Parenting: Helping Children Deal with Their Feelings

The school’s mother circle had our first meeting for the year last Friday. We talked about children feelings (and mommies’ feeling as well 🙂 ). Our discussion was based on Chapter 1 of How to Talk so Kids Will Listen (by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish) and try to apply it based on Khalifah Method Parenting. It was a good sharing that I thought the need of sharing it here as well.

It has been our tendency to immediately react to the children issues or problems by addressing the ‘solution’ first before trying to understand the whole scenario. We don’t usually make any effort to really understand what is actually bugging them, but we offer solutions based on our ‘experience’ and assumptions. We keep forgetting to remind ourselves that our children are also individuals who have their own opinions, feelings and experience things differently as themselves.

In order for us to manage our children correctly, we should learn to manage their feelings accordingly. Being able to manage their feelings, will help us a lot in managing their life. How can we learn to manage them?

Listen to our children, acknowledge our children and their feelings. Do not shut them immediately when they express or wanting to share their opinions with us. Listen to them. Identify what distract us from listening and responding to them the correct manner. What makes us ‘so busy’ and occupied that we couldn’t take time off to listen to our children issues? Yes, sometimes children would just voice out their issues at not an appropriate time, while we were driving, cooking and doing some other chores. But please don’t just shut them immediately. Explain to them ‘I want to hear your problem, but can we talk about it later as I have to finish what I’m currently doing? If I forgot, could you please remind me?’ And, yes, please come back to them. Start treating them as one of an important individual that you have to give your time like other individuals.

Don’t immediately deny our children feeling. Out of habit, we will always deny our children feeling before we really listen to their issues and try to understand the issues. Just as simple as :

“I don’t like my sister.” Our ‘defensive’motherly insticnt would reply “You shouldn’t said that. She is your sister.”

We should learn to únderstand why our children say it in the first place. Would it be just a one-off occasion, or just want to grab our attention or perhaps just in need of a pair of ears to just listen to them? By denying their feelings immediately, we might start an argument with them or they decided not to share their feelings and shut us off immediately.

Being an adult, we should show empathy. Children with empathy will grow up in a very positive and healthy environment and able to understand things and situation better. Children with empathy have higher tolerance with others as compared to those who have none. They would be able to figure out the solutions in most issues as they understand why people react and respond in certain manners.

When listening to children’s problem, give names to their feelings. Just feed them with vocabularies that describe their current emotions so they would understand their own feelings and put the right words in the right context. One can feel so down and stressed out, but one must need to identify was it because of the anger, frustration, upset or just a mellow feeling because of the ‘weather’. Anger might have a lot different level of anger, anger because of betrayals, or feeling upset or many others. Some words might be to ‘bombastic’ and ‘high end for the children, Just feed them when appropriate. Don’t be scared for they would learn better when they understand when to use it at the right time.

Put what has been outlined in Khalifah Method in practice in order to help our children to deal with their feelings:

  1. Incalculate love in parenting
  2. Reinforce the right values, rewards if necessary
  3. Be firm but kind

In helping children to cope with their issues, we can help them understand better by being creative such us describing the whole scenario (visual socialize) and what to expect so they don’t think we are denying them when things happen not as expected, and we should always encourage them to depend on Allah, He gives (or don’t) what’s best for our own benefits.

Mommies, never put our children’s frustration as your frustration. Everything that they are going through is part of their learning in living their life. Love them, truly! Love them much!!! 

Power Word to Teach A Child: APOLOGY

Apology (n) as being defined in the Oxford Dictionary is :

  1. A formal expression of regret at being unable to attend a meeting or social function.

Parents, this is definitely among the words that our children NEED to learn, and use it as often as possible when it’s required. This is definitely one of the power word that not only children need to know, but also adults.

As per my earlier post, children learn the art of achievement and acknowledgement and children entitled to be angry. Children need to master the art of apologizing.

Saying you are sorry isn’t easy for anyone-especially children. Some may not understand why do they need to say sorry and some may refused to do it. This is how nurture comes after nature. Lead by example. As adults, if we are not right, we are not right. We should apologize when the occasion arises. Especially of the wrongs are towards the little ones. By admitting our faults, not that we showed them how it should be done, we will also earn respects from them without us asking.

Children need to learn the value of apologizing. The need to understand why they need to do it voluntarily and how they could offer an apology. Don’t deny me when I said that most of the time, we have to force our children for an apology, which should not be the way.

