by Jamilah Samian
Just because you’re overwhelmed and exhausted from raising your children everyday doesn’t mean you’re doing it the best you can. Without a positive attitude, parenting knowledge and parenting skills, raising kids can be a nightmare. This article is the first of a series of parenting topics that will equip you with the knowledge and skills to become a better, more successful, more confident parent.
We fall in love, get married, and have children. Why? For many of us, it gives meaning to our lives. Children are our legacy to the world. If we were to look at the two extremes, there are children who are well-behaved, disciplined, motivated. These are the children who make parents proud and they are a source of joy. On the other extreme are children who are poorly behaved, unmotivated, undisciplined and a source of great pain to us. Under which category do your children fall into?
It takes a huge amount of effort to raise a child, not to mention money and time. But are you parenting as effectively as you can? Might there be a better way? How do you turn problematic children around? These are some of the questions that beg to be answered. If you’re unhappy with how your kids have turned out, now is the time for change. I urge all of you to invest in constant and never ending improvements. First decide you want to become a better parent, right now, right here. Then make real effort to know more.
A BUSY PARENT MAY NOT BE AN EFFECTIVE PARENT
Sure, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. But there is such a thing as an effective parent. Do you find yourself stressed out with managing your kids every day? Is your life on autopilot? You might even think you’re way too busy raising your kids to find the time to improve your parenting knowledge and skills! Still, the last thing you want as a parent is to wake up one day and be filled with regrets, knowing that you could have done better had you had the knowledge and skills as a parent.
WHY ISN’T LOVE ENOUGH?
Without understanding the minds of kids, you’ll not know how to express your love in a way that’s beneficial for them in the long run. By instilling positive values, by disciplining them when necessary, by stopping them from crossing the line before they hurt themselves and others, by demanding respect from them, we teach them self-control, something that they might only appreciate years later when we are not with them any more. Our number one task, our purpose as parents is to inspire our children, not just to be good kids, but to excel, in a worthy area, to be the best they can be, so they lead fulfilling lives knowing that they are contributing their best to humankind.
WHY CAN’T WE JUST MAKE DU’AA AND LEAVE THE REST TO ALLAH?
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls).” ~ Ar-Ra’d (11)
It is true that du’aa is a powerful weapon for the Muslims. Yet it is insane to expect different results when you keep doing the same things. Allah will help you, but you must put in effort to help yourself first. One cannot expect to have chicken soup when what you put in the pan was fish. Parenting will continue to be confusing, overwhelming and the hardest thing to do in your life, so long as you refuse to take the initiative to learn more and become a better parent along the way.
Don’t let it be a case of knowing too little, too late. Don’t be another parent who says “I wish I had known this. I wish I had known that” when your kid has grown up into an obnoxious twenty-something. There is a huge body of knowledge and skills you can benefit from. What you need to do is to apply the parenting knowledge and skills as you learn them, and make du’aa at the same time. Ask Allah to bless your journey as a parent, to guide you, to help you differentiate between what is right and what is wrong and to give you the strength and wisdom to do whatever it takes to inspire your child to be an outstanding person.
THE 3 P’s THAT YOU NEED
The 3 P’s that you, the parent, needs to unlock your kids’ potential:
- Positive Attitude. This is the kind of attitude that is open to learning. Accepting that you don’t know enough and taking the initiative to learn. In comparison, a parent who has a negative attitude has no desire to improve the status quo.
- Parenting Knowledge. Understanding children’s temperament, emotional intelligence, similarities and differences between girls and boys, for example, will make parenting less of a puzzle to you.
- Parenting Skills. Now that you know sibling rivalry is a topic by itself in parenting and your kids never see eye-to-eye, how do you deal with this conflict in your family? Now that you know your child is sensitive, what is the best way of raising her? Now that you know your son is not confident to assert himself even when he needs to, what do you do about it?
BONUS POINTS TO PONDER
– Do not waste your effort on ineffective ways of raising your children. Parenting is a task you can learn and improve. Read books, attend seminars, understand children better, understand yourself better; know why you are doing the things that you do now. See if they are effective.
– It is ironic that many of us wanted so much to start a family, yet don’t make the effort to learn much about parenting
– if there is one thing you must know about parenting, it’s this: Yes, it’s difficult. It’s challenging. But it’s not a mystery, either. By learning the basics, by knowing certain basic facts about kids’ development, you increase your chance of success.
– All kids are born to be outstanding in some way. With better knowledge and skills, you greatly increase the possibility of raising kids who are motivated, obedient, who are an asset to humankind.
– Some parents have the mindset of “As long as my kids are doing OK, I’m satisfied.” But kids are capable of always doing better. By doing better, I don’t mean necessarily getting straight A’s in school, although it may be part of it. Doing better means a lot of things. It could mean becoming more responsible. Or if they have been mistreating a sibling, they stop and are more empathetic. If they have anger management issues, they learn how to effectively deal with their anger.
HELP YOUR KIDS DISCOVER WHAT THEY CAN DO
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” So said Lao Tze. It is really difficult for children to discover their true power if they do not understand themselves; and this is where we parents come in. We parents hold the key to unlock the potential of each of our children. We unlock their potential by helping them to understand who they are and in the process, uncover what they are capable of. But how do we do this if we are not equipped with knowledge about raising children? You can gain more respect from your five-year-old, build a stronger relationship with your teenager, earn that much needed trust from your preteen if only you know how.