Aisha Swan On Parenting and Family Issues | About Islam
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Aisha Swan On Parenting and Family Issues

Session Guest

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.


Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018 | 08:00 - 10:00 Makkah | 05:00 - 07:00 GMT

Session Status

Session is over.

Salaam `Alaikum dears brothers and sisters,

We would like to thank you for joining us in this Counseling Live Session.

We would like also to thank our counselor, sister Aisha for answering the questions.

Answers will be online very soon.

Feel free to contact us and send your questions anytime to:

[email protected]


Assalamu'alaikum. I want to know if my 7 years old daughter can sleep with her father at night or not



As salamu alaykum sister,

 

Shokran for writing in with your question. This is a question that a lot of parents have -when is a child to old to sleep with parents. However you stated “if your daughter can sleep with her father”. Psychology Today (1) discusses children sleeping with parents stating ‘Co-sleeping may have seemed like a good idea at one point, but over time it’s anything but restful and, in fact, it creates additional stress for the entire family.

 

Recent studies indicate that near epidemic proportion of children are co-sleeping with parents today. According to Parenting’s Mom Connection, a surprising 45% of moms let their 8- to 12-year-olds sleep with them from time to time, and 13% permit it every night”. Often, children sleeping with a parent can be a common and normal practice for many families, especially in some cultures. It can provide bonding and a sense of security for children as they grow. However it some cases it can also cause children to be less self reliant.

 

Examining Factors

 

As your daughter is now seven, she may want to sleep in her own bed and have privacy. She is also almost entering the age of pre-puberty wherein she will be getting her menses. I would kindly suggest dear sister that you speak with your daughter to see how she feels about sleeping with her dad. If it is a situation wherein it is just your daughter and her dad-and you sleep in a separate room I would have to ask why and kindly ask you to investigate the situation from all angles.

 

You may want to look at the following questions insha’Allah: Has your daughter been sleeping with you and your husband since birth? Does your daughter currently sleep with her dad? What is your and your husband relationship, are you close? Are there any other children whom sleep with their dad? Is your home small and lacks space for sleeping quarters? Do you feel comfortable with your daughter sleeping with her dad? What are your husbands viewpoints on this?

 

Talking to your daughter

 

Sister, often times it is completely normal for children to sleep with a parent or parents. Your daughter and your husband may already be use to this, however when a child becomes a certain age as stated, they begin to feel awkward in certain situations. I would kindly suggest dear sister that you speak with your daughter alone. Please, insha’Allah ask her how she would feel sleeping in her own room as she is becoming a big girl.

 

You may want to take this opportunity to discuss at an age appropriate level her growth as a young lady and some of the changes she may soon be going through. You may also want to ask her how she feels about sleeping with her dad. If she is used to sleeping with you and your husband perhaps now is the time you can slowly introduce her to her own bed over time by having her sleep in her own room once a week, building up to seven.

 

Please do talk with her sister to assess her comfort level with the above questions in mind and make your decision from there. We wish you the best.

1-https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/savvy-parenting/201403/the-impact-chronic-co-sleeping-older-child


Let’s say someone steals money from their parent. Is the parent required to go to the authorities and report the crime? Or is it fine for the child to repent and pay the money back?



As salamu alaykum,

 

Shokran for writing to our live session. Regarding a child stealing money from their parents, it is haram. The parents may want to respond by discussing with the child how it is haram to steal. They may wish to explain how the parent loses trust in the child and it how makes the parent sad to think their child would steal.

 

The child should be taught about what the Qur’an says about stealing and how Allah swt hates a thief “As for the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they earned [i.e. committed] as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Quran 5:38).

The child should also be taught about Allah’s forgiveness and mercy reflected in the following ayat “But whosoever repents after his crime and does righteous good deeds (by obeying Allah), then verily, Allah will pardon him (accept his repentance). Verily, Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Quran 5:39).

 

Legalities

 

As you live in the US, parents are not required to go to the authorities and report that their child stole money from them. The parents do have that option, but most parents do not do that. There are no laws stating that a parent has to go to the authorities and report when their child steals money from them. In some circumstances however a parent may have to report the theft.

 

A case would be when it involves fraud such as a child who steals a credit card and runs up large bills and the parent does not know it was the child who stole the card. In this case, the parent may find out the card was stolen or missing and report it to the authorities.

 

When this happens a police report is filed. If it turns out that the child is found to be guilty, or the child admits they took the card (stole the money) then the parents would have to inform the police that it was their child who committed the crime. In these cases depending upon the state and the age of the child, it may be up to the parents if they will press charges. Parents usually do not.