How can we help our children to say sorry and mean it?Children need to understand these three concepts in apologizing:

  1. Reflect and remorse. They need to understand what act they have committed and why it was not appropriate. By understanding the root cause of the issues, children would be able to evaluate and identify or even justify the mistakes they’ve done. The natural feeling of being sorry for their action will surely stream through then.
  2. Righteousness and repent. Upon understanding, teach them the how they could make amend on the mistakes done. Guide them the right way to say sorry. It’s not supposed to be as easy as saying ‘sorry’and that’s it. Children need to know the correct body language (the eye, the hand and all) and the right words when saying sorry. They need to say it out loud why they are apologizing so that related parties understand and so do themselves. They need to make a pledge to themselves not to repeat the same offense once they offer an apology, be it intentionally or unintentionally.
  3. Recompense and remedy. For the mistakes they’ve made, should they be any physical compensation requires, they need to compensate accordingly. It’s the penalty they are paying even after they showed their regrets and promise not to repeat the offense.
Related image
‘Apology is the first step in correcting wrong.’
-Alveda King-

We do not have to be angry when things happened. It’s not the end of the world. Teach them in the loving manners so they know that we meant well and not to find faults. However, do be firm so that they understand this is serious matter. May our children grow being a responsible person they should.

Power Word to Teach A Child: ANGRY

Achievement (adj) as being defined in the Oxford Dictionary is:

  1. Feeling or showing strong annoyance, displeasure, or hostility; full of anger.
Image result for angry child
‘To be angry is to revenge the faults of others to ourselves.’
– Alexander Pope –

This feeling is unavoidable. Not to adults, be it to children. As parents, we couldn’t stop our children from being angry. However, we can help them to learn how to control their anger. Teach our children that being angry is normal, but it’s important to let go of the things make us angry.

When my son was ten years old, the school headmaster called us for a meeting to discuss on how we could help him with his anger management. He was caught having a tense argument with his classmate that he finally broke down with anger. We were worried but also being defensive ourselves. Only to realize that we have to admit his issue and had to work with him to help him with his anger.

We came up with these:

  1. Parents’communication. We realized we were a bit ‘tough’with him. Being the eldest, we expected him to be ‘perfect’and make no room for mistake. When his anger issue was brought up to our attention, we realized that we had to loosen up and communicate more with him a correct manner.
  2. We introduce him the NARP terms. No Agression, React Peacefully. We told him that there’s nothing wrong of being angry, but how he reacted to his anger that matters. Anger won’t last long, but if he made any move to vent out his anger without thinking, he might regret it in the long term.
  3. We recognized that he needed to vent out his anger. We encouraged him to talk to us, his teachers or anyone his trust. He could even write a journal about it. If he still find no peace after venting out his anger, he might want to escalate this to the person that he’s angry at and discuss in a civilized manner. Discuss when he was not angry, but just express his dissatisfaction.

In Islam, angry is nothing but a lose-lose situation. Nobody is gaining anything from it, and some may get worst by anger.

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The strong-man is not one who wrestles well but the strong man is one who controls himself when he is in a fit of rage.
Sahih Muslim Book 032, 6313

Yes, we do get angry when others step on our toes and cross our ‘boundary’. But as the saying goes ‘ for every minute you remain angry, you lost sixty second of your peace of mind.’ Patience and love are all we need. Angry is a disease that really need special attention. It could turn ugly if we ignore it. Don’t!

Education: To Board or Not To Board

Well, in a week time, the new year will be replacing this year. As for us in Malaysia, the school will welcome back their students.. fuh! finally!  And so, what’s next? By now, parents have already know the direction of their child of which school to go. I would like to talk about boarding school. As we know, as early as thirteen years old, children do have the option to apply for boarding school. Some may look forward for that while others may have some fear haunting at the back of their mind.

From my personal point of view, I would opt for my children to go for boarding school. Nope, not that I want them to go out of my way as early as thirteen years old. O, I still miss my son who is going to be fourteen next year and on his second year in the boarding school. On the other hand, for boys particularly, to be in the boarding school is something that do more good to them than going to the day-school.

hostel life?

I’m listing down, briefly, the pros (in my opinion) of sending our children to the boarding school in Malaysia:

  1. Opportunity: The facilities and the academic exposures are bigger than the day-school.
  2. Great teachers: Most of the teachers are high quality teachers with great motivation wanting to educate the student.
  3. Good company: Surrounding with peers who focus more on studies than entertainment.
  4. Independent: Making their own bed, laundry, routine and all are the life-skills that children in boarding school would pickup faster as compared to their friends who are in the day-school.

On the other side of the coin, parents should also have to know the cons:

  1. Bullying: Yup, it’s ugly and still there.
  2. Money issue: The expenses are more as compared to the public day-school.
  3. The ‘boarding school syndrome’: The feelings of being away from home will make the children tend to isolate themselves and don’t have a close bonding between the siblings.

For whatever, I guess we as parents know best and wanted the best for our children. May they grow up to be a successful person, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Power Word to Teach A Child: ACHIEVEMENT

Achievement (n) as being defined in the Oxford Dictionary are:

  1. A thing done successfully with effort, skill, or courage.
  2. The process or fact of achieving something
  3. A representation of a coat of arms with all the adjuncts to which a bearer of arms is entitled.

