Posts Tagged ‘adolescence’
Posted in Deen, Family, Parenting, tagged adolescence, advice, celebrations, crafts, Dawah, education, Eid, Family, festivals, holidays, islam, kids, Muslim, Parenting, public school, Ramadan, sample letters on September 4, 2010| 2 Comments »
Due to the administration’s decision to allow the politicization of the learning environment through the Day of Silence, which is sponsored by the highly partisan Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, we feel compelled to call our child/children out of school on that day.
The administration errs when it allows the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day. The protesters have a captive audience, many of whom disagree with and are made uncomfortable by the politicization of their classroom. How many political protests will the school allow, and who decides which political issue will be permitted to disrupt the educational process?
Day of Silence participants have a First Amendment right to wear t-shirts, and if other extracurricular clubs put up posters and set up tables from which to distribute materials, “gay-straight alliances” have that right also. The Day of Silence participants go further, however, by exploiting the instructional time of every student in every class for an entire day in the service of their philosophical beliefs and partisan political purposes. Their silence, and in some cases, the silence of their teachers, transform the activities of the day.
By allowing students to remain silent, administrations fail to protect the classroom from intrusive, political exploitation. My child/children will not be part of this political appropriation of the classroom.
***This post has been updated after it was published in Muslimmatters.org
The Day of Silence, which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), fast approaches. This year it will take place in most public schools on April 16, 2010. On this day, “hundreds of thousands” of students plan on participating (Day of Silence website) in thousands of public high schools and increasing numbers of middle schools, which will allow students to remain silent throughout an entire day even during instructional time to promote GLSEN’s socio-political goals and its controversial, unproven, and destructive theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality. (American Family Association) GLSEN’s stance is against bullying of gay students and the silence they suffer not an all encompassing ‘bullying’ that is inclusive of students who suffer because they are called terrorist, refugee scum, or wog.
Elementary schools are next. In East London, to celebrate Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender History Month, primary school students watched a special adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet renamed Romeo and Julian. Stories covered in the lessons at George Tomlinson School included a fairytale about a prince who turns down three princesses before falling in love with one of their brothers and the tale of Roy and Silo – two male penguins who fall in love. (Guardian)
We as parents cannot remain passive about this. Even if you are not a parent and especially if you are a youth group leader, you need to make the parents in your life aware of this issue. Many parents are not aware of this movement or think that it will not affect their child. This lax attitude leads to us holding our heads when it is too late.
I’ll tell you how this attitude personally affected me. I attended an all-women liberal arts college in Wellesley, Massachusetts. During our first year orientation, we gathered in the common room where mats were laid out of us. A senior from the Gay and Lesbian Association (GALA) asked us to lie down on the mat and close our eyes. Scared to death, at 17 fresh off the plane from Lahore, Pakistan, I had no clue what they expected from us. It wasn’t anything promiscuous, God forbid. They just asked us to close our eyes and imagine a world where daddies were only married to daddies and mommies were married to mommies and if I was a little girl in that world, who liked the little boy across the street but I couldn’t because mommies could only marry mommies. Very innocent, the words.
Those words stuck with me and I still remember them after 17 years. “Once you have the vocabulary to talk with young children about homosexuality, it becomes very easy,” says Dr. Justin Richardson, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and director of Columbia University’s Center for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Mental Health. Richardson says educators need to aid the pre-homosexual child with a supportive school environment, paving the way for his later coming out. He claims that a child’s sexual orientation is determined very early in life around four years of age, so why not prepare the pre-homosexual child for the inevitable? This quote by Dr. Richardson came from a talk he delivered ten years ago at a teachers’ conference. This agenda is at work in our public school system and the fitnah has created is real.
Also in my student orientation, I heard a young, black woman talk about her life as a poor, black, gay teenager. I met many intelligent women who were kind and gentle and gay. I remember being admonished by several housemates for thinking that homosexuality was a mental abnormality akin to physical abnormalities. I was figuratively ‘hypnotised’ into believing that it was natural for 10% of the human race to be homosexual believing that they could not control themselves. That December, when I went to visit my parents over winter break, my sister snapped me out of my brainwashed state. She said ‘Apa! Listen to yourself.’
