Be my Guest

Jan 11- Be my Guest

By Tooba Asim

“Oh no! Not again,” I sighed, as I glanced at the clock and went ahead to check the main door. Sure enough, it was my next door neighbour. It was three in the afternoon, and no one else was brave enough to venture out of their homes in this sweltering heat. She was always an exception. Today was different, as my mother was visiting us as well. “Why the sigh? She’s your guest, and guests are a blessing from Allah (swt),” was my mom’s immediate response to my behaviour.

Guests indeed are among Allah’s (swt) blessings, but we can see from the Prophet’s (sa) example that there is a certain etiquette of visitation, which one must follow in order to fulfill the Sunnah. In our society, there are plenty of people like my neighbour, who make their hosts wary of guests instead of welcoming them.

The Prophet (sa) said: “A man visited a brother in another town. Allah (swt) sent an angel to lie in wait for him along his way. When he came upon the angel, he asked him: ‘Where are you going?’ He answered: ‘I am going to visit a brother of mine in this town?’ The angel asked further: ‘Is there any favour that you want to get from him?’ The man said: ‘No, it is only that I love him for Allah’s (swt) sake.’ The angel then said: ‘I am a messenger of Allah to you (to tell you) that Allah (swt) loves you, as you love your brother for His sake.” (Muslim)

The aforementioned Hadeeth makes it clear that visiting somebody for Allah’s (swt) sake alone and not for some personal reason is what Allah (swt) wants from us.

Keeping in mind the importance that Allah (swt) and His Prophet (sa) have placed on visiting, we should certainly take some time out of our busy schedules for our family, neighbours and friends. This, however, should be done keeping in mind some important reminders.

Choose a suitable time…

…and day. Don’t pay a late night visit to someone, who is known to go to bed early or has school-going children. Don’t visit at mealtimes, unless you have been invited by your hosts.

Call before you go

It is better to give your hosts time to tidy up their place and be prepared. Also, it will save you time and unnecessary hassle, if your hosts are not at home or have other plans.

Do not grumble

If your hosts could not be contacted earlier and you had to return home, do not complain.

Take a gift

This does not have to be very extravagant or formal. You can take a home-cooked dish, a small box of biscuits or anything thoughtful that is likely to cheer up your hosts or their children.

Don’t stay too long

Respect the fact that your hosts might also have other commitments. If you’re visiting someone who’s staying at your host’s place, be extra careful.

Avoid indulging in gossip

Don’t pry about people’s lives. Everyone is entitled to privacy. Ask about their well-being, without being nosy.

Visit the sick

Visit the sick to help their attendants with some chores. This relieve them for a while and earn you Allah’s (swt) pleasure.

Appreciate

It is good manners to appreciate the effort your hosts put in for you, no matter how big or small. Anas Ibn Malik (rtam) narrated: “The Prophet (sa) visited some of the Anaar in their house and ate some food there. When he wanted to leave, he ordered that a place be prepared for him where he could pray. He then prayed there and supplicated for his hosts.” (Bukhari)

Good etiquettes go a long way in maintaining healthy relationships. A smile here and a kind word there are sure shot recipes for winning hearts.

The invocation of a guest for his host, as taught by Prophet Muhammad (sa):

“O Allah, bless them in what You have provided for them, and forgive them and have mercy on them.” (Muslim)

Joint Family in Islam: Challenges and Solutions

Jan 11 - Joint Family in Islam

A joint family system is an extended clan comprising multiple hierarchical tiers of relatives with their respective spouses and children. They live under one roof, eat meals together and try to get along.

It is the elderly, who mostly prefer this system, because it alleviates their insecurities regarding age, loneliness and being excluded from their adult children’s lives.

The question of prime importance is: what does Islam say about the joint family? By the joint family we mean married children and their elderly parents living together in one house, usually with their bedrooms opening on to a common area and a shared kitchen.

Three issues that are of core importance in Islam to the traditional joint family situation, but are severely undermined by them, need to be pointed out along with scholarly views, Insha’Allah.

“The In-Law is Death”

Whilst most women endeavor to cover themselves from visitors, they dress and interact before some non-Mahram residents of the house, such as male servants or brothers-in-law, as they would before Mahrams. This practice is in complete defiance of the commands of Islam, which is evident from the Hadeeth below.

