26. Stories are a useful and important method of encouraging good qualities and characteristics, and discouraging bad ones, such as the rights of friends, faith, etc. The Noble Qur’an uses this method to do the same as mentioned in Surat Yusuf, Verse 111:
لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِّأُولِي الأَلْبَابِ
“There is certainly a moral in their accounts for those who possess intellect.”
It is important to keep the following in mind when selecting stories:
a. They should mention Allah in some form or the other, and be narrated with the intention of Nurturing the personality and characteristics of your child.
b. Attention should be paid to the child’s age, intelligence and mental state when choosing a story.
c. There shouldn’t be extremes, or lies or rumours far from the truth in the stories.
d. They should contain answers to the questions of the child.
e. The best stories should be chosen, just as Allah has stated in Surat Yusuf, Verse 3:
نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ
“We will recount to you the best of narratives.”
f. Truth and righteousness should always prevail in the stories.
g. The main character (who is the role model) of the stories should not possess deviations or bad characteristics.
h. The stories should not be too lengthy or tiring for the child.
27. The mischievousness of your child in the early years is a sign of increased intelligence in the older years, so you shouldn’t be too worried or punish it too much.
28. Make your children perform Salat from 7 years, and fast from 9 years, either half day or more or less, depending on their abilities.
It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (A.S): “When our children reach 5 years of age, we tell them to pray Salat, so you tell your children to do this when they reach 7 years of age; and we tell our children at the age of 7 years to fast however much they have the ability to, half a day, or more, or less, and to break their fast when they become hungry or thirsty so that they get used to fasting and develop the ability for it, so you tell your children at the age of 9 years to fast however much they have the ability for, and when thirst overcomes them, to break their fast.”
It is also narrated in a tradition: “We command our children to (do) the tasbih of Hazrat Fatima, just like we command them to (pray) Salat.”
It is important to remember that in acts of worship, just like everything else, there should be moderation. It is narrated from the Prophet (PBUH): “Islam is the firm religion of Allah. Go forth with moderateness and don’t do something that will make your heart pessimistic to the worship of Allah.”
29. Do not be quick to accuse your children of lying because until 5 years, real lying or lying out of self-interest is rare; rather it is due to their active imagination, related to playing or creating astonishment in others, or to the child’s exploration of the self.
30. Do not condemn a child who has tired you with their questions, as this weakens their sense of curiosity.