Wide Earth Smallholding

Wide Earth Smallholding

And Allaah has made for you the earth a wide expanse.(Qur'aan- 71:19)

Parenting in Crisis: Creative Parenting Part Five

As many of you know, my family is facing a time of uncertainty in a number of ways. First of all, my son Mujaahid is in a village that is under attack by rebel forces in Yemen. Secondly, we are facing a possible transition and move, and have yet to find a place to transition or move to. We are looking for community, and space to grow and expand our homesteading dreams, and a place where we can teach and share what we know with others. We are looking, and praying, for that place now. There are other things going on as well, mash’Allaah, that make life just a little edgy, and we place our trust in Allaah, knowing that there is good in every situation for the Muslims, and that He is the best of planners. This is not the first trial we have faced, and it most likely will not be the last, so we have patience and do our best to deal with the bumps in the road as best we can. What can we do, as parents, to help our children deal with those bumps as well? What creative and proactive approach can we take to help them understand and work through them all? Here are some of my ideas and methods; insh’Allaah some of them will work for you.

This is our last home in Yemen, seen at sunrise.
Take some time at bedtime just for you and your children

1. Children are smart. They are intuitive and bright and observant, and even though you think you are keeping things from them, you most likely are not. They can tell when something is up, and look to you to see how to deal with whatever it is. Don’t be afraid of this; rather, look to the best way to approach an issue with them and simply do it. Explain to them what is happening in a way that is appropriate to their ages and different levels of understanding. Don’t frighten them, just enlighten them. They don’t need all the details, but just the fact that you are talking to them about something makes it less worrisome for them. You are showing them that you trust them and view them as an integral part of the family unit.

2. Ask for their ideas and advice. Okay, to be honest, you won’t be able to use much of what they say (for example, that if you can’t afford groceries you could eat grass) but it makes them feel better to be able to contribute in some way. And they do actually come up with some really great ideas sometimes! Children can often look at things in a way that we do not, and something they say may even get you thinking in a new direction towards a solution you would otherwise not come up with. I also ask for their input and ideas for things that we can do together- once weekly expeditions or projects or whatever. They almost always come up with things that I would not have thought of!

3. Create a place of security and love. Not a physical place, but a heart-place. Children should always feel secure in your love for them, and their place in your life. Then when things go topsy turvy all around, they don’t feel the reverberations quite as much. I remember when we were in Damaaj and the Houthis were attacking, I went to great lengths to keep a sense of normalcy in their lives as much as possible while also making sure that we spent extra time together and said the things that needed to be said often. You know those things, things like a simple “I love you.”

4. Encourage them to express themselves in beneficial ways. As a little kid who bottled an awful lot up inside of myself, I am speaking from experience here. This is where creativity comes in. I encourage my children to keep journals, and they go through periods where they write in them a lot, and others where they are hardly opened. But they are there for them when they feel the need to work something out. I have noticed that some of them do a lot of drawing in their journals, while others write more. I enjoy using prompts with them, but I also remind them just to write in them at random. Make sure you have art supplies on hand: colored paper, yarn, glue, glitter, colors, paints, colored pencils, markers, beads, clay- look for sales and stock up, and have at least some supplies available for them to use as desired or needed.

5. Set aside a time that is just for them. For us, this is traditionally after naptime. Now this is not to say that we don’t spend a lot of time together outside of this period, because we do. We homeschool, and I am almost always at home, so we are together most of the time. But this time is just time for us to sit and connect. We like to drink tea, maybe have a treat, and talk over things that are happening, things we have read or seen, things we would like to do. I almost always crochet or do something else with my hands at the same time, and the girls often follow suit. Right now they are making scarves, fingerless gloves, and hats to sell, and I am making a bag for my sister. It’s amazing how fast projects move along when we work on them every day. If we miss the after naptime slot for whatever reason, we try for an hour or so before bed. Which brings us to the last point.

6. Take time at bedtime. My daddy used to do this with me. I would get into bed, and my mother would turn off the light, and I would lay quietly until my dad would come peek in the door. He would spend a few minutes just talking to me, usually about what we would do the next day. I remember looking forward to seeing his silhouette against the hall light, and feeling better after he closed the door. When Mujaahid was small I took this a step farther. Every night I would tuck him into his bed and we would go over what we did that day, what he enjoyed most about the day, and what he would like to do the next day. We would cuddle up and remember and dream, and we would both feel better afterward. I have done it with all of the children since, as much as possible. In fact, we just started doing this again after a lapse, and it has made all of us feel better and bedtime a happy time all the way around.

How about you? How do you help your children deal with change and chaos in their little worlds? Comment below, and let us know!

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10 comments

  1. Bismillaahi Ar Rahmaani Ar Raheem
    Assalaamu alaikoum wa rahmatullaah wa barakatuh
    Jazakallahu khayran for sharing…awww it is very inspiring and encouraging and interesting and lovely …I love the idea of teaching the children to be environment-conscious while boosting their creativity and their goodwill to benefit the whole world for the sake of Allaah.. Allahummah barik!. I feel my passion for homeschooling is growing everyday, such a blessing alhamdulillaah! My salams to all, fi amanillaah,

    1. Wa Aleikum Assalam Umm Yasmeen! Wa Jazak. I am really passionate about homeschooling as well, mash’Allaah. We have periodically tried other things, but we always come back to it, and it has been a great blessing for the children and myself. BarakAllaahufeekee!

