Our Family Rules

Being Green

  1. Be GREEN
    1. It is Islamic to be green: human beings are the “care-takers” of the world
    2. Don’t waste
    3. Compost
    4. Protect your environment
    5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
    6. Teach your kids how to be green
    7. Teach your kids to value life (i.e. not to destroy plants for ‘fun’)
  2. Spend time outdoors with/in nature
    1. Outdoor playgrounds
    2. Hiking
    3. State parks
    4. Biking
    5. Roller skating
    6. Playing sports   
    7. Fishing
    8. Visiting the zoo
    9. Gardening (kids LOVE it!)     
    10. Swimming
  3. Avoid artificial environments
    1. Examples: malls, chucke cheese, monkey joe’s
  4. Eat ONLY the healthiest food
    1. We are what we eat: if you love your kids, don’t feed them junk
    2. All coloring and harmful chemicals WILL make your kid sick in the future
    3. You condition your children by presenting them SPECIAL, DELICIOUS, YUMMY food
      1. “Da daaaa, I got my angel a surprise today because I love her sooo much” and you present a shining red apple!
      2. If you offer them unhealthy snacks as a bribe (I will give you gummy bears if you stop crying), you condition them that this is a ‘price’ to look forward to
  5. Don’t have unhealthy snacks at home
    1. Don’t buy them at all
    2. If you don’t buy them, when they ask: “can I have a lollipop please?” – it is easy to say WE DON’T HAVE IT.
    3. End of story…
  6. Don’t buy too many toys
    1. Example: No child needs 5 dolls or 8 trucks or 10 puzzles
    2. They won’t appreciate what they have
    3. It will be hard to satisfy their material demands as they grow older
      1. Think of yourself when driving: if you are going with 20mph and speed up to 40mph, that feels fast.
      2. But if you are going 60mph and slow down to 40mph, that feels too slow, too boring, too frustrating!
    4. It will hamper their imagination and creativity



  1. Keep alternating toys by putting away a box of toys every two weeks
  2. Reduce buying toys/things
    1. Teach them to play with toys/things in the store and put them back before you leave
    2. Can we buy this/take this home?: You can play with it while we are in the store….We do not NEED it… now it is time to put it back with its ‘friends’ and say bye to the teddy bear!
  3. Donate gifts your child receives if you do not approve of them
    1. If your child sees the toy or you do not want to offend the presenter, put it away after your child sleeps
    2. If your kid asks for it the next day, just say: “You have many nicer toys. It is better to play with them”
    3. Don’t drag the conversation, just divert her attention
    4. Don’t lie to your kid about what you did with the gift!
  4. Let your child choose from among her toys to give as gifts to other children
    1. While THEY present the gift, emphasize: “This is one of Aisha’s favorite toys. Because she loves you and wants to make you happy, she would like to give it to you as a gift!”
  5. Let your child hand out a gift (that you MADE together) to the host when you visit friends or family


God Consciousness

  1. Help them realize God’s continuous creation
    1. “Subhanallah, look at our little tomatoes. They turned red already. God loves you so much that He is creating this delicious gift for you. Would YOU like to pick your gift this morning?”
    2. “Isn’t God amazing Aisha? Look what He did with this watermelon! Such a bright red… and tiny, cute black buttons under a thick, patterned green coat! He is SO artsy!”   
    3. “I know you like to go to the park today. Let’s pray to God that the rain stops. But if not, that means we are meant to have SO much more fun indoors drawing, baking…etc.”
    4. “Well, you might not enjoy rain today but let’s be considerate of all the trees and flowers. After all, they all need the rain and become thirsty like us too!”
    5. “Aisha! Aisha! Subhanallah… Smell this gorgeous flower! Isn’t it amazing!”
    6. Use mashallah, subhanallah, alhamdulillah, insha’allah with kids too!
  2. Say “God will heal you with this pill insha’allah” NOT “The pill will heal you soon honey, you will see!”
    1. “Oh, mommy is not feeling well today. Let’s pray for her and ask God to heal her insha’allah”
    2. “Don’t worry sweetie. We went to the doctor and she gave you medicine. This way GOD will heal you in no time insha’allah!”
  3. Recite prayers out loud to/with your child every night before she goes to sleep…
    1. Say God be with you instead of meaningless phrases like night night (?!)
  4. MAKE for them the most appealing
    1. Praying rug (colorful with big flowers and shapes…etc.)
    2. Hijab/cap
    3. Islamic books
    4. Islamic toys/games
    5. Colorful Qur’an


