Ifeoluwa Siddiq Oyelami
Understanding the profound influence of secure attachment on a child's spiritual well-being is of utmost importance. Extensive research suggests that attachment styles play a significant role in shaping one's self-esteem, with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious and avoidant attachment, being correlated with lower levels of self-esteem. High self-esteem is known to foster resilience and confidence in one’s values and opinions. For Muslim youth, secure attachment in childhood can help navigate the prevalent un-Islamic practices among peers, as it provides them with a foundation of self-assurance. Simply offering emotional support to your children can help them overcome the challenges of socializing in a morally decaying world.
It is the holiday season around the world, and parents now have to spend more time with their children. While many parents may perceive this as burdensome and disruptive to their other activities, the fact is that this is a very good time to bond more with your children and develop a healthy relationship with their peers.
Child and the family
Before examining Islam’s perspective on a child and their relationship with the immediate adult community, it is important to note that Islam is a perfect way of life whose adherence cuts across several cultures. Certain practices can prevail in certain supposedly Muslim cultures, such as parents perceiving emotional expressions towards their children as a sign of weakness. This is indeed far from what Islam teaches. Therefore, as Muslims, it is important to discard all forms of cultural prejudice and focus on Islamic principles in parenting as well as other areas of life.
In Islam, the concept of a child holds deep significance, rooted in their very origin-the family. According to Islamic beliefs, a child is the result of a union between a man and a woman blessed by Allah with tranquillity and compassion (Surat al-Rum 30: 21). From this understanding, we can infer that Allah desires every child to be born into a family where love, mercy, and compassion thrive. The family, as a social system, is composed of various interconnected parts, including the marital, parent-child, and sibling subsystems. These components have a significant impact on one another. For instance, research has shown that the happiness and satisfaction parents experience in their marital relationship can greatly influence the parent-child relationship. Allah’s intention to foster compassion between spouses indirectly contributes to creating a home environment filled with compassion for children to be born into. This aspect is particularly valued in light of Islam’s prohibition of extramarital relationships and the concept of illegitimate children. Consequently, it becomes crucial for parents to strive for peace and love in their own relationship, as it ultimately affects their children’s well-being.
Children and Love
After highlighting the Islamic belief that children are expected to find love and mercy within their family, particularly from their parents and siblings, it is crucial to provide evidence of the teachings pertaining to practical expressions of love towards children in Islam. Islam places a strong emphasis on parents not only possessing mercy and compassion for their children but also physically and verbally expressing these emotions. Numerous hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad contain references to the demonstration of warm relationships between parents and children, either through the Prophet’s own actions or by his encouragement of others to do so. In fact, there are instances where he admonished those who failed to engage in physical displays of affection towards their children.
For instance, Abu Huraira narrated that al-Aqra’ b. Habis once witnessed the Prophet Muhammad kissing his grandson, Hasan. Surprised by this act, al-Aqra’ exclaimed that he had ten children but had never kissed any of them. In response, the Prophet uttered a profound statement, saying, “He who does not show mercy towards his children, no mercy would be shown to him” (Sahih Muslim 2318a). These instances demonstrate that being a parent entails not only providing financial support but also offering emotional support, just as many child psychology studies show that caregiving is not solely about providing food. These practices contribute to the development of secure attachment, which provides a strong foundation for emotional well-being, social competence, and healthy relationships throughout life.
Secure attachment, socialization, and religiosity
During holidays, children would like to go outside and spend time with their peers. It’s an exciting and important part of their development as it helps them learn to interact and build relationships with others. Socialization plays a significant role in shaping their spiritual and psychological well-being. In Islam, there is a strong emphasis on the company we keep, as mentioned in the Quran: “O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true” (Tawbah 9:119). Choosing good companions has a profound impact on our character and beliefs. The Prophet said, “A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.” Meanwhile, considering, being in a digital era, nurturing strong parent-child bonds becomes increasingly vital, particularly as many young minds gravitate towards online socialization rather than real-life interactions.
Encouraging children to engage in healthy socialization allows them to experience the benefits of companionship while developing their social and spiritual growth. It’s crucial for children to enjoy playful interactions with their peers, but parents should also guide them to select a good company. By fostering an environment that promotes positive relationships, parents can help their children navigate the world with integrity and uphold their values. So, while enjoying the company of their peers, children should be mindful of choosing friends who align with their values and bring out the best in them.
Conclusively, the holiday season provides an ideal time for parents to strengthen their bond with their children and foster healthy relationships with their peers. It is essential to engage in practical strategies that foster a loving and secure relationship. Set aside quality time each day to actively engage in activities with your children, such as playing games or reading together. Express affection through physical touch and verbal expressions of love and encouragement as taught by the Prophet. Practice active listening and create a safe space for your children to share their thoughts and feelings. Discover shared interests and engage in activities that bring you closer as a family. Support your children's independence while leading by example, demonstrating values of love, respect, and servitude to Allah. By so doing, parents can contribute to their children's holistic development and prepare them to become confident, morally grounded individuals who positively impact their communities. Lastly, let’s remember that in a world where virtual exploration often takes precedence over embracing the experiences closer to home, it is all the more crucial to prioritize meaningful connections and cultivate a sense of togetherness in the lives of our children.