building the social character depends on two foundations (first) satisfying the psychological needs (second) preparation to the future life.
1- satisfying the psychological and social needs
the human can survive without these needs, but he will never be balanced or normal if he does not get them or some of them. these are the needs in short:
(a) the need for respect, evaluation and independence
to satisfy this need in the child, we need to accept him socially, promote and encourage his confidence. in the sunnah (prophetic teachings), there are many examples of respect towards children such as when the prophet (peach be upon him) greeted children () and called them with nice nicknames (). we can also find situations of how they were respected in social gatherings; the prophet (pbuh) asked the permission of a young boy before he can give older people before him, the child was sitting on the right side of the prophet (pbuh) ().
respect should be genuine from the parents, not an empty gesture or attitude. despite their young age, children can understand hurtful and despising looks and can differentiate between a sincere smile and a mocking one. respect include greeting him, calling him with the best and most endearing names for him, preserving his rights, answering his questions, listening to him carefully, thanking him if he does anything good, praising him, giving him the chance to defend himself and express his opinion and listening to his advice.
during late childhood, the parent/educator should interact with his child emotionally and practically. he should befriend him, take him when he travels, join him in playing, reading and working and listen to his complaint (). if the parent disagrees with the child, they can have a quiet conversation with mutual respect, but at the end the children should respect their parents and be kind to them.
the parent should accept the idea that his child may make mistakes and remember that a mistake can pave the way to success and compensation for any loss or earlier failure. the parent should not be too hard on the child, and give him the chance to return, repent and regain his psychological balance. several studies show that normal successful people were usually praised by their parents for their talents and good deeds more than they were criticized; their parents joined them in playing and working like friends ().
if this friendship does not exist, the child who turns into a teenager will seek such friendship in a colleague, teacher or a relative. the teenager might gain bad experiences from those people, so it would have been the best if his relationship with his father was strong from the very beginning instead of finding this friend/father figure in an outsider. despising the child would make him feel lonely and an outcast inside his family; he might prefer isolation (). on the other hand, he might connects with some peers who like him, and those peers can be a bad company that has such a bad effect on him like causing him to deviate and go astray. we can see many examples in a lot of families of such scenarios.
the character of the child might be different than his father’s, despite that the friendship and love should remain between the two of them. it is not a rule that the child turns to be a typical image of his father, what matters is keeping his psychological balance ().
as for independence, it is a trait that starts early in the character of the child. he tries to depend on himself in eating and putting on his clothes. the mother should help him feel independent and self confident, it will be difficult at first and it will need patience, so the mother should not offer him help unless it is a really difficult task that he cannot finish on his own. this would develop the sense of independence in the child and it will continue when he grows older to be an independent man in finishing all his tasks and matters, this would build his self confidence and adaptation to norms of the society.
(b) the need for love and compassion
this is one of the most psychological needs for the child. this is why there are plenty of examples and incidents in the sunnah that reflect love and care. the methods to satisfy such need are different from one stage to the other. in early childhood, the parent loves to pamper his child, cuddle him, kiss him, tickle him and say to him the softest words. when the child turns five, he likes to sit beside his parents, puts his head on the parent’s lap and kisses his parents or does any caring gesture. he might need his parents more when he returns back from school or from any place that his parents were not at. he needs them more when there is a problem at home or outside.
in adolescence, the child still needs love and compassion from his parents, but he might be shy in showing this need, especially if his parents criticize this need such as refusing any activity that reflects that need like when he kisses them, rest his head on their shoulders, or when they are bothered when he expresses his love to them.
ignoring this need and not fulfilling it causes insecurity and low self esteem in the child. this makes it difficult for the child to cope with people around him, so he develops symptoms of anxiety, withdrawal, isolation and stress. emotional deprivation is the strongest reason to cause depression in the future (). from a social point of view, a gap widens between the parent and child when his need for care and love is not fulfilled. the child will feel retraction towards his parents and he will draw back, isolate himself and will not let them help him overcome his problems, because the connection has been cut. he might tell strangers about his problems but not his parents, this might also lead to an emotional hunger () causing him to hang on to others and admire them. such admiration can be excessive love, forbidden passion, unlawful desires and it can even lead to homosexuality.
on the other hand, exaggerated love and care by the parent/educator can hinder him from being firm in raising the child, and it will subject the child to psychological illnesses (). pampering the child, fulfilling all his wishes and giving him all the luxuries and expensive things he asks for are the reasons of spoiling him. this is how he gets used to pleasures which would lead to self gratification and an inability to face reality in the future (). he will not be able to bear any responsibility because the love of his parents was too excessive for him to be independent and strong. he will not be able to handle responsibilities or challenges ().
(c) the need for play
playing achieves many psychological, physical, educational and social benefits for the child such as:
(1) playing consumes the extra energy in a useful activity () and relieves the tension of the child, for example when he hits his toy imagining that he is hitting someone that upset him or an imaginary person on his mind, or he hits it as a reflection of the stories that the parents tell him.
