Guiding our children to the correct path in the present day seems to be a challenge unlike in the past, where negative influences were less and could be easily blocked. Negative pressures in the past were limited to neighbourhood or school, whilst the sources of information were mostly movies, television, printed books, newspapers and magazines. The intention and aim of a Muslim parent should be to raise a child who is of benefit to the parent, himself/herself, as well as for the world at large. To achieve this aim, here are a few essential tips to ingrain in our minds when undertaking the task of caring for our children in this modern era.
The physical borders of the home environment in the past have now changed as they have extended to the unlimited horizon of cyberspace. Now, we have the internet which no one person or group can physically control. The internet has a domain with its own culture called cyberculture. The information kids get from it can have an effect on what kind of Muslims they become. Admittedly, kids cannot be detached completely from the internet, but as Muslim parents, there is a need to be more actively and intimately involved in the education of our children to make sure that they get the information that is in line with the correct teachings of Islam.
Technology is designed to eliminate toil and monotony as it adds value to life and makes it easier. But, at the same time, it increases destruction and creates a false sense of satisfaction and speed. Children need to be taught that genuine results are obtained by working hard, not just by a click of a mouse or a tap on the screen. As parents, it is important for us to use our intellect to interpret events, colour the picture right to see the whole scene, and teach our children to learn to do the same. Kids waste a lot of time over fruitless activities on the gadgets that we expose them to. Here, they need to be educated on the dangers of uncontrolled use of gadgets and technology.
3. Information Exchange
The information exchange that takes place these days is outright crooked; that which is most evil gets the most limelight. Every day, we are all exposed to images that once would have concerned us but are now taken lightly, leaving most people untouched and unmoved by their presence. Compassion is deadening whilst hearts are being desensitised from frequent exposure to cruelty, oppression and bloodshed. Parents have the duty of guiding their children so that their hearts do not harden, and showing them how they can help those in need in the best way possible.
4. Cultural Influence
Cultural influence is inevitable in the present day. The influence of other cultures that are seen on television is very strong. Children are exposed to other cultures through the media. It is important to demonstrate to children the value of our culture in such a way that they take pride in it whilst still respecting other cultures. The critical part is to keep boundaries centred on Islamic teachings. Children need to be taught without being judgemental, whilst keeping the Islamic sense of right and wrong. It might be challenging, and a parent might need to learn it himself/herself before implementing it on the child.
For parents to successfully guide their children to the correct path in the modern era, they should set Islamic boundaries for the children at a tender age. Prophet ﷺ said,
“Verily, Allah the Almighty has laid down fara’id (religious obligations), so do not neglect them. He has set boundaries, so do not overstep them. He has prohibited some things, so do not violate them. About some things, He was silent, out of compassion for you, not forgetfulness, so seek not after them.”[Hadith Nawawi, 30; Graded Hasan]
The same rule of setting boundaries for society to prevent chaos also applies to children. Boundaries are needed to guide children’s behaviour which give them the freedom to act and behave within them. If boundaries are not set, children are most likely going to use trial and error to test whatever comes their way to see what is acceptable and what is not. If a child is taught beforehand what is good and bad behaviour, he/she will use those set guidelines without being left wondering or confused.
A parent should learn to read the signs, both in the child and in the environment, and prepare for them by being proactive. Parents should note that harshness usually brings negative results. Rather, reasoning and convincing are essential for a positive impact. In order to convince their child, parents must have the correct knowledge to be convinced of the matter themselves in the first place.
The best thing a child can get from his/her parents is a proper upbringing. Parenting can be confusing and overwhelming, especially in this modern era where a lot of theories on good parenting practices to follow are widely (mis)presented. Insha’Allah, it will be much easier to raise a productive and pious child by taking into consideration the tips mentioned above.
Written by: Emily
Edited by: The Editorial Team
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