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How to Deal With A Wilful Teenager

19 October, 2021
Q My daughter is 18-year- old and is sneaking out of the house to go to parties and nightclubs with boys. A sheik told me to keep her at home and let her friends visit her, and to go with her to parties and nightclubs, but do not ask her to move out.

She has another sibling younger than her at home. My friends say that this would be a wrong impression given to the younger sibling if you allow one child to follow the wrong path with your blessing.

Then what message are you sending to her? You suppose to guide them on to the path Allah has stated - without boyfriends, nightclubs, etc. – they say. What should be done in this situation?

Answer

 

In this counseling answer:

It is with patience, perseverance, and prayer that we keep on trying even if our children insult us.

Set the ground rules according to what you have learned from doing the above.

When going out, set a reasonable limit on the time she returns home, even if she ignores you. Advise your older daughter about precautions, and to visit the clinic regularly.

As salamu `Alaykum dear sister,

The short answer to your question is yes, as parents we are supposed to guide our young, but we are also not supposed to give up trying. Prophet Nuh (Noah) kept on trying as regards his son.

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The country in which you live has many negative influences like many other countries, and this is the tide that parents are swimming against. It is with patience, perseverance, and prayer that we keep on trying even if our children insult us.

It is even more difficult because your daughter is now over the secular age of consent. She may probably believe that she is entitled to do as she pleases without consideration of others.

However, making her leave home will only put her out of reach of any guidance you have to offer her. However, your sheikh and your friends are both right.

How to Deal With A Wilful Teenager - About Islam

Setting ground rules

In terms of setting the ground rules in the home, the starting point is the parent. Sometimes, it is all too easy to fall into the bad habit of doing what we feel at the time of an incident.

When we do this as parents, the message we send is that we do not have consistent values and that the limits are flexible, and might even be perceived as non-existent.

So, as parents, we need to sit down with ourselves first and ask ourselves:

  • What do we want for our child and why?
  • When we pinpoint the why, then we must ask ourselves…
  • Do I want it for myself or for my child?
  • How would the stuff I want for my child help them?
  • Is what I want, what my child wants?
  • What does my child really want deep down? (This can be difficult to determine if as a parent one is out of touch with how ones child feels).
  • What is the meeting point between what I want, and what my child really wants?

Then take a look at your daughter and the everyday things that she does. Run through the times when you are both on the same wavelength and the circumstances around it.

Also, take a look at the times when you are not on the same wavelength and the circumstances around it. This will help give you a clue as to what is really going on inside of your daughter. It is really important if you do not want to lose her or your younger daughter.

Set the ground rules according to what you have learned from doing the above. However, remember that your daughter is 18, and might profit from some level of friendship from her mother.

Friendship

In this way, you can chat about “girl issues” that she might be confused about. This means every time you feel that you are getting anxious about her behavior or the things she says, take a deep intake of breath, and respond in a calm manner that is not dictatorial.

Through wisdom: Wisdom is in the meaning of persuasive, firm speech which has neither marks of alteration in it nor one in which doubts can occur.

Through good exhortation: The responsibility of exhortation and the good council is to work on the heart of a person. Such people must be guided through employing stories, narratives, and wisdom-based anecdotes or anything that would bring ease and comfort to their hearts.

Arguing with the people in the best possible way: Thus, if a person is put face to face with someone else whose purpose is not to arrive at the truth, rather he is ready to speak, argue and bring up points of contention, then the other one must dispute as well with that person. 

“However, we must argue with such a person in the best possible manner such that the argument does not stray from the path of the truth and reality.” (Murtada Mutahhari: “Guiding Youth of the New Generation)

All might seem at a loss now, but with patience and perseverance, your daughter will wake from her state and realize what you have been trying to show her, in sha’ Allah.

Advice

As for the boys, as risky as it might seem, your sheikh might have a point as hard as it is. In this way, she can turn to you if in trouble, and you will know who she is with, but limits must be set on behavior whilst in the home they can visit when your younger daughter is asleep, and remain in the front room (reception area).

When going out, set a reasonable limit on the time she returns home, even if she ignores you. Advise your older daughter about precautions, and to visit the clinic regularly.

This does not mean that she is doing anything that you would not want her to do, but saying it might give her food for thought.

Salam,


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 Hwaa Irfan
Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.