Children need to be treated with love, justice and kindness which are the best food for their development as good human beings.
Parental affection is one of the rights of children that is not limited to a specific period.
Those, who from early childhood, receive sufficient amount of affection from their parents are likely to have a pleasant disposition in life.
In accordance with Mental Health America (MHA) guidelines, love and affection help children to feel secure regardless of accomplishments. This builds their confidence and self-esteem.
Children whose parents treated them with affection and nurturing from a young age often have better brain development. Children with affectionate mothers have a larger hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that controls one’s memory, learning capabilities and responses to stress.
It is notable that the Prophet Mohammad (s) loved children greatly. He would allow his grandsons to ride his shoulders even during his prayers. He would offer ‘salaam’ to children, play and cut jokes with them in walkways. (Bihar al-Anwar, V 43, P 285).
The Prophet (s) has asserted: “Love children and be kind to them.” (Wasa’il ash-Shi‘ah, V 5, P 126)
Conversely, act of unkindness towards children has been denounced in Islamic thoughts and most of cultures.
The Prophet (s) is quoted elsewhere as saying, “He who does not have affection for children and does not respect the elderly is not one of us.” (Majmu‘ah al-Warram, V 1, P 34)
On the other hand, receiving equal treatment is one of the essential rights of children over their parents.
As it is mentioned in surah An-Nahl (verse 90) that God commands (people) to maintain justice, and kindness with their relatives.
The innate traits of the children will find expression and they will learn to be just and fair from the example set to them by their parents. If the parents are ignorant of the need for justice, so will be their children.
The Prophet (s) said, “Observe justice among your children just as you would like that they render justice among you.”( Makarim al-Akhlaq, V.6, P 49).
The children who had been the victims of injustice from their parents will carry rancor for them in their minds. It is possible that they will turn rebellious and disobedient.
The Prophet (s) declared: “Keep justice for all your children in your mind even when some of them are away. If you desire treatment of love, kindness and justice from your children, then give them similar treatment.”(Makarim al-Akhlaq, V 71, P 252).
The scholars agree that it is prescribed in Islam to treat children fairly when it comes to gift-giving; they should not single out one or some of them and not give gifts to others.
The Prophet(s) said: “Observe equality between your children when giving gifts.” ( Al-Sunan al-Kubra, V 6, P 294)
As a final not in this article, tenderness, love, and affection towards children would be possible only in an environment of justice and equality.