Parenting is super challenging. Some years ago when my daughter was packing for her school camp, I began bombarding her with questions…Have you labelled this? Have you packed this? Have you packed that? Why do you need headphones, can’t you just look at the stars and not listen to music…It’s camp, not a concert! Do you have to swim in the lake? What about crocodiles? And the bushwalk…what about the reptiles and spiders?”
She literally had to march me out of her room and say to me: “I will talk to you when you calm down and behave yourself.” I thought, hang on a minute, this is what I used to say to her when she was little. Oh how the tables have turned, I realised.
Reflect on your own relationship with your child/children. Do you ever feel that your worries are governed by your own fears and that at times you project those fears on your child?
Your child is not you. Your child has his/her own preordained path, bestowed upon him/her by Allah. No matter how much you try to impose your own fears on your child, understand one thing…your child will either absorb your fears and live life with inherited fears or your child will completely reject your fears, plus all the other good advice you may give, because he/she will find it easier to rebel than to conform to your fears.
So why do we impose our fears on our children? Our fears too have been inherited from other people around us. Somewhere cocooned inside us lives a child yearning to blossom into a fearless butterfly.
When you are able to address your own fears and parent your inner child to overcome those fears, you will fearlessly fly out of that cocoon, a butterfly who surrenders to the preordained path that Allah has put you on. Until you parent your inner child, you will struggle with parenting your child. It’s a daily practice.
Below are some steps you can implement if you feel the constant need to control your child:
1. Catch yourself when you are asking your child too many questions. Stop.
2. Reflect on the questions that you are asking your child.
3. If your questions are concerns, what are you concerned about?
4. If your questions are fear-based, what are you fearful about?
5. Identify your fears and concerns.
6. Sit with your child and express your fears and concerns using the phrases “I am fearful that…” or “I am concerned that…” Doing so will show your child that these are your fears and concerns and not your child’s.
7. Hug your child and tell him/her that you trust Allah to keep him/her safe and well.
8. Thank Allah for making you aware of your fears and
concerns instead of imposing them on your child.