Child Psychology

Child Psychology0%

Child Psychology Author:
Category: Family and Child

Child Psychology

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Author: Mohamed A. Khalfan
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Download: 3328


Child Psychology
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Child Psychology

Child Psychology


This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

15- School Enrollment with a Spring-Board

A frustrated parent asked: how can he make his child to like the school and the answer was: make him to like his studies, and then the supplementary question was. how to make him to like his studies; the answer to that was: make him to like his school. What comes first?

There was a child, recently enrolled in a school for the first time in his life, who refused to believe that apart from a regular weekend holiday, his school could be closed for any week-day sometimes. He insisted that his mother dresses him, as usual, for the school on that day too which he was told was a national public holiday. However, he calmed down after his tearful pleading had failed. He liked the school because he was good in his studies and the school was the place he could show him- self off and bask in pride in front of other children in the class.

If the child's hand was not the only one raised on any occasion when a teacher asked questions then his would be the only one which popped up faster for fear of other possible competing hands. He knew almost all the answers to the point of virtually proving himself a nuisance to the teacher, naturally. The teacher wanted to see other students too have the self- confidence of volunteering answers as a reflection of his effective broad based teaching in his class.

There was however, nothing miraculous about the child, who was the only one then, in the family. A few weeks prior to the anticipated enrolment of the child, the mother would regularly teach him in progressive stages exactly what he would be taught later in the school. It was from a simple basic syllabus known almost to all parents. The child too was enthusiastic because he thought that learning from the mother would qualify him for entry in the school. It would be fun for him to accompany the child next door, already a student and a friend, to the school. Magic Wand.

Now, a few prior and simple lessons at home before enrolment, and a continuation of some more "prior" lessons after the enrolment, was the magic wand that created a spring-board for the child, and there was no looking back after that. Once a liking for the school is triggered it produces good results in the studies; and then one sustains the other in a healthy cycle throughout the schooling life leading, for many, to a university graduation.

The key is to appreciate the child's natural sense of a positive competition and rivalry among the children in the class, progressing in stages each giving way to the next as follows:

Stage One: On the day of enrolment and also for a day or two thereafter, the child brings to the school his toy, the one he likes best, thinking his is the only one that exists, often without the knowledge of his parents. He proudly reveals its presence to some of the classmates many of whom do almost the same with regard to theirs, in competition. This stage passes to usher stage two:

Stage Two: Toys lose their relevance when the child finds older students come to the school with books and pens. He now brings to the school books and pencils alright but with flashy and colourful in appearance for a show off in competition with those brought by other children. Alphabets And Figures.

Stage Three: Subsequently the lessons start in earnest beginning with paintings of pictures and writings of alphabets and figures. Now the competition spills over into what is written (or scribbled) in the exercise books and painted (or soiled) in the drawing books by the students. Here the child who had the advantage of prior les- sons at home is surprised and impressed to find that he knows to do his work in the class quicker and better than other students. He attributes his competing ability as independently his own, which presumption is healthy as it sharpens his sense of com- petition. .

This is the spring-board which has its effect and relevance, only if created, before the child begins his schooling life. This spring-board is simple to create for each and every child in the family so that the child reports at the school equipped with it to commence his schooling life. It has been done successfully by others whose children have been obtaining top ranks successively in every grade.

There have to be initiatives and personal pain on the part of the parents for sowing the seed of interest in the child about his studies before his enrolment. The seed so timely sowed will then germinate on its own and bloom into a flower with an unending fragrance throughout his schooling life. Such is the parental influence and impact on the child. No school. however good. can ever provide a substitute for this brand of a spring-board.

16- Mother's True Love for Son is Sharing his with his Wife

On the third day of her marriage, the bride, that is, the daughter-in-Iaw requested her I mother-in-law to assign to her those of the house responsibilities which she wanted f her to assume, as her share, to relieve the mother IL of them. This was done. I However, the mother IL stressed that she, and not the daughter IL, who would prepare and take the early tea to her son, "as always" after they all have woken up for sub "h" prayers. Again, it is the mother who would wait for the son and give him company at dinner, "as always", as he returned late from work. The daughter IL would join her father-in-Iaw and children at their dinner earlier.

