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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Do you know how to raise kids?



Yes, I do not have kids but what I am going to write about is relevant to yours. Why? Because we are discussing existing archetypal models in our society.

This is the first time in Islamic history that we have a great percentage of the Muslims living in non Muslim lands. So we need to be aware of the environments that our children are born into.

Living in the Muslim world can protect the children somewhat but the bright lights of the western countries seem more attractive than the lands they are born in. Mostly due to the attraction of prosperity and other 'freedoms' that they do not have in their home countries.

It is strange for Muslims in the east to see religious Muslims coming from the west, because they would expect to see the opposite. We see them as strange as they have the religious opportunities that we do not have, yet fail to take advantage of them.


Schools?

Sending your children to secular or religious schools and hoping for the best is not the answer. The secular schools may teach things to your children that you are unaware of the damage being caused. Like saying prayers that include acts of disbelief and the teaching of evolution. You have to be aware of what your children are being taught.

As for religious schools this is a mixed bag. Many are quite new and the teaching standards are a lottery. The only thing that keeps these institutions going is the sincerity of the teachers who are doing it for sake of Allah (the Exalted). Or else none of these schools would exist. Many schools pay the least wages you could imagine, many do not even pay minimum wage. They have very little in terms of the resources compared to a state school.

The other option is home schooling which only a parent who is well acquainted with teaching standards can do. So if someone is expecting their wives from Pakistan to teach their children then you are sadly mistaken. Although you might reach a point in which the child may have to be sent to mainstream schools or colleges.

There are three options and it’s up to you which one to chose. There is a sickness in the Pakistani community that seems to think sending their wayward daughters to Islamic schools will sort them out. This does not work because you had your chance to teach them when they were young but you chose not to. So once a tree has grown it cannot be straightened without being broken. You have straighten out a sapling but not now. Same applies to boys but the freedom they have means that they are often up to all sorts. Many 'grown' men are still children and have not grown up. This is also the fault of the parents for wrapping the child in cotton wool. Even though they are now 'adults' they are still children.

Private schools might be better but then again you’ll have to provide an Islamic environment for them outside the school. As they will repeat what they hear during the day.

So you have a lot to consider before making a decision. In any case, you have to oversee what your child is being taught and this might be difficult if one has a lot of children. See what’s best for your child and send them there. It could be either of these options. I cannot say what’s best for your child, you know better. One of the signs that the Islamic school is worth sending your children to is the wages they pay. If its peanuts then do expect much out of the teachers.

Also consider that going through books with your children in the evening. CGP books are for all levels of your child’s learning. You can go through these in the evening with your children and make up for any inadequacies of your school. Although you cannot force your child to keep learning all the time and you must allow them good time to play. Children learn by playing so bear that in mind.


Religious education

Now this more than simply teaching children how to read the Quran, they have to be given a holistic understanding of Islam. Sending them to some places to get beaten is not the answer. If you cannot discipline your child do not expect anyone else to. The most effective form of discipline is preventing them from doing their favorite pastime.

The best thing for the child is individual attention of about five minutes after which they can practice. Take your child to someone who does not strike children and has small classes. The smaller the better and the shorter the better. Your children need time to play and this helps develop their minds. Even bringing a teacher to your house is an option. But the most important thing you have to consider if the teacher is actually qualified to teach. As most teachers who teach Quran use Urdu pronunciation and not Arabic pronunciation. So bear this in mind. Also look for a program of books that will form their overall program.


Their general wellbeing

Your responsibility as a parents begins by making sure that you have married the correct partner. So if are already married then do your best within the circumstances that you find yourself. Try to explain the importance of education to your partner.

The way that you earn a livelihood will also have an effect on your child. So if you are earning an unlawful/haram income then do not expect your children to be obedient. If you can change your job then do so, this is the best option. Note that you child repeats what he sees from you. 

Try to make sure that your children get adequate rest before a school day. There is nothing worse for a teacher to see a pupil who is tired out because they did not go to bed on time. The younger children need to go to bed at seven pm and this gives you some time for you and your partner.

Children who are brought up houses in which parents argue and even fight are more disruptive at school than other children. A teacher can see this from the child a mile away. The best thing you can do for your child is bring it up in a stable family environment. If you argue then do not do it in earshot of the children.