Innocent Children

  1. Don’t buy books with stories you do not approve of
    1. Example: sorcery, magic, bad characters (101 Dalmatians), princess kissing a prince…
  2. Buy only INNOCENT toys appropriate for a “child”
    1. Examples of NOT-innocent toys for girls: Barbies or dolls that look like a hooker (excuse the language please) with lots of make-up, tight/mini cloths with glitter/lace that just looks obscene
      1. I do not want my toddler (or teenager for that matter) to look up to THAT
    2. Examples of NOT-innocent toys for boys: guns or toys that kill and fight…
      1. Find healthy alternatives for boys like trains, trucks, fire trucks, tool kits, legos, crafts…
  3. Don’t buy clothing that is not INNOCENT
    1. Most girls clothing are highly “inappropriate” to say the least
      1. With glitter, lace, and obscene words (like Sassy! …etc.)
    2. There is nothing ‘cute’ about a fluffy mini skirt on a 4 year old à It is meant to look sexy
    3. There is nothing ‘cute’ about heeled shoes on a 4 year old
    4. No matter what they call it (lip gloss…etc.) kids should not wear make-up
    5. Some parents justify buying “kids’ make-up” arguing that it is better that they “get it out of their system” early à
      1. It is NOT in their system (innately) to look like inappropriate adults
      2. Their nature (fitrah) is to be/look beautiful but the society/TV teaches them what exactly is beautiful
      3. If you teach them that being beautiful means: wearing clean, neat clothing, brushing your hair, washing up your hands and face with soap… THAT is beauty for them
      4. Giving them “kids’ make-up” and dressing them up in obscene clothing at 3 ONLY gets them used to that style à it corrupts their pure, innocent fitrah, NOT get it out of their system
    6. Some of the few stores that sell more innocent kids clothing are Gymboree and Crazy 8 (terrible name I know)
      1. I know they are more expensive but again they only need 7 change of clothing for each season if you do laundry once a week!
      2. We buy them more than they need (fewer items at higher price = more items at lower price)
  4. Don’t dress your boy or girl in revealing clothing
    1. They will lose their feeling of shame (haya) at a young age
    2. If your son is wearing too short shorts one day, expecting him to stop doing that the next day (at puberty) is unreasonable
    3. If your daughter got used to wearing mini dresses and tank tops, she won’t comprehend and WANT TO dress more modest overnight
    4. Not to mention the insane number of pedophiles…


