3 Ways To Build Strong Connections with Your Childby Farida Haji
“Will you stop playing on your phone and listen when I talk to you?”
“What are you watching?” you snatch the remote and turn the tv off before walking away in anger or frustration.
Are you guilty of this behavior with your child, no matter their age?
Now swap places, and think if there was a time your child may have wanted to express this same sentiment, but you were physically and emotionally unavailable.
While you persevere to teach your children essential skills, problems seem to get complicated with changing times. It is necessary to understand your child’s world and the culture these days, so you can be in a better position to guide and counsel them.
1. Understanding Dangers of The Digital World
Our world undeniably revolves around online exposure – movies, games, mobile apps, videos, and streaming services.
A report published by commonsense media in August 2021 reviewed the privacy protections in the top 10 online video streaming services, and the top 5 video streaming devices, including programming directed at kids and families. Many apps and devices use practices that put the consumers’ privacy at risk; especially that of children.
Not to mention mobile and video games that show explicit content to children!
How much can you filter?
How much can you avoid?
How many parental locks on how many devices?
The more you try to restrict and conform, the more rebellious they will get. Curiosity is an inherent human trait, and Islam encourages one to seek knowledge.
Let it begin with you!
2. Connection Before Correction
Relationships are built on trust and affection and they thrive when we involve ourselves socially, developing a sense of empathy. Forging healthy associations from a young age help in personal growth and development. It is crucial to nourish the most important one. The one with your child.
Disagreements, arguments, and tantrums are a part of childhood. Aim to create a middle ground and come together to understand your child’s perspective and put forth your viewpoint too. Connect with your child before you correct them.
Nurture the bond with your child through daily conversations. Ask if they are facing challenges, and listen to them with an intent to respond, regardless of how trivial the matter may be. Allow your child to have their personal space and encourage them to share their thoughts and opinions regularly during family discussions.
3. Address Issues Affecting Our Muslim Youth
The list of problems tweens, teens, and young adults deal with is lengthy. However, Muslim children specifically go through these issues. They may be uncomfortable but make an effort to address them.
- Muslim Representation
- Sexual Health
- Undervalued Self-worth
- Peer Pressure
Will it help to discuss these topics with your child as they enter their tween years?
There are innumerable influences ready to grasp your child as they step out in the world. You are their safe haven.
Equip them with proper knowledge. Make an effort to understand the purpose of their actions. Join them when they play video games. Read their books, and watch the best movies on Qalbox together that showcase and represent diverse Muslims and Islamic values. Direct them to Islamic apps, literature, scholars, and lectures online.
What Can You Do?
1. Instill The Islamic Identity
The foundation of Muslims starts from the moment they are born. Provide an Islamic environment from an early age to strengthen their faith and practice. Begin with gradual age-appropriate routines to develop their spiritual connection to Allah.
- Reciting small surahs
- Listening to our prophets’ stories
- Reflect on Islamic stories from the Quran
- Reading and learning about Islamic values and etiquette
- Learn the benefits of salah
Young children may not understand it all, but when they see their parents actively practicing, they will incorporate it into their everyday life.
2. Model a Healthy and Respectful Relationship
This cannot be done overnight. If we desire respect, we must learn to be respectful. Children admire and respect their parents. Knock on their door, so they will knock on yours.
- Develop an understanding of manners, modesty, and privacy.
- Be honest and provide scientifically accurate information that is consistent with Islamic values when your child questions you.
- Talk about puberty, personal hygiene, menstruation, masturbation, body changes, feelings, hormones, and sexual health during adolescence. Share facts and not superstitions.
- Affirm your child’s gender and encourage their identification with the same-sex parent or caregiver.
- Teach your child about inappropriate touch and consent.
3. Communication is Key
You will come across teachable moments every day. Build your child’s confidence and emotional resilience. Empower them instead of trying to protect them at all times. Understand our culture and guide them. Author and parenting coach Firoza Osman writes in her book How To Talk To Your Muslim Child About Sex,
“Parenting is a tough job. It requires an endless amount of patience, kindness, firmness, and love. Human beings are not perfect, but our ideal role model is Prophet Muhammed ﷺ, and Islam is about striving. Each day we should seek Allah’s Help to try and do better”
Other resources to help you initiate uncomfortable yet valuable conversations with your child are as follows.
Develop a connection with Allah and yourself. As Muslim parents, we are encouraged to nurture our children. They are a gift of Allah put under our trust and care. Nurturing cannot be done solely by words. They need to be watered by love and affection and given the sunlight of education to bloom and aspire to become the flowers in the meadows of Paradise!
Check out an interesting conversation with Sister Firoza Osman as she shares valuable gems on parenting our young ones on the Muslim Pro Instagram handle!