What makes someone a slacker parent?
Well, not much.

By that I mean, not much in the way of effort. It is easy being a yes-mom or a yes-dad….but rather difficult to make those tear-jerker decisions that can melt your heart looking into a little pouty face that says, “Pretty pleeeeese?”

Yeah, I know – I have been there, done that.

But a cute pouty face has no sway over me now. I got tough when my kiddo was in her terrible twos – which, by the way, were really not so terrible because I learned to say “No.” The first few months were miserable, I admit; sometimes I sat re-thinking my tough love stance… “Is it really so bad to buy her that new toy she wanted?” I would ask myself. But later on, I snapped out of it and decided once and for all that: Yes, it was. And so: No, I didn’t.

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However, we can all be a little bit of a slacker now and again: It is hard to resist sometimes….and, sometimes you want to be that hero, that knight in shining armor that saves the day riding in with your white horse and a big “YES!” that makes little kids go nuts with big gleaming smiles that shout “Yaaay!” – Oh, let us not forget the customary hugs and kisses that come along when we buy into the “Yes” package.

But being a slacker of a parent hurts the child. It teaches the child that there are no limitations – nothing is off limits. Some kids will visit a friend or family members’ home and rip it to shreds as their parent(s) sit idly by, chatting about politics or sports, sipping on chai (hot tea) and coffee. Then, when it is time to go home, everyone is rounded up and leaves. No one helps clean up; no one apologizes for the family heirloom broken; no one scolds the children for their behavior.

Why? Because it’s okay and if someone was to say something…well, you know, “Kids will be kids.”

More importantly than any other mannerism, we need to teach our children respect and responsibility.

With these two characteristics our children will go far. With responsibility, our children will learn that there are consequences to their actions, so instead of blaming another or something else, they will be the one to stand up and be held accountable if they make a mistake or a bad choice.

With respect, our children will learn how to care for themselves by respecting themselves as Muslims and Muslimahs, and also how to respect others and others’ property. It is not only about the materialistic aspects of understanding this learned trait; it is about identifying right from wrong. It is about respecting their elders, their teachers and community members, even in disagreements.

We need to be asking ourselves, “If rudeness and disrespect is ‘cute’ in a child, how will it appear in an adult form?” Also important, how we raise our children will directly reflect how they deal with us in our old age…what are we teaching them? If we teach them that it is okay to disrespect an elder, we should be prepared because one day that elder may be us.

Prophet Muhammad stated:

He is not of us who does not have compassion for his fellow beings. (Bukhari)

We must teach our children compassion; compassion for the feelings of others, compassion for their property that they worked hard to obtain – but most important, we must instill in them a deep compassion for the human race and the creatures that Allah has created on this earth.

I have been to many dinner parties, get-to-gathers, Halaqas (study circles) and marriage receptions over the years – but the scene is always the same. I see that same pattern over and over. I always wonder how we have let the kids in our communities run so wild, and I realized: It is because we have let them.

Although we may become slackers with some things in life, we should never slack on our kids.


Give yourself a point for each “Yes” answer.

1.  Do you say “Yes” because you do not want to argue with your kids?

2.   Does your child often have the ability to manipulate the situation to get what s/he wants?

3.   Do you often find yourself giving in to whining?

4.   Do you feel like everyday responsibilities, such as chores around the house, are not a necessary part of child development?

5.   Are your kids prone to throwing fits in public?

6.   Are your children rude or disrespectful to you or to other people?

7.   Does your child watch more than 2 hours of television a week?

8.   Does your child play video games every day?

9.   Do you think it is no big deal if your child has a bad grade at school every once in a while?

10.  Do you often let your kids do things because other kids’ parents let them do them?

The Score

Now that you were brave enough to face the tough questions, do you have the guts to find out what it all means?

If you scored between 7-10:

Watch out! You are definitely slacking off those tough parenting decisions. Take charge, your kids need to know there is an adult in their midst. More importantly, what you teach them now will be with them through adulthood. Think about what type of adult you want to raise: independent or dependent.

If you scored between 4-6:  

Uh-Oh, be very careful; you are right there on the edge of becoming a full-fledged slacker! What you do not act on now will hurt your kids later. Take the time and make the effort to make those hard choices for your children; they may pout and cry now, but when they are older, they will thank you.

If you scored between 0-3:

Wow, you are one tough cookie! But sometimes tough love is the best kind. You are on the right track; be loving, but never wimp out! Your kids look up to you, and one day your grandchildren will reap the benefit of a good parent – the adult that was once your responsible child.

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