A brilliant example of how parenting respectfully works.

connection validation Jul 29, 2022

Here’s something I shared when I was in Pakistan last year. I was there with the kids and Eisa is very close to my dad and my dad insisted that he sleep with him. So pretty much- he slept with my parents for a whole month before this happened.... ******

Tonight was rough, y’all.

Eisa has been sleeping with my dad since we got here (1.5 months) and I feel really bad for my dad because it’s not really his age or stage to be dealing with young kids. He’s been very gracious about it ah but today he mentioned to me that Eisa has been waking up multiple times a night (he hasn’t been well) so I told Eisa he will be sleeping with me tonight.

All. Hell. Broke. Loose.

“Mama, why do you have to make my life SO hard!” “Mama! You just want to see me sad!” “Nooooooooo!!!!” “Nahiiiiiii!!!” “But whyyyyyy!!!” “Mama! This is just... STUPID!” (New word we’ve picked up lately..)

Right. And with all that. I said, “I’m sorry this feels so hard for you. You’re used to sleeping with papa.. change is hard. Would you like to walk upstairs or shall I carry you?”

“Neither!!” “Never!! I’m never going upstairs!!” “I will keep sitting here!”

Me:”Looks like you need help getting upstairs. I’m going to carry you..” Proceed to carry a very heavy and unhappy 6.5yo upstairs.

Once upstairs, I gave him his PJs which he threw away. At another time I might’ve said I don’t appreciate that but right now, I decided it wouldn’t help. He wasn’t feeling well AND I’d asked him to make a big transition. I just picked up his PJs and said,

“I’m going to help you change.” And I did. He was saying more stuff while I changed him. I kept nodding and changing him. Alright, I decided, we’ll skip brushing teeth tonight because I’ve had a long day and I’m not gonna tackle him again. Ha!

Finally, we get to bed and the storm continues... big tears rolling down his cheeks as he shares more of his big feelings,

“These bed sheets are like cardboard! I’m not even comfortable here! This is HORRIBLE! You just made my life so hard! I only like sleeping with Papa! I’ve never slept in this room.. this is not even my room.. this is so annoying!”

“Yes, I can see how this is hard for you.” I say, trying hard to channel my inner Justin Baldoni. “You’re right, no one likes to sleep in a new room all of a sudden.”

“Well then why are you making me? Why does this need to happen?” Tears still rolling down his cheeks. I took this opening to explain to him how it’s too much for Papa to be waking up in the middle of the night and he needs rest etc. This placates him just a smidgen but he’s not done with me yet!

“Well, this is just horrible! I’m never gonna make you a card ever again!”

Me: “Oh dear.. that makes me sad but I understand why you feel this way right now.”

“I will feel this way FOREVER!”

“I see. Well, you feel what you feel. I understand. I’m sad but I understand. I hope you’ll change your mind. Can I tell you a story? I have a really cool one about Prophet Musa (Moses) that I haven’t told you... there’s three things in it.. a ship, a hidden treasure and a little boy!”

Him: “That’s not even interesting! I only like Papa’s stories!”

Me: “I see. Well how about one of your favorites? Prophet Yusuf being stuck in the well?”

Him: “No!”

Me: “Surah Fatiha or Ayat Ul Kursi?”

Him: “Neither!” (And he normally never sleeps without them!)

Me: “Alright well I’ll say the Fatiha because I’d like you to sleep well even if you’re upset with me.” I proceeded to say it and he listens quietly. I knew he’s fighting me but how much he normally likes hearing it. Sometimes they do that, right? Fight something even though they need it.

The crying has stopped now. The tears have been shed. He’s still mad but the venting has helped. He’s calmer. I see that and take the opportunity to plant a kiss on his forehead. He doesn’t fight me.

Me: “Thanks for letting me kiss you.”


He snuggles closer and is asleep within seconds.

Maybe this will be strange for many to read. Maybe they’ll wonder why I’d let my son “disrespect” me. But as you can see, I set the boundaries for what I wanted him to do and I helped him do it as calmly as I could. As for his words and his feelings? Those are his. I can’t control them and I can’t take them away from him. I can get angry and upset with them, sure. But what would that accomplish?

All of us have moments when we’re not our highest selves. In those moments- we want and need our loved ones to keep hanging on, and not lose it.

In the morning, he woke up and hugged me. He had the glow of a child who is accepted even in the moments when it’s hard to be accepted. And if I can’t be my son’s safe space then who can? ******

This was about 1.5year ago. Eisa is 8 now and every day I marvel at his kind heart and maturity masha’Allah. Every day I see him show me and others real and genuine respect in a million ways.

I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t start respectful parenting until he was 3-4ish so I definitely had to do some repair. He never was much of a hugger when he was little but when every morning he jumps in my bed, throws his arms around me with a big smile and says “mamaaaaaa” like we haven’t met in years- I know something somewhere went right الحمدللہ