Sunday, 11 January 2009

Workshop Summary: 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).
  • 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 is parents differing on how to raise children.
  • Stages of child development and the parents' role: 0-7 years = bond with them; 7-14 years = instruction and 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. As 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 (ﷺ) would face a person when communicating with them, to make them feel important, and he (ﷺ) 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"?
  • Teach your children how to express love. Show and tell them you love them.
  • Those of you who have never hugged your wife in front of your children, please do so today.
  • 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.

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