 

Consequences

 

In the case of a child stealing money from their parents, repercussions should follow and should be tailored around the child’s age. Consequences such as taking something away from them, repaying the money they stole, doing extra chores, and repenting to Allah. Repenting to Allah is not part of a punishment, however, it is part of educating a child to be mindful and fearful of Allah and their actions. When a child seeks to please Allah and understands the blessings in following Allah’s commands, the stealing should insha’Allah stop.

 

By providing discipline after a wrongdoing such as stealing money from parents as well as sitting the child down and explaining why stealing is wrong and how it displeases Allah, is a lesson the child needs to learn.

 

We wish you the best, you are in our prayers


I am based in Dubai and a mother to two kids, aged 10 and 1 and am six months pregnant. I am having a tough time dealing with my 10 year old son. He has symptoms of hyperactivity and is unmanageable for me. In spite of having the age gap, I can't leave him with his younger brother as he ends up making him cry for one reason or the other. Someone needs to be constantly behind him unless he is in front of tv, computer or tab.

I keep a control on his tech exposure also and he constantly complains of how other children are given freedom while he is not in regards to this. He is not obedient towards me. I need to get angry and violent to make him do something. He is not the same with my husband. My husband blames my anger for everything. He says to behave with him lovingly and he shall do everything. But my problem is that when 90% of the times he behaves badly, I get angry automatically. My anger is so bad that I hit him physically and also use bad language. I am not able to control myself at all. Blaming my anger, my husband used to scold me in front of him when he was younger.

Now he feels his father is with him and tells me things like " Let dad come.." , " Lets go home and I will show you"...Its not that his father doesn't get angry. He too loses his cool and yells and beats him violently. But later he will also pamper him badly. I feel he goes extremes both ways. But he doesn't listen to what I say and he shuts me down. Because of his fathers support and his resultant behavior, my anger towards both of them has only increased.

I have told my husband many times that we need to get help, either for him or for me for this behavior but he refuses to acknowledge the problem. I feel my situation is going from worse to worst. I am feeling totally helpless. My mother stays with me currently and that's a huge help for me or else I don't know what I would have done. Please help.., please help



 As-salamu alaykum dear sister,

 

Shokran for writing to our live session. I am sorry to hear what you are going through with your son. It must be very difficult especially as you have a one-year-old and you are also pregnant.  Sister, you have to remember, your son was an only child for about 89 years.  That means he had you all to himself.  Now he has to share with you.  Jealousy is not uncommon in these situations nor is the possibility that he may have been spoiled.

 

Change and Adjustment

 

At this point sister, insha’Allah try to reestablish a better relationship with him.  Instead of screaming, yelling and getting physical, try a more calm approach.  You can exert more control over him when you are calm than when you are upset and out of control.

 

In fact, a lot of children learn to ignore yelling after a while.  However, begin to talk in a slow quiet tone-and you may get his attention.  Insha’Allah be calm but be a consistent sister.  Your son is learning to adapt to his new sibling as well as another one on the way.  As there is an age difference, it is a big change for a child to adjust to. He is actually seeking boundaries from you and your husband.  Children do tend to like boundaries and consistency, it makes them feel secure.

 

I would kindly suggest that you try to spend more quality time with him alone insha’Allah  (if you can).  Take him to one of his favorite movies or dinner spots and just the two of you enjoy each other.  He probably misses those times with you sister.  While this suggestion is not to condone his misbehavior it is a way of rebuilding his feelings of security and being loved.

 

Ending the Cycle

 

Part of the issue may lie within your temper dear sister.  As you said yourself you can’t help from getting angry and hitting him and swearing this may be a large part of the problem.  Your husband also “yells and beats him violently”.  No wonder he is out of control.

 

Sister, please do sit down with your husband and have a serious talk about both of your parenting skills.  While I know you love your son dearly and want the best for him, beating him is abuse and he will likely end up damaged for life if it continues.  Children who come from homes where abuse occurs usually grow up with low self-esteem, mental health issues as well as repeat the abusive cycle when they become parents.

 

As your other child is only one year old and your other is unborn, please do try to make the change now.  Make duaa to Allah to help you and your husband with this.  Seek out parenting classes-and take them.  You may also want to consider taking anger management classes too. When your baby is born that will be an added joy and stressor to the family and may increase your frustrations. You son needs you sister, he needs your love and attention in a positive, constructs way.

 

A New Start

 

Insha’Allah dear sister, once you and your husband end the beatings and swearing-you may find a different little boy beginning to emerge.  One who is less hyper, less defiant and less angry. You love your son so much, and desire peace and good behavior in the home.  Insha’Allah your husband and you will be able to serve as role models for the changes you would like to see.

