My 3-Year-Old Daughter Walks on Her Toes!

29 May, 2021
Q My daughter walks on her toes most of the time. Initially, toe walking was quite rare, but recently it has increased.

When asked to walk normally, she does sometimes, but while not concentrating, she goes on her toes. I am tired of telling her to walk properly.

She has become quite defiant these days. Sometimes -maybe out of jealousy- she hurts my 3-month-old son. I try my best to control myself, but sometimes I yell at her or spank her.

Is it OK to punish her physically if she is not obeying even after explaining to her many times?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Dedicate some time for your daughter when the baby is asleep.

•Try to tell her how her brother really loves her; bring her presents and tell her that her brother brought them.

•Don’t physically punish her if she tries to harm her brother.

•Engage with her in physical and emotional development activities.

•Read her stories especially about baby animals and how they need care and affection from the elder.

•Encourage her to give care and love to her baby brother.

•When she walks on her toes again try to talk to her and give her incentives such as stars or stickers when she does not do this.


As-salamu`alaykum,

Thank you for entrusting us with your question. We ask Allah Most High to guide us all to the straight path.

I think that your daughter is simply trying to attract your attention by doing things like walking on her toes.

Seeking attention

Let’s flash back to the time before her brother came on board. She must have been the baby in the family and she was therefore getting all of her parents’ attention.

Now it has all changed; there is a new baby who is stealing all the attention from her.

She does not know why and she can’t justify such a diversion. She also does not know how to regain and retain your attention and affection.

I am not suggesting that you are not affectionate to her, but we have to think from her perspective. Also why she feels jealousy towards her baby brother.

Sometimes we (parents) expect a sudden growth or maturity in our children when a new baby arrives as the older is regarded to have grown up.

My 3-Year-Old Daughter Walks on Her Toes!- About Islam

A new sibling

We expect too much of our children just because they don’t seem to be young enough anymore as we compare them to the new baby, making us expect a lot from them.

This may cause confusion to the children and consequently leave them unsure of what to do or how to act in different situations to avoid our disapproval or comments.

Regarding physical punishment, it should come as a last resort and when there is no other way of getting your point across and also when the child’s actions justify such punishment.

You need to ask yourself if you would have punished her physically if she did the same thing before her brother was born.


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Here are some tips you can follow with your daughter:

1-Dedicate some time for your daughter when the baby is asleep or does not need your close presence.

2-Try to tell her how her brother really loves her; bring her presents and tell her that her brother brought them.

3-Don’t physically punish her if she tries to harm her brother, as this may aggravate the situation further and create a big gap between her and the baby that will be much harder to amend in the future.

Instead, tell her that he will not try to harm her because he loves her very much; that he is and will be protective of her; and that he cries because his sister whom he loves hits him.

4-I strongly advise you to engage with her in physical and emotional development activities such as craft work (lick and stick), coloring, clay and play dough, etc.

5-Read her stories especially about baby animals and how they need care and affection from the elder, and encourage her to give care and love to her baby brother.

6-Ask her to prepare some drawings for her brother and put them in his cot or close to it so that she feels that she does something for him.

7-When she walks on her toes again try to talk to her and give her incentives such as stars or stickers when she does not do this.

Finally, pray to Allah Most High to give us guidance and steadfastness in His path. Also to give you success in your endeavors with your family.

Salaam

***

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About Hwaa Irfan
Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.