Women in Islam have a decidedly raised status. While the western world has only just begun to give women rights of property and a say in the family, Islam had bequeathed the same rights, and moreover fourteen centuries ago. This is a testament that we, as Muslim women, should be proud of Islam and Allah’s blessings and wisdom in not just the rights, but also the rules and responsibilities that were bestowed upon us as women of the Ummah. Islam has a rich history of strong women who can be our role models. Women whom we must aspire to emulate.
Unfortunately, because of a mixture of culture and media, girls around the world have not only lost confidence in themselves, but also in Islam. This scenario makes it imperative that while we work towards teaching the current generation of young women about what a blessing Islam is, we also work towards bringing up the coming generation with self-confidence that they will need to go about the world as representatives of Islam.
According to developmental psychology and theories of cognitive development, a child begins to develop schemas or concepts about themselves as young as two years of age. So, this time is very important for parents to inculcate self-confidence amongst their young girls. Some tips and tricks are as follows:
- Strengthen her Tawheed and faith in Allah: Before we even begin to discuss many things that should be done, Tawheed and Taqwa come first. While lessons about deen are important, the best lessons are the ones that are taught by example. If she knows that everything happens by the Will of Allah, and Allah will never let a servant of Him suffer without cause, she will quickly learn to deal with the disappointments and questions of this world with the same viewpoint.
- Strengthen her will-power: The best way to do that is to teach her to pray obligatory prayers on time – even if it means leaving behind toys or any other mode of entertainments. Let her fast some of the obligatory fasts and gain the strength to not only endure hunger and thirst but also battle with her nafs.
- Educate her: Teach her not just about Islam, but also about the ways of the world. It is important that the older girls, especially, in current times have a general idea of the workings of the Dunya. A healthy cynicism about the sweet words and flattery is very important so that people do not take advantage of them.
- Praise her: Often, parents think that praising their children or complimenting them will lead to an inflated ego and narcissism. However, it is very important that the girls receive compliments and be praised. This will help them develop healthy self-esteem. Girls who are not sure of themselves or lack appreciation seek this recognition from others and not everyone will have their best intentions in mind.
- Talk to her and listen to her: Ask for her advice and pay heed to it. Discuss with her certain important matters she can understand and most importantly listen to her. This will teach her discretion and increase her self-worth, she will believe that she is not just important to you, but also capable of forming her own opinions and making decisions.
- Correct her gently and firmly: Don’t lose your cool when she makes a mistake, instead be gentle and firm. Ensure she understands why she was wrong and knows what else she could have done. Girls are more sensitive than boys and harsh words may quickly make matters worse with them. Reasoning with them about the problem will ensure they understand the gravity of the situation and won’t make the same mistake again.
- Show her love and constancy: Assure her that you are there for her regardless of the mistakes and her shortcomings. You are there for her, to listen to her and confer with her. Mothers should especially make an effort to form a bond of friendship with her; be her most trusted confidant.
- Make reasonable rules and guidelines: Apart from outlining the haram and halal for her, you should also make sure that she has good manners. Young age is the perfect time to instil a dislike for bad manners, deeds and words and the necessity to stay away from things that do not concern her and other trivial matters that would not aid her Aakhirah.
- Give her freedom: There are rules to be followed, but it is also important to give her freedom (of what is allowed in Islam) to make her own decisions and form her own opinions. If you always make her decisions for her, she might not develop the ability to make her own decisions without relying on you. This would be very harmful in the long run.
- Make her feel responsible: Parents should assign their children, in general, tasks and duties that they are able to do. If they make a mistake, correct them, all the while praising for work done properly. This will give them confidence in their ability to do things.
Of course, there are many more things that can be done and this is only a very brief list on the measures that can be taken to mould your daughter into a confident individual. There is also a list of things that you should not do.
- Control everything, be it major or minor things.
- Blame and criticize her for everything she does. Remember that correcting is one thing, but constantly correcting her without any reassurance will only lead to problems in the long run.
- Not letting her speak.
- Comparing her to others.
- Making fun of her or mocking her.
- Not paying attention to her questions and concerns.
- Not acknowledging her achievements and successes.
In conclusion, there could be a very long list of dos and don’ts about bringing up a child, but seeking Allah’s help and asking for His guidance continues to be our strongest tool. Children can be very sensitive and malleable in the sense that they are easily influenced. It is very important that you help your girl be self-confident as her entire personality lies heavily on her own self-perception. With this in mind, remember to guide her, as well as seek Allah’s help and pleasure throughout. May Allah make it easy on all the parents and children out there. Aameen.
Written by: Arshi Dokadia
Edited by: The Editorial Team