Friday, September 20, 2013

Practical Parenting Advice

Spent a lovely afternoon getting parenting advice from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (a father of 3 children himself, masha'Allah) at ILM Tree . Some of the nuggets I managed to gather from him:

You're not responsible for your children's actions, only for what you teach them (or don't teach them).

Focus on teaching your children adab and akhlaq (manners and etiquette); parents don't emphasize these enough any more. Have adab with yourself before you set out to teach adab -- that means "pausing". Be willing to pause before reacting.

Adab is the capacity to have the appropriate action, attitude, and response in any given situation.

Oftentimes we do more damage by how we react to our children's mishaps. When we lose our temper with our kids, we're still "teaching" them; we're just not teaching them the appropriate reaction to life's adversities and challenges. Our kids are always learning from us.

Criticizing your children is a bid'ah (a blameworthy innovation); it's not from the Sunnah (way of the Prophet). Don't criticize; don't nag. Nagging your children about everything is a good way to guarantee that they don't listen to you about anything. Nagging never works.

Sometimes the correct response is to not say anything.

If you want to know how to raise teenagers, look at the life of Anas (radiAllahu anhu); he lived in the house of the Prophet (salallaahu alaihi wasallam) from the age of 10 to 20. He broke things and made mistakes, but the Prophet (saw) never focused on whatever Allah had already destined; he never shamed Anas (rA) for his mistakes. He only focused on gentle teaching and gentle reminders. (i.e. "Did you take care of that task I asked you to do?" rather than "Why haven't you done what I asked you to do yet?! How many times do I have to remind you?!")

Children who have not yet attained the age of puberty are not held accountable by Allah (swt) even if they commit murder (God forbid), so who are we to freak out on our kids for "little things" like spilled milk?

When the Prophet (saw) saw another young sahabah (companion) eating greedily from all over a plate, he gently told him, "Say Allah's Name before eating; eat with your right hand; and eat from what is in front of you." He didn't criticize him for his (lack of) manners; he only told him the correct way to eat and then moved on.

We are not police officers or judges when it comes to our children; rather, we should be like shepherds -- we should try to gently guide them in the direction of where we want them to eventually end up.

Complaining about your children to friends is blameworthy; however, consulting with ppl who have wisdom and experience is praiseworthy. Don't talk to just anyone about you r concerns regarding your children.

When asked about getting kids to pray or to wear the hijab, he reminded us that Islam is not about do's and don'ts and a bunch of rules; it's about the heart. We need to teach kids to have hearts that are directed towards pleasing their Lord. They should desire on their own to live lives of taqwa (God-consciousness). We must model taqwa for them by how we live our own lives. Some children may need gentle nudges and reminders to do the right thing.

All virtues are virtuous; anything virtuous should be taught to and emphasized for BOTH genders (like modesty and lowering the gaze and gentleness). Boys should not be shamed for being shy. Shyness is praiseworthy.

Prayer should be a pleasant experience for the kids. He talked about his own children taking turns saying their personal duas aloud after prayer time; sometimes the kids would fall into hugging and wrestling on the prayer mat afterwards.

Teach kids about the Prophet Muhammad's (saw) life.

Remind yourself about what your parents did RIGHT.

Don't become self-satisfied and overly confident in your parenting.

Seek Allah's Pleasure through your own parenting, and facilitate for your children to seek Allah's Pleasure as well.

Aim high in both spiritual and worldly matters. Do dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and call on Allah for Help. Don't just ask that He make your kids into good Muslims; ask Him to make your kids from amongst the best and most virtuous of all Muslims ever. Trust in Him to answer your duas. Nothing is impossible for Allah.

Hina Mukhtar


Saba said...

Thank you & jazaakAllah for posting another beautiful and useful piece of advice on parenting. Salaam.

Saba said...

Thank you & jazaakAllah for posting another beautiful and useful piece of advice on parenting. Salaam.

Anonymous said...

Beyond amazing...I truly needed to read this..jazakAllahul khair