How can I solve my child’s habit of lying?

Question: My child has grown accustomed to lying. He fabricates news as if they are true. Would you please give me a solution to save him from this vice?

The answer: Lying has some reasons. One who lies aims for one of the following:

1. To harm or take revenge on some persons whom he hates or with whom he is angry

2. To escape punishment

3. To show off

There is a kind of lying resulting from imagination, which is the most usual among children. The reason behind lying is sometimes because of TV and bad films, sometimes because of the strained atmosphere in the family, and other times because of the influence of friends who practice lying.

To treat this problem first you have to remove its causes and then teach the child the advantages of being truthful and the disadvantages of lying. In all of this, you should speak with your child respectfully and leniently. You may read some books of ethics about the subject and then mention it to him through stories and attractive statements. You should beware of being severe to him or beating him because this will lead him to be obstinate and obdurate for he will then try to prove that he has a personality that cannot be defeated by beating.

To treat this problem you yourself have to be truthful to him and not let him find any kind of lying in you at all. If you lie and he discovers that, you should either apologize to him or explain the reasons that led you to lie in a persuasive manner.


What is the influence of television and computer games on our children?

Question: What is the influence of television and computer games on our children? Some people say they are good because they keep children away from bad deeds, but others mention the harms of these devices of which no house is empty. What is your opinion about the subject?

The answer: My opinion is in accordance with the second one as Dr. Hamid al-Mutayri has detailed in al-Furqan Magazine, vol.121, saying the following:

“Many educationists think that watching the TV too much often causes dullness in children and watching the TV for long periods makes children see many bad things such as immodest pictures and scenes that they should not see in such a stage of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends making children under two years not watch the TV and the reasons behind that are many. Here are some of them:

1. Watching TV means wasting the opportunity of reaction and association between the child and the rest of the members of the family. The child who sits before the television for a long time does not read, write, argue with others, or play well with those around him.

2. The TV means laziness in full. He who watches TV needs little concentration and attention, and perhaps this is the reason that has made the TV so amusing.

3. Watching TV lessens the child’s attention span, because one who gets used to watching TV moves from one channel to another continuously and thus cannot fix on the same subject. This matter affects the opportunity of learning and makes listening to the teacher carefully very difficult.

4. We should know that the TV broadcasts destructive messages that cannot be avoided easily. For example, the rate of the scenes that have sexual gestures and hints, which the ordinary spectators see in a year, is nearly fourteen thousand scenes, and the commercial advertisements we watch in a year are more than eighteen thousand. This is besides the scenes of violence, which different programs are full of. As a result, we can say that the TV may be a dangerous factor leading towards corruption and violence.

To cure this problem, Mr. William Baniet, a previous American minister of education, presents the following solutions:

1. Legislating certain laws on what is possible for children to watch with assigning a suitable time for that; some suggest that the time of watching TV should be after the times of reading and doing homework.

2. Consolidating these laws by putting near the TV where it can always be noticed a sheet having special instructions concerning watching TV

3. Choosing useful programs that are possible for children to watch and suitable for their ages

4. Offering alternatives when decreasing the period of watching TV, which means busying the children with other activities instead of watching TV

5. We ourselves must be good examples to our children. It is not reasonable that we warn our children of watching TV while we ourselves spend long hours watching it.

We should take lessons from the results that have come out of TV programs up until now. They are too bad. However, the results will be opposite if the programs are meaningful and in the light of Islamic values as a source of education.


Why do my children not respect me?

Question: My elder son does not respect me, and the younger one has begun imitating him in that for some time now, though I think that I have not failed in satisfying any of their rights. What do you think the reason is?

The answer: Whenever the father shows his love to his children in different ways and on different occasions, they respect and regard him more, except if there are special defects in the children’s mentalities the blame of which does not lie with the father.

The father is the first factor in forming the type of relationship between him and his children. The father who does not allow his son to talk freely and declare what is in his mind should not expect his son to respect him from the moment he begins opening his eyes to life.

The father who treats his child coercively, shouts at him, insults him, or maybe even slaps him if he is a little late in carrying out his orders will destroy every excuse for making his child respect him.

The father who treats his children unequally and does not show them the same love and respect should accept the fact that they will not respect him because he himself has not respected them.

The father who allows his children to revel in every bad culture and suspicious friendships and is indifferent to any bad habit they adopt will not find in them what will please him.

Dear brother, as long as you have not neglected your children’s rights, perhaps there are other reasons behind their not respecting you. From among these reasons is that your children may be teenagers. This is a temporary state that often disappears between the age of twenty-five and thirty. If your child is older than this age, his conduct towards you may be because he has thoughts opposite to yours.

