In this counseling answer:
“Children learn what they see, not what they hear. Since their eyes remember actions and their brains register pictures, perform your daily acts of worship (prayers, reciting Qur’an, fasting) and tell the truth in front of your child and allow your child to witness others also following Allah’s commandments. This can be accomplished by visiting the homes of other Muslims and the mosque and by participating in Islamic events.”
My dear sister, may Allah Most High bless you for your concern for your daughter. Allah has appointed a special station for mothers in Islam because the path of parenthood is often a difficult one and requires the loving devotion, sacrifice, and concern that goes along with raising righteous children, especially in our society.
As parents, it is natural for us to want our children to learn and develop a relationship with Allah and His Messenger, and we seek to do this by teaching them about their deen.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) indicated that the human being is born in a state of pure, original nature (fitrah) but to keep the fitrah of a child, a proper environment is a must because it has a great impact on how the child is brought up.
It is very important to link your child to Allah, and this is a continuous process. It seems that you are already trying to establish this since you buy her Islamic books and videos; but also ensure that she is continually hearing the name of Allah, the recitation of the Qur’an, tasbih (repetitive mentioning of Allah and His attributes), and du`aa’.It is also important to present Allah in a positive way, emphasizing His protective and loving attributes.
Unfortunately, some parents threaten their children with Allah’s punishment for their undesirable behavior, frightening them as opposed to encouraging them to do more to increase Allah’s blessings upon them.
Be reasonable in your expectations of your child. Request only what is within her ability and encourage her with her achievement. This is a great motivator, ensures high self-esteem, and instills confidence to try new challenges.
Take a gradual step-by-step approach (the seerah [biography] of the Prophet supports this method), acknowledging her when she prays and encouraging her along the way until it becomes a part of her life. Once a child starts to perform acts of worship in the proper way, he/she soon discovers its beauty and sweetness, and naturally desires to do more.
Regarding prayer, another strategy that you can use is to highlight the positive things that she is doing and encourage her to learn more.
If we emphasize children’s shortcomings, it discourages them from trying the same activity again. It is important not to jump at her when she makes mistakes and try to understand that she is trying to understand what the principles are that will guide her for the rest of her life. The best thing parents can do at this point is to help their children understand their personal connection to Allah and remind them that in the end, Allah is the One Who they will answer to. Allah sees everything.
At this age, it is important that you are firm but do not nag her. If you keep highlighting the same thing all the time, it is all she hears from you, it will be very easy for her to shut you out of her mind. Set clear expectations, but work on making the experience positive rather than negative.
During difficult times, you can relate stories from the Prophet’s biography and Islamic history that demonstrate Allah’s support for His Messenger and Muslims during hardship (for example, the Battle of Badr), and recite du`aa’s asking for Allah’s help or whatever else she may need.
Although proper language and the use of stories, appropriate to the age of the child, are great ways of teaching children a lesson that they will remember instead of a lecture about morals/values/behavior, ultimately she should grow up knowing the Qur’an and its message and the seerah of the Prophet.
Islam develops leadership through example, and this is the best method of bringing up our children. They must have an example of leadership in their own families, especially in their parents, so that they can grow up with an Islamic foundation; and Islam’s leading example is the personality of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Children learn what they see, not what they hear. Since their eyes remember actions and their brains register pictures, perform your daily acts of worship (prayers, reciting Qur’an, fasting) and tell the truth in front of your child and allow your child to witness others also following Allah’s commandments. This can be accomplished by visiting the homes of other Muslims and the mosque and by participating in Islamic events.
Your daughter also needs to know that Islam also makes everyone responsible for his/her own deeds. The concept of evaluating and assessing her deeds on a regular basis to improve her performance can be introduced in a simple manner.
Allocate time to review her daily/weekly activities. When you are talking, tell her stories about how you always struggle to ensure that you are doing your prayers correctly so that your prayer is not rejected. After all, it is the first thing that Allah Most High will ask us to account for on the Day of Judgment. And make her a partner with you in trying to please Allah in accomplishing this task.
Remind her that Allah loves her because she believes in Him and Allah loves everyone. You can also support her actions by telling her that Allah remembers those who remember Him; and when she takes a step towards Allah, He runs towards her.
Lastly, another thing to consider is how much quality time you all spend together. If this is being neglected, then this action can be a call for help or attention from her. This does not mean you spend all your time together, but the time you do—make it meaningful.
Do things together that she enjoys, let her see that you care about the things that she enjoys as well, and it is not simply you directing her about one thing only.
Allah know the best
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