It was reported from Uqbah Ibn Aamir that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Beware of entering upon women.” A man from among the Ansar said: “O Messenger of Allah, what about the brother-in-law?” He said: “The brother-in-law is death.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

From this Hadeeth, it is clear that a married Muslim woman must observe full Hijab in the presence of her husband’s male relatives, except his father, sons from another wife or grandfathers. Included foremost in this Hijab are her husband’s brothers.

Death or its causes are something no one would take lightly. Yet, we carelessly disregard this aspect of Islam.

Etiquette of Privacy from Blood Relations Ordained in the Quran

“O you who believe! Let your legal slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission (before they come to your presence) on three occasions; (i) before Fajr (morning) prayer, and (ii) while you put off your clothes for the noonday (rest), and (iii) after the Isha (late-night) prayer. (These) three times are of privacy for you, other than these times there is no sin on you or on them to move about, attending (helping) you each other. Thus Allah makes clear the Ayat (the Verses of this Quran, showing proofs for the legal aspects of permission for visits, etc.) to you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (An-Nur 24:58)

In the aforementioned verse of the Quran, Allah (swt) commands even young children of a Muslim couple to be prevented from entering upon them in their bedrooms without prior permission, during three times – before Fajr, after Dhuhr (during siesta) and after Isha.

Contrast this to how most young Muslim couples live in a single bedroom along with their children in most joint family households. Even nocturnal conjugal relations occur in the same room, whilst children are asleep in close proximity. This cultural practice needs to be strongly condemned, because it is in clear disobedience to the Quranic injunctions.

The Right to Private Accommodation

All Islamic scholars are in unanimous agreement that married Muslim women are entitled to private accommodation in Islam, which preserves their privacy from their husbands’ relatives.

Sheikh Salih Al-Munajjid states: “Whatever meets her needs is sufficient, such as a room in good condition with a kitchen and bathroom – unless the wife has stipulated larger accommodation in her marriage contract. He (her husband) does not have the right to make her eat with any of her in-laws. The kind of accommodation provided must be commensurate with what the husband is able to provide and be suitable according to local custom (urf) and the social level of the wife.”

However, he goes on to explain, “If he is able to provide (his wife) with accommodation that is completely separate from his family, that will be better (for her). But if his parents are elderly and need him, and they have no one else to serve them, and the only way he can serve them is by living with them, then he has to do that.” (Islam-QA.com)

It is better, therefore, to live in separate accommodation that allows the son to be physically near his parents and other relatives. An example of this could be two houses in the same compound or apartments that are one above the other, or at a walking distance from each other. Please note that a wife should practice patience, if she has to give up her right due to her husband’s financial constraints.

Cultural Influence

Our culture strongly supports a joint family. It expects sons to dwell with their elderly parents in their homes and financially support them, even if the latter are well-off. This belief that the elderly should be cared for by a son and his wife is inherently faulty, because it assumes that everyone has sons. What about couples with no children or those with only daughters, or the elderly who are single? Who will take care of them?

In Islam, a son and daughter are equally obliged, both financially and physically, to support aged, needy parents. No discrimination exists on this Fiqh issue, except that a daughter’s husband has more rights on her than her parents. If he allows, she may have her parents dwell in her own home to take care of them. There is nothing wrong with that.

The Ideal Living Scenario

Living as nuclear families at considerable distances from each other, physically and emotionally, is not the ideal picture for Muslim families, unless dire necessity dictates it. Our Prophet (sa) and his companions provided separate living quarters for their wives. In his last days of sickness, the Prophet (sa) was taken care of by his wives and friends, not his offspring.

There are many advantages of living near relatives, e.g., young mothers can have accessible babysitting and the sick elderly have someone nearby to provide care. Company is nearby, and this alleviates loneliness and depression. Children grow up more sociable, if they consistently meet relatives of different ages. The strict discipline of young parents, when balanced with indulgent pampering of grandparents, does wonders for a child’s self-confidence.

On the downside, living together under one roof facilitates considerable control, interference and subtle manipulation of the younger ones by the elders. Grandchildren can challenge their parents’ authority by simply throwing a tantrum before grandparents. In the worst cases, the joint family thwarts practicing Muslims’ application of Deen in their family lives; even regarding Islamic commands that are obligatory.

