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Talk to your kids about what they’re going through in life and make sure that you really listen

This past year I’ve had numerous opportunities to be around children due to Islamic events, teaching and attending congrational prayer.  It’s a blessing to be around children and talk to them about what life brings them.  There are some who pour their hearts to those who give a lending ear.  They seek someone who will guide them, someone to listen to them and maybe a cry for help. 

This past year I’ve had numerous opportunities to be around children due to Islamic events, teaching and attending congrational prayer.  It’s a blessing to be around children and talk to them about what life brings them.  There are some who pour their hearts to those who give a lending ear.  They seek someone who will guide them, someone to listen to them and maybe a cry for help. {mxc}

Unfortunately, some of these children hold many emotional problems inside and do not have the opportunity to approach their parents and share with them their day or what is going on in their young life.  The issues may not be hunger or materialistic desires, but a yearning to understand their religion, identity, problems they are facing in school, friendship and yes, romantic relationships too. 

For example, parents shouldn’t expect their children to know that it is an unspoken rule not to date.  Children need to be explained why it is wrong.  Children should be taught about the institution of marriage at a young age. 

In a letter to his son, Imam Ali writes: "My dear son! When I realized that I was getting old and when I felt that weakness and feebleness are gradually creeping into me then I hastened to advise you as to the best ways of leading a noble, virtuous and useful life. I hated the idea that death should overtake me before I tell you all that I wanted to tell or before my mental capacities like my bodily strength are weakened. I convey all this to you lest inordinate desires, temptations and inducement should start influencing you, or adverse changes of times and circumstances should drag your name in the mire or I should leave you like an untrained colt because a young and fresh mind is like a virgin soil which allows things sown in it to grow verdantly and to bear luxuriantly" (Letter 31, Nahj Al Balaghah).

Imam Ali is explaining the heart of a teenager is like that barren land in which if any type of seed is planted it accepts it.  When parents are not doing their role of raising their children to teach them morality, virtues and manners, then society will raise them. 

What’s on MTV and its like is raising them.  This cannot continue without our North American community getting in deep trouble.  That’s something Prophet Muhammed and his family have spoken on.  "Endeavor to converse with your children, lest others who transgress and disobey get to them before you," said Imam Jafar Sadiq.

I’m pleading to the parents on behalf of your children, spend time with them and listen to them.  Ask them questions that involve more than a yes / no or right / wrong answer.  Show interest in your children’s lives and advise them repeatedly. 

Introduce good role models to your children–who better than the Prophet and his holy family–and explain why we all should look up to them.  Otherwise, they will look up to entertainment figures who are obscene, filthy and immoral and will develop their same character.

Involve your sons and daughters in Islamic activities.  Have them volunteer at the local centers and be a part of the program.  The energy of the youth sparks many innovative ideas, creativity, and produces fresh activities for the community.

Finally, pray to Allah to bless your family and make them among the obedient believers.  That truly is the greatest blessing we can have after Islam and one that we should indeed always be grateful for if we already have it.

 

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