The mother continuing to be possessive with regard to her son, or more so after his! marriage is seen as a part of a centuries old culture. The mother-in-law herself tasted the brunt of the culture when she also was a daughter-in-Iaw in the husband's family. It is a culture which provides justification for many a failure of matrimony between the loving spouses.

However, the culture can be tampered with some degrees of reasoning so that the matrimonial happiness of the son is not sacrificed at the altar of the culture. The mother must understand that she has no cause for jealousy when she finds the son f engrossed in the new experience of a married life with a temporary result of a cur- r tailed attention to his parents. The novelty wears off. In the meantime, moved by jealousy, the mother will have caused some irreversible harm in her budding relation with the daughter-in-Iaw.

This culture, however unfair, is revered or endured because it is given the garb of family ethics and values to be upheld religiously by every daughter-in-Iaw if she has to prove herself worthy of not only her husband butt also his family. No parents would want to accept their daughters back after the marriage who fail to abide by the culture because the same culture would be prevailing in their families too. To them it is the cultural values which count more than the religious values where they conflict and they always do. Mother's possessiveness, sharpened after the son's marriage, is part of the culture.

Culture of Taboos

It is no wonder if it is taboo for the daughter-in-Iaw to mention her husband by his name or refer to him as "her husband" in a possessive term in a conversation with her mother-in-law. She will respectfully mention him as "your son", as an admission that the mother's share of her son rests larger and ranks higher than the daughter-in- law's share of him as her husband. It is in the interest of the daughter-in-Iaw to avoid mentioning how loving "her son" is to her. That would mean a covert encroachment over the mother's share.

In fact any let-up in the degrees in which the culture is followed at present in an enlightened society on the contrary is considered as a relaxation in the cultural discipline in favour of the daughter-in-Iaw especially when it comes to enjoying a conjugal life. The culture had or has perhaps even now more "teeth", otherwise called "ethics and values", in the rural society in India and Pakistan. The victims are not only the daughters in law but also the sons, both in millions across the sub- continent.

The daughters-in-Iaw in an extended family in a rural society are required to remain in a constant company of their mother-in- law during the day time while engaged in the domestic chores or farm and dairy work or even while taking short rest napping. It is considered highly disrespectful for a daughter-in-Iaw to offer a smile to her husband in manifestation of love or a signal of a yearning for his company -in the presence of the parents-in-Iaw.

Fake Headache

There were times when it was considered indecent for sons in a family to share the same room each with their respective wives every night when retiring for the night. The adult females slept together with their children separately from the adult group of male members in the family. However, it would rest upon one of the sons, in turn, who would discreetly fake a convenient headache now and then before retiring for the night and request the mother for "her daughter-in-Iaw" to attend to him. Of course, the mother knows and accepts the situation, perhaps grudgingly.

Of course, but for the loyalty to the culture which transcends the religious values. no marriage could survive this cultural intimidation, but then divorce too was contrived smartly as unthinkable within the ambit of the same culture to ensure the blind loyalty to the culture to the end.

It should be remembered that Allah as the Creator has placed love and compassion between the spouses and each derives satisfaction from them by matching them in contrast. The husband derives his satisfaction by obeying his masculine instinct and urge of protecting. maintaining and caring for his wife. The wife realises her satisfaction from that love and compassion placed by Allah between them by the feeling of being protected, maintained and cared for by her husband which in turn sharpens her love for him. No wonder that Allah mentions in the verse 30:21 with reference to this "love and compassion" that "surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.". 'It is for this reason that a husband harbouring love in his heart for his wife must keep expressing it in words, but then the cultural inhibition, if not intimidation, may not permit it.

It should also be noted without the raise of eye-brows that Islam accords more consequences for that young mother who is expected to have yet a longer and more useful life in the society for fulfilling the purpose of producing and nursing children than that mother who has already fulfilled hers during her long useful life.

