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Thursday, 5 October 2017

Christianity to Islam, Trying to Balance This Parenting Thing



“Mom, why do the other kids get to have fun and we don’t?” A sentence I’ve heard too many times, through whines, tears and pouty faces.

When our children see Christmas lights, presents for other children and constant bombardment of jazzy toy ads on TV, all they see is fun. When they see other kiddos running around melodiously asking for candy, decked out in their favorite super heroes gear, they see fun.


And can you really blame the little guys? Not really.

Then what happens? Dun, dun, dun! You have to be the evil villain who comes to shut down “fun”!

The evil mommy. The one who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. No matter what you say, a creative opposing point of view stares you down as your little child becomes articulate all of sudden and assumes the position of lawyer of the year.

Couldn’t have flexed those skills in class the other day, right? Nah, but that’s ok.

You, forgetting their level of intellect, try to go into this long drawn out explanation of how the darn thing got started in the first place, in hopes they’ll make the connection to why we don’t celebrate it. But do they? No.

“Well technically mom, even though that’s how it started out, that’s not what it means now. Now, it’s just about having fun with friends.”

Then you do what you should’ve done first, explain it to them from the perspective of deen. Ok maybe your scenario didn’t play out like that, but mine did.

Having been born and raised Christian, I get the sentiment of the holidays. I always enjoyed the precious time with family, the warm vibes in the air and my family’s legendary house parties. When I was a kid, we had parties for everybody’s birthday (family of 7) and select holidays. So, I get it.

To be honest, I’d say having to deal with occurrences of Non-Islamic holidays has been one of the toughest things on my children. The United States of America is our home and our home is not an Islamic country.

While we’re all very aware of this, it’s just one more thing to have to be mindful of when it comes to raising a child to be a Muslim. Holidays are a major part of any culture. They’re announced, they’re decorated and celebrated wildly everywhere!

Being in America, it’s wonderful to have the freedom of choosing your religion and celebrating what’s near and dear to your heart.

Because I come from a family that is not Muslim, and my children are aware, they’ve seen celebrations occur that they can’t take part in. I’m definitely not perfect so I’m not a perfect mother by any means but I do my best.

One of those delicate issues when you have these thin lines of culture, religion and family, are properly teaching your child to still respect what other people are a part of while keeping their distance. It’s not enough to say that “we don’t celebrate that” or “we don’t do that.”

You have to go deeper and explain why. You have to explain why Grandma, Aunty and cousins are involved in this thing that seems so awesome to you from a distance, but you cannot be a part of that particular thing. If you are practising deen in your home, that conversation should go a little more smoothly.

I will say this though; We as parents of Muslim children coming from a Non-Muslim family, need to make sure that we are being consistent. Again, I’m not perfect and I know that none of us are, but when it comes to the examples we set for our kids, we need to get as close as we can to consistency.

We can’t cave and let them celebrate this year but not next year, on the basis that we’re Muslim. We can’t give them gifts from people in celebration of their holiday and then tell them they cannot participate, on the basis that we’re Muslim. We cannot let them participate just because they’re at school and the other kids are doing it. Yes, It’s easier to.

However, it creates confusion for them. It creates an opportunity for them to make a case with you and to begin to make compromises in their deen. How do I know this? Because I have made that mistake before. As much as I hate to admit it, I definitely have.

Why? Because, like I said, it’s easier. It’s easier when you’re tired or irritable or whatever mood it is that you’re going through to just give your kids what they want. It’s easier to just make your kids happy. Right?

Not really. Because just like anything else, they need that stability, that structure and that consistency. They deserve that from us. When it comes to my family, they’re awesome! I love them to pieces.

While they always try to be respectful of my religion, they have some hesitancy to respect certain boundaries out of love. I know that may seem backwards but I get it.

Even though they know we don’t celebrate certain holidays, they don’t want us to feel left out. For that reason, they might try to send gifts for the kids or something (not anymore). They want us to know that they haven’t forgotten us and that we’re still included in the family.

For that reason, I respect what they’re trying to do and I love them for it. That’s where I have to find my balance to maintain certain non-religious-related celebrations with them. I can randomly buy gifts, eat cake and have big dinners with them for no reason.

Same with my kids. It doesn’t have to be a holiday for me to do something special for them or buy them something new. Not only that, we have our holidays as Muslims. Again, it’s my job to blow that out of the water for them so that they can value the importance of their beliefs and celebrating for the right reasons.

I know it’s one more responsibility on us as mommies but we have to strike a balance in our parenting, in dealing with our families and in teaching our children proper deen. We have to maintain consistency and keep that love flowing.


We won’t get it right every time so it’s tricky, but I’d like to think it’ll be worth it in the end. May Allah guide our decisions, reward us for all of our efforts and keep our children on the straight path. Ameen.


Author Bio
Shante Stoner resides in the Midwest. She is a homeschooling mother and blessed wife. She recently started a virtual business called Amira Bella Agency where she offers affordable writing services to small business owners and bloggers. To help lighten their workload of creating consistent, fresh content for their websites, Shante loves writing articles, blogs and social media posts. She is a freelance writer on a path to living a healthier lifestyle and helping anyone else who will listen. Her website houses her blog where she provide tips toward a healthier lifestyle and getting a business off the ground.

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     This article is part of a series of article about mixed faith families. Check out the other articles in the series below.



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