ASURU MASHWARA: GOOD PARENTING
The child is the most precious thing that anyone will have. Why? Because he is a trust or “Amaanaath” from Allah SWA. For that matter everything is an Amaanaath because nothing truly belongs to us. We just look after whatever is given to us for a while and then leave it for the others to use or not use in this world. If we looked after that something very well, the others will respect and value it, if we did not, our time with it would have been wasted. If it were truly ours we would have possession of it and we would be able to take it with us to the hereafter. But we cannot.
The child is a very special Amaanaath because that is the resource for the future. With this well-taken-care-of Amaanaath we will leave behind, societies of the future will be built. Did we execute our responsibility of taking good care of the child? Did we shape him or her to the responsibilities of tomorrow?
How did they turn out? Responsible citizens? Caring parents, compassionate spouses, committed teachers and leaders, honest businessmen, brave soldiers, righteous servants of Allah and sincere friends? If we did not, then what will be the plight of tomorrow?
What went wrong? Why did we not instill the necessary qualities of character –responsibility, caring, compassion, commitment, honesty, edge or courage, righteousness, and sincerity? What did we not do as parents for this to be so? Can we point fingers and blame another for our failure to do so? If we did do our job as was commanded, we will have rewards galore in the Hereafter. It is the Promise of Allah SWA.
When we don’t do what is thus expected we find excuses; excuse is the shield of the lazy; our laziness or blindness to the need for nurturing the next generation is what brought this about. They say it is very easy to raze a house to the ground, but it was very difficult to build it up first. So is a society difficult to build but easy to destroy. The modern technology of warfare can raze a house to the ground in a split second.
The family as the building block of society, our plight of the present is the result of parenting. This is the base of all our joys and sorrows. Aware and astute parents bring up a responsible progeny. It’s all about parents; not schools or community leaders. When parents demand with passion and sincerity, the schools will change the way they run, and the leaders will relent to the good suggestions.
For systems that have gone awry, first we need to understand that the child is in fact the God-given “Amaanaath” to us. Yes it is now “ours” but just for this short while we have on this Dhunya. So how do we care for such an Amaanaath? With unstinting responsibility; keep it safe and cared for till the time we return it back to Allah SWA.
Thus life is in stages; a child, youth, adult, middle-age, and old-age. Each stage has its role and the values that go with it. The parent’s role is to prepare the child for these roles. What a big responsibility! Because ultimately, when the persons turns out to be a misfit in society the fingers point at parents. If the parents did the job right, then society’s future on the good path of social harmony is guaranteed.
So what is good parenting? How do parents revive good parenting? The challenges are many, for all the anti-social behavior that we see in the youth of today (such as being opinionated, not giving way to elders on the streets or into doorways, ashamed of doing menial jobs, being on mobile phones even as they have dinner with family, or no dinner with the family anymore, short attention span, not committed to doing things with responsibility, being in a hurry always, no smiling, no meeting the eyes, not respecting other people’s property, expanded vanity, etc.
So what do we do to reverse these attitudes? Just focus on the children as the primary strategy through the following:
· Try to discuss and explain rather than admonish the children when they do something not acceptable (by society’s standards of values based living)
· Be positive in how you admonish even when you do.
· Make them work hard (dignity of labor, show that doing lowly work is not a weakness or something to be ashamed about, but the beginning of the strength for character),
· Respect people (speak in good ways and good language),
· Be thankful (say thank you and be appreciative when a good deed is done),
· Instill discipline! (show good conduct and good role modelling and make them follow rules and regulations so that it will build structure to their lives and instill the voice of conscience in their hearts – which will last forever).
What is the meaning of Parenting? It means the caring and educating of the children from being dependent children to becoming independent adults. Thus, parents must first look at themselves and become aware of their inadequacies (please don’t deny your faults; its only when we know our weaknesses and accept them will we do something to rectify them. Otherwise we go on continuously denying our inadequacies).
· Must try to eat together as a family (this is the best time for talking and communicating, and reviewing the day’s activities, share the happenings, know that the family is one
· Need to spend quality -time with the children (this will show that you really care; it’s not enough just to be present in the house, but must be engaged with the children and communicating with them and playing with them).
· When both parents show good example in the household (they, the children, will turn out to be like you)
· Talk with them often and smile and show caring and kindness (if you don’t, some else will show it; that how for instance street-gangs recruit uncared for children from the neighborhood)
· Communicate with your children; not being pally but in more serious ways that the child knows the seriousness of it and your role as mentor for his future.
· Don’t yell at them; you may get obedience but it will be short lived; the long term reform is to talk calmly and explain the reason why this admonition is.
· Don’t criticize; this is the biggest hurt for it strikes into the child’s heart. It will leave its mark forever and will tarnish your relationship forever.
· Don’t let the child be depressed. This can take the form of a disease if left unattended. He can learn to dislike people and show disinterest in the work they do. There is no care he will feel. Don’t blame, don’t compare.
· Don’t blame; this is the beginning of the accumulation for a negative personality, when he believes he is not competent enough and carried to his adult days.
· Don’t expect the child to be an adult; the hormonal changes make the child a growing and confused one; adults must understand that and talk and prepare at their level of maturity.
· Don’t lie; they will learn to lie and cheat.
· Pray with the children
· Parents don’t yell at each other in the presence of the children; no yelling at all is best, but if you must then go to your room and close the doors and argue if you have to.
· Don’t promise to then break it; the child loses confidence in you; he will not trust your words anymore.
The six ‘A’s of understanding your children:
1. Attention. Given them a lot of attention. If you don’t someone else will
2. Acceptance – show acceptance of his ideas and then work to improve if need be
3. Approval or acknowledge; everyone needs this for their self-concept to develop; they need some praise and commendation, a well done!
4. Appreciate – whenever the opportunity arises, don’t miss this; try to find ways to.
5. Affection – hold them hug them and kiss them to show your warmth
6. Authority; they need discipline too. Need to have rules and regulations to follow in the household and with friends and family. But be kind and gentle in implementing them, with emotion and understanding, and engaging with the child, making them why this is for.
“Discipline changes behavior; punishment suppresses behavior”.
When these are followed and parents show consonant good role-modeling, the children will turn out to be capable and committed.