If You Must Punish Your Child

The joy of having a newborn in the family or becoming parents is a blessing that confers responsibility of child training on both parents, thus, it becomes a religious obligation. You are always happy when you hear positive remarks about your child's religious life, obedience, manners and brilliance. Or rather, feel a tinge of remorse when such remarks are passed about others' children and not yours. 
Conversely, have you ever wondered why your child is not behaving righteously or like other peace-loving children inspite of all corrective measures? Then, check yourselves as the parents first before judging or punishing the child! You might have changed lately too and not noticing it or is the child's training left to the mother alone? When did you start training him: at a tender age or when he has grown-up already (as you gave him the excuse of being a baby then or that he will out-grow it)?
Frankly speaking, the family is often responsible for the children falling into sins or taking to bad behaviour because they do not urge them to worship and fear Allaah and/or they make the means of falling into sins readily available to them.
A child learns from the attention his parents give his gestures, movements, plays, cries and laughter. The child also gets much pleasure from it. However, a child who is not availed of such opportunity to learn these ethics of affection or whose emotion is not boosted in his mother's lap or through his father's care should not be expected to behave in the same manner as the former.
Training the child in all ways is the direct responsibility of the parents  particularly the father, and should not be left in the hands of his school teacher, a nanny or neighbour.
Abdul (not real name), a ten year-old boy, would not hesitate to steal money in his/their neighbour's room. He went to the extent of stealing a phone and was caught red-handed by the neighbour's child. His mother was told, but she pleaded that her husband should not be informed of this incidence.
A similar story was narrated by Dr. Mustapha Siba'i, a one time Sharia Court judge in Damascus, in his book: 'Our Social Behaviour: "I issued a judicial ruling to cut-off a thief's hand. During the judgment execution hour, the culprit called above his voice: 'before cutting-off my hand. kindly cut-off my mother's tongue ... my first robbery was that of our neighbour's egg and my mother never rebuked me for this act nor did she instruct me to return it, instead, she had encouraged me saying: 'my son has come of age.' 'If not for my mother's tongue, I would not have been (known) a thief."
For me, it has become a regular scene seeing young children hang out at night to watch television in nearby shops where generating sets are switched-on. I wonder where their parents, especially, their mothers, are? Is she not in the house or not yet back from work? Or she simply gives her child a free-hand by 'just' allowing him watch a favourite soap opera or programme on TV?
Meanwhile, the Prophet (salalahualahyi wasallam) said, as reported by Jabir: “Do not let your animals and your children go out, when the sun sets, until the first and darkest-part of the night is over, for the Shqytcran is let loose with the sinking of the sun. " (Muslim).
While it may not be possible to make specific judgment about the reasons a particular child misbehaves, nevertheless, it may be that the circumstances surrounding this child have made him fall into sin. Ready excuses that explain away misconduct such as, 'He is an only child or the only boy' - make falling into sins and errors easy.
Don't Spoil Him
Reduce the extent to which he is spoilt, because spoiling him makes him feel he is not a man, so he tries to prove that he is a man by means of bad habits like smoking for example.
This is not the same thing as denying him love and care nor is it being cruel and harsh. Rather, it is about correcting him when he errs and not indulging him. It is about not falling heels over head to fulfill his every flimsy request.
Remove Bad Influences
Don't make the means of falling into sin available, especially those which contribute to deadening of heart, such as giving him music tapes to listen to and providing channels for him to watch.
Don't let him Sleep Alone
Don't let him sleep alone or close the door when he is asleep because being alone makes it easy to think about sin and encourages one to fall into sins.
Attach Him To The Mosque
Make your child feel attached to the mosque and its study circles, and to righteous friends. These are the greastest means of helping a person to correct his ways and strengthen his faith.
Provide Islamic Alternatives
Providing a useful Islamic audiovisual library, which will create in him, a love for worship, teach him good manners and deter him from falling into sins.
Encourage Him to Read
Encourage him to read books that have biographies of the scholars and heroic mujahideen. Perhaps, he will acquire some of their attributes and follow in their footsteps. It is better to encourage him to write a summary of what he reads, hears and watches and to give him a suitable reward for that.
Make Him Memorise the Qur'an
Encourage him to memorise the Qur'an and fasts, undoubtedly, these will strengthen him spiritually.
Organise his time
Try to organise his time, so that he will be active during the day and will sleep early, because staying up late may make his mood wander towards sins.
Tell Him The Shariah position on His Sins
Explain to him the shar'i ruling on constant falling into sins and its effect on the mind, heart and faculties.
Don't Humiliate Him
Avoid humiliating, hitting and embarrassing him because these will not make him give-up sins, rather, you should deal with him in the best way and give good advice. Don't remind him of past offence nor punish him for it.
Communicate Early and Effectively
Allaah's Messenger( salalahu alayhi wa sallam) spoke clearly and plainly so that everyone who listened to him would understand him. Whenever he wanted to impart a message to someone, he ensured he got the person's attention first.
Allow Him to Express His Feelings
Don't be stern. Allow him to express his feeling and share his joy and pain with you. Listen actively and feel what he feels. If you do, he will always come back to you seeking your help with any problem and trust you with information that you will need to make a proper decision and guidance in his life.
Dua, Dua, Dua
From time immemorial, prayers before and after their birth have played significant roles in the outcome of that interplay in the upbringing of the children. Many families whose children turn out to be righteous and well-balanced Muslims have confessed that, they fervently prayed for their kids as they grow. As much as you desire them to be successful in this life and the hereafter, you should show much more concern about their deen.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited
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