Tearful Scenes

There arises however a problem with far reaching consequences when the son, as husband behaves exactly as is dictated by his masculine nature and Islamic obligations in defiance of the family or societal culture. The mother would interpret it as being against her share of love from him brought about by the influence of her daughter-in-Iaw on her son, this having come about only soon after his marriage. So in order .to prompt sympathy and protection from her son, she would create quarrels with her daughter-in-Iaw. Exaggerate them and then keep reporting them to her son with the punctuation of emotional and tearful scenes.

It is however not the intention to say that all the mothers are wrong or always wrong or are suspect in this connection. On the contrary there are growing examples of both the parents also being callously subjected to a sinful maltreatment by their daughter-in-Iaw., sadly with the support or tacit approval or indeed connivance of no other than their own son! It is even worse if the son is docile in nature or of a weak personality in the presence of his wife.

There appears to be a catalogue of such sins committed openly for all in the community to know as if to give rise to a new culture to be applied by all daughters-in- r law., especially those who have a greater say in the affairs of the family than their husband. Worse examples of such families are generally not unknown. The families are rated poorly in the community. Love And Loyalty.

The sincere advice to the parents is however to let their son uphold the demarcation set in Islamic obligations for the respective shares of love and loyalty for them ant the wife. Each of them has to address determination (mind) to accepting those obligations.

This however can be done only if the son too from the very beginning of the matrimonial life upholds the Islamic rules in managing the affairs of the family in which the broad interest of the family as a whole ranks higher than that of the couple. That indeed is a true love of the parents for their son if it motivates them wisely for the success of his matrimonial life which is yet to run its course after they are no longer around.

When the mother gives birth to a baby-girl, she knows the reality of life -that she is raising her up for her husband, and the daughter's love will be shared between her mother and her husband. And when it is a baby-boy there is no difference. His love is similarly to be shared by her with his wife. How beautiful it is that her loss in the share of love from the son is compensated by the arrival of grand children who more than fill the gap in love.

The wisdom lies in the parents facilitating the "greatest enjoyment" by their daughter- in-Iaw of her share of love from their son in order to secure for themselves the "greatest share" of his love; and then there are congenial smiles all around. There are prominent examples for emulation in this direction. This approach of appeasing the sentiments of the son is a master-piece for success because it accords well with the human nature.

But then there are examples, not a few, when a son is raised since childhood under the domination of the mother. Later the mother would decide what shirt the married son likes and should put on. He is made to depend on the mother, and after her departure, on the wife for his likes and dislikes. The son is raised to own a weak per- sodality and end a loser in both the situations in his life time. Ironically, the wife, later also as a mother-in-law, keeps the cycle turning in adherence to the culture of intimidating her daughter-in-Iaw by possessing the son away from his wife.

17- Smart Shoes and the Child

A person was leading an aged blind man by hand with a walking pace which was faster than the latter could conveniently keep up with. As the person was walking by the side of the blind man, he was not pulling but seen pushing the handicapped for- ward by his hand to make him maintain the fast pace together. It was apparent that either both were in a hurry for their destination or the person was undertaking the assignment not much to his liking.

The signs were that the person saw himself humbled by the assignment. It was strange that as the person walked on with the blind man, he produced sharp tapping noise with the hard tread of his shoes against the pavement. All this was a curious spectacle in the street. It appeared that the ostentatiously haughty walking style of the person was an, attempt to counter his embarrassment of the assignment. It perhaps meant to convey to other pedestrians in the street that he was different from the companion or better placed than him. He may have even wanted to avoid to reveal that the hand capped was his father. ;

In a society where almost all walk softly in the streets, we do come across some people, though few, who want to attract attention to themselves or have the feel of being firmer on the ground with the chest out by the sharp noise of their footsteps. Such persons are mostly well dressed and not advanced in age. The foot-steps serve to manifest and satisfy a pride if not arrogance.

Verses Are Enlightening

The Qur'an is not silent on this aspect of pride. The following pertinent verses are:

enlightening: "And do not walk about in the land exultingly, for you cannot cut through the earth nor reach the mountains in height. All this -the evil of it -is hateful in the sight of your Lord" (17:37, 38); " nor go about in the land exulting over much; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster. " (31 :18)

In my schooling days I knew of a certain family which did not permit their children to use shoes which produced sharp noise while walking though normally such shoes were not Worn; and I did not know the reason for it then. If it does somehow give the feel of superiority over others in the street who walk softly and humbly, then let us prevent Our children from cultivating the taste for such a feel. Such a false pride can grow roots and branch out into other spheres or traits.