Anyhow, I would advise every father to not make himself as a military officer, his house as a military barrack, and his children as his soldiers! Fathers should, from the very beginning, plant love into their children’s hearts and educate them in a way that makes them feel they have independent personalities in the house and in life.

The moral teachings and values Islam has issued are sufficient to make man perfect, but it is the duty of fathers, mothers, and children to adhere to these teachings in order to protect themselves from any educational disease that may trouble their family life. Surely, prevention is better than cure but most people are indifferent.

I feel I treat my children unequally and love some more than others: What is the solution to this problem?

Question: My children are not the same in most of their qualities, and this makes me and those who are in contact with them love some of them more than the others. Sometimes, I feel remorse; what is the guilt of this child who receives less love and sympathy than the others just because of the difference in beauty and sweet-tonguedness? Would you please guide me to the right, because, as you know, this is a problem of many people?

The answer: There is no doubt that each child has a special position inside his parents’ hearts and also in the house, school, and society. It is because of the qualities each child has and his/her educational manners that parents and others differentiate. An only child has a different position from one who has siblings. Likewise does the only male child among some sisters. A clever child is often preferred to a dull one. But, when admiring a certain child, one should be fair in dealing with all. He should show love and kindness to all of his children equally; otherwise, unfairness causes envy of the pampered child. Hence, parents should be careful in dealing with their children to get balanced relations among all. And, in order to not wrong the clever child when he and the dull one are treated equally, you should make the dull one understand that your greater care for the clever one is just because of his qualifications and efforts and make him understand that when he himself makes an effort to improve himself, he will deserve more care too. The matter will be different if the difference between the children is natural. For example, if one of the children is handicapped from birth. In this case, the handicapped one should be treated with more care than the others due to the mercy that Islam has made incumbent upon us and in order to avoid the psychological effects that may affect the children.

Here, I must mention two necessities:

First, we must think of the punishment in the afterlife if we harm a child or deprive him of his rights that are obligatory on parents or those who are responsible for him to fulfill.

Second, we must think humanely towards a deprived child.

I hope that in the future we can learn how to keep ourselves safe from the remorse that stems from the bad education of our children and its negative effects.


My wife and I differ in ideas of child rearing and she acts contrary to my wishes in child rearing; what can I do?

Question: I suffer, in educating my children, from a problem that may destroy all my efforts. The problem is that my wife does not coordinate her efforts with me. For example, I ask my daughter not to buy toys for boys, but after a few days, I find my wife buying those toys for her. I encourage my older son to choose the profession of medicine, while my wife encourages him to choose engineering because her father is an engineer. Do these contradictions not corrupt the education of our children? Does it not create a duality that wastes our efforts and makes the children complain to their parents? Your Eminence, would you please guide me how I can get rid of this suffering by giving a suitable solution to this problem?

The answer: A concordant family is the family whose members manage their affairs together with good faith, mutual trust, and hopefulness. The children of such a family will graduate with good mentality, high self-confidence, and hopefulness in life. They will have enough motives of progress to help them pass any difficulties in their ways.

Dear brother, if you ponder on this fact and sit with your wife to discuss all its dimensions, you will agree on coordination, cooperation, and interchanging opinions regarding the educational and future affairs of your children.

If you want your suffering to not cause you problems one after another, you should hasten to cure it. Your wife is the closest one to you and she has the right to participate with you in educating your children, for children are not the possessions of just one of the parents. It would be better for you both to sit together and agree on the same strategic aims in educating your children and then you can agree on suitable manners to carry out those aims. When there is any disagreement between you and your partner in life, you must avoid despotism and quarreling in the presence of the children. You can discuss your different affairs in a closed room and away from the children, even when you discuss nice matters quietly!

You should keep in mind that your children have the right to give their opinions on the matters that concern them, especially those concerning their future, when they are fit to choose. Their opinions and legal wishes must be requested so that they feel the freedom of choosing and discussing in a sphere of consultation full of love and sincerity. This is one of the necessities of good education, which has unfortunately disappeared from the conducts of most people.


What should we do to make a child give up playing with others’ things?

Question: What should we do to make a child give up playing with others’ things?

The answer: The following steps are sufficient for this aim:

1. Let others not play with his things.

2. You should teach him about the rights of others and how to regard their possessions through stories and instructions in accordance with the level of his understanding.

3. When your child takes others’ things, you should immediately return those things to their owners and make the child participate in it himself in order for him to keep in mind how to respect others’ possessions.

4. When the child gives up playing with others’ things, you should reward him and declare to him that the reward is for his amiable situation of not playing with others’ things.


Please explain the Islamic philosophy of education so that I may compare it to modern theories of education.

Question: I am a university graduate. I am married and have children. I have read books on education by non-Islamic authors. Would you please show me the educational dimensions in Islam so that I can compare what I have read with what you will deign?

