Helpful tips on raising a Muslim Child
Every child has a varying amount of fear; some are normal fears of childhood while others are not. Some amount of fear in a child is understandable and healthy, like fearing the fire for it burns. Child Psychology experts say that a child in his early years may show signs of fear when hearing a sudden noise or something falling. In general, girls show more fear than boys, and the intensity of the fear may vary according to the intensity of the child’s imagination; the more imaginative the child is, the more fearful he may be. However, the child may develop fear of harmless things, like darkness, water, stairs and gathering with other people. These fears can result from a number of factors;
(a) The mother scaring the child with ideas of ghosts, shadows or strange creatures.
(b) Relating stories or fairy tales that have evil and imaginative characters in them.
(c) Raising the child in isolation and keeping him secluded – away from people.
(d) Children are imitators of their parents and pick up phobia from their parents, therefore presenting a good example before the children plays a major role in training them.
In order to avoid such fears, the parents should:
(a) Always train the child to believe in Allah, worship Him and turn to Him in all situations of fear and anxiety.
(b) Do not scare him with imaginative characters, ghosts and animals. Always remember the Hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam): “The strong believer is better and is more loved by Allah than the weak believer.” [Saheeh Muslim (2664)]
(c) Give the child responsibilities and allow him to work it out himself. Also, allow him to meet and mix with other people and get to know them.
(d) Instill courage and bravery in the child by relating to him true stories of our pious-predecessors.
(e) As psychologists recommend, give the child an opportunity to get to know the thing that he is frightened of, for example, if he is afraid of water, allow him to play with little water in a bowl, if the child fears the dark; the parent may allow him to play with the light-switch, turning it off and on…
Fear of Dark: Generally children shows fear when the parents separate their bed. Parents need to recognize the fact that the room looks totally different to the child when the lights are out. So, you may…
(i) Use a night light, but experiment with its placement to be sure that it does not create frightening shadows.
(ii) After the light has been turned out. Stay in the room for a few minutes and talk about how different things look. A curtain blowing in the breeze looks very different at night than it does during the daytime.
(iii) Leave the door to the child’s room slightly open and tell him that you will not be far away.
(iv) If the child awakens in the middle of the night, he should not be invited into your bed else he may develop a habit that is difficult to break!! Instead, comfort him in his own room and tell him that you are proud of him for being grown up enough to sleep in a room by himself