In psychology, the study of brainwashing, often referred to as thought reform, falls into the sphere of “social influence.” According to Julia Layton, author of How Brainwashing Works, “social influence happens every minute of every day. It’s the collection of ways in which people can change other people’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. For instance, the compliance method aims to produce a change in a person’s behavior and is not concerned with his attitudes or beliefs. It’s the “Just do it” approach. Persuasion, on the other hand, aims for a change in attitude, or “Do it because it’ll make you feel accepted/good/happy/healthy/successful.”
The education method (which is called the “propaganda method” when you don’t believe in what’s being taught) goes for the social-influence goal, trying to affect a change in the person’s beliefs, along the
lines of “Do it because you know it’s the right thing to do.” Brainwashing is a severe form of social influence that combines all of these approaches to cause changes in an individual’s way of thinking without that person’s consent and often against his will.
I was 17; away from home but brimming with the confidence that children raised in a Muslim country exude. Now, imagine your middle schooler or your teen. Her politically correct classmates surround her; she doesn’t know what to say when her best honor society buddy starts exhibiting ‘homosexual’ traits. Imagine being a student whose religion teaches her that homosexuality is a sin being in that environment. Being judged by their peers because they did not remain silent in support. If you disagree with homosexuality you are called a bigot or a homophobe. Imagine your teachers and mentors who instruct you from 8 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon, framing their lessons around Day of Silence. The adolescent culture is liberal, and adolescents desire to fit in. The vast majority of conservative teens does not feel comfortable vocally opposing their culture and will not do so. We as adults, often don’t have the guts to speak up against homosexuality, let alone teenagers.
Alan Chambers, a gay man that has overcome unwanted homosexual desires, started a family, and is the author of Leaving Homosexuality says: “The Day of Silence leads to a slanted discussion about homosexuality…because students are being bombarded from every side on the issue of homosexuality…seemingly the only voices that are allowed or respected in the public school system are those from a pro-gay side. It’s important for everyone to have a voice on this issue and for every opinion to be expressed. If one side is going to be expressed, then the other should be as well.”
As a Muslim, I sympathize with others who suffer discrimination and denounce any violence in the name of ‘disapproval’ but agree with following stance:
“Day of Silence participants claim they seek to end discrimination. There is, however, a problem with the way “discrimination” is defined in public discourse today. Groups like GLSEN believe that statements of moral conviction with which they disagree constitute prejudice or discrimination. While relentlessly promoting this view, administrators are never asked to provide evidence for the dubious presuppositions on which such claims of discrimination are based. They are never asked to provide evidence for the arguable claim that homosexuality is equivalent to race; or that disapproval of homosexual conduct is equivalent to racism; or that homosexual impulses are biologically determined; or that the presence of biological influences in shaping desire renders a behavior automatically moral. Parents should demand justification for those claims. If we allow schools to define discrimination so expansively as to prohibit all statements of moral conviction, character development will be compromised and freedom of speech rights will be trampled. And if administrators continue to define discrimination in such a way as to preclude only some statements of moral conviction, they violate their pedagogical commitment to intellectual diversity and render the classroom a place of indoctrination.”
Think of your 15-year-old cousin, who can’t have girlfriend because it is against our deen that is teased at school, called a pansy and wonders whether he is. We need to talk about this and tell our children that Allah loves them and if they are having these feelings then they need spiritual help. Not shun them and turn them over to the wolves, force them out of the folds of Islam. I am not suggesting someone can ‘turn’ your kid gay or not. That is not my concern here.
Some parents worry that taking a stance will adversely affect their children’s grades. What kind of Muslims are we raising? “Cowardly conformists” or those who follow the footsteps of the Sahabah? We need to teach them to stand up for their beliefs even if they have to sacrifice something. If the teacher does punish them in some way this is unethical and the parents should take it to the school administration. “O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” [Quran At-Tahrim 66:6]
Most of the following material is from a website sponsored by Pro-Family groups calling for national support for Day of Silence Walkout. (www.doswalkout.net) Unfortunately Muslim organizations, media groups and masjids have shied away from supporting this cause. So spread the word on your masjid lists, Muslim websites, etc.