  2. salam alaykoem sister Khadija,

    Barakallahu feek for you lovely posts they always stay in my head even after I read them. My friend also homeschools her kids but my two older kids go to school, but salafi school Alhamdullilah so they get the proper education concerning aqeedah and fiqh. Yes I respect your homeschooling your kids but for me homeschooling my kids is just to difficult. I understand you want your kids around but don’t you think that sometimes sending them to school gives them a chance to socialize with other kids and brings them out of confinement of being at home? I guess homeschooling is either your calling or it’s not! Anyway I’d love to hear your ideas about it and I send my salams to all your family and as my mother is an American like you and I was brought up in America for a big portion of my youth I’d also like to congratulate you on your coming to Islam and say I love you fillah.

    Ma Salama Sadiah Umm Mohamed

    1. Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
      The subject of socialization has been written about a lot, in books and magazines, and blogs. I have found that we have success in making our home and our family the center of our children’s lives, a place of safety, security, knowledge, fun and companionship. None of the children have suffered at all by this approach and indeed, it has strengthened them in ways that are too numerous to count. We have also taught them the importance and the criterion for choosing companions, and alhamdulillah, they choose them wisely and well- and we keep an eye on it all, mash’Allaah, as we are responsible for them, not teachers or daycare providers or other people’s parents or whoever, mash’Allaah. They don’t see their home as a confinement, but as a place of light, knowledge, warmth, love and fun, alhamdulillah!
      Alhamdulillah, I am happy that you reached out and wrote, and i look forward to hearing from you again! We send our salaams to you as well, insh’Allaah, and barakAllaahufeekum, and I love you as well for the sake of the One Whom you love me for!

      1. Salam Alaykoem Sister,
        Thank you for responding to all my comments and sorry if I’m overdoing it or whatever but I just really like your whole natural and educated approach to things. I’m not accusing you of confining your children or the like, if you’re comfortable with home schooling and it works then that’s good. I’m not trying to throw my responsibility on teachers but somethings we are capable of doing and some we aren’t. Take me for example my husband is gone all day, I live with my in laws in a not spacious place, I guess I’m just upset because there’s a lot of things I would have liked to do with my kids but that I couldn’t. It’s hard when you’re practicing and you’re surrounded by people who aren’t. I like learning myself and taking interest in different people my mother also always likes to be alone and meditate. I guess my personality just doesn’t fit being around my kids all the time. We should be positive and try and hear each other out, I respect your decision, if homeschooling suits you and it works best then why not but if it’s difficult to home school your kids then at least to find the best school.

        1. Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah,
          No you are not overdoing it, mash’Allaah. I enjoy having these discussions through the blog, alhamdulillah. You are absolutely correct, mash’Allaah. First and foremost we have to understand what our responsibilities towards our children are, and then we must fulfill them as best as we are able. Insh’Allaah Allaah will make it easy for the Salafis to establish more schools, so that the children can go and benefit from them. I am actually working on a full school curriculum for Taalib al-Ilm Educational Resources, based upon the idea that should not teach “secular’ studies, and then “Islamic Studies” like the two are separate things. Rather, the whole curriculum should be based upon Islaam, insh’Allaah. I am hoping to get a few more people on board to assist in this, so that we can move forward with it more quickly, insh’Allaah.
          BarakAllaahufeekee Sadiah!

          1. Barakallahu feek sister for all your feed back and may Allah t’ala grant your endeavor success I think it sounds like a MashaAllah great idea, Ya Rabbi why didn’t they think of it sooner and then we wouldn’t be stuck with these horrible anasheed books. Djazakallahu ghairan for taking out the time to communicate with me may Allah grant give you tawfeeq, I know it is coming from a sincere and genuine place.

            Love and take care Sadiah

  3. While our homeschooling in this area is a tad more “hands on,” LOL, it will be rather exciting to compare notes! After all, the chosen location is almost as high as our elevation, growing zone is the same, climate is also semi arid, and we are just an hour away from the meeting of the Great Plains and the Rockies. I must say that if you ended up there, I’d be inclined to take a 5 hour drive…and abscond you!

    As for that mud brick business, do you think M&M Enterprises would like to hire out for the summer to build our straw bale perimeter wall?

    1. Ours is hands on as well, just different stages of the journey, alhamdulillah- and you never know what Allaah has in store for us, my friend! I am totally up for a kidnapping, insh’Allaah. In fact, I would meet you halfway.
      They would love to build it, and perhaps they will, insh’Allaah! I think I can negotiate a good deal for you. Maybe.

  4. “They don’t see their home as a confinement, but as a place of light, knowledge, warmth, love and fun, alhamdulillah!”

    Alhamdulillaah ,may Allaah reward you for sharing the feelings from your home because it is truly awakening. I know that the house is the main place of the woman but I am now realizing that you can truly enjoy it and not seeing it like a burden. I was thinking of that the other day in your class because I used to get anxiety in the house after the birth of my first daughter. I am now working to make home our favorite place in sha Allaah. I am also more convinced of homeschooling than ever, I don’t want to miss the experience of teaching and learning with my daughters while they are growing next to me, I want the full experience!…
    really please keep sharing may Allaah reward you so much.

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