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I Snap at My Kids, What to Do?

Questioner

K (34-female-US)

Reply Date

Oct 08, 2017

Question

I'm an American single mother living in Oman. I have three kids ages 14, 12 and 7. Day by day, I feel more alone and isolated. Now people here boycott US products and appear to be avoiding me. Now, I feel my life is so empty and I have begun to snap at the children sometimes. It is not their fault and I try to apologize when I do so. I fear that I may do something that hurts myself if things do not change soon. I know it is wrong in Islam and I know that my children need me. What should I do?

Counselor

Answer


Kids

In this counseling answer:

“if you sense yourself getting upset or frustrated by something your children have done, try your best to delay giving a full response. Of course, if you must tell them to stop doing something because it may bring harm to them or to property, then do so. However, try not to become overly fixated on correcting their behavior or teaching them a lesson right then and there.”


As-salamu `Alaikum sister,

Your situation is difficult because it does not seem that you have a support system in Oman. While you are learning to handle the process of being alone, your children are also adjusting to not having a father. They are likely to be adversely affected by the way you conduct yourself.

First, because you are a single parent, they will only look to you for support. It is highly imperative that you develop some mechanism to cope with your own feelings so that you do not re-direct them towards your children. Snapping at them unnecessarily will only increase the distance between you and them. Perhaps the 14 year old is ready to become a source of support for you. Only you can gauge your oldest child’s level of maturity. Remember, repressing or denying your own feelings is not an answer. Rather, you will have to continue to seek out someone with whom you can maintain a regular dialog and share your feelings on a regular basis.

Second, two of your children are in the “teenage” phase. They are bound to do things which will upset you or cause you frustration. Try your best to talk through each situation with them and this will also help you from snapping at them and closing off the communication.The idea is to let them have as normal childhood as possible given that their father is no longer with them.

Third, if you sense yourself getting upset or frustrated by something your children have done, try your best to delay giving a full response. Of course, if you must tell them to stop doing something because it may bring harm to them or to property, then do so. However, try not to become overly fixated on correcting their behavior or teaching them a lesson right then and there. Perhaps you can wait for some time and when you have gathered your own emotions, then you can approach the children and explain why it is you were upset and exactly what about their behavior upset you.

Finally, we appreciate your efforts in sensing a problem and seeking help right away. As we mentioned  before, you have to seek out some social support system. You may find it difficult being a single mother in Oman, however, even if you have to share your feelings with friends via email, it is better than to allow yourself to get to the point that you would do something to hurt yourself.

We really do not know what other support systems are available to you but please do search vigorously so that you do not handle these situations always on your own.Insha’allah, Allah (Swt) will grant you the patience and the perseverance to take care of yourself and your children. Please write back and tell us how we can help you further.


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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