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10-Year-Old Daughter Talks Too Much

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Feb 16, 2017

Question

As-salamu `Alaikum, I have 2 girls, the oldest is 10-year-old, she is very smart and sociable. She finds no difficulty in making friends and in family gathering she always becomes a source of happiness, but I notice that she talks a lot, she almost never stops talking whether we are at home or outside. In some occasions, our relatives ask her to stop a little, and this sometimes embarrassig me. I’m afraid that If I kept telling her to stop talking to affect herself confidence. How can you help me to do that?

Counselor

Answer


 As-Salaamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhum,

Thank you for asking this important question. As mothers, we are driven by an overwhelming responsibility to “care” for our children, i.e., protect them. This is good and healthy and I would never tell you to stop doing this. I can feel, in your question, your strong desire to be a good mother. However, “mothering” has two distinctly different elements that make it up, and these elements are the opposite of each other. However, they have to happen at the same time (except when our children are very young).

When our children are very small, it is easy: tell them what to do—to save their lives and get them through the day. This function of motherhood is the classical one. It is what we call “mothering”. However, there is another function of motherhood that is just as important but the opposite of “mothering”. It is the transitioning of children into adulthood, which culminates in launching of young adults into adulthood. Because we have to let them go one day, even sometimes push them out of the nest, so to speak, we have to get them ready to “fly” on their own., i.e., be completely independent of us—so much so that one day they will take care of us, instead of us taking care of them. To transition them into adulthood, we have to get them to where we do not tell them what to do—by making sure that we have given them the info they need to figure it out on their own!

It appears to me that you are being caught in the middle of this process without realizing what your role is. You have to do both of your mothering roles at the same time. You need to tell your daughter what to do (that her talkativeness is sometimes inappropriate/too much) and you need to allow her to explore the world to figure it out for herself (thus her wealth of things to say). What to do because where she has landed in this dilemma is not working well for her—in terms of going out into the world and being an agreeable, acceptable, well formed adult. And, at the same time, you do not want to stunt her exploration of her own thoughts and feelings. You want to let her explore the world and figure it out and form her own ideas, etc.

So, I suggest you do the “mothering” thing by telling her (what to do) by explaining to her that we are not only one thing. When we are with others, they too are in the “relationship”. Only Allah is One, which means, inversely that we are not. In other words, our lives are healthiest and whole when we understand that we have to “interact” with others. Of course, being our self, alone, has its place and value. But, at the same time, we cannot lose sight of the fact that we have to live in a world that is defined by our relationships to others, starting with our relationship with Allah, our God. When we interact with other people, we need to “share” the space and the discussion.

There is nothing “wrong” with your daughter. She is just at the point in her development where she needs to learn about others and what their role is in her life. All the stuff she has to say is very important AND there is more about the world that she needs to learn, i.e, what a “relationship” is, InShaAllah.

One way to help her understand this is to explain to her that there are three kinds of relationships that we have in this world: the “most personal” one with Allah, the “private” one with our family and close friends, and the “public” one with the rest of the world. The private one with you and her father and siblings and extended family and close friends is a place where they could probably put up with her talkativeness, because they love her. The public world does not love her in this way and so she needs to respect its unique and different relationship with her. Since these “relationships” are NOT the same, she needs to treat them differently, and she does not get that yet, inShaAllah! Explain it to her. Let her know that she is always “safe” in her relationship with Allah, no matter what she needs to say or bring to the table.

May Allah Make it easy for you.




About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem

Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery. For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.

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