Reflection on Family Scripts and Parenting Exercise

Before doing this reflective exercise, you may find it helpful to read the article ‘Re-Writing Muslim Family Scripts’ Here.

You can then select a question or statement from below and spend some time reflecting on it. It may help to write as you reflect in something such as a notebook or journal.

Please do look after yourself and if you had a difficult childhood or are currently struggling, then it may be preferable to seek the support of a trusted confident or a mental health professional who will be able to help you work through and process any traumatic memories in a safe way InShaAllah.

♥ What family traditions do you repeat with your own children/family that you yourself experienced as a child? Make a list of positive and/or negative parenting practices that you recognise you have adopted from your own parents.

♥ Is your approach to disciplining your child the same as how you were disciplined or is it different? If different is it ‘corrective’ or in reaction to how you were parented or is it based on new learnings such as from a parenting course?

♥ Can you identify where you try and  ‘correct’ your parenting in response to how you were parented?

♥ What messages did you receive as a child about different emotions? How to do respond or react to your child’s emotions?

♥ Do you give affection to your child in the same way as you received affection as a child, or in a different way?

♥ Think of key child development milestones e.g. 1st day at school, puberty – what feelings come up for you?

♥ Are there things about your child that trigger you, make you frustrated, angry etc? Does your response/reaction remind you of anyone/anything from your childhood?

♥ Can you identify any stuck, rigid parenting pattens? (I do this because my parent did this/my culture does this)

♥ Select a parenting attitude/belief you have, and reflect on where this message came from (e.g. children should be in bed by 7pm, bedtimes don’t matter and children should be able to fall asleep whenever they want, children should be quiet, children should be allowed to make as much noise as they want, boys shouldn’t cry, childcare is the duty of the mother, etc )

♥ What cultural approaches to parenting can you identify either in your parents or in yourself as apparent? Are these helpful or unhelpful? Are they congruent with Islamic teachings?

♥ Can you think of a time when you parented or responded as a parent in a way that felt creative, spontaneous, and new?

♥ Are you adapting your parenting to the current challenges faced by your children or are you drawing on practices that you inherited from your parents and previous generations?