In a parenting context, achievement that we need to teach our child is the success in a particular area after exerting great effort. Yes, EFFORT is the root word.

In simple term, achievement is the result or outcome after we reach certain milestones like major exams, graduation, scholarships, job interviews and many more. Achievement are so closely related to being successful. Every parent would always wanted to encourage their children to achieve the best.

As parents, we need to recognize that achievement is a result when all the efforts has been put in place and the outcome is not necessarily be the best grades on paper, but must also complement with other factors.

A great life characters, good values, strong emotional strength and understand every being surroundings would definitely boost flying colours scores in the academic department.

Children need to understand that they need to achieve their specific aims and goals so that they could learn to put their best foot forward. Nevertheless, they also need that to ensure their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual are all balance out in order to achieve their best.

Should our children do not meet our expectation in achieving what they are supposed to achieve, parents should never express your frustration as it would do more harm than good.

“Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement” – Henry Ford –
  • Praise their efforts. They have put their best and it was unlucky that the outcome did not turn up as they wished. 
  • Sit with them and analyse what went wrong. Take the lesson learnt and discuss with them on ways to improve. 
  • Encourage them not to get discourage.  It’s not the end. Plan the strategies to move forward and to achieve success.

Tell them for whatever outcome they are getting, at the end of the day, their effort that counts and that is the greatest achievement one should treasure.

Power Word to Teach A Child: ACKNOWLEDGE

Acknowledge (v) as being defined in the Oxford Dictionary are:

  1. to accept or admit the existence or truth of
  2. to recognize the importance or quality of
  3. to show that one has noticed or recognized (someone) by making a gesture or greeting.
  4. to confirm (receipt of something)

In teaching children about acknowledge is to make them understand the important of showing awareness or express gratitude for someone’s behaviours. Being an adult, we know how pleasant it is to be acknowledged. The same goes to the children too.

Acknowledging the children when they accomplished something, behaving righteously, or just by acknowledging their new dress would definitely one of the way to boost a child’s positive behaviours. By providing them positive feedback an encouragement is crucial in developing their social-emotional learning.

Acknowledge shows presence. As much as we are aware, children as young as babies up to the teenagers, do crave attention. Take this word by heart. Acknowledge our children. Encourage them to acknowledge others too. This would definitely help them in building good self-characters.

On the other hand, children also need to understand to important to acknowledge mistakes, too. By acknowledging mistakes, one should correct the, learn from them and move on with bearing in my mind not to repeat the same mistakes. Acknowledge mistakes and weaknesses is not something bad. It is for one good.

In a laymen term. acknowledge is to accept oneself. By admitting oneself, an acknowledgement should be an aid for self-improvement.

In my religion, acknowledge the intention of wanting to do something is the root of the faith. Acknowledging that Allah is the Only God and Prophet Muhammad PBUH is His Last Messenger is a mandatory to all Muslims. By acknowledging the facts, one should ensure one is compliance to all the rules and requirements based on what is uttered.

Acknowledge is a strong word. It recognize, motivate, inspire and also reward oneself.

Words

Can we imagine life without words? Even the deaf find their own ways with words. Sometimes, I do envy them for I’m sure their words are so discrete and intimate that could actually make us, with vocal words speechless, just watching their body language and responses. Deep, indeed!

‘No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world’- Robin Williams

Words have power. Words create humans, relations, cultures, worlds and all. And that’s why, we just to be extra careful with words, our words. We won’t know when we will have to ‘eat’ them, with our without our wills.

From the Oxford Dictionaries site, states that
“In the Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, published in 1989, contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as sub-entries.”

O my words!

In my religion, words have its own values and significance to everyone. The Holy Quran reminded the Muslim to use words at its best:

Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it). (Qaf 50:18)

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH also has preached and reminded his followers to ‘watch out’ with the words uttered. Abu Hurayrah relates that God’s Messenger, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said: “Whoever believes in God and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent.  And whoever believes in God and the Last Day should show hospitality to his neighbour.  And whoever believes in God and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest.”[1] This hadith stressed out the qualities in one’s faith; speak good or remain silent, be good to your neighbours and be good to your guest.

Good words are power words that motivates a person, shapes great characters, creates positive auras and respects. Therefore, teaching your children with the good and right words, with the correct tone while not denying oneself’s to have his or her opinions would definitely be something that benefits our children in growing up.

Yes, too much words can kill one’s credibility too. In teaching our children the words of success, we must keep on stressing that for whatever, never talk the walk if they can’t walk the talk. Great words complement great attitudes, which definitely the ulterior aims for each of us in living a successful life, hopefully.