As-Salamu ‘Alaykum. I have a three-year old daughter, al-hamdulillah. She is very smart and learns everything very quickly. I have a great plan for her that, in sha’ Allah, I will try to have her memorize the Holy Qur'an and she will become a hafiza. But the problem is that she can be very stubborn over anything that she wants. Most of the time, I try to tackle the situation calmly, but I have a one-year-old to take care of, and at times I end up yelling at her that she shouldn't be so stubborn. I know I'm wrong in doing so, and I pray to Allah to give me self-control in order to raise my kids in the best way possible. My husband was talking about having another child, and I worry that maybe my behavior towards my first born will worsen with the pressure of having another baby to take care of. The thing that concerns me most nowadays is that when my three-year-old is having her tantrums, she starts yelling in the same way which, I think, she has learnt from me. This thought makes me very sad. Please help me to stop yelling at her. But even then, how can I erase this memory from my child's mind so that she doesn't behave like this when she's upset? Thank you. I appreciate your help. Salam.
As-Salamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhmy dear sister,
Thank you for sharing your situation with us, which shows how much we all want for our children. To ask a seemingly unrelated question, what time of the year is it where you are? Is the winter unfolding into the spring? Do you smell the difference in the time just after Dawn Prayers? Such wonderful smells! Do you see the buds appearing on the trees and the flowers that are beginning to appear? Do your bird’s songs sound full of promises? If it is not that time of year, then try to remember what that time of year is like. Our Creator may be the cause of everything, but He has the trust that we do not have, the faith that we do not have, and He gave us the choice that most of nature does not have. As long as we do not abuse our environment, our environment unfolds and changes from season to season without fail. If we dare, we dwell in its promises. Everything has its own nature which we are to learn from. If we try to control it, somehow the essence of it dies, maybe not to the eyes, but to the spirit, as spirits only talk to spirits.
The most beautiful sound to me is the laughter of little child, and it is amazing how much is missed out on when we plan so much for them without really knowing who they are. We either spoil them or treat them as extensions of ourselves. Your children have their own identities unfolding day by day. The more we try to control them, to shape them into what we want them to be (with all the best intentions), they will react, and sometimes that reaction can be quite violent.
What you have to bear in mind is that: 1) Your daughter is only three years old and is still discovering the world around her. 2) She is probably still at the stage of the 'terrible twos' when she is realizing how powerful the word 'no' is. She is naturally establishing her independence from you. 3) Ask yourself, does your three-year-old daughter know what 'stubborn' means? Therefore, what is so wrong about being stubborn? 4) You are holding her younger sibling who is not being shouted at. 5) Your three-year-old gets your attention the only way she can—the attention that you are giving to her younger sibling, but might not be giving to her
As much as you are doing your best to redress the situation, what your children need from you is fairness, consideration, understanding and equal attention. In this way, you reduce the feeling of envy or jealousy as well as conflict.
You are right to be concerned about how much your daughter is learning from your behavior towards her, because she learns not from what you want, but from what you do. It has been found that children, who become aggressive so young, are like this because the parenting has been too punitive, too strict, and too uncaring when showing anger or disappointment. In this manner, your child's social skills are inhibited, and it reduces their sense of empathy with others. However, with time and with your change in parenting style, she will grow out of this - the sooner the better.
You see, opposite to what you think, your three-year-old may believe that you do not actually care about her because of your mannerism towards what she has been doing. It is within all children to test their parents, but what brings the situation back into balance is that through your patience, understanding, and guidance, your daughter will respond better to what you desire. It is similar to ‘listen to me and I will listen to you’! Does this make sense?
Try to enjoy their growing up and remember that children learn best by example, because only then do they believe that you mean what you say and that there is some value in what you say. Also, try to find a quite relaxing time with your husband and discuss the issue of raising children and how his contribution is appreciated and what a difference it makes. Maybe, then he will reconsider your needs and can contribute a little bit more of his time than he does now.
I pray that you have found the answer helpful in some way, and please do not hesitate to get in touch with us again.
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