First be a Good Muslim Yourself

  1. ALWAYS do what you said you would do
    1. “We use our crayons only on paper. You will get a time-out if you color the table one more time….. It is too bad that you CHOSE to misuse your crayons. I will HAVE TO put your crayons away for a while and you must go to time-out because YOU made a bad CHOICE”
    2. If you say something and not carry through with it, you teach your child that you don’t really mean what you say = she does not have to take your words seriously
  2. Use “I promise inshallah” and KEEP your promises
    1. They will trust you if you stick to this
    2. Remind them often that you keep your promises
      1. “See I promised and Alhamdulillah I am able to do it now…”
    3. This way when you ask them: “Do you promise that you will clean up when you are done with your play-dough?”- They understand that this is serious and she must carry through when she promises something
  3. Don’t EVER lie to your child
    1. There is no ‘little or white lie’
    2. Hadith: Narrated by Ibn Aamir: “My mother called me once, whilst the Prophet (peace be upon him) was at our home and she said, “Come here, I will give you something.” Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked, “What did you want to give to him?” She replied, “Dates.” The Prophet then said, “Had you not given him anything, it would have been recorded as a lie.””
    3. Even if telling them the truth will bring you inconveniences (like whining and crying) you MUST tell them the truth
    4. One way to minimize the whining is to REDIRECT their attention
    5. For example: you are in the car outside and are headed for home because it is late/dinner time… and she asks where you are going now. You know that your kid will cry if you tell her that you are going home. You can say: “we are hungry and would like some yummy food” or “we ran and played all day, how about some rest now” or “I thought you might like to watch an episode of Caillou” (and of course, let them watch it to be honest)
  4. Have them say “Salamun alaykum auntie/uncle”
    1. Calling elders with more than their first name will help have more respect for elders
  5. Don’t embarrass them by putting them in the spot in front of people
    1. “Did you say salamun alaykum auntie?”
    2. Instead YOU say “salamun alaykum auntie” with a sweet voice and touching/looking at your child. She will get the point and pick up the habit eventually.
  6. Don’t GOSSIP about your child
    1. Gossiping is one of the worst things that destroy others’ dignity (hence haram/forbidden) and your self-esteem
    2. “Do unto others what you want them to do to you”
    3. Talking about your kid with others (especially negative things) as if s/he is not there is very degrading to the child
    4. It teaches them that talking about others (i.e. gossip) is ALRIGHT: mommy does it too…
  7. Teach them love and giving
    1. “I love you and want to make you happy – so I cooked your favorite food for you, brought you a lovely apple, …etc.”
    2. “See we love your mom and want to make her happy. What do you say we do to surprise and make her happy?”
  8. Say “This is a great idea Aisha, mashallah to you!”
  9. Use MASHALLAH instead of WOW!
  10. Use inshallah even when talking with kids
    1. “And never say of anything, “Indeed, I will do that tomorrow, except [when adding], “If Allah wills.” And remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, “Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct” (Qur’an, 18:23)
    2. Don’t abuse the word (Insha’allah) by using it when you really DON’T mean to do something…


Ramadan and the EIDs     

    1. Have them serve/help those who fast
    2. “See mommy is a little bit tired today because she is fasting. Let’s be quite so she can have some rest”
    3. “See daddy is fasting today. What do you say if we cook him a surprise dinner!”
    4. Have them help set up the fast-break dinner table
  2. Make the EIDs a HUGE event
    1. Start preparing a week in advance so it will be more than a one-day event
    2. Shop for healthy food WITH your child
    3. MAKE (not buy) special gifts for loved ones WITH your child
    4. Decorate the house with Arabic letters, crescents… etc. WITH your child
    5. Bake and decorate crescent shaped cookies WITH your child
    6. Make this one of the FEW occasions for buying NEW toys, clothes…etc.


TV and Cartoons

  1. Don’t have TV in your house
    1. You will be in a constant fight with your child over how much and what she can watch
    2. When you are stressed/busy, you would put your child in front of the TV to “get her of your back”
    3. 99% of what is on TV for adults and for kids is poison for the mind and the soul
    4. You can let them watch programs you approve of on YOUR laptop
    5. Don’t buy a laptop for your kid (until they need it for school-work)
    6. Don’t let them browse the internet (especially in their room)
    7. Don’t EVER buy video games à that is: ANY video games!
      1. This is an addiction that seems harmless but destroys their spirit AND mind AND body
      2. Kids should be running outside and playing, NOT spending hours playing video games
  2. Be extremely picky about cartoons
    1. Disney is poison filled with:
      1. Sorcery/magic (it is haram/forbidden even to TALK about magic)
      2. Princesses who have nothing else to do but chase a prince to kiss them
      3. Violence and bad people trying to harm good ones with magic
    2. None of the stories, characters, manners, clothing… is Islamic
    3. Nickelodeon and other “cartoon” channels air shows where elementary/middle school kids date and dress like street-woman
    4. GOOD PICKS: Caillou, online Islamic cartoons


