I have written before about parenting, I am trying to put in practice what i have been recommended. But here my question is do i really need to contact a psychologist, for the past few months i have been having nervous breakdown, sometime crying loudly other time became nervous at a point that i feel my head will explode or feel like bang my head hard against the wall. If this continue like this what will be the repercussion in the future?? My problem is i had a lot of responsibility as a mother, wife, daughter and a working woman. When my exhaustion reaches its peak i burst out then have a nervous breakdown. Every two weeks and so i feel depressed, sad and want to be alone. At work i confine myself in my place not meeting much with colleague during lunchtime as if i have retrieved myself. When i went at my parent place during weekend, my mother and brother always spoilt my son (2 1/2 years), my son won't listen to me, he mess up everything, he will hit, throw everything, spit, push, play with thing dangerous, when i reprimand him he won't listen until i will give him a slap (not hard one), so my brother and mother will always shout at me for this. They make as if i am maltreat my son which am not. So all this add to my depression. Also my husband is a very nice person but introvert don't know how to handle situation when i have my breakdown, he will remain quite and not react at all. There is also lack of intimacy in my couple due to busy life…I don't feel happy most of the time. What should i do??
Assalaum alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,
It really does sound like you are having a tough time to the point that you have hit burnout and I would recommend seeing a psychologist so you can get some ongoing assistance in overcoming these difficulties. It seems to be impacting on all aspects of your life; from your work life, to your home life and relations with you family and husband, and becoming a burden on you at all times and therefore I would suggest seeking such help. I hope that I can make some suggestions that might make things easier for you in the meantime.
It seems more like your source of frustration is due to being too busy and not necessarily because you feel like you have an unruly child. Alhamdulilah, you have family members who are willing and able to take care of your son, so use this to your advantage. Ask them if they could take care of him for an hour or 2 once a week so that you can get some time to yourself, to do something for yourself that you enjoy. Do something with your husband, rekindle the relationship between the 2 of you. It’s easy to lose the intimacy when life is so hectic and you have a child too, so do take some time alone together to just enjoy each other’s company. Do something fun together that you both enjoy. It is engaging in self care practices like this that will bring you more patience with your son and in a better position to face the daily stresses of juggling multiple responsibilities. Remember, if you don’t care for yourself you can hardly expect to do a good job in your role of caring for you child, being a wife, working..etc.. You need to look after yourself without feeling guilty, remembering that it is for them that you are doing this, so that you can do the best job you can with your responsibilities without snapping or being angry.
Other things you might do, is to set aside even just 10 minutes in the morning after Fajr when its most likely to be quiet, to sit in silence and read and reflect on the Qur’an. Start your day with that close connection to Allah, finding comfort in His remembrance. After this, you might then get a clear idea in mind (or on paper) of everything that you have to get done in the day.
As much as you often feel like you want to be alone, being social can also be a good way to overcome the feelings that you are experiencing, so I would encourage you to join your colleagues for lunch. Not only is a chance to be with other, but its chance to just take a break from your work which is very important for both productivity and your sense of wellbeing. Feeling satisfied at work will mean that you will be in a better mental mindset when you come home to your son. If it is that you feel your work is too much, or there is something making it too difficult for you, then take the time to speak to your supervisor to try and make things easier for you that you don’t end up getting so stressed.
Regarding your son. He is just 2 ½ and kids of this age are very busy. They are exploring the world, learning new things, excited by things that we don’t even notice. They are full of energy and want to explore and that is the nature of a child of this age. Keeping in mind, if you are feeling stressed with everything then you will have little patience to deal with his playfulness and highlight the importance of looking after yourself so that you are in a better space to manage his behavior patiently. It might seem like he is just a naughty child, but there are ways to manage this kind of behavior in a child so young in ways that don’t require the use of physical punishment. Given his age and his love for play, the first step you can take is to play with him. Use this as the building block for your relationship, working together doing something he loves. This is more likely to build a sense of respect for you than continually shouting at him all the time. This proactive approach of playing with him, allows him to get your full attention without even needing to think about doing something naughty to get your attention, because he already has it. Ask him what he wants to play with you. Let him be the one in control and feel that sense of responsibility and know that you are listening to him and understanding him and not ignoring him.
Praise him and reward him for his good behavior, paying less attention to his bad behavior. Sometimes children will misbehave simply to get attention, therefore giving them attention for good behaviours whilst overlooking any negative behaviours makes them more inclined to continue with positive behavior because that’s what’s getting them the attention. Even if it is just something as praising him for building a tower, or racing a toy car.
That is not to say that his poor behavior should be completely ignored to the point that he feels its ok. He needs to know that it is not. Do begin with the more positive parenting steps to try and eliminate such behavior and also when you eel yourself getting angry at him, do take a mental step back and ask yourself if you are only seeing things in this way because you yourself are feeling stressed, or have you behave in a way that might have triggered his response. This is why self care is important to ensure that you are not slipping into a negative cycle that causes you to get angry at him, which makes him more angry, which make your even more angry..etc.. A form of discipline is to take something away from him. If he is not playing nicely with something, or is throwing it around, then take it away from him. When he calms down you can give it back to him. Otherwise, giving him a time out. Allocate a spot for him to take time out when he is misbehaving. This might be a chair in the corner. When he is misbehaving, you tell him what he did was not ok (you know his level of language best so will know how best to put it to him at this age) and have him sit there for 2 minutes and then allow him to play again. This is punishment in that it takes him away from what he really wants to be doing, but also gives him the chance to settle and calm down.
May Allah bring you peace and happiness and make things easier for you. May He help you to overcome your difficulties and grant you a righteous child that will be the coolness of your eyes.
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