(2) playing teaches the child right and wrong and some good manners like honesty, truthfulness, justice and self discipline especially through group playing. it also teaches him how to build relationships because of the cooperation, giving, taking and respecting others’ rights during playing. children also learn their future roles through playing, when the girl plays the character of the mother and the boy plays the character of the father in a mutual game, they might also assume any profession while playing.
(3) active playing reflects smartness and intelligence (); it helps the muscles to grow, renews the energy and develops different skills ().
* playing considerations: playing has certain considerations such as:
(a) religious considerations:
the game might be forbidden according to religion such as backgammon, gambling, playing in the bathroom, lottery and unlawful betting. the game might not be permissible because it holds the person away from fulfilling his islamic duties such as praying or because it harms the body and causes destruction or illness. the game might also cause something that is not permitted like revealing the awrah (), cursing and abusing a muslim or adhering of a disbeliever. the game can have a forbidden image such as a representation or drawing of a living being, a cross or statues of living beings ().
the rule is: any game is permissible unless it is forbidden by religious legislations or in case it leads to a forbidden act, missing an act of worship or committing a sin.
(a) health considerations:
according to sunnah, there is a time during which playing is discouraged and should be avoided, namely the time from maghrib (sunset) payer to isha' (evening) prayer. during such time, devils spread around () and this should be known by the parents to keep their children at home at this period of time. there are also dangers that are known through experience like playing with sharp objects or in dangerous environments or sites.
(c) educational considerations such as:
* the game should suit and fit with the age of the child. at the first year, the child likes simple toys like cubes and plastic balls. when he grows, he will be able to play with structures and simple digging tools, while the girl prefers to play with dolls and kitchenware. the child can be taught to hold the pen and look through picture books designed for children. mute toys or games are very important because they give the child the space and chance to imagine, innovate and exercise. they attract his attention a lot more than moving toys ().
* training the child to play on his own if he is an only child. the mother should not play with him except as an initiation of the game, and then she should withdraw so that he learns to play on his own because this develops the sense of independence in the child ().
* playing with pets, but with extra care for the cleanliness and safety of the pet and playing environment. this kind of playing gives limitless fun and joy to the child ().
* keeping some toys away from the child then giving them to the child to play when he misses them. that would make the child happy ().
* not to buy too many fighting and military games to the child because they increase hostile and violent attitudes in him ().
* preparing a safe comfortable playing environment or space for the child that better be wide in size (), this helps keeping the child safe, the house organized and the toys undamaged ().
()sahih al-bukhari, kitab al-isti'zan, bab atsleem ala al sibyan: 7/131
() sahih al-bukhari, kitab al-adab, bab al-inbesat ala annas: 7/102.
() narrated by al-bukhari: kitab al-ashriba, bab hal yast’zin al rajul min ala yaminah fi ashurb layuti al-akbar: 6/249.
() dirasat nafseyah wa tarbawiyah series by farouq abdel salam and maysara taher: page 113-114.
() dirasat nafseyah wa tarbawiyah series by farouq abdel salam and maysara taher: page 103-105.
() al muskkilat al-nafseyah and al atfal by zakriyah al-shirbeny: page 11.
() dirasat nafseyah wa tarbawiyah series by farouq abdel salam and maysara taher: page 113.
() behouth nafseyah wa tarbawiyah series by farouq abdel salam and maysara taher: page 51, 54.
() mina 'akhta'na fi tarbiyet awladna by mohamed al saheem: page 68-100.
() al-usrah wa atifoula by zidan abdul baqi: page 240.
() behouth nafseyah wa tarbawiyah series by farouq abdel salam and maysara taher: page 109.
() ihya uloom al-deen by imam al-ghazali: 3/72.
() behouth nafseyah wa tarbawiyah series by farouq abdel salam and maysara taher: page 109.
() manhaj al-tarbiyah al-islamiyah by mohamed qutb: page 393.
() mustaqbal al-tarbiyah magazine, issue 1, page 6, quoting mas'ulayet al abb al-muslim fi tarbiyat al-walad by adnan bahareth: page 311.
() mas'ulayet al-abb al-muslim fi tarbiyat al-walad by adnan bahareth: page 424.
() awrah: parts of the body that are not supposed to be exposed to others, but this is not to be confused with the english meaning 'private parts', because a woman's legs, for example, is an awrah
() mas'ulayet al-abb al-muslim fi tarbiyat al-walad by adnan bahareth, tarbiyat al-walad fil islam by abdullah naseh ilwan: page 938.
() musnad imam ahmad: 3/362.
() al-mushkilat al-sulokayh by nabih al-ghabra: page 188-192.
() al-mushkilat al-sulokayh by nabih al-ghabra: page 186-187.
() tiflak al-sagheer hal hwa mushkilah? by mohamed kamel: page 108.
() al-mushkilat al-sulokayh by nabih al-ghabra: page 187.
() mushkilat tarbwiyah fi hayat tiflak by mohamed al-awayed: page 74.
() kaifa turabyee tiflan? by mohamed zaiad hamdan: page 33.
() tawgihat wa'fkar fi tarbiyat al-sighar by mohamed al-dawish.