How to Handle Disobedient Children?

18 August, 2020
Q I have three children ages nine to thirteen years. My eldest is a daughter and then I have two sons. I am a medical doctor but not practicing nowadays.

I am having a big problem communicating with my children.

Basically I find them disobedient most of the time. I try not to shout at them, but that only encourages them to continue whatever they are doing.

If I stop talking to them because I am angry, they simply ignore me knowing that at the end of the day I will talk to them.

Sometimes, they come and apologize to me as an afterthought, but that does not alter their behavior for the future.

My children are also very hotheaded and fight frequently with each other, none ready to forgive or forget.

My daughter is also very rebellious and has no qualms about having a shouting match with me.

I am trying to be as tolerant as possible, but it is not easy when you see nothing but disobedience and rudeness throughout the day.

My husband and I have decided some time ago not to give any physical punishment to the children.

I try to explain the importance of good behavior to the children in the light of Qur`an and Sunnah, but so far it has been in vain.

I have become extremely depressed due to this environment in my house, and I pray continuously to Allah to help and guide both me and my children. I would be much obliged if you would guide me on how to go about solving my problem.

Answer

 In this counseling answer:

•Instead of handling all of these issues alone, we think that you should also involve your husband as much as possible.

•Explain to the children that if they misbehave, there will be certain consequences.

•You should no longer continue arguing with them in the same manner as you used to. If you are shouting at your children, it is very likely that they might shout back.

•Try as much as possible to increase spending time as a family, even if this means doing so once a week in sha’Allah.


As-salamu`alaykum,      

Your children are still young enough that you can work with them to improve the overall quality of life in your home.

It seems that the children have begun to sort of tune out your emphasis on the importance of good behavior. You should not become depressed from this but just realize that you have to try a different strategy instead.

Use the Islamic exhortations to good behavior, but also try some of the following suggestions:

Children are quick to imitate their parents with regard to reactions. Instead of handling all of these issues alone, we think that you should also involve your husband as much as possible. After reading our suggestions below, we strongly recommend that you share the response with your husband.

Call for a family meeting where all members are present and not distracted by television, or music, or computer games. Sit down for a meeting with just your family members.

Let the children know that your emotional health is becoming affected due to their behavior. Explain to the children that if they misbehave, there will be certain consequences.

For example, you can institute the time-out period whereby the child, who misbehaves, will spend 10 minutes in a separate room by himself or herself engaged in whatever activity designated by mom or dad.

How to Handle Disobedient Children? - About Islam

Both parents must be consistent in carrying out this time-out exercise and neither may cut short the time period arbitrarily. The child must complete the time agreed upon.

Should the child continue to misbehave while in the time-out period, increments of 5 to 10 minutes can be added to the period.

The basic idea is to get the children to realize that they are contributing members of the household. While they might not contribute financially because they are not yet of age, they can contribute through their own good behavior in sha’ Allah.


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•In addition, you should no longer continue arguing with them in the same manner as you used to. If you are shouting at your children, it is very likely that they might shout back. On the other hand, the next time your daughter is shouting at you, speak in a soft voice to her and shock her.

•Change the tone of the entire dialog so that a shouting match does not take place. Be firm in your message, but you need not shout while delivering it.

•Try as much as possible to increase spending time as a family, even if this means doing so once a week in sha’Allah. This will help to decrease the tension between the children themselves and between you and the children.

And Allah knows best.

***

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. If you feel you are going to harm yourself, or harm someone else, please seek immediate help by calling your country’s international hotline! In no event shall About Islam, 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.

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About Dr. Abdullah Abdur Rahman
Dr. Abdullah Abdur Rahman had obtained his Masters and PhD in Social Work and has worked in the US as a licensed social worker since then. His focus is on counseling Muslims in non-Muslim countries, with special emphasis on life in North America, counseling adolescents, pre-marital counseling, online counseling for married couples and da`wah (inviting people to Islam).