(The answer to this question includes the use of 2 of our parenting tools, setting limits which is taught in week 4 of the Peaceful Parenting Breakthrough Training and listening to a child cry which is taught in week 2 of the program. To register for the FREE online training “5 Peaceful Parenting Secrets” click on this link http://peacefulparentingsecrets.com)
Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.
This is Kathryn Jones the Peaceful Parenting Coach, and today I’m answering one of your questions.
I have a question from a sister. “I have a 16 moth old girl and she’s very difficult to control. She doesn’t listen to me when I tell her not do something and cries if anyone tells her off. We never shout to her. She’s my first child and I really don’t want a spoilt girl, please help.”
So this is an excellent question, and it doesn’t even have to be just a 16 month old. Let’s just look at this question bit by bit. The first part is that the child is very difficult to control. We live in a society that puts this pressure on us that we have to control our children, and that children are out of control and it’s the parents fault, and it’s all about control.
The reality is actually that the only person that we have any control over is our own selves. Our children aren’t something that we control. Only Allah, Subhan Allah wa T’Ala has the ultimate control over each and every one of us. We just have to look at the story of the prophet Nur (AS) to understand. If he had control over his children, surely he would not have left his son behind, when his son refused to join him. So this is the first message I wanted to get through to you, is that we don’t control our children.
The second thing the part of the question is she doesn’t listen when I tell her not to do something, and she cries if anyone tells her off. Here it seems we’re talking about behavior when a child is doing something that we wish them to stop.
Whether it’s because it could be something that might harm them, or it’s something that is the sort of behavior we don’t want our children to display. So when a child is doing something like this, we don’t label them as naughty or bad. We look at them as being off track. So a child when they’re off track it means that they’re feeling disconnected. They’re feeling disconnected from the loving adults in their life, and they’re needing connection. In fact their behavior in a sense is saying help me, stop me, I want to be stopped. Then when they stop they want that connection.
Now the fact that the child is crying when they’re told off, it could be a good or a bad thing. When we say a child is told off, generally speaking it’s done in a manner that is probably oppressive to the child. Like the tone of voice is probably bearing down on the child. That it’s done in a fashion where you’re standing above the child and you’re like a giant to that child. In which case the crying in that moment is a crying of fear and this isn’t what we want.
But we do want to set limits, and there is a way of setting limits. So when this child is off track, when this child is doing something that might be dangerous for them, or doing something that might be considered a bad behavior. Which we would actually call an off track behavior. We go to that child, we don’t bring them to us, we go to them and we go down to their level, right down to their level. If they’re having a tantrum on the floor, then you lie down on the floor with them. I tell you, I have done it many times and most of the time I wish I’d done the sweeping, or the vacuuming beforehand but that’s another side issue.
Get down to that child’s level and then in a very calm, firm, warm tone, you tell the child to stop what they’re doing. If for instance they’re throwing something at another child, or doing something like that where you need to actually physically stop it. Then in a very firm but not hurtful or rough manner, we stop the child. So for instance we might bring our hand and block the child from throwing the block, and we would look right in the eyes of the child and go. “No you’re not going to throw that block. I don’t want you to hurt someone; it’s not okay to hurt people.” So short simple sentences in a very warm, but firm tone.
Now what tends to happen, and why this tends not to work and then we think everything is out of control, can be because of our tone of voice. So if we’re feeling really frustrated two things can happen. One is our tone of voice can become quite over bearing, like “Stop that! Don’t do that!” That’s going to frighten the child. Or our tone of voice can be like we’re at our wits end and we’re pleading with them, like “Please stop. No I can’t let you do that.” And we are speaking in a tone like we are asking their permission to stop.
Those tones of voices will not work. The child needs us to show that we are calm, that we’re in a good place. That we’re safe and someone that they can trust, and connect with them. And say to them “no I can’t let you do that” in a warm, calm tone of voice. Now what tends to happen and what’s mentioned in this question, is the child cries. In this case when you’ve come to them in a very connecting way, it’s actually a good thing. What we do in that moment, is we stay with them and we listen to them cry. We don’t try to shush them. We don’t try to comfort them. Don’t stick a dummy in, don’t give them a lollipop, don’t give them a cuddle, don’t pat their back or pat them on the head. We stay with them eye to eye, showing them how much we love them and how much we care about them.
This child was a 16 months old so we might say something to that child, let’s take a scenario that they weren’t sharing, and we wanted to set a limit on the snatching or behavior like that. So things that we might say to that child are “I know it feels really difficult to share right now. I know that you don’t feel like sharing your toys. I’m going to sit here right with you until you feel better. I’m not going anywhere I love you. I’m here for you.” Things like this that are going to reassure that child that you’re there for them in that moment. Because what’s actually happening in that moment is they’re releasing emotional tension. They’re letting out whatever it is that has made them off track in the first place. If you’re able to sit there and stay through the whole process, until they stop crying. The amazing thing about this is often with children they’ll just turn it off like a tap. They’re finished, they’re done straight away. If you can hang in there till that moment, what you’ll see come out the other end is that gorgeous child, that you always love that child to be. It’s the most amazing process in the world. I’ve seen it happen over and over again with my children, and it never ever ceases to amaze me. It makes me feel so blessed that I know about this stuff.
So let me just check the rest of the question to see if I’ve covered everything.
Okay. So the last part of the question is a concern about the child being spoilt. This type of parenting will not leave a child spoilt. If we were to give the child something to stop them crying, like give them a lolly or something like that. Well this is the path towards spoiling a child is giving them something to settle them. It’s not a healthy solution.
This solution (peaceful parenting solution) is a fantastic solution, because what happens is you’re helping the child think clearly. If you’ve had a chance to look at my free webinar and free training that I do, you will understand a little bit more about what’s happening in the brain of the child. Details about this below.
So this doesn’t spoil the child. What happens is allowing that emotional tension to be released from the child, to be there with them, showing them that it’s okay that they feel that way, you’re in fact bringing that child back into a state of being able to think. And they come back to being empathetic, compassionate, reasonable, loving, caring, smiling. All the wonderful characteristics that we love to see in our children.
So make sure that if you want to learn more, you click on the link that comes with this video, and have an option there to learn more from me, in sha Allah.
So that’s the answer to the question about children that are difficult to control. That they don’t listen. That they cry when they’re told off. That’s the answer.
Connection, connection, warm loving connection, in sha Allah.
So this is Kathryn Jones the Peaceful Parenting coach signing off.
Assalamu Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu.
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