Dr. Hina, a lecturer and mother of a 6-year-old son has been living in a joint family since her marriage, whilst pursuing her career. She says: “The joint family has numerous advantages, such as having the house clean and the food cooked when you come home; having someone to baby-sit your child if you have to study or work long hours, and no loneliness because people are around. The disadvantages are that you are constantly told what to do and how to do it; you cannot bring up your child without others interfering, or manage your space the way you want to. Despite full efforts at observing Hijab, accidental slips keep occurring before a brother-in-law. Also, sisters-in-law visit their parents too often, causing sour relationships.”

Practical Life

Because of the soaring prices of property and rent nowadays, young newlyweds have to live in a joint family after marriage, even among non-Mahram men, despite the difficulty of maintaining Hijab. Such a scenario requires a high dose Taqwah (Allah consciousness), e.g., lowering the gaze, draping a large chador, knocking before entering rooms, avoiding mixing freely, using door locks when required and abstaining from eavesdropping or asking prying questions.

If parents want all their married sons to live under one roof, they should renovate the house in such a manner that everyone can observe the limits of Allah (swt). It does not cost much to construct two extra rooms with a kitchenette. The problem lies in giving preference to culture and familial tradition over obeying commands of religion.

Sheikh Salih advises a Muslim wife whose in-laws restrict her movement: “You should understand that your husband’s parents may make things difficult for you, because they think that you have taken away the one who is most dear to them. Therefore, you should handle this matter wisely and not be the cause of arguments or division between your husband and his parents. Rather, you should try to help your husband obey and honour his parents, and you will find the effects of that, Insha’Allah, in your own children [i.e., they will honour you in turn].” (Islam-QA.com)

Such wise words need no more explanation.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families

Jan 11 - Seven habits families

‘Love’ is a Verb

A man once complained: “I am really worried about my marriage. My wife and I don’t have the same feelings for each other that we used to have. I guess we just don’t love each other any more. What can I do?”

His friend replied: “Love her.”

The man answered: “I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”

“My friend, love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of that verb. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”

Develop habit # 1: Be proactive. Be the first one to bring about a positive change in a relationship or situation.

I am a hardworking man!

I came home from work one day, and my three-year-old son Brenton met me at the door. He beamed with pride: “Dad, I am a hardworking man!”

I later found out that while my wife was downstairs, Brenton had emptied a jug of water from the fridge on the floor. My wife initially thought of yelling and spanking him. However, she controlled her anger and asked patiently: “Brenton, what were you trying to do?”

Brenton informed his mother that he was trying to help her out by washing the dishes and he had tried to take water from the fridge because he could not reach the sink.

My wife gently explained to him that he could call her for help and she would bring him a chair to stand on and do the dishes in the sink. Now, they could clean up the mess together. Brenton thought that was a fantastic idea and helped his mom mop up the wet floor.

It took her about ten minutes to clean up the mess. Had she been reactive, it would still have taken her ten minutes to clean up the mess. But that evening my son would have met me with the expression: “Daddy, I am a bad boy!”

Develop habit # 2: Begin with the end in mind. Develop a family mission statement. It means a combined, unified expression from all family members of what the family is all about, what family members want to do and be, and the principles that will guide the family, Insha’Allah.

The wrong wall

A man in his late fifties was in line for the presidency of his company. However, he was not sure if he really was happy with it.

“I missed the childhood of my kids. When I couldn’t provide them with my time, I bought them off by giving them things, but the real bonding never took place. Today, my grown-up married kids feel that enormous loss,” he confessed.

“Now, I am really excited about a family project we have thought out together. I call it building the three-generation home that I am having constructed right on the beach. This is more important for me.

Notice, how for many years, ‘family’ was not this man’s first priority. But he eventually realized that his professional role is temporary. When he retires, the company will go on. But his role in the family will never end. He will never be replaced.

Develop habit # 3: Put first things first. Prioritize your family in today’s turbulent world.

Every time you win, I lose

A father shared an incident about his two sons, aged twelve and ten, who frequently squabbled. This was negatively impacting the whole family atmosphere. During a much-awaited vacation, heated arguments and conflicts arose again.

The father made both his sons face each other. The older son spoke up addressing the younger one: “I hate this vacation, and I want to go home just to get away from you.”

The younger boy, feeling hurt, blinked away sudden tears. With his head hung low, he asked quietly: “Why?

The older retorted with certainty: “Because you annoy me by your remarks, and I don’t want to be around you.

The younger one sighed: “I just do that because every time we play a game, you always win.

“Well, sure I win,” the older boy quickly replied. “I’m better than you.”

With that the little boy could hardly speak. Then from the depths of his heart he said: “Yeah, but every time you win, I lose. And I just can’t stand to lose all the time. So I annoy you… I don’t want you to go home. I like being with you. But I don’t want to lose all the time.”

These tearful words reached the heart of the older brother and his tone softened a bit: “Okay, okay, I won’t go home. But will you, please, stop saying the stupid things you say and do?”

“Okay,” nodded the younger boy. “And will you, please, stop feeling that you always have to win?”

That candid heart-to-heart saved the vacation. It didn’t make things perfect but it made them tolerable. The older boy never forgot his little brother’s words: “I just can’t stand to lose all the time.” The father, who was observing the two silently, surely never did.

Develop habit # 4: Think ’win-win’. Have shared expectations and commitments regarding desired results and guidelines. Remember, no one likes to lose, especially in close family relationships. But we typically approach situations with a win-lose mindset, without even realizing it hurts our loved ones.

Frigidaire only!

Stephen Covey and his wife Sandra, in spite of a stable and great marital relationship, almost always disagreed over the choice of electrical appliances for their home. Sandra would insist on buying the Frigidaire brand, regardless of how tight their budget was. Stephen would feel that this was illogical and irrational.

One day, when they had to decide what appliance to buy, Sandra opened up: “As a young girl, I saw my father support our family under great financial pressure… He was a high school history teacher and coach for years. But to make both ends meet, he went into the appliance business… One of the main brands that his store carried was Frigidaire.”

“At night, when he came home exhausted from work, he would lie down on a couch. I would rub his feet and sing to him. This was a time we both enjoyed for many years. It

was special, because during these moments, my father would talk about his worries and concerns. He also greatly appreciated Frigidaire.”

“…During a serious economic downturn, when he faced crucial financial difficulties, the only thing that enabled him to stay in business was that Frigidaire financed his inventory.”

It dawned on Stephen then that Frigidaire was not just an appliance to Sandra. It was a balm for her painful memories of the past that she had shared with her father. Naturally, she felt a deep loyalty towards it, as it had saved her family in troubling times. Stephen had never tried to understand that. He hugged her quietly and felt his own tears. The choice was made. It would be Frigidaire only!

Develop habit # 5: Seek first to understand… then to be understood. Make it safe for others to talk and share their concerns with you naturally and spontaneously. Listen and empathize, because one of the deepest hungers of the human heart is to be understood.

My daughter is not like me

A woman shared that when she was eleven years old, her parents gifted her a beautiful edition of a great classic. She read through it lovingly, and when she turned to the last page, she wept. She had literally lived through it. Carefully, she preserved it and passed it to her daughter Cathy as a treasured heritage and imagined her to appreciate it as much as she had. After struggling with two chapters, Cathy put it on her shelf, where the book sat forlorn for months. The mother was deeply disappointed.

She would confide in her husband that she was overwhelmed by Cathy’s bubbly nature, endless sense of humour, zest for life and an over-all happy state of mind. The mother’s unspoken disapproval was communicated to the daughter occasionally in different ways. This hurt the child’s feelings, too.

One morning, when the mother was glancing through her old photographs, she saw one of her own and her sister’s linking hands together. She thought of all the great times they had spent together. Yet, they were so different. Then, suddenly, as if a bolt of lightening hit her, she realized that it wasn’t essential to be alike to be good friends at all. All that was needed was to appreciate the differences, put them in good use and celebrate them eventually! How could she impose her personality on her daughter? It would be cruel to expect her to become a carbon copy of herself. What about her individuality?

This reawakening saved their relationship. From that day onwards, she began to see her daughter in a new light. Their relationship took on a whole new dimension of richness and joy.

Develop habit # 6: Synergize. The term ‘synergy’ means that the result of two or more people produces together more than the sum of what they could produce separately (one plus one equals three or more). Differences are part of a greater whole. Learn to put them together and search for new solutions.

You stopped to rest every hour!

A man wanted to cut down a tree. He sawed through its huge, thick tree trunk. He kept at it all day long. When he was half way through, he paused for a minute to catch his breath.

He looked up and saw another person a few yards away, who had also been sawing a tree. He couldn’t believe his eyes! That person had sawed almost completely through the tree trunk! He had started at about the same time the first person and his tree was about the same size as the first man’s, but the second man stopped to rest every hour or so, while the first man kept going.

