Some Ethical (Akhlaq) Points on Interacting with your Child - Part 3
18. One of the duties of parents is to foster the innate nature of telling the truth in children. Their behaviour in the house should be such that this becomes a habit. However, this is one of the more difficult areas of raising a child and attention to knowledge and action is very important.
It is narrated in a tradition from the Prophet (PBUH): “May Allah have mercy on the person that helps his child in (doing) good.”? The narrator of the tradition asked: “How?”? In his reply, the Prophet (PBUH) gave 4 instructions:
a. Whatever the child has in his power and has carried out, accept it.
b. Don’t expect that which is hard for him.
c. Prevent him from sin.
d. Don’t lie to him, or do silly things.
20. Cuddling and kissing a child is one of their soul-foods, and it is necessary that enough of this is given to them. One of the reasons that a child is crying may be that they are thirsty for this expression of love. Children who grow up with plenty of love have confident personalities which are not swayed by the difficulties that crop up in life.
21. Parents have a responsibility to make their children understand the indecency of sin and create an aversion for people who partake in this, and likewise, to reproach the bad and encourage the child’s good actions. However, reproach and admiration has its time and place and should not be overdone as this itself can corrupt a child.
22. The beds of children of 6 years and above should be separated from each other, even if they are either daughters or both sons.
23. As well as the natural characteristics that the child inherits from his parents, the environment and Nurture of the child have a profound effect. It is highly unlikely that in a family that does not function properly, a normal and natural child is raised.
In particular, the instructions of parents only have an effect if the parents lead by example. The first step of raising children is the Nurture of the self. Somebody who does not possess good Akhlaq cannot guide another to this, and similarly, hot-tempered parents cannot usually raise a calm and patient child.
Children need to be taught that characteristics such as lying, back-biting, bad language, etc. are disliked, and naturally, the child will refrain from such when the parents themselves have set such examples.
24. There should be a difference in the order and expectations of the behaviour of a child inside the home, and out. At home, allow the child to play freely.
25. Always bear the unexpected behaviour of your child to a limit and do not always take the mistakes of your child to be unforgivable, so that you are not always compelled to punish. Patience, coping and forgiveness are a must when raising children. If your child has a quality that you do not like, it should be corrected in a wise manner without displaying contempt of the child, and the correct manner of doing things should be shown at the same time as stopping him/her from old ways.
When parents constantly tell the child off, they are belittling the child and not only are they not going to be successful in reforming the child, but are also going to create stubbornness in them. It is narrated from Imam ‘Ali (A.S): “Excess reproach fuels the fire of stubbornness.”?[
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