Will My Divorce Affect My Son? | About Islam
Home > Ask About Parenting > Single Parenting > Will My Divorce Affect My Son?

Will My Divorce Affect My Son?

Questioner

H

Reply Date

Mar 31, 2018

Question

I have recently separated from my husband and we are in the process of getting a divorce. Despite a very deep "love" we experienced, he became quite aggressive, verbally and sometimes physically abusive. I tried every way I could to heal our marriage and to help him with his anger problems as they got more frequent and intense. When I finally faced facts, I had to realize that this unhealthy situation was rubbing off onto our beautiful son. He would see and hear many things including threats to kill me and all of the ugly names you can imagine - not to mention a few times he saw my husband being physically aggressive to me. So now my ex has decided to move back home and it looks like I will have full custody of our son. Even though in a perfect world I wish my son to have his natural father in his life, I am not so sure that this unstable character of a man can correct himself. Although he loves our son very much, he also loved me very much...love does not seem to be the issue here. Rather it is a control issue. And even though he has not lost complete control with our son, I fear it is only a matter of time. So now my question is twofold: 1- My ex has been ordered by the court to stay away and he can visit under supervision only. He has expressed desire to see our child, to have visitation rights and also to talk by phone. I do not mind all of this but I feel I should go by what the court says: i.e. supervised visits only until he goes to parenting classes, etc. He refuses supervised visits or classes saying that the problems are between us and that he is a good father. I maintain that a good father would protect his son from the emotional harm that he has caused by losing control in front of him so many times. Even the phone conversations are upsetting, with my ex blaming me for the separation (as if the little boy is an adult to be told these things). I am politely trying to stop this type of conversation, but the truth is I feel stressed every time we must interact. I hate to feel I am standing in the way of the father-son bond, but the constant emotional ups and downs are what I ran away from in the first place. Help me find the best solution for the sake of my son. 2- When is it advisable to introduce another male influence into my son's life? I know that as a woman I cannot give him all he needs. And I know good Muslim brothers who would be willing to play a role. Unfortunately, I have no family here to play that role, so these would be new faces to my son. Or is it better to have one consistent male figure like a "big brother"? I know that even when it is permissible for me to entertain the thought of another man in MY life, I would like to keep it away from my son for awhile so as not to confuse him. This question pertains more to the health of my son and how to make sure he has strong and positive male influence in his world. At the same time I do not want to confuse him or to feel I am trying to replace his father. He is very smart for his age and has asked many questions about what is happening because unfortunately my husband's own selfishness led him to expose the situation to our son. I thank you for any advice you may have for me during this difficult transition. May Allah be with you.

Counselor

Answer


Divorce

In this counseling answer:

“Any attempt to explain to your son what has happened must be done with honesty and understanding. Explain it to him in the context of marital relations in general -not specifics- so as to not bad mouth the boy’s father. Rather, try to do it in an educational way, think of it as an effort to educate him on the importance of peaceful family relations. Explain to him the importance of love, the importance of following the example of Rasulullah (SAW) and why parents need to be kind to one another, respectful and cooperative and why they cannot be violent, etc.”


As-salamu alaykum,

 

Dear sister. My heart goes out to you. It is hard enough today trying to keep what families we have in touch, let alone together. It is also upsetting to hear of yet another Muslim man and father proving himself incapable of overcoming his fears for the sake of Allah and the unity of his family. Too many of us men just don’t seem to ‘get it’ today.

I’m particularly saddened of your case because it sounds like you and your husband once truly loved each other, which of course is an incredible gift and blessing from Allah. Nonetheless, the Prophet (SAW) didn’t say “marriage is half of deen” for nothing! When Aisha (R.A.) was asked what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) use to do in his house, she replied that he used to engage himself in mihna i.e. the service of his family, and when the time for prayer came, he went out to prayer (Bukhari).

I’m a little unclear of the legal issues here, namely, what your husband is allowed to do or not to do. I can’t help you with that one. To the rest of your question, firstly, I think you are very wise for wanting a stable male figure in your son’s life, however, given the situation I think it might be wise at this point to go slowly and let the dust settle first. I think that you are right in that pushing something too fast in terms of bringing another male into your life and son’s life could be a bit much at this point, if done intentionally.

In sha’Allah your son will re-establish a father-son relationship albeit given the obvious boundaries, and you should encourage it and encourage positive relationships in the family as best you can give the circumstances. I think it’s always good also if you find that your husband is trying to ‘pollute’ your son’s thinking by saying bad things about you, that you encourage the father to focus on the well-being of the child and urge him to keep discussion of your marriage/breakup to the two of you only.

Perhaps you can suggest this as an informal rule that anything having to do with the separation only be discussed between you and him, for the sake of your son’s positive relations with both parents. In sha’Allah your husband will be able to see past his selfishness for the good of the family and your son.

Finally, any attempt to explain to your son what has happened must be done with honesty and understanding.

Explain it to him in the context of marital relations in general -not specifics- so as to not bad mouth the boy’s father.

Rather, try to do it in an educational way, think of it as an effort to educate him on the importance of peaceful family relations.

Explain to him the importance of love, the importance of following the example of Rasulullah (SAW) and why parents need to be kind to one another, respectful and cooperative and why they cannot be violent, etc. Islam is the way of peace, love, and surrender of the self to Allah, not the way of surrender to our own fears and egos. This must be taught – the cleansing of the lower self and its selfish and sometimes vengeful ways through love and surrender.

Teach him the right way and highlight the ideas rather than focus on the negatives. Unfortunately, until now his only experience of family life is based on the example that has been set by his father – one of violence and anger. Thus, it is really important that he understand the way of love and peaceful relations. Until he gets another example to learn from, i.e. a new father in the house, you have to take it upon yourself to show him how a loving and God-fearing family should interact without doing it in such a way as to slander his father. It’s quite a challenge for certain.

May Allah support and guide you.

Wa salam…

***

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. 

Read more:

Irresponsible Father, Ask for Divorce?

Negative Effects of Divorce on Children

Concerned About Divorce Effect on My Child




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.

Add Comment


find out more!