Parents must actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes. You can help de-politicize the learning environment, which is paid for by our tax dollars, by calling your child out of school if your child’s school allows students to remain silent during instructional time on the Day of Silence. Brother Kevin Johnson asks, “Why would we want sexual orientation of any type to be taught to our young children? Isn’t that something that is personal and should be dealt with at home by the parents whenever they see fit? After all, the school system’s job is to educate children, not to raise them, that’s the job of the parent.”
If students will be permitted to remain silent, parents can express their opposition most effectively by removing their children from schools on the Day of Silence and sending letters of explanation to their administrators, their children’s teachers, and all school board members. One reason this is effective is that most school districts lose money for each student absence. School administrators err when they allow the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day.
Day of Silence – What Should Parents Do?
1. Call your local schools and ask whether they permit students or teachers to remain silent in the classroom on the “Day of Silence.” IMPORTANT: Do not ask any administrator, school board member, or teacher if the school sponsors, endorses, or supports DOS. Schools do not technically sponsor the Day of Silence. Technically, it is students, often students in the gay-straight alliance, who sponsor it. Many administrators will tell you that they do not sponsor the DOS when, in fact, they do permit students and sometimes even teachers to remain silent during instructional time. Also ask administrators whether they permit teachers to create lesson plans to accommodate student silence.
2. Find out what date the event is planned for your school. (The national date in 2010 is April 16, but some schools observe DOS on a different date).
3. Inform the school of your intention to keep your children home on that date and explain why. Download the sample letter from lordsfavor.wordpress.com or from doswalkout.net
4. Explain to your children why you’re taking a stand:
a. What does Islam say about homosexuality.
b. No matter what factors may influence homosexual feelings, freely chosen homosexual behavior is immoral and should be resisted.
c. Homosexuality is not equivalent to race.
d. Disapproval of homosexuality is not equivalent to racism; nor is it hatred; nor is it bullying; nor does it constitute an incitement to violence. It is permissible and ethical to express disapproval of homosexuality. Just because someone may feel bad when hearing that someone disapproves of homosexuality does not mean that disapproval is cruel or wrong.
e. No school should support a view of homosexuality that is unproven and controversial, and that is physically, emotionally, and spiritually destructive to individuals and society.
f. No school should allow instructional time to be politicized.
g. Reiterate that the kids be civil or kind to anyone who exhibits homosexual behavior and make sincere dua for them. It is against the Muslim manners to participate in bullying or calling anyone names that hurt.
Goodbye butterflies and princess dolls
As I rip out the butterfly wall paper I had so painstakingly installed 7 years ago and roll on the hot pink paint she picked for her bedroom wall, I want to hold on to her tight but she has started her journey to womanhood and all I can do is pray for her & guide her to the best of my ability. She has outgrown Gymboree but Justice is too ‘tween’ for her. My baby can barely make her bed, how will she handle adolescence? It is natural, I know but I want her to stay a child for a little bit longer. Puberty is a confusing and emotional time for young girls. Their bodies are changing; their emotions are raw and magnified. Having taught this workshop in our masjid for youth girls and for two years at my home, this is the first year my 9-year-old will participant. I think she is ready.
My cousin wonders why she needs to learn so early about puberty esp. since she may not get her period until 11-12. There are a myriad of reasons why this channel of communication need to be opened: because girls are maturing earlier every decade, because we live in a world of texting & You tube, because they will hear about it somewhere; at school, at your friend’s dinner party or from an older, ‘wiser’ neighborhood teenager. She may hear nonsense and take it for fact.
If you google muslim-puberty-girls, there is a dearth of any usable literature or practical advice. All that shows up are X rated websites with a few Islamic fatwas sites scattered in between. I did find one Yahoo group where young Muslimahs were desperately begging each other for info about how to clean themselves, wondering whether they should they pray or not. The poor women who answered their post had her facts wrong and kept hinting at ’secrets’ after they get married. That’s not what I want for my daughters. Instead of hearing snatches of conversation that confuses them even more, wouldn’t it be better to hear it from the woman whose womb bore them or an understanding teacher who can answer their what, when and whys.
Muslim girls need guidance and knowledge at this time. But this knowledge needs to stay in the confines of hayya-modesty. They need to understand these changes are from Allah (SWT) and with them come a great responsibility; they are now adults in front of God. In most American public schools, parents are given a choice of showing their girls a video about puberty. Many Muslim parents opt out of this program for good reason as the videos shown are ‘very graphic’ albeit in cartoon form and discuss how you get pregnant -you can read ‘Just around the corner’ movie reviews by moms and decide for yourself. Even if some Muslim parents discuss puberty, they do not explain the Islamic responsibilities that arrive after this stage in life.
