The best gift from parents to their children is good education and upbringing. Children are blessings from Allah and are born with pure souls. How they are raised and the environment of nurture plays a major role in their lives and personalities. This is why it is important for parents to adopt good parenting skills in order to raise their children righteously and also raise them in a healthy environment.
As narrated by Abdullah Ibn Umar, The prophet (s. a. w) said “Indeed each of you is a shepherd and each of you will be questioned regarding his flock. The commander who is in authority over people is responsible and he will be questioned regarding his responsibility. The man is responsible over the inhabitants of his house and he is the one who will be questioned about them. The wife is responsible for her husband’s house and she will be questioned about it. The servant is responsible for his master’s property, and he will be questioned about it. Indeed each of you is a shepherd and each of you will be questioned about his flock.”( Sahih al-Bukhari)
Unfortunately, we live in a world where many parents are too busy with their lives, careers, businesses, desires and are so engulfed with the zeal to please others. Parents are struggling to keep up in their primary assignments as expected. They have forgotten that with great power (parents), comes great responsibility (children) and each person will account for his wards. To improve your parenting skills, there is a need to know your shortcomings as a parent(s) and what you can do about it.
According to researchers, there are four general categories of parenting, namely;
- Permissive parents
- Authoritarian parents
- Authoritative parents
- Uninvolved parents
THE PERMISSIVE PARENT:
Tolerates and excuse all undesirable behavior from a child, sets rules but the rules were never enforced, it could even be no rules and boundaries for the child, gives in to all the child’s demand even if it was initially against wish.
- Do you know your excuses can ruin them for life?
- Do you know it can make the child undisciplined, disrespectful and irresponsible as an adult?
- Do you know Its repercussion when the child fails in his responsibilities towards you and his family?
- Unfortunately, he can’t be corrected because you have been too lenient. He doesn’t respect you, your opinion and your well being.
THE AUTHORITARIAN PARENT:
Believes in harsh punishment to discipline and correct a child always. No wonder why (s)he is scared of you, scared of telling you (s)he is molested, scared of seeking your advice and could be reluctant to ask for your guidance.
- Do you realize you can expose the child to the bad company when he receives love and acceptance from strangers/outsiders?
- Do you realize you could be raising an individual with low self-esteem that will always assume his opinion doesn’t and won’t matter?
- Do you know your strictness can make him hostile and aggressive to the point of hating you, especially when what you forced him to do is the cause of his unhappiness?
- Do you realize your ways could make this child a goof liar just to evade your punishment?
Parents are meant to lead and guide their children but with kindness and mercy. I’m sure that no one wants to raise an insensitive child that is not compassionate towards others.
THE AUTHORITATIVE PARENT:
Sets rules and boundaries, enforce it and always leave room for negotiations, explains the reason for dictatorial actions, very approachable, listens to the child and value his/her opinion and at the same time, ensure that (s)he as a parent, is obeyed. This parent compassionately corrects the child’s mistakes, encourages him even when he fails and teaches him that failure is just a lesson.
Authoritative Parenting is the best parenting( Steinberg 2001) because children from such parents are likely to be responsible, happy and comfortable expressing themselves, because not only do such parents invest energy and time into understanding their children and improving their relationship, they encourage good behavior through praises and rewards.
I also see authoritative parenting as the best because how I was raised is more inclined to that and the way we relate in our home have impacted my life in a good way. I can only say Alhamdulillah for giving me my parents even with their flaws and wrongs, which I do point out to them sometimes. Yes! I do correct my parents’ wrong. Such is the kind of beautiful relationship I had with my parents and that should be the way parents should relate with their children.
THE UN-INVOLVED PARENT:
Neither contributes nor demand responsibilities to the child(ren), has a non-challant attitude on children’s whereabouts and doesn’t care about how they are faring academically, socially, spiritually, mentally and emotionally (the most important). There is no devotion of time and energy to meet basic needs.
- Do you know this is the worst form of parenting?
