Home Quranet Chapter 5 Are parents who neglect their children harming themselves?
Are parents who neglect their children harming themselves?
Chapter 5

أَنِ اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ فَانبَجَسَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْناً قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الْغَمَامَ وَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَنَّ وَالسَّلْوَى كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَمَا ظَلَمُونَا وَلَـكِن كَانُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ (سورۃ الاعراف, آية 160)

We divided them into twelve Tribes or nations. We directed Musa by inspiration, when his (thirsty) people asked him for water: "Strike the rock with thy staff": out of it there gushed forth twelve springs: each group knew its own place for water. We gave them the shade of clouds, and sent down to them manna and quails, (saying): "Eat of the good things We have provided for you": (but they rebelled. To Us they did no harm, but they harmed their own souls.. (Surah 7, Verse 160)

Yusuf, who is in the fourth grade, is a wild boy with many disciplinary problems. He has been prescribed Ritalin to calm him and enable him to concentrate and listen. His parents do not check that he takes his medication regularly before going to school. This means that when he tires, at about noontime, he begins to behave wildly and hit out at his classmates. His class teacher is new to the school and has no experience of dealing with children with his problem. She sends him to the library where he continues to act violently and disturbs the other children. The librarian has asked the teacher not to send him again.

Facing with a dilemma, the teacher talked to the counselor, who summoned Yusuf's parents for a talk. She detailed her plan to improve Yusuf's conduct and help him find his place in the class. "But first, you must take responsibility for your child," she said. "If you don't, nobody will do so for you." In order to emphasize her message she read them the verse: "To Us they did no harm, but they harmed their own souls" and added, "By not taking responsibility for Yusuf's conduct you are harming yourselves first and foremost because he is your child. The school also suffers, but above all you are the sufferers." The parents promised, in the first instance, to ensure that their son took his medication regularly, and then to collaborate with the counselor in a plan to help their son.

Explanation: Many parents tend to blame the school and the teachers for their children's problems rather than themselves. It is naturally harder to take responsibility than to blame others, but it is more effective. Until the parents understand that it is their responsibility to care for their son and in this case to make sure that he takes his medication, he will not improve and they, and he too of course, will pay the price. Some parents bring their child to kindergarten or school in the hope that he or she will be reformed there and receive everything his parents do not provide. Yusuf's parents must collaborate fully with the teacher and the counselor and take an interest in what happens to their son as school. It is not feasible for parents not to know what happens to a child at school. The problems begin at home and the parents, with the aid of the school team, can help the child. Hence, a good and non-recriminatory relationship between the school and the parent is very important. The counselor was right to remind the parents that, first and foremost, they were causing harm to themselves and to their son and needed to cooperate with the school.