The answer: First, I would like to invite you to read what our virtuous scholars have written in this field. They have written useful studies, and some of them have completed what others have written. Here, I am just noting for you some important bullet points followed by summaries. I would like to say: educating man with the perfect Islamic teachings requires paying great attention to all dimensions, beginning with the first moment when the sperm and the ovum convene, such as being in a state of purity, choosing a suitable night and a suitable hour (for sleeping together), being mentally calm, reciting supplications, beginning with the name of Allah, and seeking His protection from the Satan as detailed in certain religious books. As for after birth, there are four dimensions that must be kept in mind:

1. Bodily dimension

Great attention must be paid to the course of food, cleanliness, times of rest, and treatments of diseases before the rise of complications; otherwise, a child will be nervous and gradually become sick, introverted, and lacking in self-confidence.

2. Moral dimension

It means the ability to act according to the moral values. Without this ability, man’s actions will be away from the virtuous, moral values.

3. Social dimension

If a child is introverted or aggressive, it means he has had a weak social education and must then be taught the principles of social relations with others, such as respecting others, dealing with them peaceably, and not violating their rights.

4. Mental and intellectual dimension

This is a very important factor in educating a child and finding in him an open, delightful, and balanced mentality, because man’s knowledge and wide range of information enable him to comprehend different affairs.

The ground of these dimensions is formed in the stage of childhood if attention is paid to the aforementioned points. I hope that you will benefit more from what the virtuous scholars have detailed in their books about this matter.


My wife does not visit friends and family because she wants to take presents but they are beyond my means; what do you suggest?

Question: My wife does not visit our relatives or my friends’ wives, because she dislikes visiting them without taking presents with her to give them. Unfortunately, the presents she thinks of are not cheap, and my financial state does not allow me to buy such presents. What would you suggest?

The answer: This kind of thinking results from the influence of worldly cultures, which have prevailed over the life of people and made them forget their religious culture. The worldly life always exhausts people, separates them from each other, and deprives them of their happiness and joy. It was so and is still so, but people still do not take lessons.

Islam has emphasized the necessity of interconnection with relatives and good friends. As for presents, they are recommendable because they deepen the interrelations and bring the hearts closer to each other. However, it is not right to give up necessities and social obligations just for luxuries.

It is not necessary for a present to be materially expensive, because a present has its moral meaning. A brave one, who will get a great reward from Allah, is he who breaks the idol of ignorance resting inside the souls and tries with high confidence to derive a good principle by giving a greater moral value to a present than its material value. A visit with smiles and nice words and some chocolates for the children is much better near Allah than a visit with carrying presents that overburden the backs, exhaust the selves, and empty the pockets! Rather it will have no reward from Allah because the gift was bought just for pride and showing off.

In a word, our society is in terrible need of a moral and cultural revolution to overturn many thoughts, one of which is “either to go with expensive presents or give up interrelations and mutual visits completely.”


My wife and I love each other but we often quarrel and we do not know how to solve our problem.

Question: We are quarrelsome spouses. We love each other, but we do not know why we quarrel, and over very trivial things too. After that, we sit crying and then come to an agreement with each other. After sometime, we return to another quarrel. Our marital life is ridiculous, is it not? Sometimes I think of divorce, but then I regret and ask Allah to forgive me. I am confused, my wife is confused, and so are our children.

The answer: The most important factor in solving marital problems is for the spouses themselves to be determined to solve their problems. Without their intention and determination, they will not arrive at any solution at all. As for divorce, it is not the first nor is it the second solution, but it is the last of the last of solutions. Statistics have proven that those who hurry towards divorce, even in their new marriages their problems remain with them. You should be certain that unstudied divorce is not a suitable solution; rather, it will be a cause for bigger problems.

The best solution lies in following these instructions:

1. One should be quiet and have calm nerves. This is done by turning to Allah and remembering that man will be afflicted with the wrath of Allah if he submits to his fancy and desires. One should go to religious centers, talk with religious scholars and ethicists, and call to mind the horrible terrors of the afterlife. These things will have a great effect on man in encouraging him to find a suitable solution and carry it out.

2. One should be fair in disagreements. This is an important factor that leads to a solution. Both disagreeing sides have to pay close attention to this moral value that will lead them to the truth.

3. One should have an actual understanding of things; this means that spouses should know that life is not free from problems, disagreements, and differences of taste. Therefore, each one has to ignore the wrong the other side has done to him.

4. Disagreement in itself does not cause problems; rather, it is made by the methods each of the disagreeing sides takes in dealing with the disagreement. Hence, good and reasonable methods should be taken whenever there is a disagreement.

