Parent’s Day Out: Part 4

At times, parents shout or humiliate their children in front of everyone. Children’s self-esteem is broken, probably for life!

By Dawood Vaid

I was in Oman when someone from the audience asked me, how to make the children pray Salaah (Namaz) and be regular in it. My answer was quick and assured, make them love the Qur’an and the Seerah of Rasulallah.
When a learned scholar was recently asked,
“What should we teach our children?”, his response was swift and unequivocal — “The seerah (biography of the Prophet) and nasheeds (devotional songs of praise). If your kids love the Prophet, they will automatically love Allah.”
With toddlers and pre-schoolers, you should mention the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) as if he were a relevant person in their lives. Talk about him the way one would talk about any respected elder whom the child adored. Tell the little ones, “The Prophet Muhammad loved white, so let’s wear our white clothes for Friday Prayer!” or “Prophet Muhammad taught us that we should sit down when we get angry, so let’s sit down since you’re feeling so frustrated.”
This is the second of our Parenting model. Earlier we spoke of the Rules of Traffic Model in the last article.
“Reward and punishment” model
“RaP” is a most popular model of parenting based on logic: for a good action – a reward/praise and for a bad action – a punishment/scolding/reprimand.
But it imparts the child’s universal image of reward and punishment and when real life does not prove to be just, it undermines the child’s faith in justice.
Yet another thing in this model is how the parents shout or humiliate their children and that too in front of everyone.
Let me give an example: Imagine some guests come home and your 12 year old daughter is keen to get some water for them.
The moment she pours water in the glasses, we immediately say, “Maria you will spill water, be careful.” You almost involuntarily made her mind know that she will spill water and she does!
Next Maria gets the glasses for the guest. You now remark, “Maria, be careful, don’t drop the glass on the carpet.” And know what? Maria drops and breaks the glasses. The carpet is now wet.
You get so angry, you scream, shout at your daughter in front of all the guests.
You know, what Maria broke – a Rs.30/- glass of water and probably spoiled your beautiful Persian carpet!
You know, what you broke –You broke Maria’s self esteem, probably for life!
Story from the seerah: Where is your camel?
Khuwwaatibn Jubayr said: “We made camp with the Messenger of Allah at Mar al-Zahraan (a place near Makkah).
I came out of my tent and saw some women talking among themselves and I too joined them.
Rasulallah came out and said, ‘O Abu ‘Abd-Allah!!” (i.e., he was reprimanding him for sitting with those non-mahrem women). When I saw the Messenger of Allah, I got scared and started stammering (trying to come up with an excuse). I said, “O Messenger of Allah, my camel got lost and I am looking for a rope to restrain it” (i.e., he came up with a false excuse to justify what he had done).
After a while, I met him again and he said: “O Abu ‘Abd-Allah, what happened to your lost camel?”
Then we continued on our journey, and whenever he caught up with me, he would say, “Assalaamualeika Abu ‘Abd-Allah. What happened to that lost camel?” When I realized this, I hastened on to Medina and avoided the mosque and gatherings where the Prophet was present. When this had gone on for a long time, I tried to go to the mosque when no one else was around. I went to the mosque and started to pray, but the Messenger of Allah came out of one of his apartments and started to pray two short rak’ahs. I made my prayer long, hoping that he would go away and leave me. He said, ‘Make it as long as you like, O Abu ‘Abd-Allah, for I am not leaving until you finish.’
I said to myself, ‘By Allah, I should apologize to the Messenger of Allah and make him happy.’ When I had finished, he said, ‘Al-salaamu ‘alayka, O Abu ‘Abd-Allah. What happened to your lost camel?’ I said, ‘By the One Who sent you with the truth, that camel has never gotten lost since the time I became a Muslim.’ He said, ‘May Allah have mercy on you’ three times, then he never mentioned it again.” (Tabarani)
Thus without embarrassing or humiliating the young companion, Rasulallah taught him an important lesson.
(The writer lives in Mumbai with his two daughters and enjoys horse riding lessons and story-telling sessions with them. He can be reached at [email protected])

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