 

Your son looks to both of you for love, security and safety from harm.  I ask you to make the efforts to make your home a blessed haven for your children, the blessings will be abundant.

 

You are in our prayers dear sister, we wish you the best.


I have heard that stepbrothers are non-mahram. So how can a girl observe hijab in front of them? Will she have to wear it in her house too? It is very frustrating because you would like to be free in your house but you have to act like you are in public at all times.



As salamu alaykum sister,

 

Shokran for writing to our live session.  Yes-your stepbrothers are non-mahram sister.  As you know that means they are marriageable.  I can understand your frustration about having to wear hijab in your own home all the time due to this and not feeling free to just relax and “let your hair down”.  However, as a Muslima, it is your obligation and sacrifice.

 

Getting Creative

 

There are ways around this situation sister, i fyou want to be creative and open-minded.  I am not sure what your household is like or how it is set up, but insha’Allah perhaps you and your family can work out a schedule where you have a part of the home for a few hours a week (or each day)  all to yourself wherein you can relax and take off your hijab.  This would mean that your step brother would respect this and not invade this space during these times.

 

You may also wish to plan opposite schedules with your stepbrother when possible so that you both are not always in the home at the same time.  I am sure he would appreciate the “free” time as much as you!  I am sure that it will take some adjustment on everyone’s part dear sister-not just yours.  While true you may feel the most impacted due to hijab, the truth is it is a change for the whole family.

 

Seek the Blessings

 

Sister, you may want to also look at the blessings that a stepbrother brings-rather than just focus on the constraints.  Insha’Allah try to make a list of the positive ways your and your families life will change with the addition of a stepbrother.  While it may be difficult for a while to adjust to having a stepbrother, insha’Allah you may come to find it a blessing indeed.

 

Remember as well, that his life will be changed too!  He won’t be able to be that “free” either as he will have to be mindful of your presence as well.  It is a sacrifice to some degree that you both will need to make in order to create a happy family unit.  This will also prepare you sister in case you marry into a blended family wherein you live with your husband’s mom, dad and siblings.  A lot of sisters do live this way and they adjust, and are very happy in their homes.

 

Communication

 

Lastly, as you may begin to feel a certain way at first-possibly resentful or angry at having to cover even at home-please do keep the lines of communication open with your mom so you can talk to her about the way you are feeling.  She will be a loving and valuable source of comfort and strength.  Insha’Allah sister you will get used to the change in your home, you may even find much benefit in it.  Make dua to Allah to grant you ease, mercy and understanding.  We wish you the best.


As-salamu alaikum

I have noticed that already young children start exploring their bodies and touching, massaging, rubbing their private parts. I've seen it in boys and girls. I am wondering if this is part of the natural process of growing up or if it is a modern issue of our society? How should a parent cope if we catch a child doing such things? I've seen boys rubbing their penises at the young age of 5 to 7 and wanting to show their private parts to girls. And I've also heard of girls rubbing themselves on soft toys. I'm super worried, should a parent explain to a child that this is not good? Or is it part of becoming a teenager? Is it even possible to stop a child from doing something he enjoys? Please help



As salamu alaykum sister,

 

Shokran for writing to our live session.  What you are describing is a normal part of child and teen development.  It can be alarming to see or know that young children are finding pleasure in these activities as we normally associate this type of pleasure with a grown, married person.

 

Healthychildren (1) states that “At a very young age, children begin to explore their bodies by touching, poking, pulling, and rubbing their body parts, including their genitals. As children grow older, they will need guidance in learning about these body parts and their functions.”  These feelings and behaviors are normal and innocent (unless sexual abuse has occurred).

 

Children often as young as two, find these pleasure spots while bathing or other doing other tasks.  Children also become curious about their bodies and the bodies of others their age and often seek to explore.    The Healthy children (1) article offers a lot of great tips and insights into child development concerning this topic.  I would kindly advise that insha’Allah you consider reading it to learn more about childhood growth and development as well as how to address it when your own children begin to display these normal behaviors.

 

Normal Human Development

 

As this is normal human development and behaviors sister, it is nothing new.  It is not a reflection of modern society. What may have changed throughout history and even differs among cultures is how we as parents react to it.  Some cultures or people may be more liberal and tolerant to children exploring, however, most parents do curb the behaviors by redirecting the activity to something else, teaching the child that touching oneself in public is inappropriate as well as teaching the child respect for their body.

 

As Muslim’s, we seek to make the child understand that these feelings and activities are normal however they are to be enjoyed within the context of marriage. The age of the child will, of course, determine what your approach would be.  While simple redirection and basic elementary education may work for a 4-year-old, redirection and a more in-depth Islamic sexual education may be required for a 10-year-old.  If you approach the behaviors with a sense of normalcy with restraints, your children should develop healthy attitudes and respect regarding sexual pleasure.

