Quality Time With Dad: Tips for Muslim fathers

14 April 2005

Ibrahim Bowers offers practical tips from a Muslim perspective on how to improve the Father-Child Relationship  – to the benefit of the whole family . . .

Show your children in simple ways that you love them

Some fathers try to appeal to their children by showering them with gifts rather than giving of themselves. This may cause more harm than good. The simple example of Prophet Muhammad is much better, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. When his daughter Fatima (May Allah be pleased with her) would come to him, the Prophet used to stand up, kiss her, take her hand, and give her his seat. Later in life, this personal type of affection will be much more memorable to children than receiving a gift that anyone could have given them.

Tell or read your children stories on some nights before bed

There are lots of excellent Islamic stories and books available that you can use, or you can make up your own. A twist on this idea is to ask your children to make up stories to tell you.

Teach your children to make wudu and pray with you

If at home, praying together as a family Jamat is better than praying alone. Children love to call azan. Make the youngest one the salat manager at home, taking care of prayer rugs, timing, and inviting everyone to salat.

Take your children to the masjid with you

Once your child is old enough to know how to behave in the mosque, this is an excellent way for you to build a relationship with them as both a father and a Muslim.

Play with your children

You could play ball, color pictures, build toy houses from blocks, or do whatever they like.

Let your children help you with simple tasks

 
Allow them to help you carry in the groceries, make dinner, or mow the yard. Children often get great joy from doing things that adults consider work.

Take the family to for a picnic

Spend time with your children playing Frisbee, passing a ball, or pushing them in the swings. Your children will cherish this special time together as a family.

Help your children with their homework

 
Show them that you are truly interested in their education and life by asking them what they did in school and looking at their books, projects, and assignments with them.

Have regular meals as a family

It is very important that the family get together and have meals, so they may talk about each others days and issues.

Use driving time with your children

Don’t just turn on the news and forget your children when they are in the car with you. Talk or joke with them, or sing Islamic songs together.

Give your small children a bath sometimes

Usually, mothers bathe the children, but bath time is an excellent opportunity for fathers to be with their kids. Let them splash around and play a little more than mum does.

Be available for your children

Let them know that you are there for anything they want to discuss. If you are not available to talk to your children, somebody else probably will be, and it may be the wrong kind of person. A good way of getting to know your children better as individuals is to take them out one at a time for eating, conversation, or some other event.

Practice talking with your child, not at him/her

Since the father often takes the main responsibility for disciplining the children, it is very easy for fathers to merely become order-givers rather than parents and companions of their children. Spend some time listening, rather than talking.

We only have one chance to be with our kids before they grow up. If we want them to love us and respect us when we are old, we have to build those relationships while they are young.

LINKS: this article appears on http://www.islamfortoday.com

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