Teenage years

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Teenage Years: Most Difficult for the Parentssophie-sollmann-632775-unsplash

“I never asked to be born!”
“Stop trying to control my life!”

“I hate you!”
You thought you were over the hard part—changing diapers and being awakened throughout the night by your crying baby, dealing with an uncontrollable two-year old “monster,” and trying to handle a mischievous child, who was always getting into trouble at school. But now comes the really hard part—coping with a rebellious, often rude and obnoxious, teenager. 
Muslim Parents: Not Immune from Teenage Problems
The teenage years have historically been a difficult period for parents in America, with very few exceptions. Struggling to find their own place in the world, teenagers often rebel against the ways of their parents. They want to experiment to find out what is best for them. And, unfortunately, Muslim parents may also face many of the same problems with their teenagers that non-Muslim families face.

 

Muslim children can also be tempted to drink alcohol or take drugs, be physically attracted to someone of the opposite sex in their class, skip school, or get involved in the wrong crowd.

 

No doubt, it will be a traumatic experience for a Muslim family to find out that their son or daughter is taking drugs, secretly going out on dates with the opposite sex, or getting in trouble with the police, but it could happen. And what if they become addicts, contract AIDS by having unmarried sex, or become a mother or father before marriage. Our great dreams for our children could suddenly turn into nightmares. It has happened to other Muslim families.

 

This is, of course, a very frightening thought for most parents. Some will merely say that it won’t happen to their Muslim child. But others will take action and look for ways to prevent these problems or to better handle them if they arise. 

 

Although no two families have exactly the same situation, there are some general guidelines for dealing with Muslim teenagers that might be useful.

 

We should teach them from an early age about Allah Ta’aala , the Prophets AS, the Sahabah RA, and the great heroes of Islam.

 

If we develop in them a love for Islam and provide them with righteous examples for their heroes, they will be much less likely to go astray. A person wants to be like his heroes. If he admires Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, Abu Bakr Radhiyallahu Anhu, and AliRadhiyallahu Anhu, he will try to follow their example. If he admires a rock star or a gang leader, he will want to be like them. If we inspire our children with good examples, when they are tempted to do wrong, they will, InshaAllah, remember these examples and remain steadfast. 

 

Although I was raised as a Christian and didn’t embrace Islam until I was in my 20s, I was greatly influenced by the Biblical stories of Prophets like Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, and Isa (Peace be upon them all). Although the Biblical stories were not in their pure form, they still inculcated in me a love and respect for the way of the Prophets. Although I fell into many of the temptations of youth, Alhamdulillah, I always felt something within me holding me back from going too far. While many of my friends went headlong into a highly destructive way of life, I believe that my knowledge of, and affection for, the Prophets helped me to return to a better path.

 

We must be very careful about our children’s friends

 

During the teenage years, children often care more about what their friends say than what their parents or elders say. According to a hadith, “Man is upon the path of his intimate friend; so let each look to whom he takes as a friend.” If our children have good, sincere, and righteous friends, the chances are good that our children will be like them. If, on the other hand, our children hang around with children who take drugs and get into trouble, our children will likely take drugs and get into trouble. 

 

Therefore, it is essential from an early age that we try to get our children involved with good children. One way to encourage this is by regularly taking them to the mosque (be careful of not creating disturbance) or by sending them to an Islamic school where they will have the opportunity to meet and interact with Muslim children. We should be worried though if our children start hanging around with bad-mannered and disrespectful children.

 

We should encourage our children to participate in wholesome religious, social, and sports activities

 

Bored teenagers are more likely to look for fun and excitement in the wrong place. “Idle hands are the devil’s (shaytan’s) workshop,” someone once said. If teenagers’ lives are full of good and exciting things to do, they will not have the time or the desire to get involved in bad things. 

 

We should try to channel their teenage zeal into constructive avenues

 

Sometimes, teenagers begin to criticize the way of life of their parents and society, and parents are often angered by this. However, we must keep in mind that sometimes they may be right. Our lives and our society are not perfect, and teenagers may have fresh insight into how to improve them. In Living With Teenagers: A Guide for Muslim Parents, Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood writes:

 

“Teenagers are idealists—they want to change the world, and make it a better place. These are not bad ideals, and it is a great pity that adults have forgotten their own ideals in the rat-race of daily life. You, the parent, may have ended up as just a hard-working nonentity in some quiet niche in life; a teenager who is a real idealist may end up as a famous person, a reformer, a politician, an aid-worker—who knows. The future lies there before them.

 

It is therefore a foolish parent who tries to ridicule and trample on that young idealism. If it is consistent with Islam, it should be fervently encouraged, and not set at nought.”

 

If a teenager is idealistic and wants to improve the world, we should encourage him and help him. If he if full of zeal but lacks the proper direction, we should help him to use that zeal constructively. If we get teenagers involved in helping those in need and in working for important causes, their zeal could make a tremendous impact.

 

We should sometimes admit that we are wrong

 

Parents make mistakes. If we admit to our children that we are wrong at times, they will not always feel that they have to rebel against us and prove that we are wrong.

 

We should listen to our children

 

Sometimes, children act out in order to get our attention. If we give them our attention freely, they will not have to seek it in destructive ways. Also, by listening to our children, there is a greater chance that they will confide in us and ask us questions, rather than seeking answers from negative sources.

