Teaching Our Kids Manners and Morals: Islamic Parenting
Do you know what the best gift you can give your child is?
No, it's not their dream toy, or fancy clothes, or a big house.
The most virtuous gift that a parent can give their child is good manners.
The Prophet (SAW) said, "be kind to your children and protect their manners". -Sunan Ibn Majah 3671
Here are some ways that you can teach your kids manners and morals as a Muslim parent:
Be kind to your children
Following the sequence of the words of our beloved Prophet (SAW), kindness comes first and discipline then follows. This means that in the process of inculcating good manners in your children, you need to first build a solid relationship with them. This would serve as the foundation for all the training that would come after. Doing so would create a loving atmosphere such that when you happen to correct them, they know that your correction came from a place of care and not harshness.
A lot of people try to do it the other way around by starting with discipline and hoping that they would be kind to their already obedient children. Discipline works best if you have warm and loving relationships with your children.
Teaching manners and morals does not have to take the form of strict rules and punishment when they do wrong but could also be in the form of encouraging good behaviour by rewarding good manners.
Model good manners
Children follow with their eyes more than their ears. Your child sees you as a role model before anyone else. Whatever you do becomes the ideal behaviour and that is what your child would aim to copy.
In Surah Al-Ahqaf, there's a beautiful du'a that says,
"My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring." Q(46:15)
If we follow the sequence of this verse also, we would notice that it starts with asking Allah to make one righteous and then asking for the righteousness of one's offspring.
You can't expect your children to portray the character and conduct that you are not willing to model. When you lead by example, they would naturally follow. If you tell your children to always greet their elders and you don't do the same, they aren't likely to follow your words. But if you always clean up after yourself, even if you don't tell them to, they are likely to follow suit.
The lesson here is that it starts with you.
Pour from a full cup
Attending to yourself first is an essential aspect of parenting. If you want to be your best self to your family and kids, you need to prioritize your physical, mental, and spiritual health. This can be achieved by getting enough sleep at night, eating healthy foods, staying hydrated, working out regularly, and taking care of your eman.
It is after making yourself grounded that you can successfully pass on any lessons or training to the little ones. When you're fully relaxed, you're less likely to be irritable during the day and that would help you speak kindly, and act with forethought.
Take advantage of resources
There are many tools that you can use as a parent to teach your kids manners and morals. Since they already engage in activities like reading, playing games, and watching cartoons, you can use that as an opportunity to carefully select the books, games, and shows that teach morals.
These games, books or shows should teach manners like gracious greetings, apologies, giving and receiving compliments, expressing gratitude, and event do's and don'ts of manners.
Don't give up
It would not be easy and you will surely make mistakes but true success is learning from your mistakes. There are times when you would slip and say or do the wrong thing but instead of accepting it as the end of your effort, you need to let it go and continue trying.
From this, your children would learn the valuable lesson of persistence. They would learn to rise after falling and that would shape them into proper adults In Sha Allah.
And remember that as Muslims, our children are an amanah unto us and it is our obligation to teach our children manners and morals. It was narrated by Abdullah Ibn Umar that the Prophet SAW said:
“Indeed each of you is a shepherd and each of you will be questioned regarding his flock. The commander who is in authority over people is responsible and he will be questioned regarding his responsibility. The man is responsible over the inhabitants of his house and he is the one who will be questioned about them. The wife is responsible in her husband’s house and she will be questioned about it. The servant is responsible regarding his master’s property, and he will be questioned about it. Indeed each of you is a shepherd and each of you will be questioned about his flock.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari & Muslim
By instilling good morals and manners in them, we are setting them up for success in every aspect of their lives from religion, to school, to careers, relationships, and so on. These teachings would stay with them throughout their lives therefore it is important to make them a priority.
May Allah SWT fortify us with the wisdom it takes to be the kind of parents’ worthy of emulation by our kids. Ameen.
Leave a comment