Parenting is not one huge thing; parenting is a million little things. Parenting your children is ONE huge RESPONSIBILITY, ONE huge TASK, which comprises of hundreds of aspects. Some of these aspects are more important and more deserving of attention when compared to others. For example, a child’s physical well being is more important than his grades.
In my view, a child’s emotional well being and emotional stability, or call it personality building, is the most important aspect when it comes to parenting. “Why”, you may ask? Parenting focused on emotional stability helps foster honesty, kindness, cooperation, and cheerfulness. It helps protect children from developing anxiety, depression, eating disorders, antisocial behavior, alcohol and drug abuse. Spirituality is directly connected with emotional stability. The more you make your children learn the deen, the more you can expect emotional maturity from them.
Here are some quick tips to help you raise emotionally strong children.
1. Treat your child with respect. Speak to him politely. Respect his opinion. Pay attention when he is speaking to you. Treat him kindly. Children treat others the way their parents treat them. Your relationship with your child is the foundation for his relationships with others. If you treat him harshly, don’t blame him when he will treat the world the same way.
2. The single most important thing you can do for your children is to let them know you love them. The more you make them feel adored and appreciated at home, the more better they can handle the adversities of life. If you want your children to never give up in life, the trick is simple – love them, boost their confidence. Instead of criticizing them for their faults and using negative remarks, say something more positive like, “I know that’s not your best effort. I’m sure you can do better.”
3. Give them big targets to achieve in life. Don’t limit them to small aims like “getting married” or “getting a decent job”. Make them aakhirah-oriented and always motivate them by saying “Do this so you can attain Allah’s Pleasure” or “You need to study hard so that you can understand your deen better.”
4. Always be kind to them, but know where to be kind and where to be firm. Misusing kindness can spoil them. Not waking them up for fajr salaah because they are tired is not kindness. If you want your child to have good manners, then raise your bar and improve yourself first. Children love to imitate their parents. Give them something wonderful to imitate. Make a conscious effort and plan it out with your spouse to use soft speech at home. Cut out all sort of vulgar slangs. There should be no lying, no immodest clothing, etc.
5. Make them strong by teaching them to trust Allah. You can even begin this with preschoolers. Look at this profound hadith:
On the authority of Abu Abbas Abdullah bin Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “One day I was behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) [riding on the same mount] and he said, “O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah [alone]. And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.” 1
6. ‘You’re so lazy, irresponsible and clumsy.’
The labels you use can have a massive and a long lasting effect on your child’s mind. Sometimes kids overhear us talking to others: “He is very irrational and angry at times.” Young children believe what they hear without questioning, even when it’s about themselves. They internalize what labels you give them. Kids who only hear negative comments from their parents have a hard time believing that they can do anything good. You need to highlight and accentuate the positive habits that they have. Research has shown that the more positive traits a young person knows about himself, the more resilient he will be when facing difficult situations.
If the parent mostly makes positive actions, the child will perceive the parent as loving. The ideal positive-to-negative ratio is 80 to 20. Meaning, for every four positive actions a parent does towards his child, he can afford to make one negative one. For example, three hugs and a kiss, earns you one light scolding. If you make more negative actions and less positive ones, your child starts to look at you as an unloving parent.
Bottom line: Children are an amanah — huge trust handed over to us by the Creator Himself. We cannot fool around with this responsibility. What are your thoughts about this article? Please share with is in the comments section below. 🙂
About the Author:
Zaynub Zafar is a graduate in Sociology who has done Taleem ul Quran course from Al-Noor International, Institution of Islamic Education and Research, in Lahore, Pakistan. She writes articles for various websites and blogs, including the Youth Club. Her main focus is Aqeedah, from the works of Shaykh Saalih Al Munajjid, Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen and Dr. Yasir Qadhi. She also writes on various social evils.
- Haadith number 19, 40 a haadith by Imam Nawawi ↩