How to Guide Children The Right Way
Children are a blessing from Allaah. They are also a test, a responsibility, an amanah. With all the drama about parenting you can find online, it’s easy to get confused, overwhelmed and even feel like giving up. Yes, there are some parents who want to give up once their children become teenagers/adults. But it’s not that simple. Being a parent is forever.
So, how can we make sure to parent and guide them the right way?
We don’t need to make parenting harder than it is. Let’s strip parenting off all the unnecessary, complicated stuff that is holding you back from being the truly awesome parent that you are.
There’s one thing I can say about almost every parent: we cringe when we think about our parenting slip-ups. And we wish we could erase them. But if we didn’t do those messy, early parenting blunders, we wouldn’t be as polished as we are today. So, let’s do damage control, fix what we can, learn from our parenting mistakes and move forward.
Of all the parenting tips out there, if I had to pick one, it has to be duaa.
Duaa can move mountains. Allah says, “When My servants ask you (Muhammad) concerning Me, I am indeed near. I respond to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me. Let them also, with a will, listen to My call and believe in Me, that they may walk in the right way.” [Al-Qur’an 2:186]
No power in the world can have a greater impact on our children than duaa. Because a parent’s duaa is one of those special ones that are accepted, let’s make sure to use this goldmine to the fullest. Whenever you feel like yelling at them, say, “May Allaah guide you and set your affairs straight.”
Even if your child hasn’t reached puberty, teach them to do good deeds. The reward for the good deeds, of course, goes to your child. But you get the reward for teaching and guiding him.
A woman held up a boy and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, will his Hajj be counted?’ He said, ‘Yes, and you will have a reward. (Reported by Muslim, 2378)
This means, that the boy gets the reward for performing Hajj, and the mother gets the reward for taking him for Hajj and guiding him to do good.
You get a reward for teaching not just your children but any and everyone because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever guides others to do good will have a reward similar to that of the one who does it …” (reported by Muslim in his Saheeh, 3509)
So, don’t miss out. Grab your kids and relatives and neighbours and everyone and get them to do good deeds. Nah. Just kidding. But you get the idea.
Teaching should be done, both verbally and through our actions. If we remind them to pray when we ourselves don’t pray, our ‘teaching’ isn’t going to cut it. We need to preach what we practise.
Of course, we are humans and if we wait to teach children until we are ‘perfect’, we are going to be waiting forever. There is no perfect human being. You and I are never going to be ‘perfect’. So, let’s work on our own self-development and fix our basics as well so that what we preach/teach carries weight.
Despite our best intentions and actions, being human means that sometimes we are going to mess up. (If you’re some sort of alien, you might be exempt from this. Jk.) We might lose patience with our children and yell at them or we might say something rude that hurt their feelings.
When we do mess up, we need to acknowledge it, take responsibility for our actions and words and seek their forgiveness. These actions won’t depreciate our value as a human, in any way. In fact, such actions elevate us and make us humble, better people.
It teaches our children that nobody is perfect and that our ego means nothing when it comes to doing the right thing. Through such an experience, children learn that even if they mess up, it’s not the end of the world; they can do what they can to rectify/fix the situation. Let’s turn every negative situation into an opportunity to learn from and teach our children.
We also need to ponder over our behaviour as parents. Our children hold us in very high regard. What can we do to maintain that image they have of us? How can we not let them down again? What would Allaah want us to do? How would He want us to behave?
While you’re pondering,