May 20, 2012

Avoiding excessive, reward, encouragement and praise.

By Khafayah


I know measuring the appropriate reward can be difficult at times. I struggle with this too. It’s best to focus less on material possessions, especially when we are reminded of Allah’s saying: (Q 5:87) O ye who believe! Forbid not the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you, and transgress not, Lo! Allah loveth not transgressors”

Parents we must be careful not to praise or reward kids often. The kid will begin to manipulate the situation. The Prophet salAllahu aleyhi wasallam reminds us about this in a hadith when he heard a man praising another, “you have destroyed or cut the back of the man” (Bukhari, 8:86)

When Praise is general it’s more detrimental to the kid than beneficial, as they are not particularly sure what they are being rewarded for. They will get bored after a while. The reward system eventually becomes a repetitive meaningless routine. Too much praise and reward creates a dependent kid rather than an independent one.

Little Taslimah and her sister Hamidah, always get a sticker when they pray with mom. When Jasmine came over to babysit, they refused to pray unless they were to be given stickers. The danger here is the association of stickers with Salah, which is very wrong. For Salah, it might be more appropriate to use reward charts and words of praise and encouragement, reminding the kids that their ultimate reward is with Allah.

My reward tool is about connecting the kid to Allah. I would say “Who wants a reward from Allah?” They know Allah gives a minimum of 10 rewards for a good deed. Once I say that, there is a rush to complete the activity. If one feels sad because they did not make it. I remind them that so far there was genuine intention to do it. Allah will still reward them, and my kid will feel much better.

The Prophet salAllahu aleyhi wasallam  did not shower his kids or wives with gifts; he connected them to the rewards awaiting them in the hereafter. Having a parent’s approval is better than material rewards. We must be careful as parents not to spoil our kids; otherwise they will grow into spoilt arrogant adults. A Shaykh of mine use to tell his three year old daughter that, if she is naughty she will not get to read the Qur’an. This really upset her and made her cry, the point here, is that he has connected good behaviour to reading the Qur’an – a profound way to embed the love of the Qur’an – it works well with the little ones.

As I always say, “no one knows your kid better than you do”. Reward positive behaviour through praise, reward charts, attention and special treats that are specific to your kid. The greatest reward of all we can give to our kids is indeed our PRESENCE as parents. That is what makes the best present for our kids. Is this easy to achieve? No!, By putting our trust in Allah, He WILL make the great task of parenting, rewarding for us all in this world and the hereafter!

May Allah bless all Moms and elevate them to the highest station in Jannah Firdaws, where they will be crowned for their endless efforts in this world! Keep up the excellent work!

“Mom we do not want to go to Orlando, can we just by Ice-cream and ride our bikes with you in the park? we will be good we promise” Don’t you just love them? Obviously my presence meant more to them than a package holiday!

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


This article is good guidance for those whose kids are young and and can be taught easily . Please post articles for kids already in their teens or between 6-10. With the media so westernized it is even difficult to connect them to Allah . 2nd biggest enemy is our education system o'levels kids are bombarded with unneccesary difficult knowledge , they only consider all A's as biggest reward. Tv weakens Raman and education leaves no time to think about emaan . A very very difficult situation !!

Jasakallah khir, very insightful. I always praise my daughter but she is only 5 months old, this is because I come from a culture/family where we do not show affection so I didn't want to be like this with my children. However I will take what you have said on board inshallah. : )

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