Beloved Friends vs. OUR FAMILY   

  1. Repeat the “OUR FAMILY” mantra
    1. Kids always ask why their friend is allowed something and they are not
      1. Kid: “But Laila’s mother allows her to play video games/eat gummy bears…etc.”
      2. Mom: “That is THEIR family. This is OUR FAMILY. We do things OUR way.”
      3. Dad: “I am not Laila’s father. I do not decide what is best for her. I am YOUR father. I must choose what is best for YOU.”
    2. Be careful not to criticize other kids/parents while asserting your rules
      1. It is wrong to be judgmental about other people
      2. That does not mean that we must approve of ALL they say and do
      3. We can point out wrong behavior ISOLATING it from the people doing it
        1. Say you have to explain to your daughter why she cannot buy a video game while Laila has it:
        2. Don’t say Laila or her mom is wrong to do it
        3. Say: video games are not good for kids/us
        4. The point is we still love Laila/her mom- but dislike video games
        5. OR we still love Omar even though he lied- but we dislike lying
      4. Your child will also begin criticizing others (most likely, to their faces, too!)
  2. Find mantras for YOUR family and use them consistently so they sink in
    1. We do not NEED it
      1. Differentiate between NEEDs and WANTs
      2. We buy all you NEED but we cannot buy all you WANT
    2. We only eat healthy food
      1. Because our body is a gift/trust/amanah from God and we must take good care of it
    3. That is not healthy, it will make you sick (it is true in the long run)
  3. Keep your child away from people and things that does not feel right
    1. They are the most precious, fragile, innocent gifts of God
    2. They are “trusts (amanah)” from God
    3. We are responsible to take care of God’s trust the best we can
    4. We must protect their souls, minds, and bodies from all impurities
    5. Expose their souls, minds, and bodies only to the best, most noble, pure, faithful people, ideas, scenes, and things
  4. Don’t mind what people think or say about your parenting
    1. What is NORMAL in today’s world is abnormal according to the Scriptures (Qur’an, Bible, Torah…)
    2. All values are UPSIDE DOWN
      1. A good working student is ridiculed as a nerd
      2. Staying up all night and intoxicating your body is considered ‘cool’
      3. Stepping on your coworkers to get a promotion is good work
      4. Gossiping about your coworkers is being ‘social’
      5. Dressing to reveal your body is fashionable
      6. Teaching your child to bully others so he won’t be bullied is responsible parenting
    3. When you care about raising your child with the proper ethics and values, you are likely to be seen as ABNORMAL (but that’s alright!)
    4. Being “asocial” in today’s standards might be even desirable
      1. Plus, there are many people out there you can socialize with who will see (more or less) eye to eye with you
      2. Even one family that share your life and parenting-philosophy is enough
  5. Don’t spend time with families who do not pay attention to their kids’ upbringing
    1. For example gatherings where:
      1. The kids’ needs “get in the way” of parents’ conversation and are ignored
      2. The parents talk and act as if the kids are not there
      3. The parents gossip about their children
      4. The food, environment, scheduled activities are not kid-friendly
    2. Your kid is like a sponge, taking in everything without a filter
    3. Your job is to help her to build a well-functioning and rightly-tuned filter to keep out the bad and take in the good
    4. Until your kid’s filter is in place, your job is to make sure the bad does not get in
    5. That means minimizing bad influence (like bad friends, bad media, bad environment…etc.)


General Principles

  1. Encourage them to do chores to learn to take responsibility
    1. Clean up their room/toys at the end of the day
    2. Help set up the table
    3. Carry light items from the car to the house
    4. Wash up the potatoes when you cook
      1. They eat much better if they partake in ‘the fun of’ preparing the meal!
    5. Water the plants in the garden
  2. Don’t use the word SHARE: it is too abstract
    1. Say “We take turns: now Laila is playing with it. After 2 minutes, Aisha will play with it. Then it will be Laila’s turn again”
    2. Tell them you will put away the toy if the children cannot take turns and keep fighting
    3. Put away the toy if they keep fighting over it and not take turns

NOTE: Never force your child to do any of this if they are resisting. But hopefully if you start doing these when s/he is a baby and consistently “be” this way, insha’allah they will want them…