Lenient, Authoritarian, and Authoritative Parenting
Authoritative parents are more likely to establish a friendship relationship with their children. This is critical because in their teen years, young Muslims always need someone to talk to when facing social challenges.
Today in many Muslim communities, we find a lot of young Muslims not behaving in an Islamic manner. This can perhaps be attributed to the fact that many young Muslims do not have strong social support within their homes.
In Muslim communities, the two types of parenting styles that are most prevalent are the parents who are lenient in the upbringing of their children and the authoritarian parenting style. Both parenting styles are ineffective. The most widely accepted parenting style by psychologists is the authoritative parenting style, which is even seen in the Holy Qur'an.
Parents who are lenient in the upbringing of their children are usually too busy with the material trinkets of life, while not really focusing on the mental and emotional development of their children. This does not allow for parents and their children to establish a friendship that is critical in every child's life. Children who live in a household with overly lenient parents tend to not have school as a priority. Not only that, but when these children reach their teenage life, they are usually given material object after material object without even earning it. This type of parenting style usually sets up children for failure in this life as well as in the hereafter.
The second type of parenting that is seen very often in Muslim households is the authoritarian parenting style. Authoritarian parents are always trying to be in control of their children. These parents keep strict rules, without giving the children any room to discuss rules made within a household. Children are also told what to do without any explanation.
The reason this parenting style interests us the most out of the four parenting styles is because we see this a lot in the Muslim community. Muslim parents enforce excessively strict policies on their children. Especially when it comes to religion, children are usually robots. They do all religious duties, such as praying five times a day and putting a scarf on, usually because they have to. Children are not told why they are performing their religious duties. Also, authoritarian parents usually try to place a barrier between society and their children.
When this is done, children rebel from the strict rules enforced on them. That is why today we may see the most religious father or mother at the mosque on a weekly basis, but their son or daughter is nowhere to be seen. It is very possible that the strict guidelines that parents enforce turn their children off from religion.
The opposite of the authoritarian parenting style is the authoritative parenting style. The authoritative parenting style is the ideal parenting style. Authoritative parents tend to raise children that are responsible and can make decisions for themselves. Authoritative parents usually have a household that is democratic. When rules are enforced in a house, parents explain the meaning and discuss the importance of the rules established. A perfect example from the Qur'an is the chapter of Luqman. In the chapter of Luqman, Luqman gives his son critical advice for this life and for the after life. He also gives his son advice on how to conduct himself as a person with good manners. Furthermore, Luqman establishes the foundation for his son's hereafter by encouraging prayer and patience and giving the positive effects of such actions. "O my son! Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, forbid what is wrong, and bear with patient constancy whatever betide thee; for this is firmness in affairs."
Authoritative parents are more likely to establish a friendship relationship with their children. This is critical because in their teen years, young Muslims always need someone to talk to when facing social challenges. If there is not a friendship relationship between parents and their children, then there is a good chance a child may indulge in Islamically unacceptable actions. Today there is so much talk about solving social issues within our Muslim communities. The solution begins at home, and it is as simple as better upbringing of children, which will surely lead to the advancement of Muslim communities.