 

We should do what we say

 

Teenagers hate hypocrisy, and many of them seem to have a built-in radar for detecting it. If we want them to listen to us and take our advice, they must trust us. If we tell them not to drink, but drink ourselves, they will not respect us.
The teenage years are usually difficult, and parents need to prepare for them before they arrive. If parents have built a strong, trusting, and loving relationship with their children before the teenage years, their children will be less likely to go astray. It is very difficult to see one’s child going in the wrong direction and not know how to stop him from destroying himself. But if we work hard to instil in them the right values early and try to help them develop a wholesome lifestyle without being overbearing, perhaps we can prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring.
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Effects of TV Violence on Children

By Fatima Hachem El Hamoui, March 4, 2015

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Purpose

The purpose of this post is to attract the parents’ attention to the effects of TV violence on children and to spread knowledge among them in order to help lessen the problems that children might have as a consequence of seeing such violence.

Introduction

It’s obvious that parents are always concerned with the well-being of their children and try their best to provide them with the utmost suitable environment for their growth and development. That’s what parents are responsible for in front of Allah (swt), because they’ll be asked about their upbringing, nurturing, and education. Nonetheless, parents frequently lose control over their children’s safe atmosphere, specially in the presence of all this technology nowadays.

Threats are Everywhere

With all the threats that surround us today, children are the most vulnerable. That’s due to the fact that they still don’t have the mental abilities to analyze the data and input that their brain receives whenever they encounter new things. For this reason, parents are there to help them figure stuff out and guide them to what’s right. However, if parent’s aren’t careful enough, they might be causing their children to unsafely get exposed to inevitable threats they are better off without.

Children have Sensitive Personalities

Like we’re saying, children are known for their unstable personality; they are affected by everything that happens around them. And in the light of all that’s happening around the world, almost everyone is trying to keep up to date with the world’s news, that includes parents who have children. One of the things these parents are not aware of when they are watching news programs, is that their children are likely to be around watching as well. On the other hand, some parents are also interested in watching action and horror movies, and their inattention may end up letting the children watch these kinds of movies with or without them. These programs, whether the news or inappropriate movies, might show content that children are not supposed to see but, if they do, will affect them either by arousing their curiosity to imitate anything they observe, or by making them frightened by what they see.

Imitation

Imitation is one of the characteristics of childhood. Children tend to imitate everyone and everything new they see, even if it is wrong. That is why we see girls imitating their mothers by pretending to cook or by wearing their high heels, and boys imitating their fathers as well. So, when children sit next to their parents while they are watching TV, their attention will obviously be grabbed by certain scenes that show violence, and knowing that children have to examine everything before they become familiar with it, they might decide to try the violence scene without realizing what the consequences could be. For example, when the news programs present certain crimes or murders that happened, the child might copy what he sees, he might hurt himself or anyone else. Therefore, most of the time, such imitations lead to drastic results, because the child is unable to differentiate between what’s right or wrong, what is harmful or not, and what is good or evil.

Frightening Content

Moreover, children might get very scared and terrified when they see this violence. For instance, when a child watches how wars are happening and how planes and cannons are destroying many homes and  killing many people, he will be horrified by what he sees, and eventually these things will be printed in his mind and will be part of his personality later on. In addition, many children cannot sleep and have nightmares when they observe violence and scary stuff. Hence, they will give their parents a hard time at night. Also, children have a wide imagination that will make them, apparently, see things in the dark because of the stored violent images, like imagining that someone is coming to kill them or that a thief is robbing the house. As a result the child might turn out to be a coward, have a weak personality, and maybe have some mental problems.

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Childhood is Delicate, Be Alert

We should admit that childhood is a very delicate stage of life, that is why a child’s life should be full of happy, fun and enjoyable things, and clear of everything that is violent and scary. So, to every parent who cares about his children’s life and personality: keep your kids away from news programs and unsuitable movies, and make sure that they enjoy every part of this stage because it is the foundation of everyone’s life.

Don’t Forget About Adolescence

Just as childhood is very important, adolescence is likewise critical and care-demanding. That’s why you shouldn’t leave adolescents grow in cyberspace, as it poses similar threats on them like any other technology these days. You should also encourage them to improve their academic achievements by acquiring the good habit of taking notes. This could boost their academic performances for sure and they would be actively learning instead of just passively depending on the internet to get their homework done. It’s also very effective to try to help them stay motivated even when they don’t feel like it because it will have a positive impact on their everyday attitude.

Your Responsibility as a Parent

As parents, you have a great deal of responsibilities toward your children. You owe it to your children to keep them protected and comfortable. Allah (swt) says in Surah At-Tahrim, Verse 6:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَّا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ

O, Believers Save yourselves and your dependents from the fire whose fuel are humans and the stones.

So, when a child of yours starts to adopt a certain way of life, it’ll either be a virtuous alteration that will change him into a good human being or a wicked alteration that will change him into a degraded individual. And whatever he turns into is fairly reliant on the upbringing he receives from you. The obligation you have in raising your children is highly essential. That’s why the greatest favor you could do for your children is show them how to be good, well-mannered, faithful, friendly, righteous, generous, just, wise, hard-working muslims, and demonstrate to them that their reference in life is the Qur’an and Sunnah because it’ll teach them everything they need to know in order to live a peaceful and honorable life.

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About the Author: Fatima Hachem El Hamoui  

She’s a Lebanese/Canadian, coffee-loving, web-developing/designing, blogging Muslimah. She’s the owner of the Diaries of The Positive Muslimah which is all about inspiration, motivation, and a positive attitude. You can contact her at ThePositiveMuslimah@gmail.com. She’d love to hear from you any time! You could also get in touch with her on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.