If children when adults have to lead or escort their aged parents who happen to be needing such an assistance, the parents would want them to do so with the pride and the feel of goodness for the parents from the beats of the heart and not grudgingly with the pride for themselves from the beats of the regimental (soldier-Iike) foot- steps.

18- Childhood Trauma

The son aged seven was among the small group of relatives. friends and work-colleagues from a small local community who clustered around the grave. He was watching as the corpse of his father in a white shroud visible through the gaps between the wooden planks disappeared from view by the growing pile of soil. Except for one dim bulb light temporarily hung from a tree branch near the burial place, the cemetery was engulfed in darkness.

The young father was in his usual jovial spirit of a hurry for the work-place that morning when the boy bade Khuda Hafiz to him to catch the school bus which was to arrive any moment. That was the last time that he saw the father alive.

That death in the family and the burial was the first experience of the boy in his life. For the first time, he 'found' how heartless the relatives and friends of his father were. They took away 'his father' in a hurry to bury him and that too with well-rehearsed rituals and as promptly they dispersed, leaving him behind helpless in that awful and dark cemetery while his mother was wailing uncontrollably in protestation back at home. All this was as if they all had set themselves ready in advance for him to collapse and lay dead at the work-place.

Cold And Cruel

The boy at that tender age saw life as deceitful and betrayer. the community cold and cruel, and the world therefore bitter and wicked. He would rather keep his feelings of bitterness against the world to himself than convey them to his young widowed mother only to add to her agony of grief. Perhaps the mother too was part of all the wickedness of the community seeing her trying to make him resign to the sudden disappearance of his father.

The boy would feel anger well up inside him at the solace being offered to him by the relatives because he thought them to be cynic or hypocrites having seen their enthusiasm in the burial. He avoided contacts. He prolonged his absence in the school. The presence of female visitors at home gave him the pretext of a somber recluse in his room.

The scenes of the burial would flash vividly to torment him. The innocent scene of the old person shifting his thick reading glasses back up to the nose-bridge again and again as he went on with his hoarse recitation of the burial "talqeen" kept coming back to his mind again and again. He did not want to wipe the scenes off his mind because by doing so he would also be wiping off his bitterness which he did not want to.

All the indications were that the child has developed not depression or grief -but worse -a typical trauma, which when originating in childhood. is difficult to erase from one's mind completely even after the reality of this life becomes clear. It always keeps haunting in the adult life. It obscures the vision of the goodness of many aspects of, this world. It rebels at the thought of death being mercy. It becomes less easy to resign to the reality of this world which is attendant with the vicissitudes of life some of which are bitter and have to be accepted as normal.

The indications of a trauma vary from person to person who is afflicted according to the degrees of the stress and the circumstances which cause it.

Death Is Mercy

It is essential for the parents to realise that death can visit anyone of them suddenly and much sooner while their child may not have been prepared by them in advance about the reality of this world. He has to be made to understand and accept that this mortal life is a blessing only because it offers the soul an exit in the form of death to an eternal blissful life; hence death is mercy to be awaited and embraced. Death as a subject should not be taboo for discussion with the children in the family. What a moving saying of the holy Prophet in which he points out that death itself is an effective preaching (for those living.)

Apart from the discussion. the most effective preparation is to arrange for the child to have his first experience of witnessing the gusal (body washing), kafan (shrouding) and dafan (burial) of a member of the community, not closely related, under agreeable circumstances while the father is with him explaining the significance of the series of rituals.

Hadhrat Ali (a.s) has also said: "People are the enemy of what they do not know". No wonder that the boy thought the world which is characterised by the death of near and dear ones is enemy because he was not let to know about death -as being an avenue of freedom for the soul from the interim and constrained mortal life to the eternal blissful life.

19-Slip of Expletives in Conversation - As a Habit

An agent who was supplying certain brands of goods on credit to his clients based in the interior towns during the colonial rule found that he could no longer do so. The company which was the sole importer of the popular brands had cancelled the arrangement for sales on credit to the agent. The reason was a misunderstanding with the clerical staff of the company for which the agent was not to blame. The Sales Manager was a son of the Managing Director of the family-company. He would not see the agent who was anxious to clear the misunderstanding.

There was a distinct fear that the agent would lose his clients to other agents. He therefore confided his problem to a friend with a request that the friend talks to the Manager.

As the friend did not know the Manager personally, he first made some discreet inquiries about him. He learnt that the Manager was a graduate, made decisions on behalf of the Managing Director and was keeping extremely busy during the office hours. He often referred his visitors whom he did not know to his subordinates. A call at his residence after the dinnertime was likely to result in an opportunity of a meeting with him. It did.

Apologetic Approach.

The pompous set up of the lounge where the agent and his friend were seated added to the already intimidating atmosphere under which they were to explain the misunderstanding. Both had decided earlier that their approach to the subject would be meek and apologetic.

The formal introduction was interrupted by a telephone call to the Manager, followed by one more after a short interval. It was obvious that one call was of a business nature involving some hard bargaining and the other from a friend enthusing the Manager in a friendly jovial conversation. However, on both occasions of the telephone conversation, the language of the Manager was punctuated now and then by the slip of expletives (foul words) from his mouth obviously as a habit -apparently without his being even aware of the slip. Encounter And Not Entreaty. .

Suddenly and strangely enough, the haunting effect of the previous intimidation on the friend disappeared. He gained a sense of superiority. Encounter instead of entreaty became the impulsive key to the opening of the talk by the friend when they came down to it.

The weaknesses of the staff in the Sales Department were pointed out to the Manager without fear. All this was said firmly, however in a language which was decent and respectful when it came to choice of words, in contrast to the language used by the Manager in his telephones conversation. The encounter paid off through the sense of superiority.

The habit of uncontrollable slips of expletives is a liability. A host of such a loathsome habit can never be also a host of a refined and polished or a commanding personality' however educated or rich or both he may be. Such persons are seen small. This habit begins either in childhood at home by the child seeing his father deeply smirched in a similar habit or through his bad company of friends in the school or sports ground while the parents fail to nip it in the bud when it begins to show up at home. Equally Worse.

There is also a culture, equally worse, of a liberal use of slang words or phrases I which wrongly appear to be figurative. They are in common use without the awareness that they can also convey obscene meanings.

Children when adult will be judged also not by who or whose sons they are but by their habitual language. However, those who drop expletives by an uncontrollable habit as they speak are not worthy of even being judged. They fare poorly in a society where the road to recognition, credibility, matrimony and trust is paved with ethics. A respectable language is part of ethics. :

c ,~. Watch a disorganised group of boys playing at an open space in a residential area I during a weekend or a school holiday. Often a quarrel erupts in the Course of the rivalry in a sports game. Note that while almost all would shout at one another in heated arguments, only a few would be seen dragging the arguments later into an exchange of a foul language if the quarrel remained unresolved and the rest would begin only to look on in silence with some embarrassment. They are different. They are culturally not orphaned.

Now if the difference seen in the example of the behaviour among the boys is bad, it will be much worse if the behaviour is allowed to take roots as the boys grow up as adults. There will always be a price for the lack of a polished personality however high their station of life. The price is bigger if the station of life is low.

20- Foster Charitable Nature in the Child

A poor widow went to someone's house for a small financial aid. She was known to the family; and that was not her first visit. However, on this occasion her small daughter was with her.

A child of the family slightly older than the visitor's daughter immediately collected his junk of toys and brought them forth to show to the other child and play them with her. She took great fancy in one particular piece of his toys. It was not in a good shape though and should have been thrown away long before. However, the child retrieved his toy from her hand as the widow stood up to leave with her.

The widow's daughter behaved normally as a small child who craves for toys and so did the other child who wants to cling to his. However, the miserly possessiveness of the child in the family was normal only because the parents had failed to do what was normal on their part: -to teach him being charitable. He therefore would not let the toy go when asked for by anyone of his age or told to do so by the parents.

