Monday, May 26, 2014

Parenting without "Punishment"

Terminology is very important. We often, as parents, use the term punishment with our children. They, in turn, use the word and think of whatever they face in response to incorrect or bad behavior as punishment. However, I realized something about the whole issue and feel it is important enough to write about. It is important to understand the reactions, the reasons, and the process as parents and as children. If we have correct understanding and thinking about how we respond  to our children, we will find ourselves naturally choosing appropriate strategies for their discipline and correction.Inshaa Allah, you can explain to your children as I have explained to mine.

When they do something wrong, the initial reaction from us as parents may vary. If it was something dangerous like playing with the stove/fire, then they might have a smacked hand to instantly make them retreat from the danger. If they do something immoral, like lying, they might have a spanking or be told to face the wall. These are instant deterrents. Actions we take to immediately stop or respond to the incorrect behavior, that are meant to be unpleasant and so make the children refrain from doing it again. These should come with a clear explanation of what wrong action is being responded to and why. For example, "I smacked your hand away to stop you burning it on the stove. You must not reach for the pans or try to touch the fire on the stove, because you will get burned and it will hurt you." So the instant response is a "deterrent."

Some behaviors are only addressed by a deterrent and an accompanying explanation. However, if those deterrents don't work, then parents must look for alternative strategies, such as taking something away from the child that they like each time they repeat the  undesired behavior. This has to be something that is effective for that individual child and their circumstances. If you tell the child they will not be allowed to play in the yard for that day, but they don't like playing in the yard and sit for hours with video games (may Allah protect all our children from that!), then it isn't an appropriate or effective correction strategy. The correction strategy must be based on things that the child will not like or want on a continual basis, to make them stop the undesired behavior.

In addition, there are bad habits or behaviors that may require a more lengthy correction plan. These are called, rectification programs. An example of this would be a child who continually speaks badly or causes fitnah amongst their siblings. That child may be separated from the others for a period of time, effectively cutting off communication until the self control to communicate positively is acquired or put into practice. During that period, it is important to provide them with the tools for rectification such as quotes from the Qur'aan, ahadeeth, and articles or books from scholars that address the behavior(s) to be corrected. It is best to make the rectification program for a short period of time, and then test the waters to see if there is improvement. If not, the program can be extended and further developed or intensified.

Throughout the process of addressing a child's dangerous, undesirable, or incorrect behavior, it is important that you explain what you are doing, advising the child that it is meant to set them right so they will please Allah and have a truly happy and successful life and aakhirah. In using the terms deterrent, correction strategy, and rectification program, you are informing the child of the purpose for your actions and also reminding yourself. You will find that you come up with far more appropriate and effective responses to your child's behavior when you think in those terms. Rather than take a blanket approach of looking at the wall for every offense, you will understand that different actions require different reactions and inshaa Allah find more success in your relationship with your children.

No comments:

Post a Comment

This is a blog about striving for natural living in harmony with the earth. No advertisers please and, if you have something you wish to give a different opinion about, please do it respectfully with the best of manners. That reaps the greatest reward and the best response.