Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Parenting "Nothing"

Bism Illah

Our children will, at times, raise very pertinent points that bring about thought and rectitude for us as paremts. One such instance was when my daughter said that sarcasm sounded like lying, because you say something that is a lie, meaning the opposite. Very astute, maashaa Allah, and a good reminder for many of us who come from cultural backgrounds where sarcasm is a norm. Children can help us realize that we are still hanging on to habits that have no place in Islam,

Another thing, even more common I believe, is the parenting "nothing." You know, when you are clearly upset, disturbed, or not yourself and they ask what's wrong and you say, "Nothing." Well, yet again, my daughter said that if we ask what's wrong and they say, "Nothing," we tell them off for lying. However, we do the same thing. I gave this some thought and realized this was one of those doors that had opened to improve me, to heal a sickness I had not been aware of. That said, there are many things that we, as parents or as adults in authority, don't want or need to share with our children. They may be inappropriate, untimely, above their level, or simply nothing to do with them. To remedy this, I have changed my response to something more specific. I say, "Nothing that I can share with you right now," or, "Nothing that should concern you,." or even, "Nothing that I want to (or will) talk about because I don't want to speak out of anger." Not only are these answers more complete, they are honest. In addition, they can be used as a platform to model when it is good to remain silent.

While there are some behaviors and actions that must be addressed immediately, often we learn the hard way that it is best to wait until the initial "knee-jerk" reaction time passes and become calm and clear headed before responding. We have practiced this many times and in controlling our immediate reactions, we manage to save ourselves the regret of perhaps speaking or acting out of anger. It also gives us time to formulate a approach or response that will be more effective and bring about positive change, inshaa Allah.

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