Although many parents try hard to bring up their children in the right manner, a variety of forces sometimes destroy their efforts. The influences of these outside forces often play havoc with the training given at home. This should not be under estimated and parents must be aware of their negative potential. Once the enemy is realized, it becomes easier to control and decrease its impact.
Human society today is stooping to lower and lower levels of morality. Today’s children encounter a great deal of negative and immoral influences. To be able to face these regularly but remain morally and religiously intact, they need the help and guidance of wise parents. Children must be taught how avoid or minimize mental and emotional pollution. Such guidance will be vital for moral stability all through life, as these influences will remain.
Technological advances have made it possible for children to have various forms of evil and degrading entertainment. Television, computer, internet and C.D’s are all part of many children’s lives. Although there are advantages that can be derived from these sources, parents have to be vigilant to ensure that children are not drawn to the violence and corruption lurking in them.
Another great influence on the life of children is the friends they associate with. Many people stray from the straight path as a result of the negative influence of friends. The Qur’an tells us that on the Day of Judgement, people will regret the wrong friendships they had in the world. It says:
On the day when the unjust will bite their hands (regretfully) saying, would that we had taken a way with the Messenger. Woe to us! Would that we had not been friends with so and so. He led us away from the true guidance after it had come to us. (25:28)
There is no doubt that the behavior of a friend can affect a child. He picks up mannerisms, ways of speech etc. from the friends he plays with and works with all day. Especially when children are at school, the hours spent with classmates often have great influence. Parents should be aware of who their children are friends with. If they find out that a certain friend does not have the right type of character, and is having a negative effect on their child, they should try and discourage the friendship. Although it is necessary for children to spend time with their friends, parents should discourage going out all the time with friends, especially as the children get older. Many children insist on going to the mall with friends, or going for outings in groups. Such outings should be discouraged .
Friendships with children who share the same values should be encouraged. Children need friends and it is wrong to tell them not to play with anyone. Parents must provide alternatives so children can enjoy happy times with friends who will not have a wrong influence.
By being aware of the influences that affect the child, parents can try and combat them. They can minimize their effects by keeping the child away from them as much as possible. Although it is not possible to protect the child totally from all negative influences, nor is it wise to cocoon him completely, it is important that a young child be protected as much as possible. As they become older they become more and more exposed to such influences. But then the child is mature enough to hold on to his own beliefs and values, and the damage is much less.
1. The conduct of everyone will be according to the beliefs and principles of his friend.
Holy Prophet (s)
2. Teach your children from our knowledge, what Allah will help them with, so that those who have gone astray (the Marjaiah) will not affect them with their opinions.
Imam `Ali (a)