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Teenage Son Isolates Himself During Ramadan

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

May 13, 2019

Question

Salamu alaikum, I am a single mother raising my son (13 years old) in the US. He has a lot of non-Muslim friends and few Muslim friends but they are not practicing Muslims. In Ramadan, he refuses to go to school or socialize because he is shy to speak about fasting. How can I help him?

Counselor

Answer


Teenage Son Isolates Himself During Ramadan

In this counseling answer:

•You can go through books or watch lectures together. Support him. Even though he is 13 and quite capable of reading and watching lectures by himself, if you sit with him, he will feel more supported and more likely to take the information in.

•Make him aware of all the positive traits that fasting brings out in us. Traits that are admirable to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

•Being with others will also give him the chance to practice certain qualities that are enforced on the fasting person such as restraining from backbiting that he will not have the opportunity to do if he is not around others.

•He can use this opportunity to be a good ambassador for Islam – educating his friends on the practices of Islam as well as the good qualities of a practicing Muslim.


Wa alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

Raising children in an environment where fasting for Ramadan is not the norm and, therefore, there are few people around who understand what the purpose of Ramadan is tough. Raising children in a non-Muslim environment outside of Ramadan is tough enough, but now you are facing the additional challenge of Ramadan itself. This is also making things difficult for your son because he is shy to talk about fasting and is, therefore, withdrawing from socializing and school.

There are, however, some things that you can do to make things easier for him. They might help him to be more socially active during this month.

Firstly, instill pride in him about his religion and why he fasts. Make sure that he knows well why we fast during Ramadan so that he can feel confident to answer any questions should anyone ask him. Sometimes this can be the problem for children practicing Islam – that they are not totally clear about some of the practices and why we do them and, therefore, fear that they will be asked about it by their friends and will be unable to give an answer. This will make them feel shy and embarrassed, therefore, withdrawing from socializing allows them to be absent from a potentially embarrassing situation should it arise.

karim serageldin & naaila clay

If a child is well educated on the Islamic practices that they engage in then they don’t need to carry the burden of uncertainty on their shoulders because they can be confident that they have all the answers to the common things people might ask, namely, why they are doing it.

In this case, you can go through books or watch lectures together. Support him. Even though he is 13 and quite capable of reading and watching lectures by himself, if you sit with him, he will feel more supported and more likely to take the information in.

Make him aware of all the positive traits that fasting brings out in us. Traits that are admirable to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Traits such as being generous by giving to the poor, being patient by restraining oneself from eating, drinking, backbiting..etc.., and remembering those that have less than we do. Encourage him to take pride in the fact that by engaging in the acts of Ramadan he is nurturing these very excellent qualities in himself that will make him an excellent friend.

Therefore, he does not need to hide from them during a month where he will be exhibiting these brilliant qualities the most. Being with others will also give him the chance to practice certain qualities that are enforced on the fasting person such as restraining from backbiting that he will not have the opportunity to do if he is not around others.


Check out this counseling video:


He can use this opportunity to be a good ambassador for Islam – educating his friends on the practices of Islam as well as the good qualities of a practicing Muslim. Understanding it in this way might help him to feel an element of responsibility and leadership with an opportunity to do daw’ah in a subtle way as others may come to him to ask him questions. This is a great responsibility and one Allah (swt) will look favorably upon in sha’ Allah and let him know and understand this.

Helping him to view Ramadan from these slightly different perspectives might help to assist him in being more forward in being more sociable during this month of Ramadan.

May Allah (swt) make it easy for you to assist him in overcoming his shyness during this month. May He (swt) make your son more confident to be more sociable at this time.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

How to Get My Kids Away From Video Games In Ramadan?

Child Feels Inferior in Ramadan

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About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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