You will inevitably feel anger towards your children in your parenting journey. When you do, try to use this anger to model a very important life lesson, which will be invaluable to them throughout their lives: how to regulate and channel their difficult emotions in a healthy manner. I would argue it is never a good time to offer guidance/discipline when you are angry. I would suggest telling your child you need to calm down, and trying one or as many of the following as you need:
1) Say the isti’aadhah (a’uudhu billaahi minash shaytaanir-rajeem)
2) Make wudu
3) Take some deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth, as many times as you need to
4) Keep telling yourself that this isn’t an emergency (you may likely feel inclined to shout/punish, etc, and feel that you must handle the situation *now* i.e. in the midst of the anger, but this isn’t conducive to guiding your child; you want to calm down and clear you head first, in order to think clearly, and then to thoughtfully and *intentionally* address the situation)
5) If you need to, do a physical activity (hop, skip, do star jumps). These will help you to physically discharge the anger out of your body
6) Sunnah du’a for when you find a situation becoming difficult for you*** [see end of note]
Don’t worry about your child seeing you doing these things; in fact, it is great that they are seeing you do these things as you are modeling healthy anger management.
By employing the sunnah methods of managing your anger, you are also modeling (insha’Allah) that Islam is a *holistic* way of life; that our worship of Allah SWT isn’t confined solely to ritual acts of worship such as salah, and zakah, but rather that we can seek to please and worship Allah by learning to manage and process our difficult feelings, and that Allah and His Messenger SAW guided us in this regard also (by giving us some of the above listed tools).
If you do shout or react in a less than desirable manner (I know I have!), be kind to yourself, forgive yourself and consider apologising to your child. This again is an excellent opportunity to teach a valuable lesson: how to repair our mistakes, which you can model by apologising and explaining that shouting is generally not okay (even if somebody has wronged us; we are still responsible for our actions and our response).
Allah, Most High, describes some characteristics of the righteous who He says will inherit the Garden, as wide as the heavens and earth. Who are these people? What are some of the things that they do? He SWT says that they are those who (amongst other things):
“…*restrain their anger*…” (3:134)
May Allah allow us to raise righteous children who are from the muttaqeen; who have excellent character, and who benefit mankind at large. Ameen.
***Du’a for when you find something becoming difficult for you (transliterated):
Allaahumma laa sahla illaa maa ja’altahu sahlan, wa anta taj’alul-hazna ithaa shi’ta sahlan
(O Allah, there is no ease except what You make easy. If You please, you ease sorrow)
© WAA – AtHomeWithThePrinces, 2015
*Note inspired by a testing (but character building!) afternoon with my toddler prince!
*Points 3 and 4 above are inspired by Dr. Laura Markham’s book: ‘Calm Parents, Happy Kids: The Secrets of Stress-Free Parenting’.