I am a person who doesn’t like to argue or even have disagreements. When in a conversation where I actually disagree with an expressed point of view, my typical reaction is to let it pass. Then when I’m home, my mind holds on to the conversation replaying it over and over- with me expressing my disagreement in elegant ways.
Any ways – A week or so back, I had guests staying over . They wanted to watch a Bollywood music channel on TV. My son came into the room, and my mother-hen instinct proved to be stronger than the good host instinct. I immediately switched channels to animal planet.
My guest – a mom of two- an 18 yr old and 8 yr old- immediately gave me child rearing advice on how I cannot control my child’s mind. How he will pick up on Bollywood and dance and vulgarity regardless of what I do.
I mentally said astaghfar and vowed to fight vulgarity and Bollywood and keep it from entering my child’s life till my last breath- but I said nothing. I just smiled and nodded at my guest. (while turning the tv off )
Two days back at lunch with another friend visiting, I mentioned that one of the reasons I don’t want to work for the first few years off his life was that I wanted to help develop a strong filter internally in his head/ heart. I wanted to protect him from mental toxins… Eg our house help once telling him ‘you will become white if u drink milk’ !!! A statement I found false and toxic on so many levels…
My lunch companion is also a mom of 2 children- a 10 and a 6 yr old. Her advice was the same – kids will pick up rubbish thoughts and u can’t control it. Again, I smiled and nodded. While internally yelling “yes I can I can I can and I will I will I will.”
My response to both of them:
Children’s brains in their early years are soft. The default settings for their likes and attitudes are being set now. My child is 3. Some Islamic and child – psychology articles I have read say that the first 6 years are critical. Neural synapses and what not are being made now…. I can not control what my son will get exposed to as he grows older, but with careful and conscious parenting; I can ensure that he has a robust defense system mentally. A system that will enable him to recognize and filter rubbish when he comes across it. If I am vigilant now, I can give him a chance to maintain a healthy mind.
Inculcating healthy mental habits is no different from teaching your children to eat healthy. Yes they will eat junk food off and on- but will be aware of the fact that junk is junk.
I need to give him a strong body and mind NOW. When my voice is the strongest one in his head.
If I work hard at it now, I can indeed influence his attitudes and choices. I can protect him- with the will and help of Allah Subhana Wa taala.
May Allah protect our children and keep them pure in this toxic world. May Allah give us mums the tools to protect and prepare our children adequately. Aameen.