السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Recently, my youngest told me that he was at a friend’s house with other kids there playing when his friend invited him to his room.
I asked what they did there and he said they just played around with some toys.
I thought this was a good opportunity to introduce some general Nasiha about boundaries and avoiding potential problems.
I told him that in the future, I would prefer the following:
1. If he is ever in someone’s home or with other kids, that he is always in groups of 3 or more (i.e., there is wisdom in witr)
2. If he is ever invited somewhere away from adults, that the doors are never closed or worse, locked.
He asked me why it was better to be in groups of three and I said, “If something happens, like a dispute or an accident, it is better to have multiple witnesses. Sometimes to avoid getting in to trouble, someone may lay blame on you for something they did, for example. Having a third witness will prevent you from being in such a situation.”
I also said, “Sometimes when two people get together, they may get ideas to do bad things.”
He immediately asked, “Like what?”
I just said, “Like maybe snooping around or breaking some rule that they think they can get away with.” I also said that is why the doors should never be closed, because it prevents those ideas from taking shape. And that’s why having multiple people there is better, because perhaps someone will give good advice and say, “No, we shouldn’t do that. If it’s just two people, sometimes Shaitan is the third person and he says to do it because he wants you to get in trouble.”
My kids are relatively young, 11 and 8, but this is the time that these seeds have to be planted. They have known for years actually to avoid ever being alone with another child or adult, but I wanted to reinforce this as a means of protecting them from themselves, the peer pressure of another, and the whispering of Shaitan.
We all know that we live in very challenging times and temptation is everywhere. We have to be vigilant and keep a watchful eye at all times. Thinking that two kids who are same-gendered should be perfectly fine on their own in a bedroom or another space without adult supervision is naive.
We know that kids are naturally curious and even when they are by themselves they may engage in inappropriate behavior or push a boundary when no one is looking, so why do we expect that two kids together with the same curiosities and urges are going to be fine?
Children need monitoring, they always have. They need adults to check in periodically. They need adults to create boundaries for them that are clear and consequences that are CRYSTAL clear.
A lot of parents make the mistake of letting their kids loose once they are at someone’s home or even at the masjid. This is unacceptable. You have a duty to protect your child, but also protect others from your child. Everyone has waswasa and can be tempted to do something they shouldn’t. You have it, I have it, our children have it, we all have it. So, never think that your child is incapable of doing something or suggesting something that could easily get them or someone else in trouble.
Their nufoos are strong and depending on their age they don’t have the self-restraint necessary sometimes to say no. So, instead of taking those chances and risking their safety or someone else’s, it is better to have very clear rules about sharing space with others, be they classmates, cousins, friends, etc.
This is also important to keep in mind when having sleepovers. As children who are preadolescent or adolescent tend to be very curious about their bodies and other people’s bodies, you want to make sure that sleeping spaces are individualized, bathroom and changing spaces are private, and children are reminded to lower their gaze or look away if anything is exposed.
The more lax we are about these things when they are younger, the less likely they will be able to manage their impulses as they get older.
So let us help them by creating healthy boundaries for them without making it messy and complicated. Making these very simple rules to protect them from general harm is enough. We do not have to sexualize or pervert everything.
Remember, the Shariah is all about preservation of life and that includes one’s honor, dignity, and well-being.
Our kids and our teens need to learn (and constantly be reminded of) the value of their honor, their dignity, their reputation, and that all those things trump their desires and their feelings. The society around them is pushing the opposite message down their throat and they are being told that their feelings are all that matter. This is a LIE. Yes, their feelings matter but not at the cost of their life (their mental, emotional, and physical well-being)
Alhamdulillah ⚘ِاَلْحَمْــــدُلِلّه⚘ِ , Islam is so beautiful and children are by naturally drawn to beauty. May Allah ﷻ guide us and help us protect our children and teach them with BEAUTY, wisdom and balance.
By: Hosai Mujadiddi
Printed as received.