Leg of a chained elephant

As we mentioned with the sandwich theory, with children, always separate the behaviour from the person. Never say things like, “I hate you” or “you’re a loser,” “idiot,” “stupid,” “I wish I never had you!” Some of us heard this from our own parents. Are we now our own parents? Are we passing on this disease? This DNA has to be out.

The elephant theory is quite simple: young elephants are trained, with one leg that’s shackled to a cement block. When shackled, they can’t move it no matter what. It forms a psychological block; as soon as the shackle goes on, they surrender. As mature elephants, despite having the strength to rip out the shackle and cement block, they give up when shackled.

Now, you are the most important person in your child’s life. They see you with an “S” on your chest. You’re the world to them. You support them, nurture them, that’s what you do.

So if you care for them, love them, protect them, provide for them, and you’re the one saying “you’re stupid” over and over and over, then they think “well I must be stupid if my own father says I’m stupid.” “My own mother says I’m a loser, I must be a loser.” Then your kids grow, just like the elephant, and even though the grown elephants can destroy the shackle, they give up.

You just destroyed your son or daughter.

Please understand what this is all about. The sandwhich theory and elephant theory, apply them and do the right thing. Don’t be a pushover or doormat, but pick your battles.

May Allah give us the ability to understand and implement this and to keep our children safe from our mistakes and shortcomings (ameen).

Source: AlKauthar Institute: Parenting Matters. Taught by Shaykh Alaa Elsayed. University of Toronto, Toronto, November 2014.