Advice

The religion is giving sincere advice to others (A Prophetic Tradition)

This section is devoted to answering questions the community has on parenting, schooling, entrepreneurships, university and everything that helps our children succeed as well-adjusted, young Muslims who positively contribute to the world.

We are a collective of Muslim teachers and professionals who recognise that any success we have had in our lives has been solely from the grace of God. While we will always remain deficient in our efforts to thank Him for those favours, we wish to do what we can by offering the collective wisdom, knowledge and skills we have acquired in service to our community.

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Secondary Schooling FAQs

It is natural for everyone to feel anxious when going into a new situation for the first time. Some children are more expressive about their feelings than others, but the reality is that almost all children going into Year 7 will be experiencing some sense of trepidation and concern. So the first thing to explain to your child is that the anxiety he/she is feeling is perfectly normal and nothing to be worried about.

People always seem to respond better when they know the other person can empathise with their situation, so speak to your child about your own experiences starting secondary school. Let them know how you felt leading up to the first day and how you eventually settled. Hearing this from someone they trust will inspire them with confidence.

What can also help a great deal is meeting up with other children who will be starting in the same year and especially the same school. Talking collectively about their aspirations, hopes, but also fears and concerns can be a very cathartic process. It can help alleviate their anxieties as individuals knowing that they are not alone in feeling this way, but more significantly, they will know other people when they start school, which will grant them some comfort and peace of mind.

This is partly why Educare is trying to build school communities for Muslim parents so that they and their children can get to know and support one another.

Please click on this following link to sign up for our online community:

https://educare.foundation/communities

If you feel you need further advice or help based on your individual circumstances, please email: support@educare.foundation


May Allah help us to lead a life of goodness and virtue and may He always keep us and our loved ones in His love and protection. Ameen

It is important to understand what ‘struggling’ means firstly. While concerns over mental health and well-being should never be trivialised, as parents we increasingly seem to have knee-jerk reactions to any display of negative emotion by our children.

We should be thinking of their holistic development and that means wanting them to be physically, but also mentally resilient. If we do not deal with the challenges our children face using a holistic approach, we could cause them a great deal of harm for the future.

To struggle is to make sense of the world around us. Our increased activity in the world is a constant process of experiencing new things, where, at times, the new can come into conflict with what we already know and feel. This is where people, not just children can ‘struggle’ to make sense of their situation.

What is important is to first identify the nature of the struggle and where it is really coming from. Misdiagnosing a problem can lead to advice which does not really help and can cause further distress.

Diagnosing a problem requires some patience and really interrogating what your child is thinking. Almost like a doctor triaging a patient, you need to take a history and start pushing back on their feelings and biases to really discover where the problem lies.

Remember, they will have been going through a lot of change in the past few weeks and that change will have been very emotional. A change in setting, friends, the demands of studies, getting up earlier, possibly travelling further and a whole host of other issues will have them feeling quite disoriented. This is why it is important to help them separate the various threads and really understand the root of the problem.

Once you have established what the problem is and appraised it with as much clarity as possible, you will be in a better position to offer some useful advice. Remember to keep checking in on your child’s progress. Progress is hardly ever linear, so it is important that you keep an eye on how things are going. Try not to micro-manage your child. Give them the space to talk and then to act on what you have discussed together.

What we must keep at the back of our mind is the idea of resilience. Every time children face challenges in life, and they will, we have to consider whether our interventions make them stronger, or whether we simply habituate them to giving up when things get tough. Living in extremes is not the Prophetic way; the best trodden path according to the tradition, is in the middle. Neither should we require Victorian stoicism from our children and nor should we allow them to wither at the first sign of struggle. We need to build and nurture them to become physically and mentally resilient.

If you feel you could do with some support and would welcome someone talking to your son/daughter, please reach out to us at support@educare.foundation

May Allah help us to lead a life of goodness and virtue and may He always keep us and our loved ones in His love and protection. Ameen

Bullying is one of the most serious concerns children can face at school and it should not be trivialised even for a moment. It is not one of those things where you tell your child to go and play and it will be fine. Leaving your child to ‘man-up’ or ‘grow-up’ just because you feel the experience was ‘useful’ for you does not mean it will be or that it even should be the same for others. Parents must take bullying seriously and with earnest.

At the other end of spectrum, we need to be careful about putting words and thoughts into our children’s minds. It is the nature of the world that we have good and bad days and part of growing up and growing stronger, is learning how to manage our feelings and emotions. Some parents can start asking rapid fire questions assuming the worst, which forces the child down a particular way of thinking and subsequently expresses feelings which are not necessarily their own, but more a reflection of your anxieties and concerns.

