It was an AHA or lightbulb moment on Day 10 of my 13 Days Qualities of a Muslim Parent Challenge, after we've put into practice being lenient. We began to see that being kind, patient, affectionate and lenient contributed to positive outcomes for our children. The children were happier as well as the mums.
Looking at these first four qualities of a Muslim parent, it dawned on me that these are actually in the style of positive parenting. Positive parenting is about guiding or discipling children through positive means rather than punitive.
We only just have to follow the sunnah and it falls into what western parenting have just recently discovered, that positive encouragement is a better way to nurture your child.
So the Muslim parent is a positive parent who uses positive disciplining. But unlike positive parenting, which doesn't use punishment at all, I believe that there is a place for it when the child oversteps the important boundaries.
For example, if an older child steals, maybe the first time he could be reasoned with but if he does it again and again then some form of punishment is required otherwise he will keep on doing it. Leniency is for mistakes and forgetfulness not outright wrongdoing. Islam afterall requires punishment for major crimes. Allah knows best.
When the child is young, he is learning from his environment so if he does wrong then you remove him from that environment such as bad friends, watching tv, or bad modeling and you give him gentle guidance. But when he has reached maturity and can judge between what's right and wrong then if at first gentle disciplining doesn't work then a punitive consequence is required.
Islam is always about balance. When one goes to the extreme in any area of life then problems will arise. The same is with parenting. Excessive leniency is detrimental to children. They can become over-coddled, over-indulgent and spoilt.
The Muslim parent is a positive parent who is kind, patient, affectionate and lenient when appropriate in order to guide her child.