With more children suffering at the hands of this sexually driven world, I am starting to feel scared as a Muslim parent. Recently, The Telegraph did a whole article about the prevalence of pornography in all facets of our lives and how they are starting to affect children. Reading the article struck fear in my heart. As a parent of a toddler who is barely 2, I am starting to realize that she is absorbing everything around her; good and bad.
I am lucky because at this age, I can be her media gatekeeper. I refuse to watch anything remotely adult around her. It has been a blessing for me too. I recently shared an article on my Facebook about how desensitized that our society has become that Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance did not cause anyone to bat an eyelash. I was blessed because I didn’t subject my eyes and my soul to what was described as a purely objectifying performance that did a disservice to the singer and women in general. However, I can’t shield my child from glancing over magazine covers while in line to buy groceries and other inevitable instances of sexualized exposure.
That being said, I am not going to despair. In the time of the Prophet, there were all sorts of ignorance (jahiliyya) around. People used to go around the Kaaba naked! So in order to combat these influences that may take away my child’s innocence, I plan to do the following:
- Spend as much time as I can: I plan to spend every moment I can ENGAGED with my child. I lock my phone in an unknown place unless we are FaceTiming grandparents and I spend as much time as I can talking to my child face to face. we play games, we play pretend, we do yoga, we watch child appropriate TV. We even pray together. I want my time with her to dominate her memories.
- Teach boundaries: I want my daughter to know what is right and wrong. When she does something wrong, I simply say stop and walk away so she knows that there are consequences to her wrong actions. I hope this instills a sense of responsibility in her inshallah. I am still a new parent, so if anyone has any pointers, please let me know! She knows that she can’t touch any electronic device without a grown up supervising.
- Show your love: I show my daughter I love her all the time to the point she rubs my kisses away. But I want her to know that she is loved for who she is, not for what she looks like or what she can give anyone. I want her to grow up feeling valued as a human being so that when the time comes, she will know that she is not an object and that she has more to contribute to society. It is so sad, but even The Onion did a parody piece about the awkward moment that a girl transitions into a sexual being. So when that moment comes, I hope that my daughter knows she is more than that to me and can hold tight to the values I raise her with inshallah.