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Parents and Influence of Friends on Children

Another great influence on the life of children is the friends they associate with. Many people stray from the straight path as a result of the negative influence of friends. The Qur’an tells us that on the Day of Judgement, people will regret the wrong friendships they had in the world. It says:

On the day when the unjust will bite their hands (regretfully) saying, would that we had taken a way with the Messenger. Woe to us! Would that we had not been friends with so and so. He led us away from the true guidance after it had come to us. (25:28)

There is no doubt that the behavior of a friend can affect a child. He picks up mannerisms, ways of speech etc. from the friends he plays with and works with all day. Especially when children are at school, the hours spent with classmates often have great influence. Parents should be aware of who their children are friends with. If they find out that a certain friend does not have the right type of character, and is having a negative effect on their child, they should try and discourage the friendship. Although it is necessary for children to spend time with their friends, parents should discourage going out all the time with friends, especially as the children get older. Many children insist on going to the mall with friends, or going for outings in groups. Such outings should be discouraged .

Friendships with children who share the same values should be encouraged. Children need friends and it is wrong to tell them not to play with anyone. Parents must provide alternatives so children can enjoy happy times with friends who will not have a wrong influence.

By being aware of the influences that affect the child, parents can try and combat them. They can minimize their effects by keeping the child away from them as much as possible. Although it is not possible to protect the child totally from all negative influences, nor is it wise to cocoon him completely, it is important that a young child be protected as much as possible. As they become older they become more and more exposed to such influences. But then the child is mature enough to hold on to his own beliefs and values, and the damage is much less.

Adopted from the book: "Raising Children" by: "Tahera Kassamali"

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