The way we look after and act towards our children has a great impact on many aspects of their lives, especially when it comes to their mental health and wellbeing. When we nurture our children’s mental and emotional wellbeing, we empower them, encouraging them to be resilient, achieve their goals and pass on the same support to others. As a community, we have a responsibility to uphold this right our children have by ensuring they feel safe and heard.
In Islam, how we look after our mental health and the rights of our children are also important and integral aspects of our faith. All children deserve love, kindness and guidance. They have the right to education – both academic and spiritual – and opportunities that help them grow into noble and compassionate individuals. As such, it is crucial for us to guide our children in ways that encourage their positive growth and development and help them overcome hardships in life.
Nurturing Through Spirituality and Faith
Having a positive relationship with faith and connection to God helps us improve our overall mental health. Several verses in Quran, in particular, highlight how faith can give us relief from stress and hardship, such as this verse in Surah Ar-Ra’d, which says:
“Those who believe and their hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah, Certainly in the Remembrance of Allah do the hearts find peace.” (Quran, 13:28)
Nurturing a love of faith in our children, in turn, especially from a young age, greatly benefits their mental and emotional wellbeing. For Muslims and other communities with strong faith-based backgrounds, prayer and supplications are ingrained in our day-to-day life. We have a duty to teach these rituals to our children with care and patience so that they can continue to maintain a strong connection to God throughout their life. By introducing Allah (SWT) in this warm and loving way, we allow our children to learn of an All-Loving Creator who they can turn to for guidance and help them during times of need, no matter the situation.
Nurturing Through Nature and Community
Connecting with our surroundings and the people around us helps keep us grounded and present, both in our relationships and mental health. In a world where technology is a big part of our lifestyle, it can be hard to keep ourselves and our children away from our screens for long as we fear we’re missing out on what’s happening in the wider world.
But it’s okay to not be connected with our digital spaces all the time. Take some time as a family to enjoy your surroundings and get to know the community. Give your children the opportunity to play outside and interact with other children in activities like playgroups or team sports. Doing so will help build your children’s confidence, improve their physical health and encourage them to express themselves. It also nurtures their compassion, and allows them to learn how to help and share with others.
Allah (SWT) made humanity to be social creatures and is pleased with us when we make His creations happy. In turn, we are blessed with a joyful atmosphere and benefits to our mental and emotional wellbeing when we gather together in kindness. By connecting with each other as a community and interacting with what’s around us, we create a powerful support network we can rely on during times of need.
Nurturing Through Goodness and Positive Morals
Showing love towards and setting a good example for our children helps shape the way they see the world around them in a positive way. When our children have a role model to teach them patience, selflessness and respect through love and care, especially from a young age, we allow them to naturally develop those feelings towards their surroundings and the people around them.
As life is full of ups and downs, it is also especially important to teach our children resilience in ways that bolster their self-worth and self-confidence. Praise the hard work they put into their hobbies and learning and encourage them to persist in reaching their goals. Help them get back on their feet if they’re struggling and help them create strategies that make these challenges easier to face in the future.
Children need to feel and hear how much they are loved by their family and community. Knowing they have a support network to look up to and are allowed to make mistakes gives them the power to recover from any setback in life.
After all, the Quran tells us, “For indeed, with [every] hardship, there is relief. Indeed, with [every] hardship, there is relief” (Qur’an, 94:5-6). So we should help our children understand this by showing them goodness and being positive role models that nurture their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Ultimately, having good mental health is key to the healthy development and wellbeing of every child. Children need good mental health to not only be able to deal with challenges and adapt to change, but so they can feel good about themselves, build healthy relationships with others and enjoy life. We, as a community, have a duty to take the steps need to support our children on their mental health journey, which includes nurturing their mental and emotional wellbeing in positive ways.
Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety have a significant effect on your life, especially if you’re experiencing other hardships. If you are concerned about your mental health or a family member’s mental health, know that you are not alone. There are organisations you can reach out to such as, Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800, Hayat Line at 1300 993 398 and Head to Health at 1800 595 212.