How do I teach my child to keep in order his toys and stuff?

Question: How do we deal with the child who does not collect his toys and return them to their proper places after he is done playing with them? This tires me out in addition to my work in serving food, washing clothes, and sweeping the house.

The answer: You can follow these suggestions or some of them according to your need:

First, before your child begins playing, you should remind him that one of the conditions for his playing is that he has to collect the toys after he has finished playing with them.

Second, if he does not abide by this condition and leaves his toys scattered everywhere, you can prevent him from something he likes as a kind of punishment until he carries out that condition. If he returns to his bad habit, you can return to punishment, and so on until he starts to follow what is required from him.

Third, in times other than his playtime, you can tell him some tales having concepts of discipline and orderliness. You can tell him that a lovely child and a successful man are the ones who undertake their responsibilities, care for their things, protect them, and put everything in its place.

Fourth, at the end of his playing, you may help him a little and then begin a competition with him of who can collect the most toys.

Fifth, you can assign to him an independent room where if he does not collect his toys there, it will not matter. However, from time to time, you should arrange his room so that he does not grow accustomed to disorderliness.


How can I make my son leave bad friends?

Question: My son has bad friends. Would you please guide me with how I can make him leave them? Should I do that with violence or is there another way?
The answer: You can offer him alternatives by acquainting him with good friends from among your friends’ sons. You may do that by suggesting and agreeing with those fathers on a group trip to a summer camp, for example, or a travel to the holy shrines or something like that to allow him to make friends with these good kids. It is better that you not tell him about the purpose of this step. Besides, you yourself should make him your friend. The transcendence we find in most fathers before their children is not acceptable. The father can be the best friend of his son. He can teach him his experiences, talk with him about his past, and direct him towards the future tactfully, kindly, and wisely.

It is necessary for the father who is concerned for his son’s future to appreciate his son, praise him, respect him, encourage him to always strengthen his self-confidence, and enable him to deal with those around him in an acceptable social manner.


How can I make my child more serious in his study?

Question: How can I make my child more serious in his study? Do you have any way with which I can help him out of his laziness in learning? I hope that you will guide me in this matter that decides the future of my only child.

The answer: There are two factors stimulating one towards what is required and taking laziness and languor away from him. The first one is the internal motive and the second is the external goal.

A motive is the mental and intellectual state from which one receives nourishment. A goal is the external attractiveness of the aim in one’s eye and mind.

In order to be successful in leading your son towards a good future that pleases Allah and that is respected among people, you should create for him a motive and assign to him an important goal. This requires concentrating on the following points:

1. You should take out of his mind the example he follows in his laziness and unwillingness to study, and explain to him the harms of imitating an ignorant example. At the same time, you should mention to him a good example and explain to him the advantages of following it.

2. Whenever he changes his conduct and tries to turn towards a good example, you should reward him and repeatedly encourage him. Some experts of modern education advise of limited and reasonable punishments if a child continues imitating an ignorant example. Islam also advises of this matter according to the requirements of the situation and the decision of a wise educational leader.

3. You should educate your son with any means he likes. For example, if he likes watching films, you can bring him good cultural films, and if he likes games, you can bring him mental games.

In general, you should create cultural spheres in your house by, for example, bringing books and attractive meaningful magazines, inviting scholars and learned people to your house to discuss cultural and intellectual questions, and talking about different educational issues.

How should I deal with my children being constantly quarrelsome with each other?

Question: I have three quarrelsome children. They quarrel at everything with each other and with other children too. I do not know how to deal with this problem, which is about to destroy my nerves!

The answer: The most important causes of such a case, as I think, are:

1. The participation of the children in the same things, such as the same toy, the same meal, and the same clothes; this causes competition and quarreling amongst them

2. Showing love to a certain child and depriving the other

3. The smallness of the house or the room of the children

4. When children watch quarrels, whether in the house, the street, the school, or in films.

Treating this problem requires dealing with the causes besides continually advising in a quiet and lenient manner. In addition, you may embrace the children in the same way and kiss them from time to time because this will plant sympathy inside them and make the solution of the problem easier and faster inshallah.

I suggest that, on some occasions, you buy a box of chocolates, for example, and give it to your children to distribute it among other children so that they may learn the spirit of gift-giving and altruism and thus the case of quarreling to seize others’ possessions will decrease or disappear.


What should I do if I have a teenager who neglects prayers and is not interested in hijab?

Question: My daughter is seventeen years old. She pays no attention to prayers. I hate forcing her to offer prayers against her will, but at the same time I cannot bear to have her give up prayers. Moreover, she does not care for her veil. With what would you advise me to make her abide by these religious obligations?

The answer: First, please, excuse me to say that you have come late!

Second, you should offer prayers in her presence without making her think that you do it intentionally, and after your prayers, supplicate to Allah for her. Mention her name and pray to Allah to make her successful in her life! This will gradually make her love prayers, and whenever she achieves success or gains some good, tell her that this is because of the blessing of supplication after prayers!

Third, you should buy her some Islamic books, especially those concerning the importance of prayers and veil and their meanings and constructive influences in life. Bring her audio and video cassettes and CDs to create a religious atmosphere in the house for her!

Fourth, ask her to remind you of the time of azan! By this you will make her, somehow, care for prayer and you will pave the way for her to accept this sacred obligation. On some occasions, you should mention to her the advantages of veiling and show her the opinions of the Qur’an and the Prophetic traditions about it.

Fifth, if she is not affected after practicing these steps for sometime, you should discuss with her why she does not offer prayers and why she does not care for her veil. Try to answer her questions quietly, logically, kindly, and attractively!

Sixth, when, someday, she does offer the prayer, thank her and encourage her! Tell her: dear daughter, I see a light on your face. This light will illuminate your way towards the perfect happiness if you keep up your prayers thoughtfully and longingly!

Finally, you should know that this role is not limited to you alone. You have to encourage your wife and other religious women in the family to participate in it. If it is possible, you can bind her to friendship with some religious girls.


I would like to know the motives for my child’s acting nervous and violent.

Question: I would like to know the motives for my child’s acting nervous and violent. He rebels against my advices and does the opposite of what I ask him to do.

The answer: First, when your child rebels, you have to think of these three questions: when, why, and how. When you are able to identify when this state begins, why it begins, and how, then you will recognize the motives that make him resist and rebel against you. Most likely, you will find that it is you who should be blamed for that. If it is in fact so, then you must change your manner of advising him.

Second, sometimes your intention is good when advising, but your manner of advising is not right. You should know that it is wisdom to choose effective ways and manners of giving advice because sometimes the manner is better than the advice itself.

Third, the kinds of foods you often have in your house, and especially canned foods and other products that come to us from foreign countries, may have a negative effect on the nerves, cause excitement, and increase the temperature of blood. It is necessary to follow, in our foods, a culture derived from our Islamic values.

Fourth, watching violent films has a very bad influence on children’s mentalities. Children learn from such films mutiny, resistance, and other bad behaviors that do not befit a Muslim.


What is your opinion about the plays of children and with what do you advise parents to play with their children?

Question: What is your opinion about the plays of children and with what do you advise parents to play with their children?

The answer: Man is a sociable being by nature, but if he does not protect himself with a sound culture, he will turn into a sick member of society, and his personality is shaped according to the culture he receives and the social role he plays. This matter begins with childhood. If a man receives during his childhood a sound culture and sound social senses, he will be ready to enjoy success; otherwise, he will be liable to deviation.

Educationists say that childhood is a third of one’s normal age. If the needs of a child are satisfied and he is provided with useful toys and playthings, he will be more ready to undertake a successful role in society in the future. In the light of this theory, we present the following suggestions:

1. Parents have to choose for their child useful playthings that have constructive and educational purposes and that can open his mind and help him mix in society successfully. We do not mean to totally prevent the child from playing alone, but let most of his play be of the kind that needs another child to play with; and however more players the play may require, the sense of sociability and communication with others will increase.

2. There is no doubt that mental games are preferred in importance to physical games, but each have their undeniable importance and advantage in building a well-rounded personality of the child.

3. Parents should know that however they conduct themselves, whether with good behaviors and nice words or with quarrels and bad words, will reflect on the child, especially when he is alone with his toys. He will behave according to what he has acquired from his parents because they are the closest ones who the child imitates and is influenced by. This state remains with the child, whether it is good or bad, and others can discover the morals of the parents in the house through the behaviors of the child. Hence, parents must be careful regarding their behaviors with their child or in his presence because this will leave a great influence on his mentality.

4. It is necessary to submit to the child’s desire in choosing the kind of toys for him, but if he chooses something that is harmful for him, he must be convinced wisely to choose better alternatives.

5. Parents should keep the child away from plays and games of violence, especially computer games such as wrestling, karate, and the like.

6. Providing the child with different kinds of useful toys and games is very important for him.


From where do children receive their culture?

Question: From where do children receive their culture? Is it from their parents, TV programs, or school programs? This was the subject of a discussion that recently took place in a family meeting. Most of us said that TV programs were the first source from which a child obtains his culture and conducts. Do you have anything else with which to advise us? Thanks.

