Think. Learn. Act. Remind.
We all lose our cool with our little toddlers every day! Sometimes we remember to be fair and deal with the situation appropriately. Other times we just lose it … and the result is 2 very unhappy people: you and your child.
Although we cannot be perfect (perfection is only for Allah (SWT)), we can curb our tendency to fly off the handle. The Prophet (SAW) has told us that when we feel angry, we should sit if we are standing, lie down if we are sitting and if that doesn’t work, to make wudu.
The point is, we need to calm ourselves down and stop ourselves from reacting and give ourselves time to assess the situation at its true merit.
Why he “misbehaves”
Oftentimes, a tantrum is our child’s way of letting us know he needs our attention or that he is hungry or tired.
Sometimes he may misbehave or refuse to follow our instructions because he hasn’t understood them at all or misunderstands what we are asking him to do (he thinks we mean one thing whereas we mean something else).
A few moments of restraint can prevent hours of regret.
Why we fly off the handle
I have noticed that the times I get most frustrated is when I have plans to do things a certain way (e.g. I may have this plan in my head: once he goes to sleep, I will cook, pray and do the laundry or relax for half an hour with my favorite book) and when he interferes with the plan by not behaving as we had thought he would, we react to it!
I also get frustrated if I have loads of things to do or I have a deadline to meet or if I am trying to get some R&R and something my child does delays or interrupts it. (“Mama, can you make me one more sandwich!” can be frustrating if you had just sat down after changing the kids’ diapers, cooked dinner, cleaned the kitchen and started the laundry. It’s the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back!)
The point is, life as a stay-at-home mom of toddlers is never predictable. The sooner we grasp this concept, the easier things can be.
Then we need to resist the urge to be perfectionistic (so what if dinner isn’t ready by 4 pm today (even if you will be having guests over!), or if the living room isn’t perfectly clean or the laundry isn’t done!)
And then of course the important thing to realize is that your child is a child …. he will do things the way children do them, not the way adults do! Any understanding of a child’s psychology and make up will help one be calmer and react less!
It’s true that we mostly react strongly to our child’s misdemeanors when we are under pressure ourselves either due to physical demands or our own emotional issues (like an argument with somebody or resentment at being treated unfairly by someone).
So our irritation is mostly our own fault and not the child’s … In fact, it very often has little to do with what he has done (or not done) or said.
So make dua to Allah (SWT) to make things easy for you and to raise your iman (faith) so that you are calmer and more fair.
Here are also some things that can work:
1. When something he does makes you angry, STOP! Don’t say anything if you feel you will lose control.
2. Walk away; preferably, go where you can’t see him.
3. Focus your mind on something else like saying aaudobillah repeatedly
4. Don’t make it a matter of ego (“How dare he not listen to me?!”)
5. Remind yourself that he is just a child and try to remember what you would have done as a child in that situation.
6. Ask yourself if this matter is really important or you are just too tired and think it’s bigger than it is. (Would it really matter that much if he watched an extra half hour of cartoons today or had one extra chocolate cookie?)
7. Stop yourself from talking …. The more you talk, the angrier you will become and the more you will be unfair.
I’m still working on myself so this is as much a reminder for myself as it is for you.
Hope this helps all of us!