Farhat's Muslim Sticker Blog

Discussion and advice for parents and teachers…
  • June 27th, 2009fariFree Learning Resources, Parenting

    Applying Consequences and Encouraging Responsibility

    This table shows ways of allowing children to learn from the consequences of their actions.

    Problem Usual Method of Discipline Using Consequences Effect
    Child not getting up in the morning when called. Shout, keep reminding, coax Call only once or give older child alarm clock and allow to be late for school or do without breakfast, (if necessary). During school holidays, decide together on breakfast time and encourage kids to make their own breakfast Child will begin to take responsibility for self in the mornings.
    Child continually forgets things. Remind, nag, scold Let child experience consequences of forgetting lunch, schoolbooks etc. Encourage child to keep a notepad where they can write themselves a reminder for each day. Child takes responsibility for remembering.
    Teenage daughter wants to be fashionable, wear make-up, try new hair styles. Parent buys child’s clothes, decides hairstyles with little discusson. As parents it is our responsibility to be good examples to our children and spend time explaining how they  should follow islam in their daily actions. Before your daughter reaches the age of puberty it is essential that you explain to her that it is fard to wear hijab.

    Explain to your daughter that she can be fashionable, wear make-up, and experiment with hairstyles at home but not when she goes out. The limits regarding keeping her awrah covered in the home need to also be observed. Allow her a greater say in choosing her clothes and buying jewellery. Also let her invite her friends over for a girl’s only nights.

    Daughter doesn’t feel that Islam is restrictive and that she can have fun in her home and with her friends.
    Teenage son wants to wear ‘gangster’ style clothes get ears pierced, wear jewellery. Parent and child argue. Speak to your son about his reasons for wanting to look like ‘a gangster’ Who is he trying to emulate and why? Who are his role models? Explain to your son the importance of not following un-islamic personalities. We should not have one rule for our daughters and another for our sons.  Men are not allowed to imitate women so do not let him pierce his ears. Allow him to choose his clothes but he should not buy clothes that are tight fitting, shorts that are above his knees or have any unislamic images or slogans. Son will see that you do listen to his views and allow him to make decisions. However he must always follow the Islamic rules related to clothing when he makes his choices.
    Child doesn’t brush teeth Remind, scold, force Offer choice between brushing teeth and giving up sweet things. It might seem a bit harsh but

    show your child some pictures of decaying teeth fillings. Unfortunately your child might only learn the hard way i.e. after they have had a filling.

    Child brushes teeth and sees link with dental decay. You could put brushing their teeth as a target on their behaviour chart.
    Chores being ignored Remind, nag, or parent does chore for child. Agree on family chores together, Establish clearly the consequences for not doing chores, e.g. no TV if room is not tidy, no desert if table is not cleared. Children learn to contribute to smooth running of the home. Another target for their chart.
    Bedtimes being ignored Remind, nag, punish Agree together on a bedtime. If ignored, set an earlier bedtime then try again. Once they listen return back to later time. Child begins to take responsibility for own bedtime.
    Quran class homework not being done. Shout, lecture Take an interest in their homework; it is your responsibility to ensure your child learns to read quran so spend time listening to them read and help them patiently. Use a translation/tafsir of the quran to explain the meaning of what they are reading. Child feels supported and understands what they are reading. Their relationship with you also develops.
    Child refuses to eat dinner. Shout, or give alternative food. Child is given the choice of eating the food made or being hungry. Do not give alternative food or allow to snack until next mealtime. Child will realise they cannot get their own way by being fussy and will be content with what they are given.

  • June 27th, 2009fariArticles, Parenting

    Behaviour Charts do they work?

    Yes they do!

    Charts work for 2 simple reasons: firstly, children love them secondly, they break the cycle of nagging and telling off that is so easy to fall into as parents - a chart provides a really positive way (using encouragement and praise) for the whole family to try and tackle and issue.

    Reward or Bribe?

    Some people don’t like the notion of “bribing” a child to do something. But using rewards adds to the child’s excitement and helps build towards a sense of achievement when the chart is finished. Rewards shouldn’t be expensive, they should be treats - little things that mean a lot.

    Some ideas for rewards?

    New book, trip to the park, family outing, new (small) toy, sleep over, trip to the seaside, extra bedtime story, choice of menu for the weekend, special cake gets baked, new coloring pens…

    There are practically hundreds of things you could think of but the most important thing is it should be something the child wants, even better, something they choose themselves (with a little bit of parental guidance). Avoid junk food and anything expensive in the long run it will be counter productive and you will end up spoiling your child.

    At what age can a child use a chart?

