Salam sister. I have a 16 years old son. He wants to meet his friends on New Years Eve at night. He said he would be at his friend’s home, but I am afraid he is lying. I actually do not really like his friends. Some are Muslims even, but they are not really practicing Muslims. They smoke cigarette for example and God knows what else they do. We are not a very religious family either, but I wish my son has better friends and avoids doing major sins. I am afraid they would make him do something bad. I haven’t caught him being drunk or smoking yet, but I am afraid of this New Years Eve as people tend to be out of their mind, especially teenagers. How shall I deal with my son? I am afraid he is hiding a lot of things from us. How can I convince him to have better friends?
Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,
As parents, we will always have one concern or another for our children. Throughout childhood, the concern that they are with good friends is one of primary focus as friends can have such a strong influence on our children, in the worst case scenario, leading them astray. At 16, your concern is that he could be lead to commit haram such as drinking and smoking typically carried out by many on New Years Eve. You are concerned that he is lying to you so that you will agree to allow him out.
As it stands, he hasn’t given you any reason not to believe him as you have never caught him doing otherwise and stopping him from going out could abuse this trust that currently exists between you. Your resistance could even cause him to go astray as he may feel that if you don’t believe him, or trust him then he has nothing to lose if he does don’t he things that you fear he is. You therefore have the option to trust that he will actually behave responsibility on this night.
However, understandably you are well aware of the things that can and do go on and this causes you concern. Also, as a parent, you feel responsible for him, and will feel responsible should he get into trouble for engaging in the things you fear he might and this is fine and perfectly natural also.
There are some things that you could do hear to strike a compromise, allowing him to go out, but giving you peace of mind that he’s not up to no good. One option could be to tell him that he can invite his friends to your house. This way he still gets to hang out with his friends, but under your own roof so you can monitor what they are up to to some extent. Alternatively, you can ask for the contact details of the parents of his friend. This serves several purposes; first of all you can feel conformed to know that you can call the place where he is staying, you can talk with his friend’s parents to get an idea of what his family is like and finally your son will know that you have their contact details and that you could contact them anytime and therefore is less likely to feel comfortable telling any lies in the knowledge that he could be caught out if he does.
In the long term, you could also integrate more into your local Muslim community. This will be good for your ow Deen also. It may be that you also meet good people with children the same age as your son who you could introduce to him. This way you will feel more confident that you know he is hanging around with good peers. In addition, you say that you don’t practice much. This is something that you might want to focus on also for the future as your son sees you as his role models and will be more likely to emulate your behaviour. If he sees you practising and leading righteous lives, he will be more likely to copy and follow in your footsteps which naturally make him less inclined to mix with people who do things such as drink and smoke out of fear of Allah.
May Allah guide you all on the straight path and keep your son safe from harm.