Book Review : Discipline Without Disrespecting by Grandma Jeddah
by Juli Herman
From disciplining toddlers to teens, Grandma Jeddah shares her wise advice and tips for Muslim parents in her e-book Discipline Without Disrespecting. A mother of 11 children, grandmother of 13, and over 30 years of teaching in Al Madinah School in Los Angeles, Grandma Jeddah has years of experience with children. In this e-book, she has compiled parenting tips and advice from the Quran and Sunnah and also various parenting books, as well as advice with regards to special needs children.
As she mentioned in the beginning of the book, most Muslim parents inherited their parenting techniques from their own family culture. This means that spanking, screaming, yelling and saying “Because I said so!” are typical occurrences in the house. Muslim parents are thus faced with the challenges of wanting to raise good Muslim children based on the Quran and Sunnah. However, we have to admit that the Quran and Sunnah among Muslims nowadays are mostly overshadowed by cultural practices that may not be Islamic. Interestingly, we most often find that our non-Muslim counterparts actually practice the sunnah in their parenting techniques. This is where Grandma Jeddah has taken the good from non-Muslim sources and combined it with the Quran and sunnah along with her own experiences in order to help Muslim parents parent our future ummah with character that befits the ummah of Muhammad salllaahu alayhi wasallam.
Parenting books that gloss over theories without providing specific examples in real life situations aggravate me. So, when Grandma Jeddah provides ample dialogue examples in different situations, including example of the wrong and right way to direct a conversation with a child, I was hooked. The techniques used are adapted from Faber and Mazlish’s book series How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk, which Grandma Jeddah mentions, but what I personally love about these is that the situations she presents feel more relevant to Muslim families, even if the only difference is typical Muslim names. I feel that specific examples like these give a sense of “Hey, this is really applicable,’ to Muslim parents who may have never been parented in this way, and thus need more guidance even down to how to direct a conversation with their children. In addition to this, are the constant reminders of our prophet’s character in every chapter in this e-book. If you’re reading and wondering, “Why do I have to go through all this trouble to treat my children this way when my old way works just fine, because after all, I turned out fine!” these reminders will remind you why; this is the character taught by Allah and His messenger saw.
Grandma Jeddah also includes sections for special needs children, which makes this e-book somewhat comprehensive in nature. Just the fact that this section is included gives a feeling of inclusion for those families who have special needs children. That in itself says a lot about the book and its author.
Sometimes, when reading parenting books, I feel despair because everything just seems to highlight my own faults in being a parent, and I would feel like I have damaged my own children all these years. Not so with this e-book. Lovingly, Grandma Jeddah includes a section on troubleshooting, which I have never before seen in any parenting books I have read. Raising children is a learning process, and so you make mistakes, a lot of them! Many times, you may feel like you have implemented the parenting techniques advised by many parenting books, but they don’t seem to work. In apt foresight which I am sure stems from experience, Grandma Jeddah includes this troubleshooting chapter, which gives you further help beyond just dishing out parenting techniques. Just right after this chapter, she also includes a chapter on handling stress for parents. Surely, it’s stress that drives parents to act illogical. Just as it’s important to be mindful of why their children are behaving in certain ways (which Grandma Jeddah has allocated a chapter for) it’s also crucial that parents are mindful of why they behave in certain ways with their children.
As a result, as I reach the conclusion of this e-book, I don’t get the feeling that I’m being chastised or are just being told what to do with my children. Rather, I can feel the gentle and wise advice of a mother and grandmother who not only cares about my children’s well-being, but also mine. This is definitely a parenting book I would keep in the reference section of my home library, to be revisited again and again when I am in need of reminders, advice, and support.