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Intelligent, But Not Interested

24 May, 2022
Q As-salamu `alaykum. My seven-year-old daughter sometimes studies well, but she is interested in playing and talking. The problem is that she continually repeats the same things she has been asked not to do. It appears that she enjoys teasing us by doing forbidden things. We believe she is very intelligent, but she does not show interest in school and Qur’anic studies. In contrast, my son is quite the opposite. We are quite worried about how to make her focus on the right things. Please advise. Jazaka Allahu khayrun.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Let her help mom to make a nice cake or something easy but delicious. There are many books available that show how to engage children in kitchen work. Praise her for her help, even if it results in some mess, which is the natural outcome of a joyful day in the kitchen.

•Telling stories about dearly loved kids and what was it that made them beloved by their parents, neighbors, friends, and by Allah.

•A small flipchart installed in her bedroom can be divided into the behavioral areas that you want her to improve.

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As-Salamu `Alaykum,

Thank you brother for sharing with us your concerns. Your question is really very important for many of us because we often seem to give the first child a lot of attention, in everything like education, love, care, support, praise, and so on, and we become less attentive with the second child. This results in a decrease in the sense of security and confidence a second/middle child feels.

So, your daughter has developed naughty behavior to attract parental attention, because that is the essence of what your daughter’s action.

Your daughter’s behavior may be a result of praising your son too much, even if it is for a well-deserved achievement or practice. Problems can arise when this happens in her presence, igniting jealousy and ultimately leading to the behavior you described.

•Her age is vital; it is a crucial phase of her development. Kids at that age are very eager to build a distinctive character to that of their siblings which can be seen as another reason for her opposite behavior and attitude to her brother.


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Based on the above, we would like to give you the following advice. Sharing is the key to overcoming the situation you are suffering from. Both you and her mom should participate in her daily life. Here are few techniques that you can apply:

Cooking

Let her help mom to make a nice cake or something easy but delicious. There are many books available that show how to engage children in kitchen work. Praise her for her help, even if it results in some mess, which is the natural outcome of a joyful day in the kitchen. Think about it for a moment what is more important: to avoid having a messed-up kitchen at the end of the day, or stepping one inch towards building a confident, relaxed, and loving personality?

Bedtime Story Telling

Telling stories about dearly loved kids and what was it that made them beloved by their parents, neighbors, friends, and by Allah. One example you may like to begin with is Fatimah Alzahraa (may Allah be pleased with her) and the fact that she was the most favored child of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

Get a Flipchart

A small flipchart installed in her bedroom can be divided into the behavioral areas that you want her to improve. When she does well in any of these areas, then you can tick on the flipchart, or draw a small star, or a smiley face. At the end of the week, or maybe the next day, according to your agreement with her, the stars, (ticks or smiles) are counted and prizes are given according to her achievement.

Please remember:

•Any small achievement and betterment of her behavior must be acknowledged and appreciated.

•Never compare her to her brother. She has a right to her own self-worth.

•Help her to overcome any mistakes as a natural part of the learning process and as a natural part of growing up.

•Do not resort to punishments unless you are 100 percent sure that she knows what she has done is “wrong,” and you have warned her at least five times previously that this act is not acceptable.

Be sure that the act you feel worthy of punishment was done deliberately in the end, be patient with your beloved daughter. Remember, she is a blessing from Allah. Any change in her behavior will take time, but, in sha’ allah, all your efforts, patience, and understanding will be rewarded in the end.

Salam

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