By Ibrahim Bowers
Many times parents and adults do things intentionally or unintentionally that may set a bad
example to their children and other youngsters around. Below would be some such situations
and advises on how to set a better example for your youngsters.
Setting Bad Examples for Children
“Tell them I’m not here,” we yell to our spouse or children as the telephone rings. Although we
might no have noticed it, we have just set an example of lying for our children. When they see us
lying, they may say to themselves that it’s okay to lie. Dad and mom do it.
If we had been more conscious of our role as an example for our children, we could have
avoided this mistake by using a caller ID; by telling our spouse or our children to say that we
were unavailable to talk now, not that we were not at home; or by simply taking the call. But we
should never lie.
Many other “little” things that we do during the day may actually be setting bad examples for our
children without our even realizing it. Remaining constantly aware of our role as an example
might help us to avoid making some of these mistakes. However, there are several danger areas
in our daily lives that we should be especially careful about.
Here are some thoughts about providing a better role model:
We Should Never Make False Promises to Our Children.
For example, we should never tell them, “I will take you for ice cream if you are good,” when we
have no intention of taking them for ice cream. This is also lying, and if we do it, our children
may lose confidence in everything we say.
Don’t Argue with Our Spouses in Front of Children
What must it feel like for children to see their mother and father yelling at each other and even
hitting each other? What horror they must feel at that time. And how will they know what to do
afterwards? Can they ever go back to the same loving relationship with their father and mother
after watching them abuse each other? If we do make the mistake of arguing or fighting in front
of our children and then we make up later, we should be sure to include the children and even
apologize to them for our immature and un-Islamic behavior. InshaAllah, they will respect us
even more for admitting that we were wrong.
We Should Never Make Fun of Others.
If we say, “Hey, look at that ugly guy over there! Ha! Ha! Ha!,” our children may think that this is
acceptable behavior. Afterward, if they publicly say something bad about somebody and we or
that person gets embarrassed, we should remember that we are the ones who taught them to
behave this way.We Should Never Gossip
We must not gossip or speak evil about others behind their backs. Even though the victims of
our gossip might not hear us, our children will. They are watching us eat the dead flesh of our
brothers and sisters, and it could affect them in many ways. They might simply begin to believe
that this is normal behavior, or they might be extremely disgusted with their parents for behaving
in this way. Either way our children will be negatively influenced.
We Should Never Watch Bad Radio or Television Programs
Later, when we tell our children not to watch kissing or violence on TV, they will see us as
hypocrites and lose respect for us.
As Muslims, we should of course try to be the best human beings we can possibly be. As Muslim
parents, we must try even harder because our behavior will very likely have a major impact on
the behavior of our children now and when they grow up. It’s not what mom and dad say; it’s
what mom and dad do.
Raising kids is an incredible responsibility. If we want to succeed, we must raise them with both
words and actions. As human beings, we will at times do wrong and make mistakes. But please,
NOT IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN