Thursday, March 31, 2011

Parenting Help Hotline

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

My 7-year-old daughter is going through some changes and testing the waters in regards to discipline, truthfulness, emotions, and words. Ya Rabb! I know my children are extremely easy compared to many others, mashaa'Allah. Regardless, parenting is hard at these times and I find myself struggling about how to handle various situations. I have been dialing the Parenting Help Hotline, seeking Allah's help and guidance in this.

Here is an outline of what happened a couple of days ago with her. Please note that she has been reading fluently since she was 3 years old, mashaa'Allah, so one wouldn't expect this to be a fix for most 7-year-olds, but a modified version might work. The key is to give children information and strategies that they can easily understand and implement. My daughter knows that The Pen (recorded account of good and bad deeds) isn't upon her yet, but that she is in training for when The Pen descends. This is a critical time, as these are the years where instruction for prayer and Islamic knowledge are being established.

In the morning at school, she said she wasn't walking downstairs with her little sister to play with her before classes start. Previously, she had gone down with her sister every day happily, without fail. This had her little sister very upset and me wondering what on earth was going on. I asked her why and she had no reason. I could tell that something was going wrong with her mindset. A friend and I both told her that she needs to take care of her sister and go downstairs with her. She went, but was silently whining and in a bad mood about it.

Once I saw that she was immersed in a bad mood, I went over to her and crouched down to eye level. I told her shaytaan was strongly influencing her at that time. After all, how can one fight if they don't know their enemy? I told her to say the istiaadha (the istiaadha is, "audhu b'Illahi min as shaytaan ir-rajeem) and as she said it, tears started rolling thick and fast down her cheeks. I told her that shaytaan didn't want her to get rid of him, that's why she was crying because there was a battle in her. I made her say it two more times and then had her recite Quran, the last three suwar. By the time she got to An Naas, I could see the calm coming over her. She recited Ayat al Kursy and then went to her classroom.

As the day continued, her mood remained considerably better, mashaa'Allah. However, once we had returned home and she was finished with her homeschooling, Allah sent me an idea. I called her over to read the Seven Phases of Shaytaan. Then I asked her at what stage she thought she was. After some thought, she told me she was at Phase 3, so I asked what major sins she was committing. She admitted to disobedience to parents and lying. Then she said, "So if I stop doing the major sins, shaytaan will get me to do minor sins next?" Now she was thinking, mashaa'Allah! I then  had her read my post, Scream, Shout, Kick shaytaan Out! Immediately after she read it, she went to get her computer and played Surah al Baqarah.

Then we prepared to pray, and as usual she delayed us a bit, so I said, "See how shaytaan keeps getting to you?" She denied it was shaytaan and told me, "You don't love me as much as you used to." Naturally, I talked to her about that, telling her I love her and want only to see the best for her. I told her that she has great potential to teach others Islam and please Allah. I then told her if she went out and killed someone, I wouldn't feel the same about her. It isn't that I don't love her, but it isn't nice or easy for me when she does the wrong thing. I then told her that she is a child and I understand that she has to go through different stages to learn and grow. It's just not lovely for me as her mummy to have to see her be naughty because I do love her.

She went off, still feeling sad. We went about our business for another hour or two and then my daughters had an apple break while I was preparing dinner. Just as they were happily chatting away, Allah sent me another gem of guidance. I asked my daughter how she would feel if I stopped praying or walked outside without my hijab? She looked at me as if I'd lost my mind, LOL. Then I asked her again, how would she feel? She answered, "I would be upset!" I asked her why and she responded, "Because you would be disobeying Allah, Mummy!"  (This is where anyone lurking in my mind would have heard my brain give a huge sigh of relief and a mental al hamdu'Illah!) I simply said to her, "Ah! So now do you understand how I feel when you disobey Allah?" Her face lit up as if the lightbulb had just gone on. She let out a laugh that said, "Now I get it!"

Since then, she has asked how she can get out of the phase she is in with shaytaan. I remind her to seek refuge in Allah and get rid of that rotten devil. They did a homeschooling unit on Understanding shaytaan, so her little sister knows the formula, too, mashaa'Allah. I tell them that every day they wake up and have choices to make; it's up to them to make the right and best choices. It is within their own control.

Will this be the end of it and we all live happily ever after? Of course not. I expect to remind and guide over and over again; that's what mothers do. When it comes to parenting, I have to turn to Allah, subhaana wa taala, He always gives me a way that was better than anything I could of dreamed up. To all you parents out there, rely on the Parenting Help Hotline first. Throw your hands up in dua' when you're seeking a way through to your children. It's the only way to ultimate success for you and your children.

Al hamdu l'Illahi rabbil aal ameen!


