Toxic Parenting: Always giving orders and commands

by | Toxic Parenting Series

We all want our kids to listen to us and do what we ask them to do – the first time! It may be natural to believe that the easiest way to accomplish that is to give orders and issue commands to tell your child what they need to do. After all, we’re the ones in charge, right?

Giving an order IS an effective way to get something done, but the problem arises when this is the ONLY strategy that is being used with kids. Children who only hear commands and orders being given, one after another, from their parents are more likely to push back and act out defiantly.

The truth is that as parents, Allah swt has entrusted us to raise these children to raise them to be capable citizens of the world who can think for themselves. How can our children learn to think for themselves if we are insisting on always telling them what to do for every step of their lives?

Don’t let your days be filled with barking orders to your kids because that’s not how deep connections are forged.

And if there’s not a strong bond based on love, trust, and mutual respect, you’re going to experience problems with your children’s behavior: not listening and back talk, to name just two examples.

The Prophet (pbuh) built trust with children. He (pbuh) wanted to create a relationship built on love and trust with them. Children don’t want endless instructions and commands. they want to run, laugh, play, and they are eager for adults to actively listen and pay attention to them.
[Children Around The Prophet, Hesham Al-Awadi]

Parents who are in the habit of giving orders need to understand that children are wired to resist those orders due to the fight/flight/freeze response in their brains and that resistance will show up as misbehavior.

If your child regularly talks back, know that you are likely engaged in a power struggle with them. The only way to truly resolve this, is to take a hard look at what role you play in creating the power struggle.

The simple truth is that kids don’t respond well to orders. What they do respond to is honest, open, respectful communication.

If you want to see a positive change in your child’s behavior, focus on changing the way that you communicate to your child. Make an effort to invite their opinion, share their ideas, and be genuinely curious.

Your children are not robots – they have their own personalities and thoughts. All they want is to be seen by you – to know that you are interested in what they have to say.

Invite your children to help you with something. Ask for their input and ideas. Offer them choices. These are all amazing strategies you can easily incorporate in your daily interactions.

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Being a drill sergeant parent doesn’t teach kids how to THINK, making them more likely to blindly follow authority regardless of their values.

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.
[Qur’an 16:125]

Allah swt instructed the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to invite others to Islam with hikmah – wisdom.

🌿Wisdom requires patience.

🌿Wisdom requires being just and fair.

🌿Wisdom requires accountability.

🌿Wisdom requires mercy and forgiveness.

It’s highly unlikely that dawah would be achieved if you were simply bossing and ordering others to Islam.

Similarly, children who grow up with parents who are always telling them what to do, will either resist and/or get worn down.

Resistance can be acting out, misbehaving, pushing boundaries, and doing whatever they can think of to try to let their parents know that being told what to do is backfiring and not working.

Even worse, when children are worn down, they become more susceptible to bullies and authority figures who may take advantage of their vulnerability and inability to think for themselves.


How to break the habit of issuing orders to your kids

🌿Take the time to teach your children how to do things for themselves.

🌿Ask your child to help you problem-solve with you.

🌿Take their ideas seriously.

🌿Be respectful.

Kids who live with drill sergeant parents may feel, “My parents want to control me.”

Advise your kids in such a way that they feel, “My parents love me, care about me, and want to help me.”


To learn more effective strategies that you can incorporate with your children that are neither harsh nor punitive, but loving and firm, take our self-paced course, “Bring Positive Discipline into your home.”