By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS
â€œAnd those who believe and whose seeds follow them in faith, to them shall We join their families: Nor shall We deprive them (of the fruit) of any of their works. (Yet) is each individual in pledge for his deeds.â€
When we look at any number of television shows today from Oprah and Dr. Phil, or read practically any parenting magazine, you will see and hear detailed instructions on how to raise a child.
Questions from parents come in the following forms: When I tell my child to be quiet and he/she ignores me, what should I do? When I was growing up parents didnâ€™t have to ask such questions. They just told you one time and that was it. If you ignored them, you would soon suffer the consequences. I was 46 years old when my mother died and up until that day she only had to give me â€œthat lookâ€ and I would get straight.
There is a new generation coming up in the Muslim community. Many of the young have grown up and are starting their own families. This is wonderful and a blessing from our Lord. ALLAH lets us know how important parental leadership is in the above Sura where He says, `if you are a believer and your seed follows you, He will make your journey easy. `
There is only one place where character can be built: the home. If you run your household in an Islamic manner, the chances of your offspring going astray are minimal. Your active positive involvement in your children is crucial in their development. Here are some fundamental principles to consider and go by in raising our children.
Be there for them. Boys and girls need quality time from BOTH parents. As we are well aware, men and women bring different qualities to the family setting and both are necessary. Females are mostly the compassionate, merciful ones. (Rahim). When the child gets a bump on the head or has a runny nose, the mother is usually the one to attend to him. But the father has an important job as well.
Not long ago I had a talk with a man who said his son lacked the motivation to charge into projects and succeed. He just liked to be alone and read. Upon further discussion I discovered that the mother was busy with outside activities and the father worked all the time. The boy had no recreational time with his father. No ball games, no fishing, golf â€“ nothing extra. This was the core of the problem. If we are not active in our childâ€™s life, they may lack motivation to lead a full, well-rounded life â€“ so BE THERE.
Next, Let them be children. Quite often children will have strong feelings about things that seem foolish to us. Let them laugh and have fun. Life is not all straight-faced seriousness. One of the surest ways to have your children go astray is to be too strict with no balance in their lives. In many Muslim families, the children left the religion when they became of age because their parents forced a strict life on them with no compromise. There is a tremendous amount of peer pressure in young people. If you care to look back to when you were a kid, you will remember some of the â€œtough decisionsâ€ you had to make; like what pair of socks to wear`.
Also, Donâ€™t let them push you around. Sometimes children react to discipline with anger and resistance. They feel you are being the meanest, most unreasonable parent in the world. (Remember?). But you must not give in if you know you are right. The children will not respect you for it. Young people want to be disciplined. They find security in knowing there are limits they must live in. That is what causes all this vulgar promiscuity today – parents who are too permissive.
Be balanced in your parenting. Follow the common sense directives of ALLAH and you wonâ€™t go wrong â€“ and neither will your kids.
As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin