The Islamic Way Of Parenting Teenagers – Sheikh Khalil Jaffer

I think one of the best ways to understand the challenge is that and the issues that teenagers go through as they change from being children to being in between child and adult, is to think of our own days even though it may be a while since we were teenagers You will be able to relate to some of these and say yes this is exactly what I went through

Okay, so the first part which is general advice on raising teenagers One of the things you begin to notice about your child is when they go from being a child to becoming a teenager they start being a little or are not a little but a lot more aloof from their parents Okay so your son was a chatterbox was always talking fast and you had to keep stopping him, you find now he's quiet and everything you ask him his answer is single words just yes, no, no, yes, and he's always sullen right And your daughter who was always wanting to do things with you now she doesn't want to go shopping with you anymore Right? She wants to stay at home

They want to stay in their own room They want to keep their door closed Some of us as parents become alarmed by this what's happening to my child Right? and we want them somehow not to become like that and to still remain the way they were But actually it's very natural and it's in fact very important for kids to break away from their parents at this age this this emotional separation actually helps them to adjust into becoming adults

Later on it may be very hard for us to accept this but it is a natural process and you need to allow that to happen Okay it is also a very confusing time both for the teenager and for you as a parent when you see these changes we normally talk of terrible tools but in comparison when you just search over the internet talk to psychologists, read books on these you will hear the the teenage years can actually be the most difficult years Because they're not just difficult for you as a parent difficult for the child as well unlike when the child is to But there's plenty as I said we can do to nurture our teenagers and give them some guidance so that they move in the right direction The first thing that is happening is this physical change is happening in their bodies both for male and female

These things happening in their bodies that is now signaling to them that they are now becoming adults Ok and with this dramatic change they're confused because they're now feeling that pressure of behaving different being an adult but they can't still because their thought process hasn't evolved as quickly so the first thing they start doing is they start becoming conscious of their peers Meaning the other teenagers around them and they want to fit in it's not like us when we are you know in our 40s or 50s we really don't care if we fit in with others right we are quite happy doing our own thing If somebody thinks we're handsome or beautiful or doesn't think so it doesn't matter right? As long as I'm comfortable so you kind of get comfortable in your own skin as you grow older but when you're a teenager it's very very important for that teenager to fit in society and with peers so there's a lot of that pressure and one of the things they don't want to see is that I'm still a child under the shadow of my parent So they don't want to be seen with you and that's why you find them

You know showing this embarrassment of you being around them when they're with their friends or sitting with you at the mosque you know when they're little They'll sit on your lap they'll sit beside you, as they grow older they don't want to see be seen with you But you also want them to come to the mosque right so we're going to be talking a little bit about this and for teenagers sometimes their peers are more important than their parents in their decision-making process which is why their friends are very very important and which is why madrasah is very important because sometimes parents think you know what I can impart the religious knowledge of the mother myself at home Right I'll give you my own example I've got a six-year-old in the Madressa I wrote the curriculum in the notes for the madressa As I write so I could teach him at home whatever I put together for the mother it's been improved upon it's been edited right

But I have the material I can do this myself I don't need to send him to the madressa, but there is something he gets from the madressa that I can't give him, which is the friend circle that he builds the peers That he builds it doesn't matter so much now but when he is a teenager who is he gonna play basketball with? Who is he gonna hang out with? Who is she gonna be going shopping with? Who is she gonna share you know ideas with? and so on When they're in trouble who are they going to talk to so it's very important that you allow them to build a healthy friendship and social circle that will become their peers who have the kind of values you want them to have so that even if they don't take certain values from you, they take from their friends It is still of good value you will find that your teenagers as they start becoming teenagers they're trying and experimenting different things

They want to try different hairstyles they want to dress differently they want a different identity and that is again because they're trying to find themselves They're trying to build an identity for themselves they want to, they don't want to stand out from the crowd to be embarrassed, or to be laughed at, but they also don't want to disappear in the crowd They want to be a trendsetter They want to do something unique and different that makes them special They thrive on compliments, on preys, on admiration

Right? When you walk into the mosque you'll just walk in anywhere and sit When they walk in the very conscious They're thinking everybody's looking at me when in fact nobody is Right? But they're very self-conscious so our goal is to help our child to become a caring independent and responsible adult And that includes being a responsible Muslim

Now the first advice that I can share just in general about teenagers and this is perhaps the most important is we need to be role models We cannot expect very very good children if we ourselves don't have those very very good values and you know ethics and morals that we want them to have Because you can fool a young child but with teenagers they are watching your actions more than they're listening to your words So this is extremely critical for example when they hear you interacting with others Do you lie? right because they know the truth

If you're telling someone something that's a lie there have the inside perspective if you're lying they might not call you out on that But you have given them a value that it's okay to lie once in a while Right? Do you cheat others? They will find out right? Do you break your promise? Do you make a commitment to others and then you don't keep your promise Okay? Do you swear? So you're in the car with them you're driving some small incident of road rage You know suddenly there's all these four-letter words being exchanged

If you swear you cannot expect them not to be using foul language Right? Do you pray on time If in your home you know praying Salat on time is not important you cannot lament when they're much older to say my child doesn't want to come to the mosque praying, doesn't want to pray this and that It's easier for them to slip once they start going to university because if you give them very very strong values you can expect it to water down and become just strong or good values, but if you give them just good values there is a danger of it deteriorating and watering down when they're on their own when they get busier with University and work in life and so on right Sometimes little things for example do you as a parent have a habit when you start eating you say Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem loudly for your own self not just you know I want him to hear

When you start your car do you say Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem You know, put these little habits Introduce them while your child is younger and you will be surprised they might not do it as a teenager they might not do it in their twenties but when they are in their 40s it'll come back to you Because if you look back at yourself and think about your religious values when you were passed you know your 40s and 50s some of the values that you have adopted were not your parents they were your grandparents Your grandparents never sat down and told you do this do that but it was just the things you saw them doing like you grew up seeing your grandmother always sitting on her bed with a rosary or a tasbeeh in her hand and just doing tasbeeh right

Or you grew up just seeing your grandfather always on his prayer mat spending some time worshiping or going for a walk enjoying nature whatever it is These are sort of memories that stay with you and you admire them even though you don't practice them but they come out again later in life So there are little things we can do that our children will watch and our children our grandchildren will pick up on these values Is attending the mosque important to us Do we backbite at home, at the dinner table? Is music played in our house in our cars, right? Have we given our teenagers examples of being courageous

There are times in life when we have to show courage, and courage is not always fighting with someone But just doing the right thing Like for example apologizing when we're wrong or owning up to something we've done that is wrong, or standing up to someone who may be trying to intimidate us or bully us They look at what we do and they take values, especially values of courage, from us Values of integrity for example, you go to a store, they give you extra change or you forget to pay for something you go back and give that back or pay it back? Or do you say, 'You know what, it's just a dollar, forget it!' Right? Little things like that, they pick up on that

The second piece of advice that I could share with regards to teenagers is, don't try and fix all their problems Give them the right tools, but let them try and fix certain things themselves Let them go as far as they can, even if they have to struggle a little bit It's good for them to struggle a bit, because you're passing on values that they will benefit from later on It's just like with little kids

When you have a four year old, a five year old, a three year old, it's very tempting to, especially when you're in a hurry, always put their jacket on for them, always tie their shoelace for them, always brush their teeth for them, right? But imagine if they are a teenager and you still have to tie their shoe lace for them? Or brush their teeth? Right? Now you're not doing a service to them, you've done a disservice to them So as much as it might hurt you to see your child struggling, you also have to think of them one day becoming an independent adult, so let them struggle a little bit and try and fix If they come to you with a problem, before giving them a solution sit down with them and ask them, what do you think we should do about this? Or what do you think you want to do about this? And let them make suggestions, and then guide that So now, you reverse the role where they make the decision and you are guidance to them, a mentor to them The other piece of advice is, this is the third, is choose your battle wisely

Because they're going through such turmoil within their lives, and they have always this anger within them, that you don't get me, you don't understand me Don't nitpick about everything, don't pick battles about every single thing Your room is always dirty, this is always not right, your fingernails are always long this is this, on and on and on What happens when you constantly criticize them, is they become deaf And then we complain, that our children don't listen to us

They only want to listen from their friends or from someone outside Right? But if we don't have a habit of nitpicking and criticizing every time then, when we do that, it's a big deal, okay? Otherwise it's just, well, it's her habit She's always gonna go on and on, so I'll hide stuff, so that she doesn't even know about it, right? So pick your battles wisely The fourth advice is, invite their friends over It is important for you to know

If you are the parent of a teenager, you have to know who your teenagers friends are and the best way to do that is invite them over for dinner It will be a lot of work, your teenager, with our house full of teenagers, but you will get to see how they interact with each other, you will get to see, you know, what's good about it, what's bad about it If you want to take it a step further, invite the teenagers with their parents as well Because you will see how those teenagers interact with their parents as well, right? So there's a lot that you can take and learn about your child, just by observing what values they look up to, what kind of friends they look up to, who they like to hang out with and so on and so forth Number five, decide on the rules and discipline in advance, which means amongst yourself, as husband and wife, agree in advance what the rules are going to be

So for example, if there's going to be some consequences for your teenager doing something inappropriate, what is that consequence going to be and then you stick to that rule If it's, for example, a teenager who's now driving and you're going to ban them for driving for a week, or they're going to be grounded for a week, or you're going to cut their allowance, or whatever Whatever it may be, agree on that in advance and if your child says it's not fair, then you're open to discussion and talk about why it's fair or not fair as a punishment But then, stick to that, so that they know when you say something, you mean it, okay? Otherwise, they know your weak point and you're not taken seriously then So a lot of times, we're so eager to be friends to our children, we forget to be parents

You are friends, yes, no doubt, but at the end of the day, you are the parent and you have the final say, right? Now in some cases, you know, you hear, especially outside our community, you know, parents saying, using this line with the children, to say it's my house, I'm paying the rent, so as long as you're not contributing to the rent you have no say, right? That shouldn't necessarily be the reason of argument That because you don't have money to pay rent, and you need a room, and I'm giving you a room, therefore I have the final say No, the final say is because I am your parent, and Islamically, we're Muslims, and children who come to the madressa get this totally That respect for parents is just second to obedience to God, and that you know, in the words of Rasulullah When he was asked about parents, he said Arabic They, your father and mother, are your paradise and they are your hell Meaning no matter what you do in life and how far you go, if your parents are pleased with you, you have secured a place in paradise

But if they are upset with you, then you have ruined your hereafter So, children get that, right? And it's enough to say, I'm a parent, I'm your parent and these are the rules we live by right? But of course we have to be role models, we cannot have double standards Having said that, number six will be, give your kids some leeway, give them some breathing room and some independence to establish their own place in the world Because, as we said they're trying to find themselves and become adults It doesn't mean that they can hang out with the wrong crowd, and you turn a blind eye

It doesn't mean that you don't care who their friends are, it doesn't mean that you trust them so much, they can take the car and come home at 2:00 am and you don't care or don't know where they are, it doesn't mean that they spend hours and hours on the computer, but you have no idea what they're surfing on the internet and what they're looking at So there's a fine balance where you don't give them too much discipline, but you also are not completely relaxed about it And of course it's easier said than done, but it's good for us to be aware of this

The other piece of advice, number seven, is this idea of checking in Discuss checking in with your child and let your teenager feel that my parent, you know, is always, you know, bothering me and wanting to stay in touch That's okay, but in a subtle way, they also appreciate knowing that you're there for them Because sometimes we get so busy with work, so busy with life, we tend to just think, as long as, you know, he's at someone's house, or with someone, then it doesn't matter But develop a system where, you know, your child knows that when they're out beyond a certain period of time, they need to check in, they need to call in, they need to text you

If they're with their friends and they're gonna be embarrassed with you calling them, then you send them a text message, they reply a text message, that way it's more subtle, but you have a system where, even when they're not with you, you're always in touch Even if they've gone for a ziyarat, or they've gone on a camp, or they've gone anywhere else, your child should always know that there's certain expectations When I'm late, I have to check in My parent has to know where I am because they will worry, right? Number eight, keep an open door policy with your teenager Meaning, don't interrogate them about everything, but genuinely be interested in your child's life, and make sure they know that whenever they have an issue, they can come talk to you

