Control Your Temper With Your Family This Ramadan
Do you sometimes expect your children to control their behavior when you have not controlled your own? Feeling regretful and miserable because you lost your temper and yelled at your kids earlier in the day doesn’t make us feel very good about ourselves. Deep down we know we are being hypocritical, and so do our kids.
Parents are not perfect, and neither are children, and it is quite normal to react negatively when you’re feeling challenged. In the month of Ramadan particularly, we feel stressed. That’s not how it should be, but that’s often the reality. Fasting, functioning on very little sleep, trying to keep on top of our regular jobs, work, household duties, care for, nurture, and educate our children, plus trying to increase our ibadah can make us feel like we are drowning.
Much of this we do to ourselves – we set the standards so high for everything that we do that we end up snapping under the crazy pressure. Our homes do not have to be immaculate and perfectly Ramadan-themed. Our meals do not have to be highly complicated, and we can cut ourselves some slack on what we feel is expected of us. Because the only ONE who really matters this blessed month is Allah subhana wa ta’ala.
The month of introspection, abstinence, restraint, compassion, and generosity becomes a month of exhaustion, endless cooking, and shopping, and what remains are flustered parents and whiny children, making the conditions ripe for someone to get upset and start yelling (hint, it’s not usually the kids).
What can you do?
Learn to recognize your triggers, and develop a plan to implement when you feel your temper rising.
1. Make Wudu
Follow the example of Rasul’Allah and make wudu, for it extinguishes the fire of rage.
Narated By Atiyyah as-Sa’di : AbuWa’il al-Qass said:
“We entered upon Urwah ibn Muhammad ibn as-Sa’di. A man spoke to him and made him angry. So he stood and performed ablution; he then returned and performed ablution, and said: My father told me on the authority of my grandfather Atiyyah who reported the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) as saying: Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution.”
2. Change your position
If you are standing, sit. If you are sitting, lay down, and if you are laying down, stand up.
Narrated By AbuDharr : The Apostle of Allah (pbuh) said to us:
“When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down.”
3. Seek Refuge with Allah
Narrated By Sulaiman bin Surd : While I was sitting in the company of the Prophet, two men abused each other and the face of one of them became red with anger, and his jugular veins swelled (i.e. he became furious). On that the Prophet said:
“I know a word, the saying of which will cause him to relax, if he does say it. If he says: ‘I seek Refuge with Allah from Satan.’ then all is anger will go away.” Somebody said to him, “The Prophet has said, ‘Seek refuge with Allah from Satan.”‘ The angry man said, “Am I mad?”
4. Remind Yourself
Say, I am fasting, I am fasting, I am fasting,” in a low voice, but loud enough for others to hear you.
“Fasting is a shield, so the one who fasts should avoid obscene speech and ignorant behavior. If someone abuses him or starts to fight with him, he should reply by saying: I am fasting, I am fasting.”
5. Practice The Pause
Take a deep breath and pause. Count to ten slowly.
Close your eyes and fast forward 10 years and ask yourself if this will matter? Putting things into perspective helps snap us back to reality and realize that we really don’t need to sweat the small stuff.
Learn to give yourself few minutes to calm yourself and more importantly, let your kids see you taking steps to calm yourself and bring yourself back from the brink of losing your cool. They learn a great deal from watching you, and if they are still not old enough to show self-control on their own, they will subconsciously model the steps that you are taking to calm themselves when they need to.
Remember that the goal is improvement, not perfection. It’s okay to tell your kids that you’re taking a quick break for yourself when you need to calm down.
When you have calmed yourself and you return to your children in your normal happy state, be sure to apologize if you need to. Saying something along the lines of:
“I’m sorry I yelled at you at dinner time. It wasn’t fair to blame you for knocking over the cup of water. I know it was an accident, so next time we’ll clean it up together, okay?”
By apologizing, you create a connection and a feeling of closeness and trust with your child. In this atmosphere, you can work together to find solutions, instead of playing the blame game. Using your own mistakes as opportunities for learning can be a really powerful way to teach your kids about emotional growth.
They will understand that we are all learning, that nobody is perfect, and we are all just taking it one day at a time.