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Where Is My Unconditional Love For Daughter?

11 May, 2022
Q I just read an article: “ Unconditional Love or Conditions for Love? ” It really touched me: I felt like it was talking to me. With my 4-year-old, sometimes I accept her, but sometimes I reject her; she cries when I do that. With my 1-year-old baby it is different. I don’t have the same feelings as with my older child. I love her and I give her as much attention as I can, but there is something. Only Allah knows best. I feel that it’s me, so I really don’t know how to handle these feelings that I am feeling now. I do want to give my daughter unconditional love, but I don’t know how. Can you tell me what can I do Islamically to love my daughter unconditionally, instead of just when she does something good and I tell her that she did great? I know that I should love her even if she does something that I dislike. I want to know what I can do to love her unconditionally. I know it has to come from me.


In this counseling answer:

“Ideally, we should see every act from our children as an opportunity for them to learn and grow. We may need to tell them 1,000 times not to do something that is harmful to them or not to be impolite to others, for example, but that is what it takes sometimes to love unconditionally.”

As-salamu `alaykum,

Your question was a little difficult to understand but I will do my best to respond, in sha’ Allah.

From your question, it sounds that you are concerned because you find yourself with stronger feelings of love toward your younger child than your older child. You don’t like this and you want to treat both your children equally and love them both unconditionally, but for whatever reason, you find this difficult to do and feel that you are slighting your older child.

One thing that we must understand about the role of children in our lives is that children have a natural, God-given ability to bring out the truth in us. That is one of their purposes. Their purity and honesty tend to expose adult hypocrisy and shortcomings. If we are aware of this and open to it as a positive reminder for us, we can use it to better understand ourselves and our own shortcomings.

If we are not aware of it, then we are missing a wonderful opportunity from Allah to be closer to Him through self-refinement and character building and to set an example for our children on how to cherish truth and constantly work towards improving ourselves.

It’s almost as if in our kids, Allah has given us a constant reminder, or a mirror of ourselves, to help us along the path of self-improvement.

If approached in this way, our children will learn to appreciate truth as they see us struggle with ourselves in a positive way. In addition, they will, in sha’ Allah, learn from us what it truly means to live a life dedicated to serving Allah and striving to be closer to Him, not just in words but in actions.

In your case, sister, it sounds as if you need to examine yourself or get help from someone who can help you examine yourself for the reasons why you are having difficulty expressing your love for your daughter. For example, perhaps she reminds you of some negative qualities in yourself and you are merely projecting your own shortcomings onto her. Maybe you blame her for some other type of frustration you are experiencing in your life. I would suggest you use this situation to understand yourself more deeply.

Certainly, there is nothing that your 4-year-old can do to cause you to love her any less than she deserves. As such, you must look at yourself to find the answer, for it is something that lies within you. Since you did not provide much information about your relationship with your daughter, it is difficult to guess what the reasons might be for the difficulties you are experiencing in embracing her as she deserves. But clearly, there is something there that needs to be uncovered and worked through.

In addition, it is important for us to understand that there are many, many ways to express love for our children.

Depending on the child, his or her temperament, personality, and other individual needs, love can be expressed differently. It is not merely a matter of treating each child according to some predetermined formula.

We must know our children and raise them according to their unique needs and characteristics. We must focus on teaching them to be people that love Allah and to do good, but how we get to this point will be different for every child. The goal is always self-realization, which in the Islamic fold means teaching and learning who and what we really are and what our purpose is in this existence. Every child is different, however, and how this gets accomplished will vary.

Children doing things that are “displeasing” to us have to be examined as well.

Ideally, we should see every act from our children as an opportunity for them to learn and grow. We may need to tell them 1,000 times not to do something that is harmful to them or not to be impolite to others, for example, but that is what it takes sometimes to love unconditionally.

We should not judge our children when they do something, but rather see every moment as an opportunity for learning, growth, and self-improvement. Often, it is difficult to see our kids in this (Allah’s) light, but as parent’s, we must try: That is one of our great challenges and the trust that Allah has given to us.

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 

(From Ask About Parening archives)

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About Dr. Abd. Lateef Krauss Abdullah
Dr. Abd. Lateef Krauss Abdullah is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Science Study’s Community Education and Youth Studies Laboratory, Universiti Putra Malaysia. He received his B.A. from the University of Delaware (U.S.), his M.S. from Columbia University (U.S.) and his PhD from the Institute for Community & Peace Studies (PEKKA), Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2005 in the field of Youth Studies. Abd. Lateef is an American who has been living in Malaysia since 2001. He is married and has 2 children.