Since 1954 every year on November 20 Children's Day is celebrated universally to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improve children's welfare.
Every child deserves to have good parents and proper upbringing which would also promote their welfare.
However, parenting has never been an easy task, it is complex and daunting, as our children do not come with a manual.
While there are no fixed instructions to upbring a child, Islamic principles, can provide us with effective parenting approaches to raise righteous children.
Although there are tried and true strategies in modern psychology based upon child development theories, Islamic principles having roots in Quran and sayings of Imams and prophet Mohammad (PBUH) are also a great treasure to guide parents in raising their children.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH): “No one is born except according to intrinsic nature, but their parents make them Jews, or Christians, or Magians, just as a cow gives birth to a calf that is whole do you find it mutilated?”
As a general rule children learn what they see more than what they hear. So, in order to bring up a pious and righteous child as a parent the first thing to do is to be a role model for them.
Children are born pure, innocent and instinctively predisposed to believe in Allah. Therefore, when a child misbehaves, most probably, they are imitating what they have seen, and cannot be blamed.
To nurture the innate goodness of the child parents should lead them by behaving good and not just preaching about good deed and lecturing children on the importance of being pious. Actions definitely speak louder than words.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) treated everyone with kindness and mercy especially children. He used to let children climb over him while in prostration and prostrated long enough for his grandsons to paly as much as they wish.
It is important to understand that it is in a child’s nature to play or even make a mistake. Instead of blaming and scolding them it is best to forgive them, explain why what they did was wrong and help them to rectify their mistakes or apologize.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) also emphasize on the importance of cuddling and kissing children to make them feel safe and wanted and continuing the physical affection even when they grow up and get older.
Scientifically, skin contact, or physical touch such as hugging and kissing, are one of the most important stimulation required to grow a healthy brain and a strong body while help support emotional development.
Setting boundaries and guidelines help teaching your children the correct and accepted behavior. Rewarding good behaviors encourage children to act according to the rules.
“Nay, and by the moon, And by the night when it withdraws, And by the dawn when it brightens, Verily, it is but one of the greatest calamities. A warning to mankind, To any of you that chooses to go forward (by doing righteous deeds), or to remain behind (by committing sins), Every person is beheld (accountable) on his own deeds.” [Quran: Chapter 74, Verses 32-38]
As, according to Allah, everyone is accountable for their own deeds, it is important to teach children to be responsible so that they will be independent, reliable and productive in the future.
When they have a role in the family, they will be prepared to have a role in the society, feel useful and will be accountable for their actions as well.
Start with small tasks. Assigning the children to do simple responsibilities while they are very young, like bringing their plate to the kitchen after finishing their food, would prepare for bigger responsibilities as they age.
At age seven children are ready for logical reasoning and in case of Muslim families, Islamic ethics. This is the time when children are prepared to soak up anything and everything you show, teach, and tell them.
At this stage of upbringing, you can teach them about your religious beliefs. Remind them every day that Allah loves them unconditionally, and so they must love and obey Him and avoid displeasing Him.
Help your children to realize how dependent we are on Allah, as well as recognize and acknowledge the innumerable gifts that Allah has given them such as availability of food and water, a secure home, being healthy, etc.
“Be just, for it is closer to piety. Have fear of God; God is Well Aware of what you do.” [Quran: Chapter 5, Verses 8]
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has emphasized that parents should be just and fair to all the children, particularly in matters of gifts and kindness.
Discrimination among the children and favoring one more than the others, will lead to jealousy, and nothing but evil can arise from this. The child who is discriminated against may hold a grudge against the parents and the painful consequences, are easy to imagine.
And those who pray, "Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous." [Quran: Chapter 25, Verse 74]
Children are the delight of our hearts in their childhood and our companions and comfort when they get older. In Islamic law parents are asked to guarantee a good life for their children. Even in case of divorce, fathers are fully responsible to provide their children with food, clothing, and other expenses.
Children are not just gifts; they are a responsibility. Love them unconditionally, talk with them about their feelings and validate them, listen to them, play and have fun with them, discipline them but do not shame or blame them, etc.
Parents are required to make sure their children are mentally and physically healthy by giving them proper upbringing, of course according to their life standards, so that today’s children become an asset to their families and the society in the future.