Ask anyone. He or she might have a reason to believe that his or her parents showed favouritism toward their sibling. Or that the parents didn’t really treat their children equally.
Ok, not everyone feels this way. The real favourite one may not think so.
But many people do.
Our religion, Islaam, is all about fairness and justice. Then how come Muslims themselves feel like their parents haven’t been fair?
Could it be because we take this responsibility of parenting too lightly?
Or, could it be because we don’t care about the principles in our deen when it comes to children?
Or could it be because many of us don’t know?
Many behavioral problems in children stem from children believing that their parents treat them differently. They may even feel like their parents love and care for their sibling more.
And, as with any problem, we look to what Islaam has to say about this matter. Because life tips from the Quraan and Sunnah don’t expire; Islam is universal, for all times and all people.
And the bottom line is:
We should treat our children equally in all aspects of life: when we gift them and even when we punish them. And, we should also give them equal opportunities for education and other benefits.
How should parents treat their children equally?
1. Gift similar gifts to all your children.
If you don’t gift your children equally, you could cause resentment amongst your children.
When a man told the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that he had given a gift to his son, the Prophet asked him if he had given something similar to all his children. The man said, ‘No.’. Then the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) told him to fear Allaah and treat his children equally. And the man had to go back and take back his gift.
2. Don’t show preference for one child above the others.
Showing preference to or loving one child more can lead to envy and hatred among siblings.
The story of Yoosuf (alayhis salaam) attests to this. His brothers plotted against him to earn the favour of their father. We have many lessons to learn from this.
3. Be fair when it comes to punishments.
Children are innocent. They have limited knowledge of the world around us and they need our guidance. That’s exactly why we need to prevent and correct their misbehavior with words. And… sometimes, action.
Punishments aren’t a bad thing. They are used to teach children right from wrong, and to help them learn how to behave appropriately. However, some punishments are more effective than others. For example, taking away privileges such as their iPad or toys teaches children that certain behaviors will result in negative consequences.
In some cultures, though, parents may treat their boys more harshly than they treat their girls. And this is not acceptable. Allah’s punishments don’t favour the boys more.
See, when Allaah talks about the punishment for the male thief and the female thief and the adulterer and the adulteress, aren’t the punishments the same?
And sometimes, parents tolerate some of their son’s misbehavior that they may not tolerate from their daughter. This, again, is problematic.
What underlying message are we conveying to our children by treating them like this? That Allaah prefers one gender over the other? That His rules can be bent whenever?
4. Give them equal opportunities.
Giving everyone an opportunity to succeed is one of the most important things we can do as parents. We should make sure our children have the same chances of success.
What do you think about enrolling one kid in a sky-high-quality school, whilst enrolling the others in some mediocre, who-cares-about-the-quality school?
With relationships between siblings falling apart all around us,
Do we have to be the flicker behind the flame that burns their relationship down as well?
Won’t it be better for them and us if we treated them equally?
Also, while you’re here, make sure to check out this FREE 30-Day Islamic Parenting Checklist.
If we were allowed to invent holidays, today would be International ‘I-know-you-want-this-FREE-Checklist because-you-want-to-be-a-proactive-thriving-parent, so-just-check-it-out’ Day.
But because we aren’t, I simply recommend you check this simple, yet powerful checklist out! It has gentle reminders and hands-on tips focused on quality interactions with your children.