5 Productive Ways to Improve Your Parenting Skills
“Amongst all those women who ride camels (i.e. Arabs), the ladies of Quraish are the best. They are merciful and kind to their off-spring . . . ” [Sahih Bukhari]
How do you plan to improve yourself this Ramadan? Ramadan is a time when we seek to grow closer to Allah جل جلاله and attain as many good deeds as possible. We also strive to better ourselves and make improvements in our character in general. Have you ever wished you had not followed up your daughter’s back talk with your own ill-mannered retort? Have you ever wanted to respond to your son’s messy room with an instructive response rather than a furious rant? Well how about working on improving some of those skills this Ramadan along with your other endeavors? Here are 5 productive ways to improve your parenting skills this Ramadan.
- Give Attention: We all enjoy a little attention every now and then. . . . so do our children. Children do not only enjoy it, they thrive on it. Make sure you give your child your time during this special month. Although you will be focusing on extra prayers, reading Quran, and other forms of worship, involve your child in some of these activities as well. Encourage your child to pray with you when you offer salat. When you are reading the Qur’an, have your little one sit on your lap and explain using your native language and simpler terms about the meaning. And of course, kids love the kitchen. Let your child help out with some of the dishes you’ll be cooking for iftar.
- Find Alternatives to Hitting: This month when your daughter talks back to you or slaps her little brother, find an alternative way of correcting her behavior than your usual smacking or shouting. These may be the easiest and most common methods of correcting your child, but that does not mean they are superior methods. There are numerous effective ways of getting your child to comply or change her behavior without hitting or shouting at her. One remarkable method is by using incentive charts. When your daughter talks to you in a respectful tone even though she is upset with you, place a star on her chart to show you acknowledge her effort. After she receives 10 stars, cook her favorite dessert, buy her a small token gift, or allow her an extra hour on the computer. These are just examples of rewards for favorable behavior. Brain storm more ideas . . . or better yet, allow your daughter to think up rewards she would like.
- Be a Good Example: One of the best ways of directing your child towards proper behavior is by being a good model of proper behavior yourself. Be respectful towards others in and away from home. Avoid ranting when you are upset during problematic situations. Refuse to hit when you’re angry. Make salat on time. Remember Allah جل جلاله often in your speech and actions. Mention Allah جل جلاله regularly in your home. When your children see you behaving in an admirable manner, it gives them the incentive to do too.If you want your daughter to refrain from hitting her younger brother when he uses her markers, let her see a pattern of behavior from you in which you avoid hitting when correcting others. Let her see you use alternatives. This will give her alternatives to select from, as well.
- Practice Patience: Being patient when you are frustrated or displeased with your child’s behavior can be hard to do, but well worth the effort. Being patient helps you avoid doing or saying inappropriate things to your child that you might later regret. It also helps you model appropriate behaviors for your child to imitate.
- Model after the Prophet ﷺ: Learn ways in which the Prophet ﷺ behaved around children. He was kind, compassionate, and known to avoid using physical discipline with the young around him. He was also very tolerant of children’s behavior. Here are a few examples of how gentle the Prophet ﷺ was with his young family members: one hadith illustrates his kindness when he kissed his grandson Hussein. Another shows his patience when he allowed his grandson Hasan to climb on his back and neck while prostrating during salat! And here’s a hadith that says it all:Anas ibn Maalik said, “I served the Prophet ﷺ for ten years, and he never said to me, “Uf” (a minor harsh word denoting impatience) and never blamed me by saying, “Why did you do so or why didn’t you do so?”” [Sahih Bukhari]