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For some reason, faults are often more memorable and vivid than the numerous sacrifices made for our children

As parents, we will make mistakes now and then when raising our children. Here are five disciplinary mistakes to avoid when directing your child toward proper behavior.

1. Getting enraged when disciplining. Expressing your rage when disciplining your child is problematic; it directs the child’s attention away from the mistake and focuses on your wrath instead. If your child is more worried about how you will react in your anger rather than what he did that was wrong, he is unlikely to benefit from your counsel or choice of discipline. Responding to your child’s misbehavior with shouting and aggression does not help him learn to self-manage his behavior. Furthermore, it provides the opportunity to be excessive when punishing. This can lead to abusing your child by using hurtful words or by correcting with excessive and harsh smacking. According to hadith, the prophet said: ‘’whoso suppresses his rage, while he has the power to show himself, God will call on him on the day of resurrection before all creation, and reward him exceedingly’’.

2. Comparing Children: One of the least effective ways of achieving compliance from your child is by comparing him to his brother or sister.  The problem with comparing your children is that rather than causing the child to want to comply, it makes him resentful of the other child and you. This can accelerate disagreements between siblings, which only contributes to additional disciplinary problems in the household. Instead of comparing children, a better method would be to reward and compliment the child when he performs as desired.

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3. Do as I say, not as I do: Demanding of your children what you do not do yourself is bound to result in failure. Parents are children’s first role models. Even older children, who model after their peers, continue to look up to their parents for exemplary behavior. “If Mom isn’t making Fajr regularly, why does she expect me to make salat on time?” your child might ponder. An important part of parenting is being the type of person that you encourage your child to become. Let your child see you take responsibility for your errors— apologize to others in your family when you know you’ve treated them improperly. This will give your child an example of the proper way to correct his mistakes with family and friends.

4. Not respecting your child: As Muslims, we have an engrained understanding that children should obey their parents. But not only should children be obedient and kind to their parents, parents should also be kind to their children. When interacting with our children and even when correcting them, we should remember to be gentle and kind with them. People are more inclined to pleasing those they have a positive relationship with. Speaking in a calm, respectful tone to your child does not convey a sign of weakness. To the contrary, it lets them know that you are indeed in control—not only of the situation but also your emotions.

5. Expecting perfection: Often, when we catch our child misbehaving, we wonder why he’s acting in such an unpleasant way. We must remember that none of us is perfect. We aren’t, and neither are our children. It can be helpful to remember that we want Allah SWT to be merciful and patient with us when we make mistakes. We should try to enact these same virtues when managing our children. We are here to guide our children to be God fearing Muslims, but they have their own mind, desires, and temperament. Patience should be our motto when disciplining our children.

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