 

However, if you approach it as evil and forbidden they may develop low self-esteem, experience feelings of shame and feel there is something wrong with them. Additionally, the “forbidden fruit” often becomes more tempting. Your goal insha’Allah, is to train and teach them that it is normal feelings that are to be expressed in a marital relationship.

 

Encouraging Healthy Islamic Behaviors

 

I encourage you to view these behaviors as a normal sister but do be prepared to address them when they arise in your own children.  By encouraging healthy Islamic behaviors and self-image at a young age, insha’Allah it will stay with your children as they go through puberty.  Be sure to engage your children with a lot of Islamic activities, Islamic supports and education as well as Muslim friends.

 

The more we immerse our children in Islamic values and principles, the better equipped they will be (and us) at handling life’s challenges.

 

We wish you the best.

 

 


My mother slapped a slipper in my face once. Today she slapped me in the face. The reason, I was hymning a song, she said that I was being aggressive. I stayed quiet. But I have decided I will beat her if she slapped me the third time. What should I do??



As salamu alaykum brother,

 

Shokran for writing to our live session.   I am sorry to hear that your mother has been slapping you in the face (with a slipper).  This is unacceptable.  You did not indicate whether or not she has slapped you before and it is a pattern; or if there are other forms of abuse going on in the home. I am sorry dear brother that you are going through this. It must be very hurtful to you as her son.

 

Allah does not want us to Abuse each other

 

I would kindly advise insha’Allah, to try to speak with your mom as to why she slaps you and what behaviors or attitudes does she feel are aggressive. Often times by talking things out, things can be resolved.  You may wish to discuss what the Qur’an says about family relationships, violence and abuse.  If she is unwilling to talk or becomes agitated, I would kindly suggest that you seek out family counseling if it all possible to resolve these issues. As Muslims Allah does not want us to abuse harm or hurt one another, especially family members.

 

Seek out Help

 

It may be that your mom is going through something and taking it out on you. That in no way excuse her behavior nor condones it-but it may be an explanation for her aggressive behaviors. I will kindly suggest brother that you try to stay in situations where you will not have direct confrontation with your mother until you have resolved this situation.

 

You may wish to engage other members of the family to help you work this out. I will kindly suggest you speak with your father or another adult member of the family who can assist you with getting to the bottom of your mother’s behavior. Insha’Allah, they will be able to intervene (along with your efforts) to end this behavior and/or get the into family into counseling.

 

At the very least, perhaps they can assist in getting your mom into counseling.  In cases where there is not severe abuse but just a slap once in awhile, it could be that your mom is very unhappy. Something may be bothering her and as stated, she is taking it out on you. This must stop. It must be addressed professionally insha’Allah if talking to her and family interventions do not work.

 

Hurt and Rage

 

Brother, you may also need counseling as well.  There is a  statement in your question that is of concern because it is so absolute. You stated that you have decided that you will “beat her” if she slapped you for the third time. Brother is that something that you would really like to do? Or are you just very hurt, and your heart is turned into anger and rage? At any rate please do not lay a hand on your mother. Do not slap her nor harm her in any way. To do so would be a grave sin and would also probably come with legal consequences.

 

Aggression and Hurt

 

In your question, you stated that your mother slapped you because she said you were being aggressive. You stated that you were humming when she slapped you and afterwards you just remained quiet. Perhaps she is seeing something that you are not seeing because at the end of your question you did state you will “beat her” if she slapped you for the third time. That is aggression.

 

I will kindly suggest dear brother that you also look at your feelings and behaviors as well. Often times when one has been abused or the victim of aggression, the hurt becomes so intense it turns into anger and rage.  Please make Dua to Allah to help you control your emotions and your feelings regarding wanting to harm your mom. While she should not harm you either, you are the one who is responsible for your response.

 

Seeking Counseling

 

If you cannot get assistance from family and she refuses to go for counseling to address these issues, I will kindly suggest you consider living with a relative or elsewhere to avoid a tragic occurrence. Given that you do have this hurt and rage inside of you (you feel you will beat her or you’ve decided to beat her), I kindly suggest that you get ongoing counseling to address these thoughts and feelings. It could be that you have been going through this for a very long time and you’ve reached the end of your rope with it. That is understandable.  However violence is not the solution brother.

 

Please do seek counseling to professionally deal with this situation before something worse happens.  You and your mom do love each other very much brother.  It is worth the efforts to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.

 

You are in our prayers we wish you the best.

 

 


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