- Do you realize you could raise a child with low self-esteem that feels unloved, unwanted and neglected?
- Do you realize your ways could make him not just academically poor, but morally poor with sad childhood memories and happiness?
Uninvolved parenting has the worst negative effects on children according to study (Hoskins D. H, 2014) compared to the other three types of parenting. The following questions calls for answers.
- Which category of parent do you belong?
- Do you consider them in every decisions you make?
- Do you consider them before fighting and abusing your spouse?
- Do you know the effect of each irresponsible decisions you make on them?
- Do you consider them before going for polygamy?
- How it won’t affect them and how you will cater and care for your future kids.
- As a father or mother, are you leading by example?
- Are you a good leader in your home?
- Are you punctual in your praying?
- Do you practice what you preach?
- Are you instilling fear of Allah in them?
- The best way to teach a child is by example, because children learn by imitating their parents. If you’re upright, he will likely grow upright. If you are corrupt, he will learn corruption from you.
- Do you consider the effect of staying out late for no reason and infidelity on your spouse and children?
- Not only are you endangering their health, but you’re also putting your spouse in emotional distress which will affect the children. Marilyn Essex study shows that parent’s stress can affect the children gene for so many years into the future. You’re also reducing bonding and laying bad examples for the children.
- Do you consider the psychological effect of staying in abusive marriage on your children?
The best place to raise a child is a sane and healthy environment. Jekielek (1998) concluded that children whose parents were in higher conflict but had divorced or separated scored lower on scales of anxiety and depression than children whose parents reported similar levels of high conflict and stayed married; Using data from a longitudinal study (the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth) involving a sample of 1,640 children to examine the effects of marital conflict and marital disruption on children.
- Are you approachable? Do you play and have fun with your children?
- Do you know parenting is more than financial provision alone and shouldn’t be left to just a spouse?
- Do you know playing with your children is Sunnah?
Let them know about Allah, teaching and instilling the words of Allah in them by setting a good example. Uthman narrated that the Prophet said, “The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qurān and teach it (A-lbukhari).
Teach them to be independent. Accord responsibilities to them and let them do things they can do by themselves. It makes them responsible and prepares them for future success.
Set your boundaries and rules. Let him know halal from Haram. “Verily, Allah the Almighty has laid down fara’id (religious obligations), so do not neglect them. He has set boundaries, so do not overstep them. He has prohibited some things, so do not violate them; About some things, He was silent on, out of compassion for you, not forgetfulness, so seek not after them.” [Hadith Nawawi]. Create time for the fun to bond with your children. Express your love to them through hugs and kisses. People Muhammad (s.a.w) played with kids. Allah’s messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn
Ali while Al-Aqra ibn Habis At-Tirmidhi was sitting with him. Al-Aqra` said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.” The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” (Al-Bukhari)
Respect your children and be just among them. Be affectionate with your spouse. Practice positive parenting, be friendly and approachable to them. Lead by example, teach them to be compassionate, caring and forgiving. Lower your high expectations on them to reduce disappointment because they are still in the learning process. Encourage and motivate them when they fail. Never let them see failure as the end but as starting point of success.
There are no perfect parent and children anywhere but we have to keep striving to be the best, starting from knowing what we need to work on. May Allah ease our affairs and help us in raising pious children we will be proud of.
If you have more suggestions, kindly write it in the comment section.
Baumrind, D. (1991). The influence of parenting style on adolescent competence and substance use. Journal of Early Adolescence, 11(1), 56-95.
We Know Some Things: Parent-Child Relationships in Retrospect and Prospect, Laurence Steinberg, Journal of Research on Adolescence, 11(1), 1-19.
Marilyn J. Essex, W. Thomas Boyce, Clyde Hertzman, Lucia L. Lam, Jeffrey M. Armstrong, Sarah M. A. Neumann, Michael S. Kobor. Epigenetic Vestiges of Early Developmental Adversity: Childhood Stress Exposure and DNA Methylation in Adolescence. Child Development, 2011