Parents have a responsibility to bind the family. Upbringing plays an important part on how close off-spring will be with their parents and among themselves in later life. If they have grown up comfortably in a cold, detached home environment, the "hotel-type" home, they can hardly be expected to take much interest in family affairs later on.
Parents need to spend time with their children daily - Quality Time. Quality time means a time of day or night when neither of them or their children are tired or occupied with other things. Try to fix a time daily so that a regular pattern can be set. Sit down as a family. Talk. Discuss. Ask children about school. How did the day go. What did they learn. What was exciting, etc. Tell them about your own work, your day. Children are good talkers. They get excited. They need to express themselves; their feelings and emotions. Give them this opportunity to talk. They need it. You will be surprised how much you do not know about your child's life.
Parents should never regard this daily get-together as a small or unimportant part of their lives. It is VITAL. This togetherness will convince your children that you are interested in them. This will motivate and encourage them to perform better in all what they do.
This daily get-together will also lead to the BONDING OF THE FAMILY, which is so important for the family and the children, especially. Today the family unit is slowly disintegrating all over the world. What is more sad is that it is even happening to Muslim homes and families.
A strongly-bonded family will produce a stable and strong child. Otherwise the child will suffer psychological disorders that become progressively worse. Such a child eventually becomes a lost cause; a liability to his/her family and to society at large. The implications for society in a neglected child are enormous. This is very sad and unfortunate for the neglected child. It is also dangerous for the future of the child. Such a child will easily be influenced by outsiders and alien influences, as s/he will not find fulfilment in the home. Such a child could end-up becoming a drug-addict or even a criminal. Parents may be in for a rude shock and could possibly realise the harm only after it is too late to really reverse the damage. May Allah save our children from such a day.
A good way to get going with the family-evening is to assist children with their school work. Get them to bring their school bag and books along. Look at their work, even if you do not understand much! Ask them a few questions about the work they have learnt; from their books. Help them along with their Islamic Studies as well. Listen keenly to their Qur'an recitation lesson. Ensure they have learnt all Islamic Studies lessons for the next day. Get them to complete other school work.
Finally, talk to them for a few minutes about good manners, good behaviour, the importance of discipline and hardwork. Narrate to them some interesting anecdote from which they could learn a lesson or moral. If possible read to them for a few minutes from a good Islamic book or Kitaab. All of this will go a very long way to developing your child into a highly successful adult.
Mufti Zubair Bayat