- I will feel calm
- I will feel patient
- I will feel less angry with my child
- I will feel less disappointed with myself
- I will feel like a better Muslim. . . parent. . . mother
- I will feel in control etc.
Now, choose a date to begin working on your new parenting improvement program and start on that day.
Keep yourself motivated when disciplining. To help you stay motivated, you can:
- View parenting lectures on YouTube, DVD, or other forms of media
- Browse parenting websites and blogs
- Read books such as my Discipline without Disrespecting e-books or Drs. Ekram and Mohamed Rida Beshir’s parenting books (a list of other parenting books can be found at the end of this article)
- You can also listen to Islamic lectures that discuss the manner in which the Prophet (SAW) treated children, or listen to lectures on the importance of being patient, can be helpful as well
- Another great tip is to watch other mothers who discipline with respect. When you are out and about, observe how respectful mothers manage their children’s behavior – What do they say? . . . How do they say it?. . . How does their child respond?
Remember when you have those slip ups, as you will, bear in mind that you are not perfect. Making mistakes is a failure to be faultless. It does not mean that you can’t achieve your goal of becoming a parent that is more in control.
When you find yourself shouting, instead of calmly correcting your child, think about how out of control and uncomfortable you feel. Tell yourself that you want to feel in control, calm, patient and all the other feelings you wrote down on your paper in step 3 when you started your new parenting program.
Consciously be on the lookout for negative disciplining relapses. When you encounter one, follow these 3 tips:
- Stop yourself!
- Say, “Authu billahi min ashaitan ir-rajeem. (I seek refuge in Allah from Shaitan)
- Follow through with an alternative action from your list
Never give up! Attempt to follow your parenting goal most of the time, and you’ll see improvement insha’Allah. Soon you will find disciplining your children with calmness and without hitting, shouting or losing control will become your normal practice Insha’Allah.
Lastly keep a record of your successes. Each day you manage your child’s behavior in a respectful manner, without hitting, shouting, or losing control, draw a star on a sheet of paper. When you earn 10 stars, reward yourself with a treat, such as:
- Check out a favorite novel from the library
- Watch an anticipated documentary on the computer
- Order pizza and give yourself a break from cooking dinner that day
- Use paper plates, cups, plastic forks and spoons for a day or two so you don’t have any dishes to wash
- Buy yourself a nice pair of earrings or apparel that you like
Make a list of incentives with which you can reward yourself when you reach your number goal. Once you reach 10 stars, try for another 10 until the new discipline methods become a natural part of your parenting.
Take pleasure in knowing that you are making an effort to improve your discipline methods with your child. This positive change will help you achieve better behavior in your child, an improved relationship with your child, and help you feel better about yourself when disciplining. So find a notebook, tear out a sheet of paper, and start on your new parenting improvement program today!
Here is a brief list of parenting e-books:
- Discipline without Disrespecting by Grandma Jeddah
- Parenting in the West by Drs. Ekram and Mohamed Rida Beshir
- Nurturing Eeman in Children by Aisha Hamdan Utz
- How to Talk so Kids Will Listen by Faber and Mazlish
Here is a brief list of websites:
- AAILA The Muslim Family Magazine
- American Humane Association
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