He would however abandon it later with little interest in it -in this case, after the orphan had left. Sadakaat (giving alms and charity) even under difficult circumstances is a sign of nobility of a family. It is also believed to be a good divine shield against impending calamities. It averts calamities by divine grace without one being aware that they" were imminent.

When Old and Infirm.

The parents therefore should foster in their child the habit or character of being charitable and generous. They too will reap its benefits from the child when he is adult because, if he has been raised to be compassionate and generous to others, he would be more so to his parents when they are old and infirm -and perhaps needy also.

There are instead some sad, examples of children witnessing their parents driving away the seekers of alms or charity without offering any, or humiliating them while giving it when the holy Qur'an forbids this. "And as for him who asks, do not chide (him). (93: 10). The Qur'anic word for "chide" in the verse is "tanhar" which is strong for admonition as used In the verse 17:23 with regard to scolding aged parents.

The child can be rooted in the nature of giving charity generously by their own parents setting examples for emulation, and explaining to him its obligations as " a duty ordained by Allah " (9:60), and its spiritual benefits.

The child should be allowed to hold certain small amounts of money for regular sadakaat under the supervision of the parents. Certain cases of sadakaat can be arranged through the hands of the child physically. A child belongs to where his child- hood memories linger. Giving sadakaat becomes a part of his memories linking his parents after they are deceased.

Portions However Small

When making donations to charitable or religious institutions, some portions, how- ever small, of the donations are paid in the name of the child and the receipts in his name are handed over to him. He may want to show them off to his friends or the children in the neighbourhood in the beginning when this tradition is first put into practice.

A conducive environment cannot be created for the child to learn to be charitable if it is a tradition of the family to be charitable to others generally but absolutely not to their house-servants, whose welfare is the religious responsibility of the employer. A portrayal of such an inexplicable contradiction to the child undermines the effect of the whole exercise.

A worse example for the child is to see one parent reproving the other for giving alms or meeting the needs of others in charity. Even still worse as an example is for a parent to stereotype (generalise) alms seekers as pretenders or fake or raise doubts about their eligibility for alms.

A person who stretches out his hands for charity or financial aid is already a victim of a humiliating loss of self-respect, The holy Prophet wants us not to suffer him a further humiliation by spurning those hands. The child will surely ponder positively if the parents are charitable enough to him to explain the strings of humiliation suffered by the needy -to cultivate sympathy for them, Allah's Wrath.

The holy Qur'an is eloquent about Allah's wrath against those who are miserly, as shown by the following few verses out of other similar verses:

"They who taunt those of the faithful who give their alms freely, and those who give to the extent of their earnings, and scoff at them, Allah will pay them back their scoffing, and they shall have a painful chastisement" (9: 79),

"And as for him who is niggardly and considers himself free from need (of Allah); And rejects the best, We will facilitate for him the difficult end; And his wealth will not avail him when he perishes, (92 : 8,9, 10, 11 ) "And let not those who are niggardly in giving away that which Allah has granted them out of His grace, deem that it is good for them; nay, it is worse for them they shall have that whereof they were niggardly made to cleave to their necks on the resurrection day""",…," (3:180) "Those who are niggardly and bid people to be niggardly and hide what Allah has i given them out of His grace; and We have prepared for the unbelievers a disgraceful chastisement" (4:37) .

'Behold! you are those who are called upon to spend in Allah's way, but among you I are those who are niggardly, and whoever is niggardly is niggardly against his own soul;" (47:38),

Not teaching or wanting to teach their children to be charitable itself is a sign of miserly (bukhal) on the part of the parents, There are said to be those in whose proverbial dictionary the word "give" does not exist while the word "take" is repetitive. If one of them, having fallen from a roving boat, has to be rescued from drowning, the effective pleading to him is not: "quick! ! 'give' me your hand" but: "take" my hand" for his own successful rescue!

