[This is a series of three parts on parenting from a father’s perspective.]
I have three children. If I were to encapsulate what I learned about parenting from a father’s perspective in one sentence, I would say: “A child needs ‘a loving father’, not ‘a successful businessman!’”
First, we need to realize that despite all the preparations for the delivery day, we never feel fully prepared. It seems as though everything happens really fast: It’s the rush hour, your wife is in pain, you start to panic and wonder if you could drive to the hospital on time. You start wishing this whole process gets over with successfully. When it does, it is as though time has stopped. And like in the movies, you hear the congratulation and a little gift is placed in your arms. But you wonder while looking at this little precious gift: Can I even hold her properly? Even if it’s your third child, you still think the same; trust me, I have three daughters.
All parents need a little advice now and then. This is what we attempt to do in this series, in sha Allah. The series will cover parenting basics: discipline, homework help, how to talk to your child about subjects like pocket money, peer pressure and friends. We also attempt to cover cooperation between spouses.
One of the things I wanted to start with is this interesting thought I came to realize while travelling around the country and asking parents, “What do you do for your child?”
The peculiar thing is that parents respond in a way that suggests that what they do for their children is like “administrative work”. The most common answers I receive are “we pick and drop our children to school”, or “we pack their lunch boxes and revise their homework.” Fair enough. But doesn’t this sound like an administrative job?
This is something any project manager can do as well.
The question is: what is it that you are doing for your child as “parents”?
In this article, we’ll try to explore a few points that will help you discover the parent in you, In sha Allah.
Consider the Parenting Tips from Surah Luqman
In surat Luqman [Qur’an: Chapter 31], Allah shows us how Luqman wisely speaks to/advises his son [Qur’an: Chapter 31, Verse 12-19]. It is indeed a very beautiful and compelling way to share life’s wisdom with one’s child, in a way that teaches him/her the gist of what this whole life is about, and the gist of being an honorable person.
Here is some interesting background of surat Luqman: this surah was revealed in Makkah. Now, what was happening in Makkah? Were Muslims safe and secure? No. Consider the fact that Allah was sending down verses on the father-son relationship to a place where it was almost criminal to be Muslim.” So, despite the tough life, family comes first in the sight of Allah .
Another very interesting aspect is that Allah speaks about a father’s conversation with his son. The father goes to length explaining a wide range of matters from not associating partners with Allah to not speaking loudly. So, inner and outer mannerisms have been dealt with eloquently in a sophisticated, wise manner.
This shows that fathers need to be more involved. While holding workshops on parenting, we always notice that mothers are always more eager to learn, while fathers are not even present.
The father, however, needs to realize his importance in the parenting process.
Abu Hurairah reported, the Messenger of Allah said: “Three supplications are answered without doubt. The supplication of the oppressed, the supplication of the traveler, and the supplication of the parent for his son” [At- Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud].
Action Tip: Make a 10-point-list of things you want for your son or daughter, like what you want them to be when they grow up. Stick this list on your fridge and make sure you ask Allah in your duas constantly and convey those wishes to your child, letting him/her know that you’re involved and always thinking about what’s best for them.
Fathers, Support the Mothers Please
If a mother can count on her husband to help with keeping the house clean, caring for the children, paying the bills and planning for the future, she will probably be a happier, more efficient parent.
Your support for your wife would result in her being an even better mother to your child. Don’t be disengaged. We came to realize that the support a mother receives from her child’s father can even help her be more competent and sensitive when feeding her baby.
Action Tip: Tick off the grocery list, order food once in a while or even cook for her. The least you can do is talk to her without looking at your mobile phone!
Pay Attention to How You Play With Your Child
When fathers play with their toddlers, they are not just entertaining them. They are providing a safe, yet challenging arena for toddlers to learn how to interact with the world and with others. Through rough-and-tumble play, fathers create obstacles for their children and demand respect for limits and boundaries. At the same time, they challenge their children and encourage them to explore their own strength, their ability to do new things and their impact on the world around them.
Few Gems and Tips to Wrap Up
It is indeed such a big blessing to be a parent. Ask those who are not blessed with children or who lost their child to an illness or accident, and you would realize that being blessed with a child is a n’imah (blessing) and even if we spend all our life thanking Allah in sujood, we would not be able to thank Him enough!
- Parenting is not an administrative job.
- A strong father-son relationship is the basis of a confident child.
- Qur’anic examples for successful fathers are brilliant and enlightening; from Ibrahim to Ismail , Dawood to Sulaiman and Zakaria to Yahya . So, learn about them.
- Despite a difficult life, the family comes first for Allah .
- The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother!”
Children require ‘quantity time’ and not just ‘quality time’. Begin by blocking 15 minutes every day with your kids. ‘Every day’!
My 15-minutes bucket list with my children includes:
- Nurture a hobby with your child like gardening, painting or puzzles (I love working on puzzles with my daughters!).
- Have clear goals for your child and consider your 10-points dream goal for him/her.
- Spend time at home helping your spouse and surprise her once in a while by ordering.
- Ask your child what he/she did at school. This leads to more open-ended conversations.
- Read a book or a story together. I am currently reading Prophet’s Hijrah and Suraqah bin Malik’s horse falling down and we are talking about courage. So choose a virtue you want to instil in your child, find a good read and go ahead enjoying quality time spent with your child reading together.
Please let us know your thoughts, gems and tips on the subject in the comments section below.
Read the other parts of this series: Part 2 | Part 3