Childrens Upbringing

What is good behavior?
Is it to help one’s mother at home?
Is it not to raise one’s voice when speaking with her?
Is it to help one’s father with his work?
Is it to be quiet and not disturb others?
Is it to do homework on time?
Is it one or all of these things?

The situation differs from one home to another and from one family to another.
Therefore, dear people who are responsible for the children’s upbringing, dealing with children’s bad behavior is the most difficult task related to upbringing. This is because each of us has a strong legacy of feelings towards this issue. With such diversity of feelings and views towards the bad behavior of our children, we can answer this question: Why don’t our children learn good behavior?

The following are the main reasons enumerated by specialists as being behind the children’s inability to learn good behavior. They emanate from the diversity of feelings towards the behavior that we are about to change:

1. Rejecting the way we were raised:
You may harbor some unpleasant memories of the way you were raised; (for example, you might have been slapped, locked up in your room, punished with your siblings for an offense committed by one of you, following the principle of generalized punishment).
As such, you are resolved to avoid all of such methods, whether right or wrong. Consequently, you bring up your children in a different way, because you think that your parents followed a mistaken approach with you.
This way of thinking is sound if you want to avoid the mistakes that your parents made towards you and, therefore, do not want to repeat the same mistakes in dealing with your own children. However, it is wrong when a child misbehaves and his parents do not react, because they used to reject their parents’ reaction to their misconduct. With this, the child does not learn good behavior but instead, maintains the bad one.

2. Raising children following the approach of one’s parents:
On the contrary, some may boast about their parents and of how they brought up the preceding generation. Hence, they wish to emulate their method while considering other methods as quite mistaken, because they believe that their parents were more experienced, older and had a deeper understanding. Thus, fathers imitate their fathers and mothers copy their mothers in bringing up their children, while maintaining all the pros and cons.
This approach might be good if those responsible for the children’s upbringing want to benefit from the experience of their parents in bringing up their children and adopting the relevant points of distinction in this regard. The terrible mistake, however, is to make only our parents the standard of correctness, for they are fallible humans and it would not be wise to copy their mistakes.

3. Differences in methods of upbringing and parents’ beliefs:
Behavior that is bad in the eyes of the father may not be the same to the mother, and vice versa, due to differences in beliefs and methods whereby the father and mother have been brought up. This creates a great deal of discord between the spouses who turn to dispute in front of the children. The children would probably think that they are the cause behind the problems taking place between their parents.

4. Reactions of grown-ups to us when we want to deal with children’s misconduct:
Whether they are grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles or aunts, many people cannot help making comments and expressing their opinions on what they think is correct. Moved by good intentions, these people who might be relatives of the child, or friends of the parents, or even strangers, certainly have a great effect on parents and their children when they interfere.

5. Parents’ lack of focus on the child’s individual needs and character:
Many parents follow the principle of generalization in dealing when they change children’s misbehavior. They do not differentiate between those who make a mistake for the first time and those who regularly make mistakes. Moreover, they do not distinguish between those who misbehave intentionally and those who do so unintentionally; the old and the young, males and females, and the obstinate and the compliant. Thus, for many parents, it does not make a difference to change the children’s misconduct in all these cases. They apply the principle of generalization, which in reality incorporates gross injustice and affects the child’s responsiveness to changing their bad behavior.

6. Not overlooking some matters:
A ten-month-old child enjoys throwing things off the chair, yet he quickly grows up and, after eighteen months, he becomes adequately capable of recognizing wrong behavior. Therefore, the challenge faced by the family is to determine the suitable time to encourage the children to apply the ideal behavior. A further challenge is to cleverly disregard the children’s behavior in the formative years; because they do not realize the reality of their behavior. Therefore, parents should have infinite patience with children in this stage of life. They should maintain their safety, without repressing their freedom.

7. Keeping in mind the norms of society:
Each society is dominated by certain habits and traditions. Some of these conform to Sharee‘ah (Islamic legislation) and, therefore, it is permissible to apply them.Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
{ Take what is given freely, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant. } [Quran 20:199] However, certain well-established traditions are often counter to
Sharee‘ah and, therefore, should be dismissed and replaced with that which complies with Sharee‘ah . When parents try to rectify the conduct of their children, they often experience an opposition from society, because the adaptation might be opposite to some social traditions. For example, when parents teach their child to seek permission before they enter upon others, some people may say, “Do not make things difficult for the child. Take it easy. The child is still young.” The proper attitude to be taken by parents is to stand in the face of the bad habit that has been established in society, and teach their children the right conduct, and not be affected by what others say.