That you were their first port of call That when they are in trouble, before they think about their friend or their teacher or uncle or aunt, you're the first person they want to come to ask for help for, and I've seen parents who have that sort of a relationship, and it can certainly be nurtured In terms of showing interest to your child, with your child, even, if they're a teenager, make sure, just like you asked them how was your day? How was school? We need to ask them, how was madrasah? Or what happened at madrasah today? A lot of times, it's just pick up the child from the madressa, go home, okay you have homework, do your homework, right? But know what happened at madressa today, that should also be, you know, a point of conversation at the dinner table and we need to do this with genuine interest Sometimes, when children are younger, they're trying to tell us what happened in the madressa with a lot of excitement and interest, but we are so busy talking to our spouses or watching TV or checking our messages on the phone, it sort of is on the side and the child quickly picks up on this, that I'm a child and my life is not of interest to my parents So it's pay now or pay later

The more time you spend with your teenager and the more interest you show now, it's an investment you put in and then it pays dividends when they're older When they're teenagers, when they get married, when they have their own spouses, they still have a bond and a connection with you, where you're not just talking about the weather or you've got nothing in common to talk about Many of us have this issue because we were raised very differently with our parents, the older generation had this thing where you just, you know, always silent in front of your parent, always answer yes no, do as you're told, and we find as we grow older, even though there's a bond, there's love, there isn't a lot that we can talk about or share in common with them, isn't it? There is also not that physical interaction of, you know, we probably hug our parents on Eid day, maybe? Eid ul Fitr, Eid ul Adha, twice a year, maybe? Right, so this generation is different, and it allows us to have a much healthier, and a much closer relationship and if we can nurture it we can certainly make them very good adults as they grow up We should be able to tell our teenagers, even when they seem sad or upset, and they're just answering there's nothing wrong or I don't feel like talking about it, you should be able to say to your teenager, you may not feel like talking about this right now, and I know exactly how it feels because I've been through what you are going through, but whenever you feel like talking about it, today, tomorrow, anytime you can come to me, okay? And if they know that, you just need to be patient, and I guarantee they will come and talk to you But don't be alarmed or panic or start drama and, you know, why is he so upset? There must be something wrong, I need to know right now, what has happened? Right? When you are ready, come talk to me

As long as they know there's someone Because everyone needs to talk to someone about their problems at some point Which brings me to number nine, which is don't be impulsive or reactive Which means skip the drama, even if the drama is from your child, they're yelling, they're shouting, they're slamming doors, right? And that will happen sometimes You, as an adult, as a parent, need to understand, you know, not to be reactive, not to get involved in the drama

You need to be able to say to them, we're not going to talk about this right now, when you feel better, when you're ready to talk, then we'll talk about it We need to be able to reprimand the behavior, but not reprimand the child And this is not very easy to do And the way we do that is we avoid using a sarcastic or a demeaning or a humiliating tone, especially when they're still in front of their friends, if they've done something wrong, and their friends are around, it doesn't have to be solved right away, okay? And no matter how much you feel anger within you, as a parent, bite your tongue and resist the urge to say something hurtful to the child, that you will forget, but the child will not Right? We have a saying from Africa, that says, the axe forgets but the tree never does, right? So it's easy to forget when you say something hurtful, but the person you hurt, that scar stays for a long time before it heals

So never say something to your child, like you know, I wish you were not my child, or I wish I'd never given birth to you, or you are a disgrace to us, or I feel ashamed of you, or you are no longer my child, or I wish you leave my house forever, or you know, these things you may feel them sometimes, but that may be normal, but we need to be able to hold ourselves back and say, they're not themselves, they're going through a very troubled period, I've been through this You may not have been exactly that way, but every human being is different, right? And what you do with them, is exactly what they will do with their children All right? Another thing we should never do is compare our teenagers, or our children, with their siblings, or their friends, or their cousins And we tend to do this sometimes, even when they're very young, you know? Look at how you were behaving, look at so-and-so! Look at Ali, look at Hasan, look at Muhammad, how he was behaving! Look at how you did, and look at how that one was doing Look at how he sits with his parents and look at how you sit in the mosque! And look at how, you know always drawing comparisons, because now, they themselves will always be comparing themselves to others, and in their mind, my parent admires so-and-so more than they admire me

To them they want to be the center of the world at that point in time, okay? It's very important that we think about these things very very carefully and I've said this before in a you know majlis as well, that even when they grow up, and start looking for their own spouses, they will look for spouses who are like you Your daughter will look for a husband who is like you, the father And your son will be attracted to a woman who is like his mother, and that is why you will find, and you can think about this in your own lives and your own experiences, you will verify and testify to this, you will find that sometimes you see a young girl who has everything in life, she has educated she's beautiful, she's got everything to look forward to, but she gets attracted to someone who is what we might call a loser, right, someone who has violent habits, somebody who's gonna hit, you know, beat her, treat her with a demeaning manner, and you look at that case and you think, why? Why did she not have that self-esteem to know that she deserved better than this? But when you go further up, you find her father was treating his wife or her mother like that, so in her mind, this is how a man treats a woman, so she's attracted to that She's not consciously, obviously, wanting someone who will ill treat her, but that happens like that If a mother is very protective and very controlling of her son he will subliminally, without consciously doing this, be attracted to a woman who is also very controlling, because that's what he knows and expects, right? So your children will take values from you, even if they say I hate you and I wish you were not my father, I wish you were not my mother

So, and that is why we say being a role model is so important You really need to think about this, that the way I behave today, as a man, is how my daughter is gonna seek a husband, right? And vice versa Okay, in the interest of time I move a little faster Number 10 is show your love unconditionally Your child needs to realize that no matter what they do, you are never going to stop loving them

It doesn't mean that you're okay with their choices, okay? Your daughter might decide to stop wearing hijab, it doesn't mean that you give her the impression that I'm okay with that, because my love for you is unconditional, right? But they also need to know that you have not given up on them Right? You might not accept certain things, and you might never accept that and they need to know that there you are hurt and that you're not happy about it, but they also need to know that if they change their mind and mend their ways, you're still there for them, right? One way to bond with our teenagers is to spend time with them and to show that we care, all right So just like we say about interaction amongst ourselves as adults, the same thing with teenagers When they're talking to you, listen to them with utmost interest, and really be genuinely interested in them, okay? And again you find this very interestingly right, with the older generation When we were talking to our parents or grandparents, they were not really interested in what we were saying, because these were like kids, right? Today they might feel the opposite, that when they are old, and they talk to us, we're not really interested in what they say

Right? But if that bond was built then, then there's a sense of friendship that remains And I've seen that in cases with adult women in their forties and fifties, and their fathers are you know 70s and 80s, and they still say my best friend is my father, right? So it is definitely possible and it comes from what you invest when they are teenagers Spend time with them, respect their feelings Just like you are immediately concerned when they do something wrong and you talk about it, when they do something good as well compliment them Don't wait for big things to compliment, like when they pass their final exam, or when they win an award, or you know something big, but even little things like when they're struggling to do something and you compliment the fact that they haven't given up on it, right? Or the fact that they thought of doing something that was clever, right? It shouldn't be flattery, it shouldn't be false praise but it should be there to know that you admire them, and that you're proud that they're your child, right? It is important as parents and children to make sure that we regularly have meals together

I know it's a fast-paced life, sometimes we're not able to have breakfast together, lunch everybody is out, but there should be at least one meal in a day where there is a rule, meal, dinnertime, you have to be home and we have to have it together No one's sitting on the TV and having dinner, while the parents are on the table, while this one is it having in the room, no, we're gonna sit at the table, we're gonna eat together, dinner has to be together Same thing with salaat, if it's possible have a space in the house that's a prayer room, and pray together, right? Things like that You do things together, you bond You might also on certain days, when you are having some trouble, and there's a cold war between you as a parent and your teenager, consider doing your own things, but still being in the same room and sharing the same space, and suddenly one might open up and start talking, right? Because there's a bond with our children, that is different from our bond with our spouses, or anyone else, right? And it heals itself, just being near each other could start a conversation

You can also encourage your teenager to talk to another adult, if there is someone in the family that you really trust, like you have a brother or a sister or an uncle or someone, you could encourage them that you know if they need guidance, or they're having a hard time talking about certain things to you, especially when they are physically changing and becoming adults, they might have questions but they're embarrassed to talk to you You can encourage them to talk to their uncle or their aunt or a cousin who is older who can help them, and the model, or the policy, with which we should work with our teenagers is, you're not going through this alone we're going through this together and we're going to come out of it together, okay? We're family and we're there for each other, no matter what I've talked about listening, playing, paying close attention to what your teenager says, reading between the lines in what they say, paying attention to their body language, sometimes the body language will tell you a lot about them A lot of times, your teenager, just like your spouse, doesn't want you to just step in and solve the problem They just want you to listen, they want you to be a sounding board and they want you to just ask a few good questions, so that they can express their feelings and when they leave that conversation they feel closer to you and they feel a bit clearer about what they need to do with their own lives, right? And this is, from what I'm told, particularly important for girls

A lot of times for girls, they might internalize this and they have a lot of emotions and feelings and it's good for them to just know they have someone they can talk to and express all their feelings You might think the feelings are silly or immature or really why are they you know making such a big deal about this but don't downplay it as something you know not important To them it's very big, so to you it must be big But if there is, you know, unconditional love you will ask the right questions and InshaAllah they will feel closer to you and you know they themselves will admit later in life that, you know, all the things, that conversation we had, in in retrospect, it wasn't such a big thing, right? I've talked about doing things together, so whether it's going grocery shopping together, watching TV together, going camping together, even doing chores in the house together, if you're doing laundry and you're sorting the clothes and you're doing it, bring your teenager over, don't tell them do the laundry, do it together Right? Clean the backyard, whatever it is, involve them

One very important thing we can do is volunteering together, because when you volunteer together, not only are you spending quality time with your teenager and bonding with them, but you're passing on them a value of helping others, being selfless, and you're introducing them to the joy of helping others So it could be local volunteering, volunteering in the madressa, we've seen it in Masoomeen Center, father and son helping in the parking lot, whatever it is, it could be volunteering with the food bank, it could be, you know, helping the homeless whatever It could also be sometimes a trip overseas, you go together to wherever, India, Africa, Iraq, Pakistan, you know, help building a school, anything, but if you're doing it together, you're passing on values, you're enjoying the time you're spending together, it's a holiday or whatever, but you're also teaching them the value of volunteering, and people who volunteer a lot of their time they become selfless They become more concerned about helping others, and they become less concerned about their own problems, and because of that, you find, because they are less, I hate to use the word selfish, they're more selfless, it's easier for them to bear their own problems in life They are less likely to face depression, or anxiety, or you know, just feel life has been unfair to me, or to be materialistic, or to fall into wrong ways, because they're constantly concerned about helping others and when they build that image in society, people know that when I have a problem this person helps, so now they're going to get so many requests from people asking them for help and they're getting so much joy helping others, their problems seem small and that is why I often say, if you're going through a particular challenge in life, find people who have had the same or more, and talk to them, and ask how you can help them

It'll help you heal Whether you've lost a loved one whether you're going through a sickness or illness, whatever it may be, when we help others, we help ourselves actually Number thirteen is keep a physical connection, which I alluded to earlier We are always hugging and kissing our children when they're little, right? Throwing them in the air, giving them piggy backs, cradling them, throwing them on the bed, whatever it is, right? Don't stop doing that just because he's a teen, he might feel embarrassed, or she might feel embarrassed, just grab them and hug them, right? Keep that physical connection, it's very, very important Sometimes creep into their room when they're asleep, and kiss them on the cheek

