Raising Muslim Children In Western Society

Raising children is a task in itself but raising children to be abiding, respectful Muslims in western society is another ball game. Many Muslims migrated from the Middle East  in the last 50 years. Our parents grew up in a world that no longer exists which is why we can’t raise our children the same way we were raised. 

First and foremost, we as parents need to understand that in order to teach our children the true meaning of Islam we need to understand it ourselves. Sometimes we put too much pressure on our children and expect them to know all the answers to faith based questions. If your child is asking questions that means they’re interested in learning more about the creator and that’s a beautiful thing. Parents can easily put off their children from Islam by giving them answers such as, “you should know”, “look it up”, “we believe that just because we do”. Educate yourselves in order to better help educate your children about Islam. Knowing the difference between culture and religion is so important when raising your children in the U.S./Canada. 

Here are a few obstacles your child may face being raised as a Muslim in western society:

  • Not being around people who understand or know about Islam.
  • Being singled out based on looks, dress (such as the hijab) and language. 
  • Being around haram things that are considered normal in western culture such as pre martial relationships, pork, and alcohol.
  • Wanting to make friends and fit in but not knowing how to connect if not by the above. 
  • Stricter rules for Muslim parent households such as curfew, no boy friends and so on making it harder to be considered “normal” in friend groups.

Muslim parents from the Middle East didn’t have to experience the above. They were blessed to go to a school with all Muslims. Wearing the hijab was considered the norm, Arabic was the spoken language and traditions/customs were basically the same throughout peers. 

How can you as a parent raise your Muslim child in western society?

  • Listen. It may seem simple but actively listening to your child and understanding their emotions is important. Don’t brush off their feelings and concerns. 
  • Trust. Trust your child. Constantly saying, “no” to your child actually makes them more rebellious. If there is trust between you and your child, then he/she will be more open about things happening in their life. Unfortunately some Muslim children have to hide the fact that they’re studying with a male friend, or wanting to go to prom from their parents. These things can be done respectfully and aren’t haram.
  • Understand. Understand the difference between religion and culture. There’s a huge difference between “haram” and “3ab” which means inappropriate.
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