    This depends on the child in question. A good rule of thumb is charts should work for children from 3+. However, the more important things to consider are whether the child is capable of tackling the issue you want to address.

    What issues can I tackle with a behaviour chart?

    You can use a chart to tackle all sorts of everyday family issues, for example: educational achievements, daily activities, resolving a problem, encouraging good adaab.

    Some ideas on what to write

    Don’t use charts for everything - use them in moderation. The real joy of using a chart is it proves to you that positive encouragement and praise is what kids really respond to.

    • say please and jazakallah khair
    • go to bed on time
    • do my homework/Islamic Studies
    • share my toys
    • put shoes/clothes away
    • clothes in laundry basket
    • make my bed
    • brush my teeth
    • be kind to siblings
    • tidy my room
    • finish my food
    • read quran
    • wash myself on the toilet
    • get dressed
    • clear away my toys
    • help around the house
    • say my duas
    • pray salah

    The Golden Rules…

    Please take a few minutes to read through the instructions that are supplied with your chart - as a quick summary here are the golden rules you should follow:

    Stick to a few issues and be realistic.

    Think about ways you can help your child.

    Stay positive and concentrate on praising success.

    Involve your child before you start using a chart - they must want to tackle the issue and must also understand how the chart is going to work.

    Never take away stickers or rewards.

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  • June 27th, 2009fariArticles, Parenting

    To smack or not to smack ( by Nazia Jalali)

    “Don’t do that!” orders Sairah agitated by her child’s incessant need to jump on her friend’s sofa. A few seconds later, the undeterred child receives a second warning from his now very embarrassed mother when she breaks from the conversation with her friend, “ Hamza I told you not to do that –you’ll hurt yourself!” Another few moments pass and she looks up again to see little Hamza, still jumping for the stars, giggling defiantly. This time Sairah sighs and continues her conversation with her friend.

    Sound familiar? Perhaps - so when it happens, what is the irate parent to do?  Smacking a child may see you labelled a child abuser. Ignoring them means being branded an incompetent parent. In fact, the common responses from parents after the mandatory warnings and rebukes are variable. When faced with situations like that above, it is all to common to see the parent retreating in to their shell, ignoring the situation in the hope that it will sort itself out, whilst desperately praying that no one will notice their child’s questionable antics.

    Some say the child should be allowed to play freely after all, “ Imran’s just a child, we can’t expect too much from him.” Other insist that they must be punished – ‘If we don’t teach Samia manners now, who knows what she’ll turn out like?’

    For Muslim parents, the divine instruction is simple. We must first and foremost understand that the nurturing of children is a sacred trust that Allah (swt) has given to all parents. Parents are duty-bound to bring up and educate their children in the best manner, teaching them right and wrong according to the criteria laid down by their Creator. The aim of this careful nurturing is that upon reaching the age of maturity (baligh), they become responsible and productive members of the community, obeying the will of their Creator, and at the same time being excellent examples for the wider society around them.

    But what does this careful nurturing practically entail? The mere mention of the word discipline makes some parents cringe, as they conjure up images of bruised and battered children. But in reality, there is a difference between discipline and punishment which are not necessarily the same thing.

    “What is discipline?”

    Punishment on its own just describes an act of chastisement that does not necessarily explain to the child why their action was wrong. But discipline is the training to establish a pattern of appropriate behaviour in youngsters, which will build a link in their minds between their conduct, and a notion of right and wrong. For the child, a process of thoughtful and careful discipline, should lead them to understand that their behaviour has boundaries, which when crossed may result in punishment.

    “How and where should boundaries be set?”

    As a rule for Muslim parents, children should of course be taught the basic criteria of haram and halal. They should be taught that that good things are halal, and bad things are haram, and every effort should be made to make them realise the difference between these two limits. In this way, they would be encouraged to link their behaviour with the pleasure and anger of Allah (swt). This in turn paves their way to understanding the concept of accountability, which will form the basis of their future actions throughout life.

    “Who should best discipline them?”

    It is essential for both parents to be involved in disciplining their children, and in this regard, consistency in essential. If there is no consistency between mother and father, discipline becomes almost impossible to establish, and the child will quickly learn to play one parent off against the other. So when Hamza starts jumping on the furniture, he finds himself rebuked by his mother and ordered to stop. He then rushes over to his father in another room, only to receive a big hug, and to be told, ‘don’t worry Hamza it’s OK, here’s a lollipop for you if you stop crying.’ You have just witnessed the end of effective discipline!

    If both parents are not unified in enforcing discipline then this could easily lead to the children being confused and result in them not taking either of the parents instructions seriously, which could cause them to become disobedient.

