BismilLah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim
The idea to work on a series of articles on parenting had been percolating in my mind since early this year. The boys and I were putting together our annual Inspiration Board when the desire to organise and compile a more comprehensive collection of articles on parenting took root in me.
The decision to call it the LifeParenting Series was influenced by the fact that when we become parents, it is for life. From the first moment of holding our child in our arms, our hopes, aspirations, concern and thoughts for our child never stops, even when we are in our 90’s.
The LifeParenting Series will be a culmination of the knowledge, experiences and advice I’ve received since I began to take an avid interest in becoming a better parent for my sons. Using Khalifah Method as the primary reference and Brain Gym plus other optimal brain and behavior strategies, the LifeParenting Series will offer parents an understanding of their true role as parents and begin to enjoy and love the experience of being a parent, Insha’Allah.
Being a LifeParent starts with acknowledging that we are a parent to our children for LIFE. Full stop. Half my work is done now…
It doesn’t stop when the kids go off to university or start work. It’s very much alive when we know our children are thinking of starting their own family; the concern whether the woman they choose will be the best wife for them, whether or not we will get along with their chosen partner. Sigh…
This is a huge issue with me because I have always brought my sons up to honour and put their mother first based on the hadith where the Prophet Muhammad salla Allah alayhi wassalam repeated “the mother” three times when he was asked by a man who he should honour first after Allah subhana wa ta’ala and His Messenger. Yet, in today’s world, the wife expects and is expected to dominate the family over the her in-laws. I will just have to put my trust in Allah and in my sons that they will choose right. Allah knows best.
Islam places parents in high regard and honour, that even saying ‘Oof!’ to the parent is not allowed and children must be taught to always remember this. In Al Quran, Surah Al Isra, verse 23 ” Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour.“
It is only when we follow the criterion set by Islam in our every decision and action that we will truly enjoy the experience of being a parent. We can then bask in the warm feeling that we are doing right by our children, to share the pride they are feeling when they achieve something good, instead of being stressed and pressured to ‘keep up with the Jones’ and compare our children’s achievements to others. I hold the position that it is necessary to teach children to be competitive but this can be done by comparing effort instead of results.
We, LifeParents, set the ball rolling for our children through our own behavior. Children develop habits and behavior mainly through ‘modelling’ i.e. imitating the behavior of the primary adults around them.
Pretend that you are holding a mirror in front of you and you are seeing yourself as your child is seeing you. Do you like what you see? Are you okey knowing that your behavior will likely be imitated by your child?
I have a very good example of how a parent’s behavior can influence the child. One evening, when my eldest son, Adam, was three years old, we were having dinner at my parents’ house. Adam spilled his drink on the table and nonchantly said, ‘Shit.’ Just like that. And he said it exactly the way I would say it.
There was stunned silence around the dinner table and then, my mother turned to me and just said, ‘Cher…’. They knew exactly who Adam had learnt the swear word from, because of the way he said it. Just like how his mother says it.
We can’t put entire blame on our children for any of their bad behavior. We first have to investigate where the behavior originated from. You would be surprised to realise a lot of them comes from us, the parents. The so-called role models of our children.
So, take a stand now. Decide that you want to be a great parent for your children and then doing mushasabah/ self check on yourself. Develop the habit of using the Kaizen Process (continuous self improvements) in your every day decisions and you will find that not only will your home be more peaceful but you will also be more at peace with yourself.
To recap, using John Medina’s brain rules: Rule # 5: Repeat to remember
- Acknowledge your role as parent is a lifelong responsibility
- Use the criterion set down by Islam as your reference and standard
- Be a good role model for your child
- Consistently do self-check and be aware of any development in your family’s progress
May Allah subhana wa ta’ala give you courage and strength throughout your journey as a LifeParent and khalifah. Ameen.