Sunday, 11 January 2009

Challenges of Parenting in the 21st Century

Some notes (below) from a workshop I attended today. The 2-hour workshop was organised by Al-Risalah Trust and Turath Publishing, and presented by Edris Khamissa (an international educationalist and trainer, website:
  • Parenting is not your relationship with your children, it is your relationship with your spouse. Invest emotionally in your children. Speak softly. Children mimic behaviour.
  • One of the most cited reasons for divorce: parents differ in how to raise children.
  • Stages of child development and the parents' role: 0-7 years - bond with them; 7-14 years - instruction, learning; 14+ years - become their friend and confidant.
  • What is self-esteem? Part of it is recognising that you are a unique creation of Allah (SWT). Tips for developing self-esteem in children: praise them, encourage them, listen to them, highlight positives. An example of the latter, say: "Son, you will be a leader of this Ummah."
  • Communication: The non-verbal (facial expression, tone of voice, body language) is more important than the verbal (words). The Prophet (SAWS) would face a person when communicating with them, to make them feel important, and he (SAWS) would be the last to withdraw his hand from a handshake.
  • It is far worse to break the heart of a believer than to break the Ka'bah. The Ka'bah can be rebuilt.
  • Mothers! A question: Are you a "housekeeper" or a "housemaker"?
  • Exercise to try: Ask children at my youth club, "If I gave you a million pounds, which you had to spend within a month, what would you do with it?" Also, "What good deed have you done today?" The latter in the spirit of the Hadith involving Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (RA).
  • Teach your children how to express love. Show/tell them you love them.
  • Those of you who have never hugged your wife in front of your children, please do so today.
  • Task to do: Find my old high school English teacher and thank her for instilling in me self-belief.
  • Make Du'a for each of your children by name, every day.
  • Children must be taught consequences of positive and negative behaviour. Punishments and rewards!
  • Question: Can a woman realistically work and successfully "make a home" (raise children)? Answer: It depends, particularly on the extent/availability of support in the form of extended family (grandparents etc). The father's role in comparison with the mother's is "a guide on the side".
  • About TV: Inculcate in your children reading habits. Every child should be walking, talking and thinking. When watching TV they neither walk, nor talk, nor think. Also, why invite nudity and obscenity into your house?
  • About computer consoles: They are addictive, asocial and breed individualism.
  • Build/utilise the concept of Shura (consulation) in the home. Communicate with one another. Set goals together: family goals and individual goals. Evaluate your goals regularly, together.
  • There is no good in him who neither befriends nor is befriended.
  • Before you introduce yourself to your children introduce them to Allah.
  • Show your children more love when they do something wrong. Start (the "disciplining") with hugging them. Affirm: "I do not like what you have done but I love you." Whatever wrong they have done question whether it is your (the parents') fault. For example, if your son/daughter has been caught cheating on school exams, is it because you have pressured them too much? Adopt role play: Ask the child what he/she would do if their child did that misdeed.
  • If, after doing a wrong, your child responds, "sorry for disappointing you dad (mum)". That is the wrong answer. If your child responds instead, "I am sorry and I ask Allah to forgive me". That is the right answer. Taqwa is the goal.


Anonymous said...

>>Question: Can a woman realistically work and successfully "make a home" (raise children)? Answer: It depends, particularly on the extent/availability of support in the form of extended family (grandparents etc). The father's role in comparison with the mother's is "a guide on the side".

I feel that unless you have:
1. The support of the spouse
2. The support of the extended family/ money for a pious muslim nanny/ cleaner
3. The time management skills

then better to just concentrate on the family. If those other ingredients are there then it's your duty to have a career because we need muslim women in the workplace.

adil said...

I would qualify that closing statement a bit: we need (could do with more) Muslim women in some workplaces. Others, Muslim men and women could do without, unless forced by necessity. That is my opinion, my opinions are subject to change and Allah (SWT) knows best. May Allah guide us.

adil said...

I read a nice editorial piece today ('The Benefits of Parents') by Sarah Joseph in the January 2009 issue of 'emel'. Not exactly related to the two proceeding comments, the article discusses the importance of recognising parenting as a 'productive' activity.

Also, you may be interested in this group:
Apparently, they held a one day conference 'for Muslim women wanting to champion change in their communities' last Saturday. The conference was entitled 'Muslim Women: Pioneering Change in 21st Century Britain'.

adil said...

I followed up on this exercise: Ask children at my youth club, "If I gave you a million pounds, which you had to spend within a week, what would you do with it?"

The responses, all of them, were awesome. A few samples below. We didn't nudge them to say "charity". Honest.

"I will invest in a growing business and get as much money as possible. Then I will give all of the money to Gaza but I will do it without anyone knowing as this way Allah swt will be happier than if I just done it for the praise of other people, plus this way all my sins will be forgiven." (Boy 11 years of age)

"I would give it to 1000 different charities, giving each charity £1000." (Boy 14 years of age)

"I will give it to Gaza because they need it. InshaAllah i'll get it!" (Boy 10 years of age)

"I would give £500 to charity, Buy a car for 100k. I would have a villa made in Saudi worth 250k. I would do Hajj with my family. I would buy lots of properties so that poor people could live in them. I would like to make a mosque for people to pray." (Boy 8 years of age)

"I'd give 3/4 of it to charity and the rest to my dad to open a business close to home so he doesn't have to keep going to Manchester for business and he'll be able to stay home more." (Boy 12 years of age)

"I will give 500k to my mum and dad to share between them, then I will give 100k to charities, 50k for Zakaah, 150 to my sisters to share, 50k to my brothers. I will spend the rest wisely." (Boy 12 years of age)

Next exercise: Pick out a few. Give them a bit of money each and a very discreet nudge. Leave it to them to bring their statements to life, in secret.

Anonymous said...

r u serious?? child protection!!!!! ppl and even the parents wont see it the way u do. Allahu a3lam

adil said...

lol. First I thought: That is a very twisted way to think. But I see what you are saying. To clarify, what I meant was:

1. Praise all the kids for participating, especially those that said they would give their money to charity.

2. Talk a bit about the virtues of giving to charity, such that the left hand doesn't even know what the right hand has given.

3. Give prize money (£5 perhaps) for the best three responses.

4. Remind the winners to spend it wisely.

That was the plan but I think you are quite right. Needs a re-think. Jazaak Allahu Khairan.