Chapter 31: When the Child Starts to See the World around Him
The child is a man in miniature and its nature too will be social. It needs the help and support of others to live. It will have its attention focused on others; it derives benefit from them and provides benefits to them in return. But for a few months the newborn does not recognize others and is not capable of giving them any attention.
By the time it is four months old the rudiments of social nature start showing in his acts. From this time it gives attention to the surroundings and starts observing the action of its mother. It starts reacting to the acts of the mother. If the mother smiles, it smiles back. If the mother moves her eyebrows, it does the same in return. It looks at the toys with interest and smiles. It starts gauging others feelings of happiness and anger. It is taken aback at the slightest expression of anger.
When the child is confronted with happy and bright faces it jumps towards them. It wants to sit up and look at the world around it.
At this stage the parents should take care with realization that the child has developed a sense of the surroundings and is a full-fledged member of the family. The child is able to give attention to the others in the family and is, to an extent, able to understand their feelings. In the four months of its life the child has gone through experiences and experiments and has acquired memory for things around him.
This is the dawn of the future social being in him. If the parents are thoughtful in trying to nurture this instinct in the child, he can be helped to develop into a useful member of the society. Otherwise, the child starts becoming oblivious of the outside world and becomes restricted to the valley of its own inner world. He can turn into an introvert and becomes a recluse. He will become a victim of inferiority complex.
The parents therefore carry an onerous responsibility. They should be aware that the child has feelings and takes effect of their behavior. They must keep their attention focused on him. They should come to the presence of the child with a smiling and pleasant face. They should talk with the child affectionately. They should provide to the child educational toys so that it gets acquainted with the outside world with ease and comfort.
If the felt needs and desires of the child are fulfilled, it will feel comfortable. It starts feeling that others wish him well and are his benefactors. When he receives good treatment, the child gets ready to be a good member of the society. Good and thoughtful parents don’t beat the children nor do they treat them harshly. They are aware that such attitude will have adverse effect on the mind of the child and render him a defeatist and timid person.
The Prophet of Islam has said:
“Respect your children and give them a good upbringing that Allah blesses you."1
- 1. Makarim al-akhlaq, p. 255