In this counseling answer:
“Having a good relationship with his grandparents and other relatives will encourage your child to develop social skills and reduce “stranger anxiety,” which is normal for his age. As long as they are not spoiling him, I think they show him the affection he needs. Keep the expression of sympathy, calmness, and love on your face; this helps him to feel calm and secure.”
May Allah bless you and your little son. Al-hamdu lillah that He granted you with this gift of children and that you are a mother.
This means that Paradise is at your feet, as our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Paradise is at the feet of the mother.” To earn Paradise it is very important to carry a great responsibility in raising him physically, emotionally, religiously, and morally. So you have to understand your child and why he’s acting this way.
First of all, don’t panic or get frustrated. He is just a child and you can still instill manners in him. Children are just like soft dough in our hands: We shape them, so decide first what you want him to be: pious, intellectual, responsive, balanced, a real man? or just another person? You will realize that raising a good Muslim is indeed very difficult. It is not shaping a statue or building a house; it is building a human soul, and that requires patience, wisdom, faith, and knowledge. Then, you should know the tools of raising a good child and these tools are not built on reactions (“If you do this I’ll do that”). We mean to guide him, not terrorize him.
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Here are some guiding points for you:
•Your sweet little baby has grown up into a toddler, entering a world of boundless energy, curiosity, independence, and negativism. He is indeed a whirlwind of activity. He may lack a sense of danger or fear. Your youngster will try to climb up on furniture, touch everything, or put his fingers in electrical sockets. And you have “Mr. No!” at home.
•Your child will begin to experience some frustration. He will get upset when he cannot do what he wants or when he does not have the ability to do something. A child at this age will try crying and screaming to get his way, and such protests may become full-blown temper tantrums, throwing himself to the ground and holding his breath.
•If he throws himself to the ground don’t rush to pick him up. Use the two I’s of discipline (ignore or isolate) rather than the two S’s (shout or spank). Ignore him and look to the other side, or isolate him from his toy and be patient until he gets up by himself. Try to make a verbal separation between the child and his behavior (“I love you, but I do not like it when you throw yourself to the ground and shout.”)
•Always remember that our children reflect our behavior, and toddlers are great imitators. That is, anxious mother, anxious child; shouting mother, shouting child; and calm mother, calm child. So show affection in the family and be a good role model.
•Praise the child when he is behaving well, for example, when he stops shouting, obeys your orders, or eats by himself. You may take him out or repeat your encouraging and praising words, hug him and kiss him. Parents should repeat saying “And you stopped crying, and you did that all by yourself!” The 18-month-old child is highly pleased by parental approval. And this teaches him that good manner brings happiness.
•Keep rules to a minimum. Long speeches of explanation are completely useless. “Because I said so!” should be enough.
•Despite your child’s desire to become independent, you will find that the 18-month-old will still cling to a parent, so it is OK to carry him sometimes but not always, and not when he shouts, but when he well behaves. Then slowly engage him in another activity to replace carrying him.
•Read simple stories to the child regularly, especially at bedtime. Use picture books to enrich his verbal expression and sing to your child simple children’s songs. These easy things strengthen your bond with him, increase his interest in the spoken language and his listening skills, and increase his attempts to please you.
•Play with him, simple, appropriate games such as naming body parts and imitating adult activities like housework. Encourage your toddler to play alone, as well as with playmates, siblings, and parents.
•Limit television viewing and do not use the TV as a “baby-sitter.” Bonding between you and your son is more life-sustaining than bonding between your son and the TV.
•Remember that aggressive behaviors — hitting and biting — are common at this age. They are, of course, not acceptable behaviors. How parents respond to them determines if the behavior will continue.
•In other words, be there for him. Sometimes children’s misbehavior is the only way to call their parents to be near them, so spend more time with him without spoiling him.
•By following the above guidelines you will attain a good and firm relation with him, which is a corner stone in disciplining a child.
•And remember, there are types of food that can make children hyperactive and unsettled, such as an excess of sweets, chocolate, and sugar.
•The pregnancy itself is no reason for your child to develop the manners you mentioned, but your behavior can be the reason. Pregnancy may increase anxiety, nervousness, and even depressive mood, and he may be protesting by doing these things. Remember that he needs full care, love, affection, and tarbia (ethical training) even when you are pregnant.
•Having a good relation with his grandparents and other relatives will encourage your child to develop social skills and reduce “stranger anxiety,” which is normal for his age. As long as they are not spoiling him, I think they show him the affection he needs. Keep the expression of sympathy, calmness, and love on your face; this helps him to feel calm and secure.
The real problem will start when you have your second child. You need to read, ask or attend lessons in how to prepare him for having a brother or sister. This will help to minimize his jealously and teach him how to share. His father should strengthen his relation with him by chatting, taking him out and playing with him, as his role will increase when you have your second child.
And I have a whisper in your ears: Please try to enjoy your motherhood. There is a limited time in our life that we are gifted with the blessing of raising little children, and who are the children? They are people walking on earth without sins, those with pure hearts, clear conscience, kind souls. And as Allah says: (Wealth and children are an ornament of the life of the world) (Al-Kahf 18:46)
And last but not least, you should know that there are three main elements in raising a child: your knowledgeable tarbia, your deeds, and Allah’s Will. So we do what we can and make du`aa’ and ask Allah for guidance.
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