Short Answer: If you are forceful with your children then they will likely push farther away from you. If you try to make your daughter wear hijab or demand that they give you money, the void between you will only grow greater. I encourage you instead to focus your energies inward. What can you do to please Allah? What improvements can you make in yourself? You did mention one thing that I think you should focus on the most. You said that you are trying to be a better Muslimah. That, sister, is where you should put your energy.
Salaam alaykum dear sister. I am so sorry for the difficult situation in which you find yourself. I will make dua for you and I ask all those reading to do the same.
It is clear that your troubles are weighing on your heart heavily, and I am so sorry for the pain in which you find yourself. However, there is unfortunately no easy answer for you. Complex problems have complex solutions. Insha’Allah i can provide a few pointers to you that may be useful.
You are not Alone!
Firstly I want to assure you that you are not alone in your struggles. Many parents reach a time where their children are not acting in the way that they would have hoped. It is not necessarily a reflection on you, personally. We as parents are not the only influencing factor in our children’s lives – nor should we be.
I also want to point out that you having a religious husband would likely do little to change the situation. Based on your description, your children are either adults or nearing adulthood. Do you think the mere act of you marrying someone religious would truly have a bearing on their actions? This is a false belief foisted upon single women to get them to think they need a man in their life or their children will go astray. This is not true.
Additionally, the simple act of divorcing does not throw children off the path of Islam. You being divorced/single in and of itself does not have a bearing on the way your children follow the deen.
What Does Influence our Children?
Of course, we as parents, have a huge amount of influence over our children. Children learn from our actions and behavior, which is why it is important to set a good example for them from a young age.
Knowing that we are such a big influence, it is natural that we blame ourselves when something goes wrong. Think back upon your own youth, though. Were your parents the only ones you ever took example from? Did you not have friends at school? Other relatives like cousins? Teachers? Moreover, we all tend to go through a phase of self-discovery. The human brain is not fully formed until age 25, and most of us can attest to youth being a tumultuous time in our bodies and minds.
The reason I am mentioning this to you is because I don’t want you to waste your time trying to figure out what could have happened to cause your children to apparently stray from the path of Islam. Whatever it may be is likely impossible to identify, and it would be a waste of time and energy to try to pursue it.
So What Can You Do?
There is no action you can do to – as you put it – to save your children. They are autonomous individuals who make their own choices, especially as they are older.
However, you did mention one thing that I think you should focus on the most. You said that you are trying to be a better Muslimah. That, sister, is where you should put your energy.
If you are forceful with your children then they will likely push farther away from you. If you try to make your daughter wear hijab or demand that they give you money, the void between you will only grow greater. I encourage you instead to focus your energies inward. What can you do to please Allah? What improvements can you make in yourself?
A good Muslim is not only someone who prays and fasts. A good Muslim is someone who is kind and patient and gentle. A good Muslim is someone who shows others how to be a good Muslim by example. If you show your children that all that matters to you is having a good relationship with them and improving your own religious practice, chances are they will sooner or later follow your example.
My advice above assumes that, although you do not have a wonderful relationship with your kids, that you have one that is not toxic. If your children are outright abusing you, then you should distance yourself from them. I do not mean disown them or anything un-Islamic. Just give yourself space to breathe so that you do not need to suffer at their hands. If they are mistreating you, then your concern should only be for yourself – not for them.
Finally, sister, if you are feeling constantly weighed down by your troubles, please consider seeing a doctor. Depression is a very real thing that affects people of all faiths (including myself). It cannot be prayed away. Please remember that Allah wants you to take care of yourself.
I know that my answer is not something that is simple and straightforward, but I do hope it helps somewhat. Never hesitate to reach out to us with further questions.
And Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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