8. Changing bad behavior with anger:
Many parents mistakenly teach their children good conduct in a moment of fury. They associate their instruction with shouting, a loud voice, frowning and sometimes insulting and beating. This gives the children an awful impression about good conduct and makes it unpalatable. This is because in their subconscious mind, they associate good conduct with beating, shouting and punishment. Consequently, teaching good conduct should be separated from punishment. Rather, punishment may be used after teaching, so as to comply with justice. Children can be punished when they know what is right and do not adhere to it. However, it would be unfair to punish them for something which they do not know is wrong.

Before i conclude, i should provide those who are raising children with a definition to identify good behavior:

Good behavior is what is commanded by Allah The Almighty in the Quran and taught by the Prophet,
and dictated by the sound natural disposition, conventions and traditions.
Good behavior should not be formulated from people’s opinions or the actions and traditions of relatives if they do not comply with the Sharee‘ah of Allah The Almighty and the Sunnah (tradition) of the Prophet.
This is the good behavior that we want our children to uphold.

When we’re little, our parents are our heroes. We look up to them and get impressed by everything they do. We watch their every move and try to follow them. In our rooms, we play house; we pretend that we’re cooking, cleaning, even raising our own (Cabbage Patch) kids.
We’re amazed at how much they know and we’re impressed by all that they can do. We hope that we can be just like them when we’re grown up.
Then, when we’re older gradually things change to overturn. We ignore them when they tell us to cut our hair or wear looser or longer clothing. We get mad at them when they ask about our friends and who they are. We even lie to them about what we do and where we’re going.
We say that we don’t want to be any-thing like our parents. We make promises to ourselves that we will never do such and such the way our parents did. And we’re sure that when we have kids, we will know better how to raise them because we will be able to relate to them better.
“Parents just don’t understand.”

In the 1980s, this little mantra made a pop song a big hit on the charts. Kids of all generations agree on one thing that parents just don’t understand. In fact, if you ask your own parents, you can probably get them to tell you of at least one instance when they felt that their own parents didn’t understand them. Think about it. Think about our parents and forefathers. Do you seriously think that they didn’t have issues that their parents couldn’t understand?
Every generation faces a gap from the one preceding and the one following. Our generation is no exception. Of course we have differences in thoughts and ideals. It’s virtually impossible to live in a growing, multicultural society and not have a generation gap. Things change rapidly and it’s hard to keep up with advancements in technology, finance, culture, and language, to say the least. For example, the Ipod that you’ve got attached to your ear makes no sense to your parents, who still hold onto their cassettes.
But, these changes don’t have to be the end-all for strong communication between the generations. On the contrary, there is much to be learned from earlier generations, especially from our parents. Islamically, we all know that we are supposed to respect our parents, do not behave them harshly or rudely and do not use even the silly expression such as ugh! We are to care for them in their old age. But what about actually being friends with our parents?
Your parents are the ones who most likely love you the most. They have shared their adult life with you, caring for you, providing for you, and loving you. They have sacrificed for you and they pray for only the best for you. Which friend does this for you? You have a lot in common with your friends, but you and your parents have more similarities than you might think.

The truth is that we are a product of all of our experiences; therefore, though we say that we don’t want to be like our parents, we really are. In some way or another, we all have our parents’ tendencies. Maybe you’ve learned to be punctual like your mother or you’re always running late like your father. Whatever the habit or trait, it remains a mark left on you by your parents. It’s like a finger-print of love; it’s the invisible mark that our parents leave on us as they raise us. These marks ultimately define who we are and where we’ve been. These combine with your own individual and independent nature to create a whole being: You.
The real beauty of these marks is that we can choose them. We can determine what attribute of our parents we admire enough to keep. Maybe you admire your mother’s honesty or your father’s stability. We have been watching our parents all of our lives, we see how they live, we hear what they say and we soak it up either consciously or unknowingly. If we are now aware of what we see and hear, we can learn from it and perhaps incorporate it into our own lives.
Similarly, we can also see and hear what we don’t like and we have the option to prevent ourselves from adopting what-ever unattractive traits they may have. The point is that we should not focus on our differences but rather hasten to find what we have in common. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that your mom can do more than make a biryani.

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