The first man asked incredulously: “How in the world have you gotten so much more done than I have? You didn’t even work non-stop like I did! In fact, you stopped to rest every hour.” The second man smiled and replied: “Yes, you saw me stop every hour to rest, but what you didn’t see was that every time I rested, I also sharpened the saw!”

Develop habit # 7: Sharpen the saw. We and our relationships both need maintenance. If we neglect them, they begin to deteriorate. To achieve that, we should refresh and re-energize ourselves. We can pray together, discuss the inspiring lives of our prophets, organize health and exercise schedules, plan family outings and fun time, etc.

Why People Cut Ties

Jan 11 - Why people cut tiesBy Umm Abdullah

Saeed, a self-made businessman, says: “What my brothers did deserves that I never speak to them again. After all, I’m not the Prophet (sa) – I don’t have unlimited patience.” For various reasons, he has completely boycotted his brothers and sisters for more than ten years, to the extent of refusing to talk to them, visiting them or letting his family meet them. He believes that what he has done is Islamically correct. His sons follow the same line of thought and action.

His son Rehan, a young husband and father, believes: “Staying away from my father’s side of the family is the only way to stay at peace.”

Such scenarios are becoming fairly common in every other family these days, although Islam places great importance on maintaining close ties with relatives and warns of severe punishment for those who sever them. Recall the story of Abu Sufyan and Heraclius, when he sent for him and said: “What does he (the Prophet) enjoin upon you?” Abu Sufyan said: “He enjoins us to pray, give charity, be chaste and uphold family ties.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

So why do people break off relationships? There could be a number of reasons for this:

Lack of awareness

Many people don’t know that Allah (swt) has not given us a choice, as far as maintaining of blood ties is concerned. There is a lack of awareness about just how important relatives are in Islam, what rights they have upon us and the punishment for those who sever these ties.

Expecting too much

We take it for granted that our relatives owe us a lot and are more aware of our rights upon them than our responsibility towards them.

Failing to forgive and forget

Perhaps the greatest factor for failing relationships is the failure to forgive and forget. We give ourselves all the benefits of doubt and give no allowance to others.

Current trends in society

Over the past years, the nuclear family has emerged and close-knit extended families are slowly becoming a thing of the past. People would rather unwind on weekends with friends than extended families. Family commitments have become chores that are fulfilled as a burden or abandoned altogether. The practice of elders resolving family disputes is also becoming extinct.

The blame game

It is always more convenient to place the entire blame for an incident at someone else’s door. We fail to realize that each one of us is responsible for our actions and that we always have a choice in a situation – to react positively or negatively.

Doing good for the wrong reasons

When we act kindly, our instant mistake is that we start expecting good in return from the same person. What that actually means is that we did not correct our intention – of doing good only for Allah’s (swt) sake, expecting return only from Him (swt), not our relatives. Repelling bad treatment with good is what is actually required.

The Messenger (sa) said: “The one, who maintains a relationship with his relatives only because they maintain a relationship with him, is not truly upholding the ties of kinship. The one, who truly upholds those ties, is the one who does so even if they break off the relationship.” (Bukhari, 5645)

“I’m not a hypocrite. I can’t be nice to someone I don’t like”

There is a difference between hypocrisy and courtesy. When we are meeting someone nicely but with an ill intention of causing harm to that person, it is called hypocrisy. But if we are being courteous to someone for the sake of Allah (swt), in spite of disliking certain traits in them, then we are actually earning Allah’s (swt) pleasure for our added effort and patience.

Taking the easy way out

When a problem occurs, the instant reaction is to break off and run. Escaping from uncomfortable situations and relationships is always easier than facing problems and resolving issues. However, Islam does not endorse living as a hermit in isolation, but rather living a life of struggle, in the midst of humans with contrasting temperaments and bearing their trials with patience and self control.

Scholars state that even under extreme circumstances, such as when the relatives are disbelievers or sinners, a Muslim is not allowed to cut off relations with them completely. After trying his best to advise and guide them towards the right path and making Duas for their guidance, if they persist in sin and are affecting his own Iman, then he is allowed to minimize interaction with them. So he can talk on the phone, instead of visiting, or shorten his visits or send an occasional gift, but maintain some form of contact nevertheless.