I remember reading about ‘it’ in Judy Blume’s young adult novel ’Are you there, God? It’s me Margaret’ but never connected the dots that this will happen to me as well. When I finally reached puberty over summer vacation while visiting my Nani, I remember my aunts making kheer– rice pudding and congratulating me, grown women giggling away but no one ever told me what was going on. I felt guilty, like I had done something wrong, evil. In Muslim countries, many terrified girls look at soiled undergarments and wonder if they are dying because they are clueless. Often it is taboo to talk about what is happening to them. Between these two extremes lies Islam’s golden, middle way.
Advice for moms:
It’s awkward for mothers to talk about this subject as well, so I designed this info in a class format with handouts ( you can download the handouts by clicking the links in the box on the right) for the girls- so a mother can talk to her daughter or a teacher can address her class and explain puberty in terms that even a 5th grader can understand.
After talking to many young Muslimah and their moms, here are some practical suggestions I have for moms: Inculcate the habit of wearing a camisole around at 8 years, this will help her get used to wearing something under her clothes. When you do purchase her first bras, make a date and take just her to the store. Please buy her a small, separate trashcan as well (or reuse you diaper genie) so she can throw away the used pads appropriately. Show her a private place where she can stash her pantiliners and pads away from the inquiring eyes of younger siblings. At this point in life, young girls can be gifted their own Masallah (Janamaz), their own copy of the Quran & a tasbih, it makes them feel more responsible for their ibadah. She may want to sleep longer, so adjust her schedules. She may get moody; talk her through her feelings, as they are just a scared of their mood swings as you are.
You can give her this information in one formal class or a series of discussions, as you know your daughter’s learning style. Invite her friends, bake some brownies – make it mother-daughter time. Let them get their giggles out at the beginning- it soothes them and helps them when they see that all the girls are going through the same thing. I usually show the girls maxi pads, panty liners, and give them calendars to start their habit of marking their haidh-period. Another cute thing I hand out is a card that reads ‘Allah has chosen today to make me a young woman’. They can give this to their moms to let them know the day they get them-if they are too shy. I find it easier to show them an anatomical diagram of the uterus and use scientific terms of the body parts, without going into too much detail. Please feel free to use the information below, just remember to give credit and make dua for me.
Circle of Life: Start with a discussion on how it all begins and ends with Allah- our creator
- Allah created the first human being Adam (AS) from dust
- Allah creates every baby in their mother’s womb- It is related from Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah the Mighty and Majestic appoints an angel to every womb who says, ‘O Lord! A drop! O Lord A clot! O Lord! A lump of flesh! ‘Then if He desires to complete His creation, He does so and the angel asks, ‘Is it to be male or female? Wretched or happy? What is its provision? What is its life-span?’ This is all decreed in the mother’s womb.”
- The baby develops from one stage to the other until it reaches full term. In Chapter 40 verse 67 of the Quran, Allah tells : It is He who has created you from dust, then from a drop of seed, then from a clot; Then He brings you forth as a child, then ordains that you reach the age of full strength and afterward that you become old-though some among you die before- and that you reach an appointed term, in order that you may understand.
- By Allah’s will the baby is born and progresses through life from one stage to another
- Until her time on Earth is complete and she returns to her Creator
What is it? Adolescence- balughat a stage of development when your body goes thru changes at a fast rate under the effect of hormones produced in the body by the will of Allah Taa’la,
- Every baby girl is born with two ovaries
- and a uterus– a muscle the size of your fist where a baby can grow
- Allah produces hormones called estrogen and progesterone in your body
Changes in body will include:
- Hair grows underarms and in the private area- Muslims should clean these areas at least every 40 days- wax, cream or even shave.
- Sweat glands develop- Take regular showers as body odor tends to increase at this age
- The chest starts growing so it can produce milk when you get married and have a child
- The ovaries release an ovum(egg) every month
- The uterus prepares a thin layer of tissue to receive the ovum
- Upon puberty, the uterus shed this thin layer of tissue every month and it discharged from the body. This is your monthly period or menstruation.