5. Let us learn how to listen to whoever disagrees with us! This principle helps the disagreeing spouses reduce the intensity of their disagreements, and they may, after that, discover that they have disagreed over a trivial thing.

6. Whenever we discover our fault and become certain that the other side is right, we must accept the truth and apologize and then discuss the details little by little.

7. Whatever the disagreement, alienation, and separation, spouses must not give up the joint duties and responsibilities that keep the family sound and safe, especially not those concerning their children. The experiences of quarrelsome spouses, who adhered to their joint responsibilities in spite of their disagreements, have proven that they, after a short time, agreed with each other and picked the sweet fruits of happiness and felicity.

8. Spouses should take sufficient time for thinking, for this helps to solve problems. Each one of the disagreeing spouses should sit privately, reviewing himself to discover his own mistakes and determining to repair his faults.

9. Spouses should not keep problems in mind except when trying to find a solution for it.

10. They should try to limit the problems and not relate these problems to previous ones, because limiting the problems helps to find easy solutions and achieve a happy marital life. Let us always remember that willpower and determination are the keys to these solutions and instructions. And on Allah let the believers rely!


How can we create tranquility and quiet time in our family life?

Question: Noisiness, quarrels, and idle talking prevail in our family life. There is no moment of tranquility that allows us to rest and think quietly. The flame of disputation burns at everything and at every moment in our house. I can say that there is no ordinary word said in our house unless hundreds of words burst after it like splinters everywhere, and that does not even include the quarrels between the families of our relatives. Would you please show us the reasons and solutions for this destructive phenomenon?

The answer: First and foremost, let each one of your family members and relatives remember that his life is short, then how would it be if he spends it in quarreling and brings himself senility and death before time? Let them remember too that happiness comes in the boat of discernment, tranquility, delightfulness, and reasonability. Happiness does not approach a person or a family leading a disorderly life. If one loves his life, health, and happiness, surely he will not involve himself in troubles and idle disputations. I do not think that there is someone who knows this fact and does not abide by its conditions!

In order to avoid disputations and quarrels, each person who lives in this house should bear in mind the following points:

1. The house is a place of tranquility and peace of mind

2. When disputations and arguments begin, the more reasonable one from both sides is he who keeps silent, regardless of whatever the other side encroaches upon him

3. The subjects of disputations or the situations that take place during quarrels should not be revealed to those outside the house or to those who are not present when the quarrels take place

4. One should be satisfied and not pine for the blessings others have

5. One should be aware of the mentalities and the ways of thinking of others before dealing with them

6. One should avoid violence

7. One should avoid any differentiating in dealings with others when there is no excuse

8. The Qur’an and other supplications should be recited in the house, and on different occasions, religious meetings about Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) should be held

9. Gifts should be offered on occasions of joy

10. One should constantly be mentioning words praising Allah, such as (la ilaha illallah-there is no god but Allah), (la hawla wela quwwata illabillah-there is no power save in Allah), (alhamdu lillah-praise be to Allah), (astaghfirullah-I ask Allah to forgive me), (aamantu billah-I have believed in Allah), (tawakkaltu alallah-I have relied on Allah), (ya Allah- O Allah), (ya raheem- O Merciful), (ya haleem- O Clement), (ya ghafoor- O Forgiver), etc.

What may prevent family quarrels is if children heed the following points in regards to their parents:

1. They should respect their parents and not raise their voices before them.

2. They should acknowledge the fact that their parents do not wish anything for them save goodness and success.

3. They should be patient with their parents whenever the parents unintentionally make a mistake, especially since we know that because of the pressures of life, parents may sometimes do unwelcome things towards their children but they definitely do not intend to harm them.

4. They should provide their parents with financial assistance before they declare their need, and then they should not remind them of that as a favor to them.

5. They should not ask their parents for what they cannot provide, especially when it comes to buying some things.

6. They should greet them courteously and always ask about their health.

7. They should try their best to treat them when they are ill.

8. They should provide them with all of what they need in the house.

As for the behaviors of parents towards their children, they are as follows:

1. They should care a great deal for the religious education and modern scientific learning of their children.

2. They should praise their children in the presence of others.

3. They should satisfy all their needs as much as they possibly can.

4. They should treat them with love, kindness, mercy, and smiles.

5. They should be friends with them.

6. They should not beat them except when it becomes necessary in order to educate them.

7. They should not insult them in the presence of others.

8. They should give them some pocket money.

9. They should buy them good books and encourage them to read more and more.

10. They should watch their relations with others.

11. They should teach them Islamic teachings and the true beliefs.

12. They should accompany them to picnics and travel with them if it is possible.

13. They should encourage them to learn swimming, archery, and handicrafts.

14. They should marry them to suitable spouses at the suitable time.