To Hit or Not to Hit?

It is widely acknowledged that culture has almost everything to do with how we raise our children. From what we feed them to how we school them, to how we discipline them. As a Muslim American of African decent I often find a conflict within myself of how to handle my children. Foremost I am a Muslim, and as such Islam teaches patience and forbearance, so when N. messes up I usually try not to yell at her and hit her. But at times another fraction of culture suggests that a good spanking is in order.

I do think spanking and yelling damages a child. Rather I know it does. I don’t need research or complicated statistics to grasp that truth, I can see it in the eyes of my child and others when they have been disciplined in this way. And damaging my child or stunting their spiritual growth is not something I want to do. But I also do want my child to go undisiplined and become a menace to herself and others.

Rather there has to be a balance: how to disciple a child (toddler) without spankings. That is the root of what I’m getting at.

I found a good article here with tips on what not to do and what to do. Very helpful,but what about from an Islamic perspective?

Thats when I came across an even better article about Islamic parenting by Umm Salihah entitled AN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE ON CHILD-REARING AND DISCIPLINE. I believe she hit it right on the head when she said:

I love the Islamic concept that when we do things with the aim of pleasing Allah we engage in worship, even if they are just everyday actions. So cooking a meal is a chore, but cooking with the aim of pleasing Allah by feeding his creation and eating to take care of the body he gave you as an Amanah (trust) becomes an act of worship.

Similarly, child-rearing can be hard and challenging work, but when engaged in with the intention of pleasing Allah and carrying out the work he has assigned to us, it becomes an act of worship from beginning to end.

So to answer the question, to hit or not to hit? Not, because as Umm Salihah says, we only get once chance with each of our children, and I want to get it right. Here and in the ahkirah.

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