Why do we get it?
Little girls are starting to become women- the process takes several years but you have to learn to carry yourself like a Muslim woman. Over time your body matures so that one day it will be ready to be a mother when you get married. A healthy, able body is a trust from Allah. Allah made it, so He knows best how to take care of it and he tells us how through the Quran and Sunnah- by doing halaal and staying away from haraam. ‘This is something that Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam.” Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said. Unlike Judaism, Hinduism or Christianity, Islam does not view your period as a curse. Our faith does not teach any connection between mentruation and Eve or the first sin- Islam does not preach that women are the source of evil. We believe that Hazrat Adam and Bibi Hawwa made the choice to disobey Allah together.
When will I get it?
In Islam puberty can not begin before the age of nine. If you do not menstruate by the age of fifteen (Islāmic years), you will have reached the age of puberty. A girl’s first period usually begins between the ages of 9 and 16. The average age is 12.5 years. Your best friend and you will probably not get it the same day or even the same year. Relax!!! as long as you are eating healthy, sleeping enough hours you have nothing to worry about. It is a special time chosen by Allah and it will happen when your body is ready of it.
Some signs that your body is getting ready:
- Developing Breasts. First, you’ll get breast “buds”. (Your breasts then can take up to 3-4 years to fully develop.) Generally you will get your period 2-3 years after your breasts start developing. The average age for breast buds is 10.5 years
- Growing Pubic Hair. Right after your breasts start to form, you’ll start developing pubic hair. It will be soft and thin at first, and then gradually become coarser. Your period usually arrives around 1-2 years after the hair development.
- Discharge. This is the big sign. You’ll start to experience vaginal discharge that will be either white or yellowish. If you like, you may want to start using pantiliners to protect your underwear. This is from Sunnah, the women of Madinah used to wear a piece of cotton wool (karsoof). Your period could start around 6-18 months after the start of discharge. A girl’s first few periods are usually light. You will lose about two to five tablespoons of blood over a period of two to eight days
There’s one more way to figure out when you’ll start menstruating: Ask your mom. You’ll probably get your period within a year or so of when she got hers.
Now I have it what should I do?
- Use a pad to wear with your underwear. Change the pad as often as you need to stay dry and comfortable. Keep some underwear exclusively for use during these days.
- When you get it you may get cramps– which is because your uterus is contracting- use a hot water bottle, exercise, drink hot tea and cuddle with your mom. If it really hurts ask your doctor if it is OK to take pain medication.
- It is perfectly normal not to have a regular pattern or habit the first few months or even few years. Start keeping a calendar and keep track of your habit, lots of rules depend on this.
- Make sure you wrap your used pad and throw it in garbage. It is really bad manners to leave them in plain sight. Do not flush down the toilet. You are not a little kid anymore, start behaving like a proud, clean Muslimah!
- During period you are excused from salah. This is a gift from Allah as he knows how much a woman is suffering. Do not cut all connection with Allah. Do make wudu, sit and make zikr, duas, read duroood etc. so you don’t loose the habit of praying 5 times. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “… a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses” (Sahih Muslim). You don’t have to make up the Salah
However; the menstruating woman must make up the missed days after Ramadan. Aishah (RA) said: “When we would have our menses during the lifetime of the Prophet, we were ordered to make up the days of fasting that we had missed but were not ordered to make up the prayers that we had missed.”(Sahih Al-Bukhari)
- After you are sure the bleeding has stopped than make ghusl*(a handout on how to take this ritual bath is included). Women used to send ‘A’isha (RA) little boxes containing pieces of cotton cloth which still showed some yellowness. ‘A’isha would say, “Do not rush [to do ghusl] until you see white cotton,” meaning by that purity from menstruation.’After you are sure that all discharged has changed to white then you are ready to make ghusl and get back to praying five times a day. “When we purified ourselves by doing ghusl after menstruation, we were allowed a small amount of light perfume.”
- Every religion has a corner-stone the cornerstone of Is Islam is HAYAA– modesty. We should try to act on this principle in every action of our lives. Don’t discuss your period around boys, men and younger sisters.
- Most importantly, the pen has started flowing, every action is recorded now. You are responsible for your salah, your fasting in Ramadan is compulsory, hijab becomes fardh. Congratulations!