I have a friend whose daughter is three years old. She cries very much to the extent that she burdens her mother and we always advise her to let her cry until she keeps silent by herself, but the girl draws attention in different ways: either by vomit due to frequent crying, involuntary urination, or sleeping. The mother complains a lot of her, especially when she goes out to a public place and the girl wants to buy something, whereas her father rejects to buy it, she cries and kicks.
What is the suitable cure? And what is the explanation of this case? I hope that counselor `A'ishah Al Hikamy would answer this question.
Here I am responding to your call, my dear. May Allah preserve you!
I thank you for your trust, as I thank you for your sincerity and concern about your friend's daughter, may Allah grant you what you wish and more, Amen! Anger is one of most frequent emotions of children in early childhood where the researches of developmental Psychologists in this field revealed that anger reaches its peak between three and four years of age then abates relatively afterwards.
Results showed that girls show tantrums more than boys until three years old then the situation is reversed, and the anger of boys is acuter than girls after three years old. Moreover, the most edgy children are the first and the last child.
F.L.Goodenoufh, the psychological scientist found that crying reaches its peak at the end of the fourth year of age, while screaming reaches its peak at the end of the third year of age, showing the most important aspects of anger in children.
The main reason for a child's crying at this stage is in fact a result of psychological origin, and rarely may not trace back to a physiological origin or sickness where the educational system used with the child at home plays the most prominent role in promoting anger and its manifestations, such as crying and screaming at children.
A child discovers by observation and learning that crying is the easiest way to achieve his demands and cope with his desires, then crying becomes a mean for self-assertion.
When the family responds every time to crying, a child repeats the cry because it finds a reward for its crying instead of punishing it for that.
However, E.B.Hurlick stresses the importance of mental fatigue, sickness, meals times, birth, and the prevailing emotional atmosphere in changing and arousing the anger of a child.
Remedy of the problem:
First, parents should control themselves and their emotions when a child cries and look at the problem calmly and with tolerance away from screaming, shouting, or the method of logical argument, or even trying to calm down the child; all these methods are futile and useless.
Parents should keep to one educational standards upon which both parents agree to follow up during the rearing of their small daughter.
Second, to avoid tantrums and tears before they take place, parents have to consider the following:
1- Make their daughter feel control of her affairs because we have to deal with the girl flexibly with regard to her choice of food, her desire to wear certain clothes, or even sleep at a certain time in some cases.
2- Do not give the child orders that cannot be retracted.
3- Deal with the child with respect as you deal with a grown up person. If the child failed in learning a particular behavior, the mother has to adjust her emotions because the child learns these emotions and behaviors by imitation. A mother should not rebuke her daughter in front of others or hurt her feelings if she missed, but should instruct her by kindness, politeness, and patience.
Third, there are several methods to address children's emotional, of which:
• Divert the attention of the girl to something other than the thing it cries for or giving her an alternative exciting activity. If she is crying for candy, her mother can draw her attention to another child, a car sound, a plane passing near, a painting hung on a wall, or even her favorite bear, and so on.
• Ignoring her during crying and not paying her any attention, but you should give her more attention in times where she behaves well and politely so that she can understand that crying is not a useful mean to draw attentions.
When the mother and her girl are in a public place, she should not meet all her needs if she is deprived of them. She should not feel shame of people's looks because people also have children who also have problems, so do not pay attention at all to the gazes of people, nor to the crying of your girl, and certainly the girl shall be harmonized with the new status because children learn. The mother will need patience and consistency in the method followed in education and all that will end soon, Allah willing.
• Isolate the girl from others and allocate a specific room in the house, a cushion, or a special chair for the punishment of crying, so if the girl starts to cry, the mother should take her there and say to her: "I do not like your voice while crying, you can sit here alone and cry all day long."
If she stops crying, you should hug her at once and tell her that you are happy and proud of her because she stopped crying. However, if she continues crying, the mother should let her alone in the room and leaves until the girl stops crying by herself.
• Recording the crying of the girl and when she starts to cry, her mother plays the record and leaves the room while saying, "We shall see who keeps silent first: you or the one in the record?"
Fourth, invoking Allah frequently for her with guidance. When the mother of Mary begot her daughter (peace be upon her), she said: "And I have named her Maryam (Mary), and I seek refuge with You (Allâh) for her and for her offspring from Shaitân (Satan), the outcast." [Surat Al `Imran: 36]. I have sought refuge with Allah to protect her against Satan as she did with her offspring. Abraham (peace be upon him) said: "O my Lord! Make me one who performs As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and (also) from my offspring, our Lord! And accept my invocation." [Surat Ibrahim: 40]. It has been said that the following Ayah was revealed regarding Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) "till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says: "My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my offspring good. Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims (submitting to Your Will)."" [Surat Al Ahqaf: 15].
Ibn Al Qayyim said in (Tuhfat Al Mawdud bi Ahkam Al Mawlud): "Parents should not pay attention to children's crying and screaming, especially when they need to drink milk if they are hungry because they benefit greatly from that cry. Crying will tame their organs, expand their intestines, open their chest, heat up their head, protect their temper, incite their natural temperature, and stir nature, move the nature, push away their curiosity and the excretions of the brain such as mucus and other."
Long live you, and do not forget me from your invocations.