10 Parenting Tips

I pray each day to improve my parenting. I pray that I won’t hinder my child’s journey to her Creator. I know regardless of what I do and say, she has her own spiritual training to go through in this life. But how I parent is part of my spiritual training

1. Avoid comparing your child to others (in your head or to her face): each human is created uniquely and will have their unique spiritual journey. The urge of parents to compare their kid with one who is supposefuly ‘better’ is a sign of a) not being content (radi) with what God has decreed for them and God’s infinite wisdom and love for them, b) envy (hasad) of what God has given to others… This attitude will hinder you from seeing the positives and being thankful for them (which is an active prayer to the Giver of those positive qualities so He will increase the positives insha’allah)…

2. Avoid labels (you are rude   vs.  this was a rude behavior): essentially each person is created perfect by God Almighty, and is therefore precious. We cannot break the dignity of a human being, no matter how small, when God is creating them each moment and giving them a window of opportunity to better themselves and grow closer to Him. This is a principle we need to adorn ourself with: we don’t like disbelief (action) but we still love the disbeliever (person) because of his Creator.

3. Walk the talk: our first duty is to correct ourself and let our life be an example to others (tamseel). Parenthood is an amazing gift from God to start to work on ourself because our kids are watching us 24/7. What a beautiful reminder that God is seeing us 24/7!

4. Let her make mistakes (mostly): she is walking her own journey and has a partial will-power (cuz’i iradah) to train as well. As hard as it is to let go (of the illusion that we own our kids), we have to back off and accept this reality. This is our spiritual education through parenthood!

5. Let her be (mostly): her ego (nafs) wants to be independent too. We are trying to teach them right from wrong. We teach them why they need to stay away from certain actions, words, thoughts…etc. to be happy in this life and the after: because our Creator said those bad things would be zulm on us- would make us miserable here and in the afterlife. If you interfere for each detail, the ego will bark back when you interfere for the real important things. So back off for the trivial things (things that is neutral as far as God is concerned).

6. Don’t use food to comfort or praise: food is a gift of God, but food also decreases our spiritual side. We don’t want to get them used to using food as a drug to numb their heart…

7. Don’t over-react to bad behavior: a very Islamic principle; downplay the bad, don’t talk about it, don’t think about it. Focus on the positive and this becomes your prayer!

8. Trust your gut (you know your child best): your heart, especially when tuned in to its Source, is the best lithmus test at all times.

9. Be open to change: you might have expected a different child, a different behavior… but God is the Planner and Creator of that child and that behavior. Accept it and trust His Wisdom and Love. Always remember the do’er and the maker is God at all times for all things!

10. Pray, pray, pray…