The challenges of parenting especially with a Muslim parent
Parenting and raising children is challenging regardless of your religion and background.
Parents have different upbringing and parenting styles, and in each family, these are determined in their own way. Amidst the challenges of parenting, Muslim parents have a great responsibility for raising their children as Muslims, regardless of where they live and what parenting style suits them best. Muslims living in the West or in Muslim-minority countries often face challenges through the environment. Media and entertainment, peer pressure and some social norms in the West, such as alcohol consumption, often pose challenges for Muslim families. Although raising children in Muslim-majority countries may seem safer or easier, television, the Internet and social media are everywhere these days, and so the challenges of raising children in Muslim-majority countries are becoming more and more difficult.
Wherever we are, it’s good to remember a few things that can help parents and family dynamics so that children are given the opportunity to grow and develop in spite of any possible challenges.
1. Create a good and trusting atmosphere at home
Confident children are happy children because they have learned to communicate what they feel and what they want. When children grow up knowing their own limits, they can develop their social skills.[Rivityskohta]Happy children are easier to understand, easier to talk to and more open to communicating their needs and wishes. Happy children are also more open to sharing, feel safe and always return to the people who love them the most: their parents.
Loving your children unconditionally is the first step. Children who feel love return the sympathy they receive and feel happy in the end. Showing love can be done with lots of hugs; giving attention and being interested in the child’s affairs; encouraging their strengths; offering guidance and setting limits as needed.
In a safe home, parents are interested in the children’s affairs and are present. If there are two parents in the family, then both parents should actively participate in raising the children. This is an excellent way for parents and their children to get to know each other better. It helps them to work together, which creates a sense of togetherness in the family.
2. Reading stories and the Quran
Reading stories and learning from them is good, regardless of how well you can read.
Even parents who are not well versed in reading the Quran should teach their children whatever little they know. Those who even struggle with reading the scriptures alone are blessed too.
This does not mean that parents should stop learning, as families should constantly want to study and understand the message of the Quran. Today, there are many different opportunities and ways to learn, including online courses and outsourcing to those who know more.
3. Listen to your children and communicate
Talking and listening to children is the key to communication. Children and young people need to be heard and understood in order for them to feel safe. When young people know that their parents listen to them without judging them, they also feel safe to open up when they have problems. When such a trusting relationship has been created, they also dare to ask questions when they are unsure, and when faced with difficulties, they know how to rely on their parents. Many families lose touch with their children because they stop communicating with them. This is also affected by smartphones and other such devices. Many parents talk to their children, but they forget to listen when they need guidance in making decisions. This can have a negative effect on children, and they may become inclined to seek help from outside the home and from other young people, which can lead them down the wrong path.
Children who feel that it’s safe to express themselves also feel safe in the outside world. They can make better decisions on their own, stand up to injustices and also express themselves well even in difficult situations.
4. Try to find a good hobby or a good friend
Making good friends is just as important as building a strong family unit. This applies to both parents and children. Finding like-minded parents helps children to strengthen their faith and identity, as it is easier for Muslims to raise children if they see their friends growing up the same way and it is easy to be in contact with them. Finding good friends can also help you to distinguish between what is allowed and what isn’t. This helps children to understand that even if others drink alcohol or go to nightclubs, it’s not necessarily a good thing to do, and it’s also possible to have fun with good friends doing things that are allowed in Islam.
No child should live like a hermit. Instead children should experience different things in different environments. Good company is very important because it can help them make the right decisions, do good deeds and avoid bad ones.
5. Always remember the dua or supplication
Finally, it is good to remember that it is worthwhile for parents to use their most important parenting tool: dua. Dua is always a request for guidance and goodness. The prayers of parents are very powerful, and so it is important to ask Allah for help in raising and guiding children.
Praying to Allah in all sincerity keeps us on the right path. Allah says in the Quran: Call on me and I will answer your prayer. What better way for parents to find the strength to guide, raise and support children when they can ask Allah for guidance and protection by His mercy.
The mercy of Allah transcends all borders, across cultures, different parenting styles, different geographical locations and different childrearing challenges. The most important thing is to trust Allah and do your best, and this in sha Allah is enough.