There is no doubt that parents play an effective role in preventing their children from being undutiful. As it is known that prevention is better than cure, we advise noble parents who play the greatest role in this important process, to prepare youth and prevent them from being undutiful.
The family is the first incubator where the adolescent grows up and receives an upbringing. Hence, it has a far-reaching effect on the upbringing of children. It is sufficient to know that children act in a way that conforms to their environment. So, the environment forms the way in which the child learns his behavior. If adolescents grow up with a sense of righteousness and gratitude, undoubtedly, this would greatly affect them.
The following are some of the important means that parents should use while building the wall to prevent undutifulness:
1- Extreme warning: An extreme warning lies in bringing up the children to be undutiful. Perhaps some people wonder about this warning. Yes, there are parents who plant the bomb which soon explodes. For example, some families express happiness when the child grows and is able to speak and move. Consequently, they tell him to beat or insult one of the parents. They mix jest with seriousness causing the disruption of the child’s moral standards. They are not aware that they are implanting in the innocent little child, at a very young age, disrespect to parents. This is the way it has always been, and always will be.
2- Keenness on teaching the child the parents’ favors: It is a key step on the way of preventing undutifulness. It is to raise the children to be accustomed to respecting and realizing the status and favor of their parents. Ignorance of the status of parents and consequent punishment for being undutiful to them will lead the children to be undutiful.
3- To be equally dutiful to you: Some parents are trapped in discrimination by favoring some of their children to others. This is plain injustice. Therefore, Sharee‘ah (Islamic legislation) strongly forbids this matter and warns of its bad consequences. When Basheer ibn Sa‘d, may Allah be pleased with him, came to the Prophet, , to give his son An-Nu‘maan a gift; the Prophet, , asked: “‘Did you give all your children gifts like An-Nu‘maan?’ He said, ‘No.’ The Prophet said: ‘So, look for another witness. Do you not like them (your children) to be equally dutiful to you?’” [Al-Albaani: Saheeh]
Steps of treatment
After dealing with the gravity of undutifulness and suggesting some methods to prevent it, we should talk about the steps of treatment, which are:
1- Virtues and punishments: This is one of the foremost steps which the person who seeks dutifulness should have in mind and realize. One could change from one state to another if he finds a strong motive. Undoubtedly, knowing and remembering the fruits of dutifulness will be one of the best incentives to practice it. Similarly, contemplating the bad consequences of undutifulness and the resulting distress and grief in the worldly life before the Hereafter will help one be dutiful and keep away from undutifulness.
2- Good friends: You should have good friends who correct your mistakes and inform you about the consequences of your actions. If good company is sought in the course of worldly journeys and travel, what should be the case in the travel of the Hereafter where the believer is in greater need to have a righteous helper and an agreeable companion who would be, in relation to his friend, like two hands that wash the other.
They are righteous people who guide you to the way of righteousness and direct you with their kind words if you commit an undutiful or a semi-undutiful act.
Hence, it becomes mandatory to get rid of bad friends who are the reason behind every catastrophe. You should know, especially in this stage of adolescence, that friends are chosen by the adolescent according to his desire and inclination. The grave problem is that this test often comes spontaneously where the child grows up with a neighbor at school or university. This friend may become the reason behind his undutifulness through absorbing behavior due to frequent interaction over a period of time. So, you should select your friends cautiously and deliberately.
3- O people of the faith: here, you should ask yourself: Are you faithful? Perhaps, you would quickly answer in the affirmative. This is a good reply; however, to reach such a degree of faithfulness you should read some questions, if your answer is in the affirmative, then, enjoy your faithfulness. Otherwise, you should do your best to make your answers in the affirmative.
– Do you frequently remember your parents’ favors?
– Do you frequently thank them for their care and upbringing?
– Do you supplicate Allah The Almighty for them in your prayers, going, coming, with your friends and alone?
– Did you ever think about doing something for them and expressing your love and faithfulness?
– Do you quickly blame yourself and rush to serve them whenever you feel that you have fallen short to fulfill their rights?
This is the tip of the iceberg of questions which are well known to faithful people. Subhaan Allah (Glory be to Allah!), when a friend does us a favor, we remember it, keep treating him kindly and speaking well of him in his absence by remembering his good qualities. How come that we do not adopt this attitude— which we adopt towards our friends— towards our parents who sacrifice their time so that we can enjoy our times? They spent their money so that we become rich. They spent many nights crying because of our illness. Many times they were preoccupied from life with our needs. There are many of their supplications for us which were answered. How many times do kind parents sit watching their children dreaming of the day on which they become successful Muslim youth, with people delighting in them? By Allah, these are only a few matters to remember. Is it not time for us to become faithful?
1- Understanding the stage: first, I would like to ask why do adolescents clash with their parents. What are the reasons which drive him to argue after he was tractable during his childhood? Why does he tend to independence and individuality in taking decisions?
It seems that the answer is summarized in the fact that the adolescent is living through a new stage. The more parents are able to understand this, the more dutifulness they will get and vice versa. Missing understanding between parents and children is the gravest matter that culminates in undutifulness to parents. Children want to build their own life according to their style and that of their friends. On the other hand, parents look from their own point of view and through their own perspectives of their customs. Hence, each party is on a different wavelength. The deeper understanding of this stage the parents have, the more capable they will be of dealing according to methodology and awareness. By the permission of Allah, it will result in dutifulness to parents and in having good manners.
We previously clarified that the adolescent in this stage wants to fulfill some needs such as security, acceptance, feeling responsible, and so on. The more the parents are aware of these needs, the stronger and more successful the relation will be. Undoubtedly, such success is topped by dutifulness to parents. Hence, we need to read a lot on the needs of adolescents and how to deal with them.
2- Stop the conflict: it is important that parents understand that their children during this stage need to feel that their parents value them highly and know that they have moved from childhood to youth. In many cases, we find that the family’s stance towards the child, which may degrade or mock him, increases the child’s tendency to resort to his friends and compound their influence and effect on him.
3- Feeling rejected followed by loss: It is noteworthy that whenever the adolescent feels acceptance and esteem, he loves his parents more and more. Therefore, the more we accept the basic personal traits of our adolescents, the more they feel at ease with us and their desire to spend time at home increases. Undoubtedly, such a feeling of acceptance and esteem leads to a similar result with the children.