    In general, parents are unlikely to differ in matters of discipline related to haram and the halal. For example, if a child steals or lies, neither parent will condone such behaviour. The potential area of conflict is in the area of mubah – i.e. those matters of general behaviour which are open to parents to decide, such as jumping on the sofa, sitting quietly at the dinner table etc. Sometimes, parents may disagree with each other over certain rules of conduct of methods of discipline. But never the less it is essential that both parents discuss the matter and come to an agreement. Otherwise, the clash of values may quickly create conflict (fitnah) in the household.

    “What age should I start to discipline my child?”

    The earlier the better! Some parents may feel that very small children are too young to grasp rules, let alone understand anything you might say. However, these early years can in fact be crucial to establishing a good pattern of behaviour. Once a good pattern is established, it will always be easier to maintain, whilst once bad habits are established they are very hard to break. For example if a child begins to express his artistic flare by scribbling on the walls, you might think they are too young to reason with and correct. You therefore decide to ignore it and let them carry on, making a mental note to white wash the walls at a later date – after all, a re-paint was well overdue anyway. But delaying the explanations for when they are older, and then later trying to explain to the child that,“ we draw on paper not on the walls,”- will only lead to confusion. After all how can something that was acceptable yesterday be suddenly be forbidden today? Most experts agree that there has to be consistency when establishing rules. So in the younger days, while the child may not quite understand your kind instruction, if combined with preventing the behaviour from which it arises and hiding the pens if they cannot be supervised whilst using them, the rule will be established early on.

    “What if they cry when the are refused something?”

    Children are very perceptive, and quickly realise it if every time they cry they can get what they want. But if you console them while not giving in to their demands, them they will soon understand that crying will get them nowhere. So let them cry for a little while and don’t give in. Initially this will be hard for both parent and child, but perseverance and patience will find the whining and crying abating. The choice is yours; you could either deal with the cries for a few days or spend the rest of your life listening to them.

    “What are the morals that should be taught?”

    When children misbehave they should be taught to say sorry, as they will learn what is to be expected from them by others and by Allah (swt).  They should also be taught to seek Allah’s (swt) forgiveness and apologise to people they hurt and upset by their words or actions. This will help to instil a conscience within them.

    In addition, parents should always accept a child’s apology for their bad behaviour. When we do something wrong we turn to Allah and seek and hope for his forgiveness. We in turn should try also to be quick to forgive – it is like a kind of reward for desisting from bad behaviour. This teaches your child the virtue of mercy. Make it clear to your child that you love them especially after they have been in trouble and they have apologised, so that no bad feelings remain between you.

    Similarly don’t fall victim to pride by failing to apologise when you yourself make a mistake, as this is crucial in establishing in your child a belief in your sense of justice. It also stops you from being seen as a tyrant or an unfair parent.

    “Who should be their role models?”

    You should try your utmost to stop them from talking about pop stars, actors or sports personalities as people worthy of being followed.  Such people are far from the correct example that Muslims should look up to. Instead, let their role models be the prophets, the Sahaba and the countless heros of Islam.  By frequently reading to them about the lives of such great people, you will cause your child to admire them and strive to be like them. So in general, we should teach them Islam from a very young age.

    “What are the limits of punishments according to Shari’ah?”

    The example of the Prophet, upon whom be the peace and blessings of Allah, needs to be kept in mind. The Prophet’s (saw) treatment of children was always loving and encouraging. For example, his kindness to his nephew, Ibn ‘Abbss, is well known. The Hadith records instances of his delivering the Friday khutbah while holding his grandsons in his arms, of his making sajdah in salah (as the imam in the mosque) with his granddaughter on his back; of his kindness toward Anas ibn Malik as a boy, and of his annoyance with the bedouin who confessed that he had never kissed his own children.

    While it is generally accepted that the Prophet (saw) never physically rebuked children himself, mild physical punishment is allowed in Islam, but not in a way that causes harm. In knowing this, however it is important to bear in mind Prophet’s (saw) personal example, which is the ideal that all Muslims must aspire to conform to.

    If gentle force is used by a parent on their child, it should not be enough to leave redness or marks, and it is prohibited to smack on the face or private parts.

    The Prophet (saw) urged parents to teach their children to begin practicing their daily prayers by the age of seven. If they did not start the practice by the age of ten, he (saw) instructed that they should be disciplined by physical means without causing them harm or injury. In fact, if parents themselves pray at home and take their children to the mosque at an early age, it is very common for children to wish to pray of their own accord, without the need for any physical punishment.

    “What methods can I use to punish a child that has misbehaved?”

