In this counseling answer:
•Encouraging him to pray and read can be a way to allow him to see for himself that what he is doing is not acceptable and empower himself to make that choice himself without feeling forced to.
•Being good role models for him is the best start. Let him see you and his dad praying and reading the Qur’an your selves. Let him see the contentment it brings you. You may then encourage him to join you, especially in the prayer as this is an obligation upon him.
As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,
Children bring different concerns for their parents at different stages in their lives; as toddlers, we worry about them falling and hurting themselves, but we can always be there to help them out. But, as they enter teenage years, they come into contact with others.
Others who can potentially lead them astray and cause them to do harmful things such as turn to drugs as your son has. By this age, parents have less of an influence and it can be more difficult to help and guide them. However, there are some things you can try to help your son.
Unfortunately, your son is also not praying any salad or reading Qur’an so it would seem he is not so close to Allah right now so he does not feel the fear of Him as he smokes a substance deemed haram. If he felt this fear then it would be a lot easier to abstain. Therefore, an indirect route you can take to helping him to stop is to encourage him in his Deen. The other useful thing about this approach is that it doesn’t involve you directly telling him to stop smoking.
Being on his case to stop smoking may even make him more resistant to stop. Encouraging him to pray and read can be a way to allow him to see for himself that what he is doing is not acceptable and empower himself to make that choice himself without feeling forced to. The other benefit of this is that if he has made the choice himself, he is less likely to go back to it again in the future, where he may if he felt he stopped because he was forced to be someone else.
There are a few ways you can gently encourage him in his Deen. Being good role models for him is the best start. Let him see you and his dad praying and reading the Qur’an your selves. Let him see the contentment it brings you. You may then encourage him to join you, especially in the prayer as this is an obligation upon him. Whilst it is necessary to be harsh in ensuring he does pray as he now becomes accountable for maintaining these obligations, you might begin with a more casual approach to inviting him without shouting or being harsh in such a way that he will have a negative association with prayer.
Instead, you can enforce it with your words by using a gentle tone of voice but using words that imply he must join you. So rather than asking if he’d like to join you which gives him the option to decline, tell him to go and prepare for prayer which verbally gives the impression that he must join you and there is no option not to. Likewise, if he missed a prayer as he was out or at school when he returns home to remind him to go and prayer his missed prayers.
This may be a bit of a challenge at first, but this is for his own good, both to increase his levels of eman generally which is good for him, but also as a means to draw him closer to Allah that he will stop doing things displeasing to Allah. Once he gets back into Salah again, then you could gently encourage him with the other things such as reading the Quran.
Another useful tactic you can use is to ensure he is in good company, a company of other boys his age who you know are not involved in acts such as smoking. This may seem quite difficult on the surface as you can’t directly tell him to abandon his friends and make new ones. What you can do however is take the less direct approach. If you have friends with boys the same age you can be inviting them round so that he is placed in a situation where he is spending time with them.
In time they may become friends and they can have a positive influence on him. Perhaps you might organize days out together with these other families son that they can be together in an environment where it might be easier to forge a good friendship, especially if the outing involves something that boys of his age typically enjoy engaging in. As he enjoys these new good friendships in sha Allah he will have less time for the boys who are a negative influence on him.
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This last point may be particularly useful as it will give him the space to get the same kind of positive feelings that he gets from smoking. The feeling that keeps him going back to the smoking.
If he can find healthier and more halal way to evoke these feelings that he is presently getting from smoking then it will be easier for him to stop, again without being forced as well as being able to make the choice for himself which will make him feel more empowered and more likely to maintain the change.
May Allah guide your son and support you in being there to guide him on the straight path.
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