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My Son Is Alway Late for School

Questioner

I (37-female-Australia)

Reply Date

Oct 08, 2018

Question

My son is 13-year-old and is always late for school. He won't get out of bed in the mornings. We've tried rewarding him the days he gets up on time, and ignoring the days he doesn't; it worked for a while, but now he's back to his old ways. What can we do?

Counselor

Answer


My Son Is Alway Late for School

In this counseling answer:

“Explain clearly and directly to your son why it is important for him to get up in the morning on time. I’m sure you can get some ideas from others. Whatever you decide, there must be a set of boundaries drawn for your son. He’s 13 and should not be treated like a baby that is allowed to do whatever he wants. He should be forced to get up, if necessary, and it must be made clear to him that waking up late will not be tolerated anymore.”


As salamu `alaykum,

The religious scholars taught us that the appropriate way to treat children between the ages of 0 and 7 years is to play with them; 8- to 14-year-olds need discipline, and from 15 years onwards children should be treated as adults or friends. As your son is 13, it is important that you focus on discipline with him.

These middle years are especially important for instilling discipline and good habits that will carry on throughout adolescence and into adulthood, insha’ Allah. If you are too lax with him at this stage, he might get used to laziness and other related negative behaviors. At this age the role of the father is very important in disciplining, and I suggest that your husband, if possible, take it upon himself to ensure that his son gets out of bed on time in the mornings — one way or another.

When you mention that your son won’t get out of bed for school, it also sounds as if he is not getting up to pray at Fajr (Dawn Prayer) as well. If that is the case, it is certainly a shame, for the Fajr Prayer is the most important prayer of the day:

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said, “No prayer is harder for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the `Isha’ prayers, and if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to crawl.”(Al-Bukhari 1:11 #626)


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Whether or not one prays the Fajr Prayer influences one’s tone and mood for the remainder of the day. Waking up for the Fajr Prayer is the key to the start of a great day. The blessings attached to rising early and making prayer as the very first act of the day are not only worthy of great reward, but set our entire day to come on a solid foundation.

However, there is no way that we can expect our children to rise early if we as parents are not doing so. The family should operate as a unit as often as possible.

Though not everyone can afford to go to bed early at night due to night jobs and other responsibilities, it is important that we set a good example for our children by getting to bed at reasonable hours and rising early for the Fajr Prayer and even earlier if possible. Along these lines, you might look at the daily habits that your son keeps. For example:

  • Does he go to bed very late? If so, this will obviously make waking up early more difficult for him.
  • Does he eat a lot just before sleeping at night? If so, this will also make it more difficult for him to wake up on time.
  • The habitual behaviors that we keep can greatly influence our sleeping patterns and daily schedules. Remember, as Muslims, the most important activity that we can do at night and in the morning is worship, so this should be a priority for us from sunset to sunset, even if we can only manage a little.

Explain clearly and directly to your son why it is important for him to get up in the morning on time. I’m sure you can get some ideas from others. Whatever you decide, there must be a set of boundaries drawn for your son. He’s 13 and should not be treated like a baby that is allowed to do whatever he wants. He should be forced to get up, if necessary, and it must be made clear to him that waking up late will not be tolerated anymore. If it is not, this bad habit will be carried into his adolescent years and beyond.


Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 

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About Dr. Abd. Lateef Krauss Abdullah

Dr. Abd. Lateef Krauss Abdullah is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Science Study’s Community Education and Youth Studies Laboratory, Universiti Putra Malaysia. He received his B.A. from the University of Delaware (U.S.), his M.S. from Columbia University (U.S.) and his PhD from the Institute for Community & Peace Studies (PEKKA), Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2005 in the field of Youth Studies. Abd. Lateef is an American who has been living in Malaysia since 2001. He is married and has 2 children.

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