Equally important is to reach the child, by setting examples, the Islamic values of the maintenances of cordial relation with the relatives, especially those with lesser means despite being at odds periodically, all the context of benevolence and generosity. Such a relation often pays off handsomely in one's lifetime in this world also. Allah swt makes the relatives the cause or agency for the grant of His grace.

21- Childhood Nickname can Stunt Personality

A girl

confided to her friend that a proposal for her marriage had 'been received by her parents and that she was yet to be consulted before a decision was made. After congratulating her for the matrimonial prospects, the friend inquired the name of the suitor and then burst into a hilarious laughter when it was given to her much to the embarrassment of the girl.

The boy appeared to be popularly known by a funny nickname which was attached to his name.

There was nothing that the boy could do about it. It stuck firmly as if it was stated in his Birth Certificate. The girl could not fancy herself being known in the community as Mrs. of the husband bearing that funny nickname. Her children too who were to follow from the marriage and would include daughters would suffer bearing that funny surname!

Strangely the girl's dislike welled up in her for any boy with that nickname when she had not even known or met the boy yet. It would however be silly on her part to give to her parents that silly nickname as the not-very-silly reason for her refusal of the proposal.

Later when the couple met according to the arrangements made by the parents for each to assess each other's liking, she felt, or she thought that she felt. much to her relief, that she did not like him after all, as she had prayed even before having seen him, though to all others in the family he was a suitable young suitor with an average likeable stature and complexion, apart from his other good merits. She tried hard not to link her dislike of his fair appearance to his funny nickname.

How should the parents of the girl handle the refusal of their daughter when they take her decision as sincere though surprisingly a wrong one with regard to such a goodproposal?

Life-long Torture

The practice of slapping nick-names, though demeaning, is not uncommon in any community. However, nicknames which are funny or outright abhorrent are a life-long torture for the victims (bearers) unless they choose to resign to them in order to get on with their lives. That would mean accepting and answering to the nick-names when called or addressed.

Some of the nick-names are the type which is so derogatory that one would hesitate to repeat, in order to clear the doubt, when the bearers introduce themselves by their nicknames. Strangely enough" a fair number of cases of nick-naming originate at home.

One common example is of a tradition which perhaps still exists. The grandfather or an elderly person in the family fondly allots nicknames to the small children in the family, such as would befit their appearance, complexion or other physical peculiarities. They then become known in the family more by such names, however funny or embarrassing these may happen to be, than by their real names, and later on in the community also during their adult life. Such a nickname is likely to become later in the life a Substitute for the family-surname also or attached to the surname for the victims and also for their Children to be borne.

There is yet one more example. Some older children, in rare cases, have a temporary weakness of bed-wetting. There is a tendency of the parents slapping a pertinent nickname to such a child in the false assumption that it will humiliate him and therefore deter bed-wetting. Instead of sympathising for the weakness, the child is humiliated, as intended, and agonised further only to prolong the weakness. What is Worse, however, is that the nickname assumes permanency even after the weakness has disappeared.

The holy Prophet said: "Give good names to the children". There are cases where this advice is followed rightly only to be Spurned rudely by supplanting the very good name with a nickname often by no other than the parents themselves.

Odd Exception

A person with an abhorrent nickname sees himself as an odd exception with regard to his social status. He has the nagging feeling of having been debased and made odd in the society. It nags him as a slur on his personality. "i.e however resigns to it because he finds that there is nothing else he can do about. To resist it is to intensify its agony.

No wonder that the holy Qur'an has specifically prohibited calling others by nick- names in the verse 49;11; "0 you who believe! and do not find fault with your own people nor call one another by nicknames; evil is a bad name after faith, and whoever does not turn (lamm yatub), these it is that are the unjust". A person is therefore deemed to be sinfully wronged each time he is addressed or referred to by a nickname which offends him.

As nick-naming is common in a society which chooses to tolerate the practice, children have to be taught to be alert not to attract or fall for it. It is a constant exercise of caution and tact. To ignore a nickname when it is given is being wise, while to, respond to it is being stupid. To show anger amounts to offering oneself as a source of fun to other children and is a guarantee for the nickname to remain stuck for life-time. There are examples of deceaseds being identified by their names with-nick- names on the grave's head-stone.