    There are many books available on disciplining children that can be used as aids to understanding children and which provide useful do’s and don’ts with respect to types of punishments. Providing that there are no contradictions to the Shar’iyah, there is no harm in using these books as a source for advice. The following are outlines of some common methods of dealing with inappropriate behaviour in children.

    ‘TIME OUT’

    Definition -To remove the child from a deteriorating situation and place them in another room. This takes the child from his position on centre stage to a less prominent place where his antics pass unnoticed.  It is good technique for a few reasons.

    1. It gives the child a chance to cool down and permits older children a chance to reflect on their behaviour against the values taught by their parents of what pleases and displeases Allah. Making a child understand the difference between what is right and wrong is very difficult when both parties are in a state of anger.
    2. It allows the parents to calm themselves down, and seek refuge in Allah, and to remember that children are a test from Allah. They can also reflect on the hadith “ if you are angry sit down.” There is much reward for those who exert patience in the most testing of times.
    3. Time out also prevents a situation arising where the parent could inadvertently harm the child excessively in a state of rage.
    4. If for example, two siblings are fighting, placing each of them in different rooms diffuses the anger and more importantly breaks up the fight and prevents the possibility of any harm befalling them.


    If children persist in disobedience, then they should be warned and threatened with being sent to their room. If they continue, then they should be taken to their room and left alone there until they apologize for their mistake. Of course, care should be taken with very young children who need constant supervision.  If a child is having a tantrum, they should not be allowed to carry this out in a way that disturbs others, or attracts too much attention. Sending them to their room until they calm down will soon teach them that such behaviour achieves nothing.


    Threats to withhold privileges such as an outing to the park, or playing with a favourite toy are useful only if your child believes you. Therefore, if such threats are made, they should be carried out. Apologies should be accepted, and privileges should be restored once the child returns to correct behaviour.


    If  your child is rewarded for a good action by being given a treat or a praise then they are more likely to do it again and therefore develop a good habit. However it should be noted that rewards should not become bribes. So don’t say, “ If you listen to me I’ll will give you a ice lolly.” This could lead to the child only doing something good if ‘there was something in it for them.’ Rewards should be a spontaneous gesture from your part as a sign of appreciation for your child’s good actions. So the child should not expect anything. What would be more appropriate if you were to say “ Since you have been such a good girl I’m going to take you the park.”

    Be careful that a relationship is not established where the child expects reward every time they do a good action. As the child gets older he shouldn’t need to be given rewards as often although you should still continue to express your appreciation of their good behaviour. You should also make them aware that whilst they may not receive a reward from you for the good actions, they may still receive one from Allah (swt).


    If you have a strong relationship with your child then a great impact can be made upon them by a simple expression of disappointment or dissatisfaction.  When they misbehave and you tell them that you are angry with them and refuse to play because of their actions the child will most likely feel bad feel the need to say sorry. The effect of this method is reinforced when more than one member of the family objects.

    If parents establish effective discipline and follow it through consistently


    Fundamental to effective discipline of a child is the nurturing of a strong relationship between parent and child, which is based on love, kindness and mutual respect. A child is more likely to obey a parent whom they love and respect, and whom they wish to please. If they perceive that the parent is pre-occupied with other things, and not really concerned about the child’s day top day interests, they too will feel it acceptable to ignore their parents orders and wishes.

    The best way to establish the kind of sound relationship that is needed is by spending quality time together as a family. In today’s fast pace of life, with high cost of living, endless taxation and often the need for both parents to work in order to make ends meet, it can be very easy to let the time spent with the children slip. It is all too common to see children being left for school, TV and the society in general to take the role of building a child’s personality.

    If on the other hand, parents make as much effort as they can to talk and play with their children, as well as teach them about values and right behaviour, the result can be great. Simple measures can help to build a strong family bond. Here are a few suggestions:

    1. Eat meals together at the table instead of at different times or in front of the TV. Try to make this a regular family activity, where all are present. It is a good time to talk.
    2. Mum and dad should regularly read to the children, even if it is just a bedtime story. Choose Islamic stories as well as conventional children’s books, as this will help to nurture an Islamic identity in the child, and create positive role models.
    3. Try not to use the TV or video games as a ‘baby sitter’. It is all too easy for children to be absorbed into these activities, and be forgotten about by their parents. Instead play interactive games with each other, such as board games, or outdoor games.
    4. Dad should take the children to the mosque wherever possible – such as during Juma or on weekends, so that children begin to find the mosque a familiar and enjoyable place.
    5. Pray in Jamaat at home, and encourage small children to join in. Buying children’s hijabs/prayer hats and small prayer mats can help to encourage them.

    `“And know that your possessions and your offspring are only a trial; and that it is Allah with whom there is a tremendous reward” [TMQ 8: 28].

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