Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thoughts on parenthood

The more people you meet and the more you get to know them, the more you learn about the world. Its one thing to read theoretical books about behaviour and society (as we do in Psychology), its a completely different thing to see it in real life. I realised that I've lived quite a sheltered life - for which, I am, of course, grateful to my parents. I don't think I could have dealt with the complexities of the world if I didn't grow up with an identity. I mean, I still can't  - there's still a lot of things that I am only just trying to internalise, and I'm not exactly sure what to do with the whole heap of information. I'll have to think about it a little more.

But here's some tips for the future me as a parent. The reason why I'm writing them now is because: a) I know I'll forget the lessons I am learning now in 10-20 years time. b) This skills must be acquired over time.

1. Be organised.
2. Manage your time well so that you have some me-time, us-time, kids-time and world-time.
3. Have a non-judgemental attitude. The worst thing you can do to your kids is to make them feel like you are judging them hence push them away. They should not feel ashamed of themselves. They should always have a problem solving attitude. If they have a weakness, they should be able to come and tell you, ask for help, and try to solve the issue at hand/try to get stronger. You are their biggest mentor. If they can't even tell you what's bothering them, you have just failed at the first step of being a mentor.
4. Try to be the best example you can. But at the same time, don't be a hypocrite. If you have a problem, don't try to solve it yourself. Get your partner involved. If your children are old enough, get them involved. Children can look right past hypocrisy, and when they do, they will learn to be one themselves too.
5. Try your best at everything, and teach them to try their best. When you have this attitude, they will forgive you for any shortcomings you have, because, you have indeed tried your best. They will be more open to your suggestions. At the same time, don't expect to get your results straight away from this world. Your reward is with Allah. If things go wrong after you have tried your best, just let it go and try to work from there. Do not plunge into denial and depression.

The reward for being a parent and the status to which you should hold your parents have been mentioned several times in the Quran and Sunnah. So, being a good parent is a guaranteed way to enter Jannah. However, it is not an easy task. Alhamdulillah, I think my parents have done their absolute best with me and my siblings. They have tried to give us everything they had and could not have, in terms of tangible and intangible. And I am sure their parents have done the same, and so on and so forth. So, we will probably try to do the same for our future generation, but they will probably feel that it is not enough. However, the important thing is to keep the communication going. If you are a parent that can learn from your children, you are already halfway there.

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