The advice to the parents therefore is not to allow nicknaming at home. They should also brief the child how to be circumspect to ward off any such a possibility outside the home; and how to ignore and defeat a start of any nickname. More importantly, the parents should instruct the child not to call others by their nicknames.

The extended family should also avoid giving cousins similar names under a common surname. When a similarity of names exists in a local community, one child is then distinguished from the other by a nickname.

22- Disciplinarian Parents on the Wrong Footing

Arguments between father and son are not uncommon in a family. However, on one such occasion this argument between a father and his adolescent son was more energetic. The energy was in the form of more 'heat' to intensify the argument than ht' to pacify it. The argument came to an abrupt stop when the son suddenly blurted: "You have always showed a dislike for me - more when I was a child".

The father later questioned the mother of the son whether he was not affectionate ugh to their son when a child, to buy him things he wanted by stretching his own limited means, - and whether he did not generally act as a good father to the son during his childhood.

And then the father asked a very pertinent question: Was he not a good disciplinarian father out of affection for his child? "Disciplinarian" he was, but the attempt was discipline not the child but also the nature in the child over which the child himself j no control, and therefore the affection for the child was seen by the child as a like for him.

Bundle Of Energy

A child gains and therefore expends the physical energy more than the mental one. is virtually a bursting bundle of physical energy. He cannot keep himself still for I long period of time. When he wants to walk, he finds himself running. He would instead of walking briskly to the refrigerator for a can of juice. He would sprint ahead and then wait for his parents to catch up with him when they all stroll together- in the street. Even in the state of sleep, the child shows his bursting energy. He changes his sides quickly flinging his limbs in the process in his sleep.

While on a pilgrimage, watch the young children who join their parents in the congregation of salaat-al-sub'h in the haram of Mecca or Medina when the recitation from the Qur'an during Qiyaam is long. They, though young for the obligatory prayers, but being from the foreign countries, join the parents in the prayers. Their hands and legs cannot remain still while the long recitation from the Qur'an continues. With some there are also sudden body-jerks as if caused by a prick of a pin. This is a typical nature of a child; a healthy one.

I Now what can be more hateful to the child than to be made to sit still and quiet in a corner as a punishment or for want of silence in the house while the father is entertaining visitors or quietly engaged in reading news-papers. The father even forgets for some moments the restraint which he has imposed on the child.

How unkind it is to the child when he is made to sit erect on a chair with his eyes glued boringly into a book while he can hear his friends, among the children in the neighbourhood, expending their extra energy by playing in the backyard of the house, and he is normally with them as usual at that time of the day or week- end.

Dictates Of His Nature

,Why should the child be subjected to sitting still and quiet for even half an hour when his productive concentration even in a lively class in the school is not that much long, and for good reason. A child may be watching his favourite programme of sports on the TV, and yet, despite his intense engrossment, he would suddenly stand up and go through a solo motion of imitating the players in short spells of energy-releasing- stunts, only to sit back and resume watching the programme. Here is a healthy child responding to the dictates of the nature in him while the parents want to discipline him against that nature.

When the parents choose to be disciplinarian on the wrong footing, the likely reaction from the child can be either to rebel against any such measures of discipline which militate against a child's nature or to tolerate the measures only to misconstrue, " them as the parents' dislike or indeed hatred for the child. Both are an unhealthy way of manifesting parental concern or affection. The memory keeps lingering when the childhood experiences are emotionally unpleasant.

One more caution. Engaging the child in long sessions of prayers regularly with adults or like them is most likely' to develop in him a dislike for the prayers while the intention for such engagement is to make him to like the prayers. The reason for this is no different from what has been discussed hereinabove.

So when the child is heard jumping noisily under the shower while also shouting and splashing in the bath- room, bring on the face not a frown in silent protest of his heady behaviour. but a broad smile in silent acknowledgment of his healthy behaviour.

Of course, the expression on the face can be anything but smiling when or if the behaviour exceeds the acceptable norm of a child's nature. And that is when the disciplinarian parents are on the right footing with their disciplining to earn the child' respect and not hatred!

To each of us, childhood isn't a matter of moments but memories. , '