If, approaching your child’s concerns in a reasonable and reflective manner, you find that there is indeed some concern about another child or children bullying him/ her, the first thing to keep in mind, as difficult as it can be, is that you have only heard one side of the story. While we all love our children very dearly, it is conceivable and certainly has been, that they may not be telling the truth or at least not the whole truth.

The next step is to arrange a discussion with your child’s Form Tutor, to express the concerns you have and to ask him/her to discuss the matter with your child and the alleged bully. You may be tempted to get involved yourself, but there is a process that needs to be followed and this is the first port of call. Ask the Form Tutor to keep you appraised of what steps he/she has taken and how the matter has been concluded. Ask them to send emails as it is always better to have written evidence of what has transpired in case it is required for the future.

Even before taking this step, your child may ask you not say anything because of an unwritten school code of not getting teachers and parents involved. While your child may try to convince you that his/her life will become more miserable as a result of your taking action, you need to explain to them that as Muslims, we must always stand against oppression and injustice. If we remain silent, that oppression can become worse and affect other people as well.

Once you have followed through and the Form Tutor assures you that the situation has been resolved, you should periodically ask your child in conversation if things are ok at school. It may be the case that he/she is pretending to be fine, and in actuality matters are going from bad to worse, but your child does not want you intervening any further. You should look out for changes in your child’s behaviour which could indicate that things are not exactly as they seem. If you suspect anything, you should contact the Form Tutor, communicate your concerns and request feedback from all teachers about how your child is behaving and managing in class. This should give you a good idea whether something is amiss.

If the feedback from staff confirms your suspicions, you should ask the Form Tutor for a meeting with the Head of Year and discuss your concerns with them both and the way forward. The Head of Year typically has more experience and clout and should be able to take action that should resolve the problem insha Allah.

While this should be true at all times, especially if you feel some concern, you should ensure that you are spending good quality time with your child in a positive environment which seeks to reassure him/her that you are always there for support.

May Allah help us to lead a life of goodness and virtue and may He always keep us and our loved ones in His love and protection. Ameen

Moving to secondary school means becoming a lot more independent for one’s learning and studies than in primary school. There needs to be more thought given by primary schools in how to better prepare children in Year 6 to become more independent learners.

The first thing to really understand is that this is no particular reflection of your child’s intellect or abilities. The move to a new school is one of great change and there is a lot to deal with and think about.

When you say that your child is struggling to keep up with school and homework, that really needs to be interrogated a bit further. Does it relate to your child not being able to understand the content of the lessons, or is it simply to do with managing oneself?

The question ostensibly assumes the latter and is probably related to the child’s ability to manage. In the Secondary School Parent Guide, we discuss the difficulty children find in transitioning from primary to secondary school. In primary school, a lot of thinking and managing of resources is typically undertaken by teachers at school and parents at home. Children often do not have to take much responsibility of their studies at all. This radically changes in secondary school where they are almost left to their own devices. Armed with a planner and a timetable, children are expected to manage this change independently. While some manage it well, others struggle a lot more and again, this has very little to do with intellect, it has much more to do with experience, guidance and support.

We recommend you read over the Secondary School Parents Guide, but to summarise the advice, learning how to self-manage requires an apprenticeship of sorts from parents who can offer a helping hand until their child is able to get on independently. The idea of ‘throwing them in the deep end’ will eventually work, it has to, but the quality of how they manage things could still be poor and more to the point, how much will it have impacted the quality of their learning for the duration it took them to ‘find their feet’.

Parents should take an active role in helping their children make timetables, checklists and routines, but also to run through these items with them daily until it becomes second nature. In modelling how to self-manage, parents are teaching them valuable skills which will serve them well moving forward in their schooling and indeed the rest of their life!

Never think it is too late to get involved in helping your child with managing their school life and studies. You may need to be sensitive about how you do it, because your child may perceive that they have failed in something that others seem to do so effortlessly. Deal with the psychological before you move on to the mechanical and avoid micro-managing your child in a way that may make them feel incompetent. At the same time, they may impress upon you that they do not need your help when the really do. Be mindful about the way that you approach their sense of self worth, but do not leave them to struggle on their own. They are called children simply because they do not have enough life experience to know that they may be cutting their own nose to spite their face, but just be mindful about your approach insha Allah.

If you feel you could do with some support, please reach out to us at support@educare.foundation

May Allah help us to lead a life of goodness and virtue and may He always keep us and our loved ones in His love and protection. Ameen