Raising Confident Kids

Jan 11 - Raising confident kids

By Laila Brence and Maryam Asif

Every parent wishes to see their children grow into independent and confident adults, capable of handling their own life. In pursuit of this, many parents tend to fall into the trap of over-parenting, which, just like any other ‘over’, is not a desirable phenomenon. If you find yourself accompanying your grown-up children to job interviews to negotiate their salaries, it’s certain you’ve slipped into one of these ‘overs’. But how and where do we draw the line between getting involved in our children’s life, yet not accused of over-helping them which might result in the opposite of what we had in mind? The following ten suggestions will guide you towards developing your children’s confidence and self-esteem.

1. Believe in your children and show it

Let your children know they are lovable individuals. Show affection to your children – that extra amount of love will not spoil them but instead boost their confidence. If, however, you constantly show lack of trust in your children’s abilities and skills, the development of their self esteem will be hindered.

2. Give praise and positive feedback

Your children measure their worth and achievements by what you think of them. “Well done! That was hard and you managed it!” is music to young ears. Respect their struggles. Reassure them that it’s alright to make mistakes, and that it’s all part of growing up and learning about the world around them. Permitting your children to make decisions (even if wrong ones at times) helps them develop good judgmental skills.

When your children do something you told them not to and end up hurting themselves, refrain from statements such as: “See, I told you not to do it! Now, take care of it yourself!” Likewise, do not constantly threaten them with terrible consequences and punishments for not obeying you – that too can hurt their self-esteem.

3. Practice active listening

Listen carefully, repeat what you’ve heard to make sure you understand and give positive prompts to encourage your children to continue. Even if your child needs to tell you something when you’re extremely busy, do not multi-task – give them your undivided attention. Dismissing your children’s ideas and suggestions without hearing them out can hurt their self-esteem.

4. Acknowledge your children’s feelings and help them express them verbally

This is something every child needs immensely. Imagine a situation when your children end up fighting with the kids of your guests over toys. At this point, it’s important to address children’s emotions and help them articulate them. They might be feeling insecure, angry or helpless – acknowledge these feelings. This is not the time for a lecture on values and morals, as they are too occupied with their emotions, and your lecture will only aggravate their anger.

5. Criticize behaviour, not your child

This is a very easy trap to fall into. Too much criticism tells your children they are bad people. If such criticism continues over a long period of time, it can heavily damage your child’s self esteem. Be clear that it’s an action you’re angry about or it’s a behaviour you don’t like. Avoid such over-generalizations as: “You’re such a dirty kid! You never clean your room!” It may be that your children usually do clean their rooms, but on that particular day they didn’t, and you were in a bad mood anyway.

6. Focus on your children’s successes

Swimming, arts and crafts, cricket, technology, literature or social life – whatever they succeed in. It may be that they are good at swimming but not at academics. Acknowledge their success, instead of saying:

“Swimming won’t get you anywhere. If you do not do well at studies, you will never succeed.” If you acknowledge their strengths, it may be that in the future they will be motivated to work on their weak points as well.

7. Respect your children’s interests, even if they seem boring to you

Take a genuine interest in your children’s friends and what’s happening at school, and comment to show you’re listening. This will not only strengthen your communication but also give your children the message that you care about their life and interests.

8. Accept any fears or insecurities your children express as genuine

Even if they seem trivial to you, don’t just brush them aside. If your child says: “I’m useless in math,” say: “You’re obviously finding math a struggle – how can I help you?” Instead of passing such sarcastic remarks as: “With all that TV you watch, what else do you expect?” Treat issues independently, without connecting unrelated consequences to actions.

9. Encourage your children’s independence

Encourage them to take chances and try new things. Succeeding at new things gives a huge boost to confidence. Even if they will make mistakes by trying out new things, it will be a great opportunity for them to learn.

10. Laugh with your children – never at them

We all know that there are times when words can hurt more than actions. Don’t humiliate your children for their mistakes or misfortunes – if you won’t be on their side, then who will? Likewise, it is important to keep a sense of humour when difficulties arise, as it works wonders and helps your children focus on the truly significant matters in life.

Children have an innate capability to cope with the pressures and demands of the environment they are a part of. However, we cannot assume that they will learn to cope on their own. Parents should become the facilitators, who provide their children with the means to use this inner strength that they naturally posses. Simply treat your kids the way you yourself want to be treated and you can be sure to steer clear of all the ‘overs’.

The material presented in this article is based on a workshop titled “Raising Confident Kids” facilitated by Madeha Masood at ERDC (Educational Resource Development Centre).