How to Approach My Disbelieving Children?

11 July, 2018
Q Assalamu alaikum, I became a Muslim on this year and I am worried about some of my teenage children as they say they don't believe in God or the books of God, and say they need proof. My husband is not Muslim but respects my decision and is very supportive. I'm not sure how to approach things with my children and help them to believe. Do you have any advice for me that would help? Thank you.


In this counseling answer:

This sister reverted to Islam recently and she doesn’t know how to deal with her disbelieving children. Therefore, the counselor advises her to not pressure them to believe or even to understand. At this point, the only thing should be to ask them to accept/tolerate and respect. Just have discussions with them in a non-judgmental way. Also asked her to be a parent and friend to them outside of her new-found faith. Play with them, joke with them and be the mother she has always been; let her path make her a better mom if anything.

Assalamu Alaikum Sister,

Thank you for your question. You are a new Muslim and have made some big decisions in your life recently. I can only imagine how brave one has to be to impact on such a journey. I commend you for your courage.

There is a basic process that we go through when we decide to adopt a new lifestyle. Many people tend to go through an extremist phase, where they feel that everyone needs to agree with them or see their new-found truth. Religion, like any other self-initiated change, is a personal journey and requires balance. You feel, at this point, that your new identity is the truth and will help you find the contentment you are looking for.

The best way to have others agree with you is for them to see that your way is working for you. However, be mindful that your dedication to your faith shouldn’t be so others come to it, but rather only out of your dedication to God.

Remember that your children have been raised a certain way. The countless hours of self-reflection that you have been doing has been your state of mind/heart. They have not gone through this. They may in the future but it is important for them to come to it on their own.

Check out this counseling video

They will naturally have questions about your new practices and beliefs. The media will definitely inspire many discussions in your home, I’m sure. My advice would be to not pressure them to believe.

Don’t even pressure them to understand. At this point, the only thing should be to ask them to accept/tolerate and respect. If they feel that they are being pressured, they will be pushed away. Do your own thing and be very kind to them, as I’m sure you are already.

Have discussions with them in a non-judgmental way, where you seek to understand their stance. In modeling this understanding, they will realize the proper way to discuss topics that can be contentious. Once you’ve laid the foundations for tolerance and respect, and you model non-judgmental curiosity they will eventually learn to do the same.

Lastly, do not let Islam be the uninvited guest in your house. Be a parent and friend to them outside of your new-found faith. Play with them, joke with them and be the mother you have always been; let your path make you a better mom if anything.

I pray your new faith brings you closer to all those you love.



Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response reflect an attempt from the counselor to deal with the case, based on the limited information provided in the question with no responsibility whatsoever on the website. You are strongly advised to seek face-to-face counseling and consult your physician or therapist when making a drastic change in your lifestyle in terms of behavior, medication or diet etc.

About Atia Zaidi
Attia Zaidi is a writer, educator, social worker and mother. She has worked with the GTA's Muslim community for over 15 years in various capacities. Currently, Attia runs a small private practice offering therapy for Muslim families.