Those of us who are parents have a big responsibility in our hands. I truly believe that our children are who they are because of their upbringing. Only rarely do children develop in to social misfits despite their parents best efforts to mould them in to good citizens. Whatever the family structure: single parent; same sex parents and divorced parents, it is our responsibility to provide our children with a sound moral upbringing, whilst raising their self esteem so that they grow in to confident, considerate young adults.
It’s not always easy to adhere to these ideals. We are all busy people with everyday responsibilities to fulfil. Taking the time out to actually listen and communicate to our children is not always easy – yet its importance cannot be stressed enough. This communication should begin as soon as our children develop the ability to comprehend words. When they are toddlers, a firm no establishes the difference between right and wrong, but, as I am sure many of us have witnessed, without the consistency of that ‘no’ a child will continue in its attempt to rebel. If promises are consistently broken, the child loses their trust in us and the relationship between parent and child begins to weaken. Often, we make false threats, not carrying them out, hence giving our children the perfect excuse to continue with their rebellious actions as they know that our words of reprimand are just a mere, empty threat.
So leaving discipline and boundaries in our children is essential. But of course, more than just rules and regulations are required to produce a well rounded adult. Love is the key to security, and security brings with it the ability to make independent choices. Leaving our children with the confidence to choose between right and wrong when our guidance is no longer available to them is a sign of good parenting. To achieve this we should be good role models, where we demonstrate how to deal with the challenges of life through compromise and understanding. If we consistently allow our anger to surface in times of trouble, then our children will learn to do the same, but demonstrating patience means we have fulfilled our role as parents.
Faith is a big help when it comes to bringing up children. This does not mean that a person without faith is unable to bring up a child with good morals and standards, however, when one has a faith, there are more than just worldly reasons for your child to develop good character. Pleasing God becomes a far bigger motivation both for the parents and the child.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi va sallam) said, “The best gift to children from parents is their correct training” (Tirmizi).
May we all focus on our responsibility to develop happy, independent young adults who embrace good character and morals. Once they become adults, they make their own choices, but if the foundations are strong, more often than not they will make balanced decisions that hurt no one and have only a positive effect affect on their lives.
Please feel free to share your views on this topic.