Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Parenting: Communicative Problem Solving - Small Scale Stealing

Parenting requires opening lines of communication and critical thinking, as well as preparing children for the time when they will marry and have children of their own, inshaa Allah. One strategy we use is to present our children with situations and ask them how they will deal with them. This is particularly useful if you have children who have problems with certain misbehavior and want to get them thinking about it from a different perspective. Sometimes you might find that your children suggest a solution you never thought of.

The first in the series of questions, and believe me some of them will be VERY tough, was about small scale stealing.

Parenting Question #1

Ishaaq and Ismaeel are your two sons. Ishaaq keeps stealing cookies, but Ismaeel doesn't. When it is time for a treat, you are planning to give them the cookies, but Ishaaq already stole three of the cookies. What do you do? How many cookies do you give Ishaaq and Ismaeel?

How do you stop Ishaaq from stealing cookies?

If you don't stop Ishaaq from stealing cookie, how do you stop him from teaching Ismaeel to steal cookies?

The extension is an additional line of questioning in case the responses are vague or unrealistic, for example, "I will teach them so they don't ever do those things."

You already taught the boys that stealing is wrong/a sin/haraam. They know it is wrong. How are you going to teach them that will stop them doing it anyway? What will you teach them, or do, so they don't steal?


  1. As'salaamu alaikum. Having experience with this.... In the past when it has come to light who was stealing, that child would not reveive his treat because in my opinion it teaches the better behaved child that there are no negative consequences for bad actions. When possible I even try to give the better behaved child more, reminding both children that Allah does no reward the wrong doer and that righteous will get an even bigger reward in the end; despite it seeming like the wrong doer won at the time of their wrong doing. It has been a challenge. I still have to remind my one child more than the other. But I also acknowledged that one child heart appears to be more into pleasing Allah while the other one struggles more with battling their naffs. I take the time when I see this to remind ny sons the importance of picking a righteous spouse, because we forget that behavior, attitude and demeanors are past through blood just like your physical qualities. I try to make them aware of their shortcomings so insha'allah they will marry someone who's stronger in the areas they are weak. And Allah knows best if this tactic is wise or will be successful.

    1. Wa alaykum ussalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh Rumaysa.

      That is exactly our approach, maashaa Allah. Putting the issue out for the children to find solutions for, basically brought understanding of what really is fair and what isn't. It can also bring about realization and admission from the guilty party that they have not only taken things that they didn't deserve, but oppressed others by their actions.

      Part of this exercise has to do with marriage. Yes, we too consider that the one who struggles with their nafs needs a much stronger spouse and more support to keep them upright.

      Something that I think is valuable in all this is that the children realize what an issue it is to have a child like them - how difficult it can be to deal with them and find ways to correct them when they disobey or sin knowingly. The question that come up is, "What will you do if you have a child like YOU?" It really brings to life the expression, "What goes around, comes around."

      We pray that this strategy IS wise and pleasing to Allah and gives success to us and our children. Ameen.

  2. Ameen! I will defintely pose that question in the future. Insha'Allah, that will make them think about their actions on another level.


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