Bism’Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.
Subhaan Allah, parenting is a test I truly fear I will fail. Time and time again, when I promise myself I will not get upset or raise my voice, I find every single button has been pushed and I am upset and shouting. May Allah forgive me and bring me to a far better place – ameen. However, when my children say things that imply that I am totally unreasonable to punish them for bad behavior or to make conditions regarding how they can get things they like, I start to wonder if I have failed in imparting my message. Just recently, it seemed like the time had come for a parenting audit.
So, after reading a thought-provoking title on someone's blog, I decided to ask my daughters what was important to me. Yes, I typed it rightly; I asked them what they thought was important to ME. Without hesitation they said, in unison, “Jennah - us pleasing Allah and getting to Jennah.” For those of you who know me, the veritable leaky tap, you know that I cried when I heard that. I cried tears of relief and of sheer gratefulness that, regardless of how hard it is at times to bear their behavior and words, my goal for them was known.
Part two of the audit came a day or two later, when we had a tawheed lesson. Afterwards, and with much encouragement because they enjoy these lessons, mashaa’Allah, I read them a post on How the Salaf raised their Children. I heard a slight groan when I got to parts that they weren’t adhering to, but I was urged to read them another post on Questions Pertaining to Children’s Clothes. After finishing, I asked them if, based on what we had read, I was doing my job properly. A unanimous, “Yes,” was the response, mashaa’Allah.
The audit will continue, inshaa’Allah, where I read other parenting guidelines to them and have them be the judge of whether I’m meeting the standards. There are several more very relevant ones on the same website, and I have some other resources along those lines as well. I plan to read sections of Minhaj Al Muslim to them on daily etiquettes, manners, prayer, etc. and have them judge if I am modeling and teaching them correctly.
These are all important lessons that children need be reminded of, ad nauseum at times. They love to be given lessons where they can show that they already have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the subject. They love to get the answers right.
In going over these critical issues, I not only remind about, reinforce, and re-encourage behaviors, but I make them look at it from a different perspective. I make them consider if I have taught them and shown them these important lessons. Some of you may be thinking, surely Mai knows if she taught them those things and models them or not. You’re right, I do. However, my children need to consciously acknowledge that I do. It doesn’t help to tell them that I do all that for them, but it does help when they have to examine me and realize it for themselves.
May Allah increase us in 'ilm (knowledge), sabr (patience), hikma (wisdom), rahma (mercy), rifq (kindness), emaan (faith), taqwa (peity), ibaadah (worship), and bestow on us a large, and much needed, extra dose of sabr (patience)- ameen!