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I’m a Spoiled Brat in My Older Siblings’ Eyes

Questioner

J

Reply Date

Oct 11, 2017

Question

As-Salamu Aleikom. I am a 23 year old Muslim girl and I practice Islam as much as I am capable. My father is a rich businessman alhumdulillah. He has provided all of us with every luxury we could imagine. He is a very big support system I have. He has never stopped me from doing anything until and unless it’s in the limit of Islamic boundaries. My mother is not very religious. She has been a very difficult wife and also a difficult mother, especially for me. She is always complaining and backbiting about me in front of my other siblings. I know that she is my mother and I have to fulfill all my responsibilities towards her given by Allah subhana wa taala, but she has made all my siblings turn against me. Even if I do something good in life in whatever field, they are not happy about it. My father is very strict towards us and my mother in terms of punctuality and discipline. I am the youngest of all the siblings so I have a got a little liberty from all of this. Thus they feel that I am a spoiled brat. My mother is jealous of me, for example, when I go out with friends or when I do things which my other siblings and my mother couldn't do before. They just simply feel jealous and hate me on the whole! I feel very depressed.

Counselor

Answer


I’m a Spoiled Brat in My Older Siblings’ Eyes

In this counseling answer:

“It is natural that your older siblings may feel some resentment towards some of the freedoms and “little extras” you may have received. However, that is no reason for them to reject you, treat you poorly or be abusive.”


As-Salamu ‘Alaikum dear sister,

I am sorry that you are going through a tough time at home. It’s not easy being the youngest child. Nor the oldest! However, it is said that the first child or two a couple has is a “trial and error time”.

As new parents, we may tend to be over strict and cautious as we are new at being parents. By the time the last child is born, yes, parents may be more liberal as they are more confident in their abilities. GMWilliams stated that “since your parents had prior experience having and raising children, they were often more lenient and matter of fact in raising you than they were your older siblings. Your older siblings were the test experiments for your parents.”

With that in mind, it is natural that your older siblings may feel some resentment towards some of the freedoms and “little extras” you may have received. However, that is no reason for them to reject you, treat you poorly or be abusive.”

As far as your mom goes, I see that you are talking about her in the sense that she is one of your father’s children as well. You stated “My father is very strict towards us and my mother in terms of punctuality and discipline, and “when I do things which my other siblings and my mother couldn’t do before.“ While I am not sure that is how you meant is, it does appear that your mom is treated like a child when in fact she is a full grown woman and his wife. Perhaps that is where the resentment is coming from, and it may be displaced on you.

You also stated that you and your father were very close. Ma sha ‘Allah, that is good as we strive to be close to both our parents. However again, if your father is distancing your mom and siblings and gravitating towards you, it may be a cause of dissension in the family. I would suggest dear sister that you speak to your father about this issue as you are close to him. Explain to him that you would like to see harmonious relations between you, your mom and sisters. Ask for his advice on how to achieve this. Perhaps, he also noticed the discord and would also like to see positive changes within his family.

I would also suggest dear sister that you continue to be kind to your mom and siblings even though they have hurt you. Try to do little extra things around the house to help. Repel their mean words and actions by not feeding into it (reacting). Instead, try to change the subject or say something nice in return. Being kind to those who say hurtful things often throws them off; they don’t know how to respond. After a while, you may see these behaviors decrease and more harmonious ones increase. You will be rewarded for this strength, in sha’ Allah, and your siblings and mom may begin to change after a time when they notice you are still showing them love and kindness.

In regards to family situations such as these, our scholar that “Without your forgiveness, and without understanding, your family less likely to change. You may be on the receiving end of more compassion, and more understanding than them, and from their point of view, they may be feeling resentment on the belief that you are treated better (modified)”.

While you already indicated this is the situation, I wanted to further state that you are not alone in your family issues regarding jealousy. Sadly, it is common for families, especially when one is the youngest and may have had more liberties that the older siblings.

Please continue excelling in your studies as well as your Islamic life, and be happy for yourself! Strive to do better and remain humble in your accomplishments. Remember, if you did have extra opportunities that your siblings did not have, it is a blessing. Continue to be mindful to pray, read Qur’an and illustrate an attitude that is Islamic. While your mother is not practicing right now, in sha’ Allah she may begin after a time – with you as a kind example.

Make du’aa’ for your mom as it sounds like she is hurt. Ask Allah (swt) to guide her back to Islam and grant her ease. Try not to be depressed, sister. I know this is painful, but I do believe that with Allah’s help, your example of kindness and tolerance will begin to change your family dynamics. All is a test dear sister, and this may be Allah’s way of bringing your family back into the folds of practicing Islamic values.

You are in our prayers. Please let us know how you are doing.

***

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.

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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