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TWO TIPS FOR PARENTS ON TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT SEX EDUCATION

 This issue must not be taken lightly as our children are the foundation of our future. Children are the responsibility of parents and they are their first teachers.

Narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say:

“Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The ruler is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his household and is responsible for his flock. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and is responsible for her flock.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (853) and Muslim (1829)

In this Hadith Prophet Muhammad clearly stated that a parent is responsible for his children and is accountable on the Day of Judgement of what he taught them and what he avoided. It is a duty of a parent to teach children about things that are susceptible to influence his life and hereafter because if a parent doesn’t, society may teach him something that is not acceptable. It is a duty of a parent and a right of a child to protect the child from everything that may lead to corruption and negative impact on their morals.

It should be noted that teaching children – male or female – the Islamic etiquette having to do with covering the ‘awrah, controlling the gaze and asking permission before entering private spaces should begin when they are very small, from an early age, and when they reach the age of discernment, and before they reach the age of puberty. There is evidence in the revelation which clearly speaks of that, including the following:

Allah, may He be exalted, says:

“O you who believe! Let your legal slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission (before they come to your presence) on three occasions; before Fajr (morning) prayer, and while you put off your clothes for the noonday (rest), and after the Isha (late-night) prayer. (These) three times are of privacy for you, other than these times there is no sin on you or on them to move about, attending (helping) you each other. Thus Allah makes clear the Ayat (the Verses of this Quran, showing proofs for the legal aspects of permission for visits, etc.) to you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise” [an-Noor 24:58].

Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Here Allah, may He be exalted, instructs the Muslims that their servants and slaves, and their children who have not yet reached the age of puberty, should ask permission before entering rooms in three situations, the first of which is before Fajr prayer, because at that time people are usually sleeping in their beds.

“and while you put off your clothes for the noonday (rest)” that is, at the time of the siesta or midday nap, because a person may take off his clothes at that time with his wife.

“and after the Isha (late-night) prayer” because this is the time of sleep.

So servants and children should be instructed not to enter rooms suddenly at these times, because of the fear that the man may be in an intimate situation with his wife, and so on.

Tafseer Ibn Katheer (6/82) When children reach the age of puberty, then they should seek permission to enter at all times, as Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And when the children among you come to puberty, then let them (also) ask for permission, as those senior to them (in age). Thus Allah makes clear His Ayat (Commandments and legal obligations) for you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise”

[an-Noor 24:52]

It was narrated from ‘Amr ibn Shu‘ayb, from his father, that his grandfather said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Instruct your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them if they do not do it when they are ten years old, and separate them in their beds.”

Narrated by Abu Dawood (495); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

That is, separate your children in the beds in which they sleep when they reach the age of ten, as a precaution against provocation of desire, even in the case of sisters.

This advice from the Lord of heavens and Earth has to do with protecting your child from protecting their awrah and avoiding provocation of their desires as most children reach discernment by the age of 10.

When your child has reached puberty, he/she must be taught the signs of puberty. They must be taught the importance of Hijab and avoidance of free mixing with opposite sexes. The types of discharge that may be emitted from the front passage of both sexes. They should also be taught the rulings on wudoo’ and ghusl, paying attention to the phrases used in teaching and ensuring that it is taught according to what the child needs to know.

In the early childhood, a child must be taught these two things and these are related to the issue of sex education of a child.

1. The necessity to distinguish between male and female. It is important to teach your child that he is different from his brother or sister. The confusion created in childhood may lead to confusions in later stages of life. For example, a boy must be taught not to wear his sister’s clothes or things attributed to females. Likewise, a girl must be taught not to imitate boys in clothing or hairstyles etc.

2. The necessity to teach your child about the awrah being private. Teach them not to uncover their private parts for anyone. Teach them to cover their bodies properly since the age of 3 or 4. This will help them keep safe from evil people and also help them understand their sexuality during puberty.

With regard to teaching your child about the intimacy and intimacy related issues, this should come at the time of marriage (which must not be delayed) or when there is a need for it. As our society has changed and our children are exposed to the immoral environment, they perceive issues like that of fornication and free mixing of sexes is normal, hence a parent should always be watchful of their children’s actions and as such teach them what is halal and haram accordingly. When a child is mature enough to understand a relation between a man and a woman, a parent must instill in a child the harms of immorality and educate and prohibit them from going astray.

The sex education must be imparted to a child gradually with time and according to their understanding without violating their innocence. A parent must not be in a hurry(before he/she can understand) to educate their child as it may have a negative impact on a child. It should go with the stages of their development, by means of lessons of fiqh, study circles, and classes in school. We should be conservative in the words and phrases we use, and attention must be paid to the appropriate ages and stages to discuss this topic. We must also warn against the promiscuous practices of the disbelievers and contrast them with the beauty of Islam, with regard to urging Muslims to cover up and be modest and to guard their chastity and avoid that which is haraam.

Also, a parent must be friendly enough to be approached by a child with his/her question. And the answer must be given to love, care, etiquette, and respect. Do not be so strict that they may never ask you again rather be gentle.

We advise you to read the book Ya Bunayya laqad Asbahta Rajulan by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah ad-Duwaysh, which explains Islamic ways of dealing with desire in children.

May Allah help us in raising righteous children. May Allah bless us all with righteous children.

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