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Help! My Husband is Too Tough With Our Girls

Questioner

S

Reply Date

Feb 20, 2017

Question

As-salamu `Alaikum counselor, Please I need your advice. I have 3 girls aged 14, 12 ,9. My Husband’s relation with the girls is very turbulent because he always shouts and yells at them. When I speak with him to be easy with the girls he argues that his tough behavior with them aims to protect them and shield them against being deceived by others. I’m afraid that his attitude would force the girls to leave home or fall prey to bad people.Please help me.

Counselor

Answer


As-Salaamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhum

Subhanalah, this is a hard one because it is someone else’s behavior that is the problem and we cannot control other people’s behavior! I want you to know that I agree with you, that your husband’s idea of how to do childrearing is the not the right way to do it—ma sha shar (Allah please don’t let what happen what you expressed you fear—that his behavior drives them out of their home and into the arms of “bad people”!).

First and foremost, I suggest that you get an authentic book on childrearing ACCORDING TO OUR PROPHET (Peace on him). I am sorry, but I don’t know what books are out there on that. I am just assuming that there should be one, at least, inshaAllah. Then, I don’t know if he will listen to a non-Muslim, but there are tons of good books out there on how to parent without yelling and hitting—and why we should not be harsh with our children—because it usually has the opposite effect desired.

Now, I know that harshness works in a certain way (immediately and short term), and is a major part of many cultures. But, the world is in a real mess these days and much of that mess has to do with the way in which we rear our young, i.e., we tell them what to do and punish them if they don’t what we say. When children are young, of course we have to tell them what to do. But, as they grow, we need to explain things to them so that they can figure things out for themselves. We have the job of preparing them to become capable adults—capable, that is, of making their own decisions in the world when they are out there on their own.

I answered another question in this in this session, the following is what I said about a similar situation as yours, but different.

Parenting in the modern world is done all wrong, for the most part, if we use the Prophet’s (Peace on him) guidance as our gage. The Prophet (Peace on him) said that we are supposed to be our children’s “slave” up to the age of 7. After that, they need to be our slave until the age of 14. After that, we become their “advising friends”. Now, what does being a child’s “slave” mean. Well, it cannot mean do whatever the child commands because, when the child is two and three, they do not know anything about how to live in the world and they just want everything they want and throw temper tantrums when they don’t get what they want. So it has to mean (inShaAllah) that we enslaved to “taking care of them” and teaching them—which sounds about right.

However, it also has an element of giving them what they want in it… and that is where a lot of parents go wrong in my opinion. We think that the more we discipline them, the better for them and I don’t think that is right, according to our Prophet’s (Peace on him) guidance. I think we need to figure out how to let them “play” and explore and get what they want a lot – when it is safe. And, yes, it means our life is taken over with theirs. That is why I don’t believe in the feminist movement—because we need to devote our lives to our children for them to have healthy upbringings, inShaAllah.

Think about it. This tiny creature had everything they needed instantly when in our womb. Then, they come out to being bombarded with the opposite. No wonder their cries sound like they are absolutely miserable—they are! We have to help them with that! We have to gently transition them into this hard life with tons of loving care so that they can feel safe with us so they can deal with the harsh world. Disciple and serving our needs is for later, after age 7. Let them get what they need and want to be able to tolerate this harsh plane, i.e., let them be a little “selfish” for now. They will have to learn “self-less-ness” too soon enough, inShaAllah.

I like to explain it as analogous to stopping at a red light, i.e., taking turns. We have to learn when to give totally over to the other person so that they can get their needs me, and then we can get our turn next, inShaAllah.

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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