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Saturday 2 December 2017

Book Review: The Conscious Parent and How it Relates to the Muslim Parent

Title: The Conscious Parent
Author: Shefali Tsabary
Publisher: Yellow Kite (or Namaste Publishing)
Recommended for: Parents

The Conscious Parent will change your perceptions of parenting. It takes you from looking at your child's behaviour as intentionally 'bad' to reflecting on how this behaviour manifested as a result of your own behaviour. In order words, what did you do or didn't do that caused your child to behave like that? So it's really about being aware of your own actions and how it affect your child. That is the book in a nutshell.

Of course there are more to it. The author goes into details of the different stages of child development and the challenges of each and what parents should be doing. There's also a chapter on how to shape your child's behaviour.

The author wrote this book from a spiritual-yoga perspective but I find that it has a lot in common with what Islam and Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, teach us.

The main concept in Islam is that having children is a part of our test in this life. How you respond to your children will determine whether you pass or fail. When your child is giving you a hard time, ask yourself what your child needs from you so that you can improve yourself and pass your test.

This is what the author called 'Life is Wise' but really from an Islamic perspective, it is Allah Who is Wise and Who gives us these situations so that we can better ourselves. I've written about this earlier. You can read it here: 'Personal Development Through Parenting.'

The second concept from an Islamic viewpoint is how you treat others. You must treat everyone with patience and kindness because this is how you gain reward and pass your test. Ali ibn Abi Talib reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, in Paradise are chambers whose outside can be seen from inside and whose inside can be seen from outside.” A bedouin stood up and he said, “Who are they for, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet said, “They are for those who speak kind words, feed the poor, fast regularly, and pray to Allah at night while people are sleeping.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi)

This applies to children as well as everyone else. Usamah ibn Zayd who was the son of the Prophet’s servant, Zayd ibn Harithah narrated: “The Messenger of Allah used to put me on (one of) his thighs and put Al-Hasan ibn `Ali on his other thigh, and then embrace us and say: ‘O Allah! Please be merciful to them, as I am merciful to them’.” (Al Bukhari)

Going back to the definition of conscious parenting, to be able to be conscious in your parenting you need to be aware of your actions on your child. We all know the hadeeth "Actions are by intentions". If you are aware of your actions and have intention that every action that you do is to please Allah then you would treat others with kindness, including your children. This is most pleasing to Allah, that you treat others well or "as you like to be treated".

It follows that to treat your child well, you don't scream, yell, belittle or are impatient with him. Instead, you are patient so you take your time to try to figure out what's going on with him. You are positive so that you help raise his courage and self-esteem and that you affirm his nature and spirit. You are kind and affectionate so your relationship can be nurtured and developed in a healthy way. You are lenient because you forgive mistakes and misjudgements and you guide your child to know what's right and what's not in a gentle manner.  (Read The Muslim Parent is a Positive Parent which looks at these five characteristics.)

The Conscious Parent is recommended reading for parents. It will change how you parent. You can get a copy below (my affiliate link).

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