Atefa Jamal provides tips to ease your child’s transition from childhood to adulthood
For young Muslim adults, puberty entails not only physical change but a host of social changes as well. No longer innocent children, developing adults are expected to be more conscious of their clothing, gaze, and even his social etiquettes. Suddenly finding themselves confronted with a list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ can be overwhelming and confusing. As parents, we can make this easier for our adults-to-be by making them aware of these protocols, long before their transition to adulthood begins. The following are a few tips towards this.
As the Quran and the Sunnah are our guides to life, the best advice is found within them. Allah (swt) has instructed us to teach our children to ask permission before entering their parents’ rooms on three occasions: before Fajr prayer, at noon (when their parents are resting), and after Isha prayer (An-Nur 24: 58). These times have been described as the times of privacy for parents.
Make your child aware of his body parts, which will be considered his Aurah (the parts of the body Allah (swt) has forbidden to keep unclothed in front of others). Explain that no one should be allowed to see or touch them there, with the exception of those responsible for helping them in the bathroom, and with dressing and undressing. Insha’Allah (swt), this awareness will protect your child from being vulnerable to abuse. Emphasize that his/her body is special and not a source of shame, and that as a result Allah (swt) wants him to take special care of it.
Dress for Success
From a young age, dress your kids in clothing, which covers the Aurah, so that they get accustomed to avoiding very short and tight fitting clothing. Do allow them to choose what they’d like to wear, but make sure the options are those you approve of. This will, Insha’Allah, help avoid conflict, when the child is ready to buy his own clothing. Though there is no need to enforce Hijab on little girls, do encourage them, if they wish to cover their hair like their mommies. Telling them that they should enjoy their ‘freedom’ while still young can breed contempt for the Hijab.
Our Prophet (sa) has instructed to put our children in separate beds by the age of 10. (Abu Dawood) As puberty arrives soon after this age, this will make the child feel less awkward around his siblings, Insha’Allah.
Just as you would teach your child to bathe, make it a point to also teach him/her, how to make Ghusl. The Prophet (sa) said: “Ghusl (taking a bath) on Friday is compulsory for every Muslim reaching the age of puberty.” (Bukhari) Make Fridays special; a day to do Ghusl, wear clean clothes, and pray in Jamah (at a Masjid when possible).
Value Your Values
Teach your precious ones Islamic values, “Parents are going to have to sit down and explain their values to their own children. And this needs to start young, before society influences them,” says Marilyn Morris, who is president and founder of Aim for Success (USA). This is one of the largest organizations promoting abstinence from sex to students in grades 6 to 12.
It is necessary that parents model, what they expect from their kids, and accordingly avoid watching and reading material they want their kids to avoid. “Being careful themselves about what they (the parents) watch on TV or what movies they go to see is crucial,” Morris explains, “because that’s a bad influence on us at any age. And if our children see us doing it why shouldn’t they as well?” Bring your children, together with other children whose parents share your values, so that they all feel a part of a group. Insha’Allah this will also help reinforce what you teach them.
Honesty: The Best Policy
Children are very observant and will question every person’s actions, especially yours! Keeping your child’s age in mind, satisfy queries honestly. For example, when mommy does not pray during some part of the month, explain that this is a time, when Allah (swt) has excused her from doing so.
Let Allah (swt) be Your Guide
As always when explaining anything to your children, do make a point that the physical changes they will face have been put forward by Allah (swt). Refer to passages in the Qur’an and the Ahadeeth, not only to point out the protocols they must follow, but also highlight the rewards bestowed by Allah (swt) on those, who follow His commands. Furthermore, point out that though they will find many people, even among their peers, who may act contrary to these commands (keeping a beard, wearing Hijab, etc.), following Allah’s (swt) will is the best way to do things.
Insha’Allah the above tips will help you gently steer your children towards assuming Islamic etiquettes necessary for adulthood, and will eventually help them to guide their own little ones in the future, too.
Mind Your Mehrums
Allah (swt) has commanded: ” …Women not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s sons, their sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s son’s or their (Muslim) women (sister’s in Islam) or the (female) slaves, whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigor, or small children, who have no sense of shame of sex…” (An-Nur 24: 31)
Explain to your little ones that Allah (swt) has made a special circle, which consists of your child and his Mehrums. Point out these people and their relationship with your child. For a girl, the above circle of special people are those, whose company she may enjoy, even when she’s all grown up. No matter how old, a boy may share the company of those to whose Mehrum circle he belongs.