The answer: The child begins receiving his culture from the first moment when he begins to feel whatever is happening around him inside the house. Thus, the parents are the first source of the culture by which the child is influenced and with which he grows up. His first step begins with the blind imitation of every movement, gesture, and word of his parents, especially the mother and then the father, and then the others in the family and the children of the same age whether in the house, street, school, TV, or illustrated magazines.

Allama Sayyid Hadi al-Mudarrisi says, ‘Man is not only the son of his class – as Marx says – but he is the son of his culture, education, and environment before all.’

The experiments of educationists have proven that the child receives from the one around him all his gestures and words and even his gait, way of eating, etc. They say that man is a creature who acts according to nature and is sociable by influence. The kind of culture around him enables him to change continuously, whether positively or negatively, until the last moment of his life.

TV programs are one of the most important sources of injecting cultures into a child, but it is not more important than the culture of the parents, except if their culture is to throw the child towards those programs to feed on them all the time.


How is the personality of a child formed?

Question: After having our first child by the will of Allah the Almighty, an argument took place between my wife and me about how the personality of a child is formed. Would you please give us an answer to settle our argument?

The answer: The personality of a child is built through the following factors:

1. The natural faith in the true religion of Allah; a child, regardless of whoever and whatever he may turn out to be, is born with the divine nature that is the true Islam. Allah has said, (Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam). However, it is the parents who make their children either Jews, Christians, or Magi based on their own beliefs. So deviation begins with external factors, the first of which is the parents’ beliefs and conducts.

2. The intellectual and practical level of parents; however developed in intellect and conducts they are, their child will be similar to them.

3. The relationship between the parents and the child; if it is close, full of love and care, the child’s personality and mentality will be shaped in a way that will help him to be successful in the future.

4. Orderliness, mannerliness, discipline, and cleanliness; the child grows accustomed to these items from his environment, and they become parts of his future personality.

5. The wise administration of the family; many sufferings inside the house are caused by a weak administration of family affairs. The father or the mother, or both, must have the ability of leadership to administrate every affair concerning the family in order to help the family arrive at the shore of happiness and ease. Leadership is not dictatorship, but rather, it is the art of winning hearts and attracting them to the right opinion.


We are exhausted in trying to raise upright children in light of all the challenges today; what should we do?

Question: I think educating children is one of the most difficult tasks in this time period, when we are surrounded with the cultural attacks of imperialism and corruption, when poverty and our worries about the futures of our children have increased, and likewise when the different diseases of this age have increased. All of this has made us exhausted in life. I think we are in a time where we have lost sight of the right way because of the many suspicious ways. Do you agree with me on this?

The answer: We confess that education in the past ages was much easier than it is in our present age due to some real reasons and facts. With this confession, we do not aim to submit to the negative sides of those reasons, but rather, we aim to understand them in order to undertake the legal responsibilities towards preventing their dangers. Here we would like to refer to these facts:

The first fact is technological development and the penetration of material means into man’s life, such as the television, telephone, video, computer, internet, fax, and different films, which enter houses and closed rooms via satellites.

The second fact is the increase and ease of the means of interrelations and communications between people, which make information and cultures intermingle with each other.

The third is the variety of people’s needs and their dissatisfaction with certain things. In other words, they are busy with fashions besides their desires to possess all that is new.

The fourth is the activities connected with the adventitious facts that have entered the lives of individuals and families and are followed by cultures and interests of the same kind.

The fifth is the prevalence of information, or what is called “the information explosion.” As soon as one understands a piece of news or an information, hundreds of news and information come to him to exhaust his mind, and then he cannot conceive which one is the most important or, in fact, he cannot distinguish between the important and the more important ones.

The sixth is the differences between tastes and tacts concerning the new things and facts mentioned above and their consequences. These differences cause disagreements, quarrels, and different problems that instigate in man a state of abandonment, resistance, and mutiny, even in intellectual and religious matters as is clear from the conducts of the youths of nowadays.

These facts are features of the globalization the universal arrogants offered to the nations at the beginning of the year 2000 to let them enter a third millennium full of moral corruption, perversion, and the diseaseful consequences that lead to mistrust of the beliefs, deviation, class-war, and social disassembly.

In our present age, man, due to these facts, suffers mental and physical exhaustion. He has no morale or power to communicate with his children or discuss with them their affairs and problems. This has a bad influence on the educational and sentimental affairs inside his family and on the private relations with his wife. Therefore, man has to know his time and its facts as carefully as he can, besides knowing his religion and the goal of his existence in the earth. Thus, he will be able to choose the way to success and be safe from becoming involved in the trap of imperialism. If we do not analyze things in the correct way, others will dissolve us with their ill analyses.