Television is a waste of time and it’s as simple as that, although the internet is the same. But it’s more likely that your child will be affected by the television. So try to limit the viewing of it and pay particular attention to what they watch. Getting rid of the television and putting up a bookcase is what’s best for your child.

Reading is something that must be encouraged in your child as much as you can. Regular visits to the library must be encouraged. Get them addicted to learning and you’ll have done your children a great service.

When your children have stats and other exams consider giving your child extra support by giving them time off madrasa and or additional tutoring.

Hitting a child is allowed but it has to be done within parameters of the sacred law. Meaning that not more than three times in one gathering and bruising should not occur. If you have brought your children up correctly then you should not need to hit them. Anything greater than this is abuse. You should not hit them when you are angry because the anger will scar the child more than the strike. So bear this in mind. This is the limit and if you keep hitting the child they will grow to resent you. Know when you admonish a child and their face goes red the message has hit home.

Your children have to be taught manners of how to ask for something and so forth. Teach them how to cross the road safely. I am not joking! The amount of children who have no concern for their safety when crossing the road is ridiculous. A lot of children will cross the road without even looking.

They have to be taught how to clean themselves. This is also not funny many children either do not bother washing and because the mother is too busy they are washed. They should have a bath or shower every other day unless they are very young in which it should be more frequent. A bath once a week is not good enough. Why do you think your child is not popular?

Swearing and using bad language. This is something that is a major problem because many of our children swear and curse. It’s normal because they see their fathers and mothers curse. Cursing and swearing is a sin and you have to make sure that you are not doing it. They are coping whatever they hear from you.

Helmets for bike riders! Why do Pakistani parents and kids think their kids are immortal? So they do not buy their kids helmets but by them bikes! Hello? Then do not be surprised if they fall and crack their heads open! Also whats wrong with parents driving without seat belts! Have you lost your ability to rationalise? Put your seat belt on and make your child wear a helmet! By the way if the child injures themselves then its your fault because you did not buy him a helmet! If you cannot afford the helmet then do not buy them a bike!

Spoiling your kids is nothing but raising monsters for the future. The sin of the child returns to the parents until they are mature. So think carefully and do your best. Kids have to be taught to stand on their own two feet.


Divorce

This happens and the parents have to come to agreement that they must do what’s best for the children. Parents must agree on what to do with their children and avoid the courts if possible. The children are the most important thing for now. 

This may affect them re-marrying and other issues. But the welfare of the child must come first. The father and mother must not allow their disagreements to affect their relationships with their children. Yet know if you divorce you’ll leave a scar on your child that may bear fruits of disobedience.


Names

A man came to Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) complaining about his son. So Umar called his son and then after speaking to him said, “You neglected him before he neglected you.” The father had given him a terrible name and his mother was a cheap slave.

One of the most annoying thing that Arabs come across when speaking to other Muslim is their incorrect names. This happens all across non-Arab Muslims countries. This is a list of terms that are name but not of children: Iqra - an order to read, Yashrab - it means he drinks, Azan - call to prayer but not a name, Sami ullah - the hearing of Allah, Wahid - one, rahim or any attribute of Allah should not be used unless its in conjunction with Abd before it, other Persian names who have bad historical cogitations, and you can another list of names who do not have good meanings. When you chose a childs name pick a name that means something good. Also avoid masculine names for girls and feminine names for boys.

Please click here for Muslim names.


Final thoughts

You have big responsibly in raising a child. It is something that you must take seriously and I really hope this has given you some food for thought.

Your children are like plants if you guide them then they will grow how you want them. If you leave them, they will grow how they like and you will not be able to fix them later. Your child is like a garden if you plant something in them then it will grow and if you leave it then nothing will grow except weeds.

I have taught in several different schools since 2006 and this is a summation of the problems what we saw.

You also need to give the child room to find their 'special' skill that we all have. The skill that will make them outshine their peers. The child needs to be taught the importance of education in context of their working lives. They have to know that its better to make a career than get a job. I mean that they should get a certain amount of education to get that career that will set them up for life. Rather, that jump from job to job, get qualified for a career - which is a higher paid job and prospects.

A parent can make a child reach heights that it cannot on their own. You can be that parent.

2 comments:

  1. Alhamdulillah. Brilliant insight.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alhamdulillah. Brilliant insight.

    ReplyDelete