By Ambreen Salman – Writer, Translator, and Editor of a book on women health and hygiene matters
First Things to Teach
When your child starts to speak, the first thing s/he should be taught is Allah’s (swt) name. The Prophet (sa) said: “When your offspring starts speaking, teach him to recite La Illaha Illa Allah and never fear about his end. When the milk teeth are uprooted, order your child to observe prayers.” (Muslim)
It is the mother’s duty to inculcate with every drop of milk she feeds her baby the belief in one Allah (swt), devotion to the Prophet (sa) and love of the religion.
Avoid frightening your children. Fear instilled in the mind of children in the early years overshadows their mind and intellect for life and renders them incapable of achieving success in life. Make it a point not to shout at, reproach or rebuke children on trivial matters. Make an affectionate effort to train children to form good habits with devotion and good sense, instead of expressing annoyance at their mistakes. However, children should know that you will never conform to anything that is against the religion.
Always treat your children with affection and love. Keep them healthy by providing for their needs and requirements only by Halal means. Pat the heads of your children with tenderness, seat them in your lap, cuddle them and treat them with good humor. Do not rule over them as tyrants. Such an attitude stunts the growth of affectionate sentiments towards parents in the hearts of children, destroys their self-confidence and adversely affects the development of their inborn facilities.
Concentrate all your efforts on training and educating your children, so that such good virtues as honesty, piety, loyalty and love are harboured in them. The Prophet (sa) said: “The best gift that a father can bestow upon his son is to arrange good education and training for him.” (Mishkat)
Inculcating Prayer Habits
When children attain the age of seven years, teach them Salah and urge them to observe it regularly. Take them to the mosque with you to arouse their interest. If children neglect to observe prayers when they have reached the age of ten, administer suitable punishment through words and actions. Make it absolutely clear that you will not tolerate their evasion of performing prayers. Make it a habit to keep your children clean and neat. Keep their dress pure. However, avoid excessive adornment in dressing them up.
Accountability in Private
In order to maintain the dignity of your children, never point out their faults in public and strictly abstain from degrading or hurting their self-respect. Instead, praise them generously to boost their ego and morale. Make constant endeavor to encourage them and to foster self-confidence in them.
For inculcating in them the spirit of Islam, keep on narrating the stories of Prophets and the Sahabahs. The stories of their valour and bravery will definitely prove to be an inspiring model for them to look up to. Parents are also effective role models for their children. Your own life serves as a mute and permanent precept for your child. Children constantly learn and adopt lessons from the conduct of their parents.