You'll be surprised, they might be awake, but they'll pretend to be asleep, but they will feel this intense joy, that I'm still special to my parent, right? Tell them you love them This is something again, you won't find with older generations, it's very embarrassing for them, but it's again something you can't just start all of a sudden, but I've seen cases where the parent is craving to tell their child, and the child is craving to be told or to tell the parent, but they just don't have that relationship between them, right? So don't be embarrassed to put an arm around your child or teenagers shoulder, just because they're taller than you now, or punch them in the shoulder, or whatever it is you know if they ask you for something, like can I have the car keys, we said well it's gonna cost you, I need a hug first, or you know whatever it is, I think when my son is a teenager, one of the thing I'm gonna be doing is asking him to massage my feet, because I think this is something that I grew up seeing with my grandmother, my grandmother used to do this, you know? If you went and sat near her, she's like you're just sitting and talking, be useful, massage my feet, and we would be pressing her feet for her, right? And she'd be talking to us and telling us stories of the past, while we're pressing her feet for her, and she's gone, but I'm still here talking about her like 20 years more over, right? So keep that physical bond because we are very social creatures and we love having that sort of, you know, remind your teenagers how special they are to you, don't shower them with false compliments, so that they think they're the center of the world or they become egoic but acknowledge even their small efforts And then lastly, you know have fun together, with them, there should be some time, it shouldn't always be serious, about your career, your school your madressa, your work, majlis, this, that, how you dress, how you look, your friends Do certain things that are just fun, or even silly, laughing out loud, don't be embarrassed to be yourself in front of them, and your teenager will just keep admiring you, that you have this unique ability where you have rules, you have discipline, there are certain things you will not compromise on, such as your faith and your religion, and you are very strict about certain things, like praying on time, but you also have a side to you, where you can laugh you can, you know, a lot of us just become very nice and silly and friendly when we have grandkids, right? And the parents in the middle are sometime thinking, you know, they're so nice to my kids, they were not like that to me, right? They were so strict with me but they're so, they're spoiling their grandkids, everything I do their undoing it, giving them junk food and just you know totally, why were they not doing it with me? Right? So don't wait for grandkids, do it with your kids Now I am running out of time, I think our time is almost up, isn't it, I was going to share a second part on, specific to the madrasah but I will just in like a minute summarize this

Be conscious of the fact that when your child comes to madressa they are here for only Quran and Deeniyat, 40 minutes each, so that's 80 minutes a day, a week, and that's like, less than an hour and a half, and in a total year the madressa has about 28 weeks, 26 weeks, so that's half a year, there's 52 weeks in a year, so for only half a year your child comes to madressa and gets religious knowledge for less than 90 minutes If this was secular school, they would no way be ready for a life, for a career, post university, okay? So Islam places the burden of teaching your children and imparting them religious values, to you the parent, not to the madrasah, the madrasah will not be questioned on the day of judgment, we the parents, will be questioned and it's very important that when our children leave the madressa, they know how to recite the Quran, they know what is halal and haram, they know the rules of taharat and najasat, they know the rules of wudhu and salat, right? So we really need to explore these When I was asked to do this workshop, I asked the madressa what are the things that are of concern to you, with regards to teenagers, and some of the things that I was told was issues related to wudhu and salaat and taharat and najasat and they're teenagers they've been here since they were 5 Etiquette in talking to adults, hijab, indifference to homeworks and tests, and you know communication between parents and teachers, a lack of genuine interest in religion, and inability to recite Quran, ok? These are some of the highlights that I got as feedback from the madressa, so it's not like whose problem is this? Is it the parents or is it the madressa? But as I said at the start, it's our problem collectively We really need to have more of these sessions, to talk about this and say how are we going to fix this, so that our children are strong confident Muslims, proud to be Muslims, well grounded, when they leave madressa they can recite the Quran fluently, they know the basic rules of religion, they know where to go to for help, they're caring individuals, responsible adults

It can be done, but there is work that needs to happen at home as well, it can't just happen in 80 90 minutes, once a week, for half a year, okay? We really, if our children are the most precious possession we have in life, that we really care for, we don't want them to just succeed for 60 70 years, in this temporary world We want them to succeed in the hereafter, so that Insha'Allah we are with them again in paradise, isn't it? So, we really have to think about their akhirat, as much as we think about their secular world and their secular life So, to summarise, become a role model, discuss religion with your children, read Nahjul Balagha, letter 31, that Imam writes to his son, you know, stop thinking of your child as your possession but think of them as an independent human being, and be genuinely concerned for them emphasize courage and moderation in religion, try and take your child for religious trips as well, for Ziyarat, for Umrah, and so on, it's very very important Speak to the madressa about how additional classes can be held for the children, and if possible have a prayer room in the house, and have a home library, an Islamic home library, where you collect Islamic books CDs DVDs, it will grow an interest InshaAllah at home

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