You should teach your child the things that he/she needs to do to develop proper conduct. This only occurs through sound upbringing and guidance. Parents should be role models to their children because children will not learn to be honest except from an honest educator and they will not learn to be truthful except from a truthful educator, and so on…….
The spirit of the Islamic upbringing is anchored on moral upbringing, and doesn’t mean neglecting other aspects. All matters related to your child should be cared for, since your child needs physical, mental, spiritual and academic strength.
Morality was a Sunnah of our holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Salam) and he was the pinnacle of morality.
The moral development of the child begins from an early stage and will continue until he/she matures, which is the basis of religious assignment and bearing responsibility. People are born with a natural tendency to goodness, and the environment plays its role in shaping this inclination that comes naturally. The proper upbringing of your child helps bolster the natural inclination to goodness while the corrupt upbringing of the child erases the features of goodness and increases the tendency to evil and corruption.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, it was narrated that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Salam)said that every human being is born with a sound innate inclination to the truth (that is Islam), yet it is his/her parents who convert him to Judaism, Christianity or Magianism.
The development of morality can be divided into 3 stages, which is in line with the dividing growth into 3 stages: childhood stage, the stage of middle and late childhood, and the adult and adolescent stage.
The 1st stage of moral development
The process of your child’s moral development starts in the first stage of his/her life during early childhood. At this stage, the instincts of the child, needs and inclinations control him/her. Parents should make sure to satisfy these things so as to help the child lead a stable and happy life. Any deficiency or severe and harsh treatment in these things may lead to disorders in the psychological, emotional, mental, and physical health of the child.
Parents at this stage shouldn’t give their children any moral responsibility for their actions, patterns of behavior, attitudes, emotions and reactions, because the child is not capable of understanding, distinguishing and making good judgments. Children at this stage should be treated with mercy, tolerance, kindness and gentleness. Our noble Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Salam) didn’t give children any responsibility for their actions that were wrong; he rather treated children with mercy, kindness and compassion. Therefore, children cannot be held responsible for their wrong behavior and actions because they are not yet at the age of distinction and judgment.
The 2nd stage of moral development
In the stage of middle and late childhood of your children, their social relationships and contact with others in schools, neighborhood, and social relationships expand. The child needs to adapt well to the situations and new attitudes in his/her life, and the child begins to distinguish between the behaviors and acts approved or disapproved by others. The happiness of the child is associated with the satisfaction of others with him/her, as well as his/her pain and misery is associated with the anger of others towards him/her. This establishes the right start of developing good conduct.
Such moral developments that are optimistic motivate the child to create permanently, a balance between his/her wishes and the desires of others, as well as between his religious and moral values. Children’s natural tendency to imitate, emulate and follow others should be cared for at this stage because it is one of the most important foundations of the moral upbringing.
The Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Salam), highlighted this aspect and stressed the necessity for parents to wisely put it into consideration. Such should also be the case for people assuming any role in the upbringing process of the child and all those responsible for the child’s education. They are urged to be ideal role models in proper conduct, self-restraint, and self-esteem, adopting good qualities and virtues as well as noble behavior.
The 3rd stage of moral development
This is the stage of puberty and adolescence, this is the stage when moral development starts to take root and be strong. It culminates as mental, social and psychological maturity is completed. The child after that is able to control his/her inclinations and motives, while submitting to the sublime ideals that he/she was taught growing up.
The child commits him/herself to them, regardless of the presence of an external authority represented in the laws, customs, regimes, habits and traditions as well as the presence of social control.
Morality in old age is therefore a harbinger of a good childhood upbringing.