  1. Jzakillahu khayran for this! I REALLY needed it!!!

  2. Assalamu alaikum. That is very beautiful...

  3. assalam aleikum, good lesson .. at first i was kind of shocked about the Shaytan-thing, as I remembered my mother saying I had "the devil" inside of me after telling her I converted to Islam and that upset me much that time.. but I think for kids it is good to let them know it is Shaytan who is making them misbehave, so that they not take it too personal, or feel it is a hopeless battle against their own selves.

  4. Salam Alaikum,
    As always, your post in very beneficial and inspiring, sister.

    That's why I chose you to receive the Inspirational Award Blog.
    Please check

  5. Your daughter appears to be displaying rebelliousness, moodiness, and insolence, all of which requires a response from the parent. But why would you plant the idea of going out and killing someone in the mind of a 7 year old child?

  6. As salaamu alaykum Ithifar.

    I didn't "plant" any idea in her mind. She reads stories, she hears news; she knows that people get killed. She also has read various selected parts of Adh-Dhahabi's Major Sins. Using that as an example is hardly "planting" an idea. If you are thinking of an average 7 year old, as I mentioned the whole scenario would need to be within their zone of proximal development. However she is mashaa'Allah, tabarak Allah, gifted, and this was a reasonable analogy.

    I have just asked her, just to be sure, whether using the analogy of killing someone has planted the idea in her mind to go out and kill someone, and she has burst out giggling and said, "No." She is now having a good laugh again about it, so I would say that only we know our children well enough to intuit what will work best with them. I was just sharing. Inshaa'Allah khayr.

    Barak Allahu feek(i).

  7. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh and my thanks to you Rialive for the honor of a award! Barak Allahu feeki.

    Inshaa'Allah there will only be benefit from what Allah guides me to write and all readers will be protected from any harm or misguidance from my own failings - ameen.

  8. I feel that you over reacted and the way which you dealt with this is far too complex. Yes you say your daughter is "gifted" but still, she is only a 7 year. Its normal for little boys and girls to be naughty, and its normal for them to test the waters. But why would you take this normal behaviour so far out of context and expect this child to act like a robot? Let them be children and relax.

  9. As salaamu alaykum Hamda.

    Jazaaki Allahu khayran for your opinion. I'm not sure how I am expecting her to act like a robot. She just said that she doesn't act like a robot (she reads my blog, lol).

    Being naughty is normal throughout children's developmental stages, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed. We most certainly learn in both psychology and education classes that children need guidance and to be given strategies to learn how to control themselves.

    Children need boundaries, structure, and guidelines from the time they are born. Muslim children need to understand the driving force behind their behavior. The strategies we give them will see them through to the grave.That has nothing to do with them being children, having fun, or relaxing.

    If you prefer to leave your children and send them the message that it's fine to lie, speak rudely, and be disobedient because they are children, then that is your choice.

    Seven is the age when we must teach them to pray. Shall I leave her until the age of 10 when prayer is fard upon her or perhaps puberty and then suddenly tell her that all the habits she takes as "normal" are all haram and major sins? Do I then say, kick those habits, and expect her to simply do a robot?

    In any case, she is happy and a child and well informed appropriate to her level. We all act according to our understanding and beliefs. The ultimate goal should be for our children to please Allah and have success in this life and the aakhirah. May Allah make that a reality, whatever our methodology - ameen.

  10. As'salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!!!!!

    Alhamdulilliah!!! Allah is the MOST MERCIFUL! THE ALL-HEARING!!!! I've been making du'a that Allah guide me to sisters who truly love Him and want to live a live pleasing to Him, and after years of praying Allah has removed many muslim "friends" from my life and for while I was sadden, because I felt like I had no one to relate to. Since last year, I happen upon another sisters blog, and she directed me to your blog on Healing Earth just recently. To be honest, I can not recall how I got to this blog, but it has been truly sent forth by Allah. I've been trying to rectify my affairs with my Lord for years and I continue to try to learn, implement and grow. I've been trying to correct the misguidance I started my older children upon and I struggle ( and fail) to put my newer children upon correct guidance and belief. Masha Allah, I find your post extremely helpful with basic steps to guide the children, connect their hearts to Allah and reminding us that even people who are actively upon the Sunnah are tested with the their children. Though my older children may be to far gone, I constantly make du'a for them that Allah turns their hearts to what is pleasing to Him and that they find contentment in being obedient to Him. I also make du'a that my younger children are not ruined by my lack of knowledge of implementing the deen and the bad habits of both myself and my older children. Like you mentioned about your kids, my kids are really good, compared to what some parents have to deal with, but this post will be good to introduce to all my kids, to make us more conscience of when the enemy's attacks and methods to combat him! Jazakallahu Khirin and I hope to keep benefiting from your post here and on Healing Earth