The smart Muslim mother keeps her eyes open as far as her children are concerned. She knows what they are reading and writing, the hobbies and activities they persue, the friends they have chosen, and the places they go to in their free time. She knows all of this without her children feeling that she is watching them. If she finds anything objectionable in their hobbies, reading-materials, etc., or if she sees them hanging around with undesirable friends, or going to unsuitable places, or taking up bad habits such as smoking, or wasting time and energy on haram games that teach them to get used to trivialities, she hastens to correct her children in a gentle and wise manner, and persuades them to return to the straight and narrow. The mother is more able to do this than the father, because she spends much more time with the children, and they are more likely to open up and share their thoughts and feelings with her than with their father. Hence it is quite clear that the mother has a great responsibility to bring up her children properly and form their characters in a sound fashion, in accordance with Islamic principles, values and traditions.
Every child is born in a state of fitrah (the natural, good, disposition of mankind), and it is the parents who make him into a Jew, a Christian or a Magian, as the Prophet (PBUH) said in the sahih hadith narrated by Bukhari.
There is no secret about the enormous impact the parents have on the personality and psychological development of their child from the earliest years until the child attains the age of reason.
The books that children read should open their minds and form their personalities well, giving them the highest examples to follow; they should not corrupt their minds and extinguish the light of
goodness in their souls.
Hobbies should help to develop the positive aspects of a child's nature and reinforce good tastes, not encourage any negative tendancies.
Friends should be of the type that will lead one to Paradise, not to Hell; they should influence a child in a positive way and encourage him to do good, to strive to improve himself and to succeed, not drag him dowinto sin, disobedience and failure. How many people have been brought to the slippery slope of destruction and perdition by their friends, whilst their mothers and fathers were unaware of what was to their own children! How wise are the words of the poet 'Adiyy ibn Zayd al'Ibadi concerning friends:
"If you are among people, then make friends with the best of them.
Do not make friends with the worst of them lest you become as bad as he is. Do not ask about the man, but ask about his friends, for every person is influenced by his friends."22
The true Muslim mother takes notice of her children's books, magazines, hobbies, school, teachers, clubs, media interests, and everything that may have an impact on their personalities, minds, souls and faith. She intervenes when necessary, either to encourage or to put a stop to something, so that the children's upbringing will not be affected by corruption or sickness.
Successful upbringing of children depends on a mother who is alert and intelligent, and understands her responsibility towards her children, so that she does a good job and raises children who will be a boon to their parents and society in general. Families that fail to raise their children properly usually do so because the mother does not understand her responsibility towards her children, so she neglects them and they become a source of evil and a torment to their parents and others.
Children would not become a source of evil if their parents, especially the mother, knew their responsibility and took it seriously.