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Shouting at My Children all the Time, I Need Help!

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Feb 25, 2019

Question

I have three children ages 9 through 13 years. 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 is 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 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 Hadith, 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 as to how to go about solving my problem.

Counselor

Answer


shouting

In this counseling answer:

•Find out what is going on with them so you can address their needs!

•Help them by crafting your conversations with them to draw out what they need from you – not you telling them what to do.

•Let them know that you will have the last say if you cannot agree, but that you want a win/win situation, if possible, and that you want to hear what they have to say – they are experts at least in one field: what they feel and think.


Wa ‘alaikum Salaam,

Wow – you have your hands full.

One of the problems with our modern culture is that everything is based on power and a hierarchy, so everyone gets into a power struggle with each other. We do it in the classroom, in marriages, on the jobs, etc.

This paradigm is so much a part of our way of doing things that we don’t even question its validity or if it is Islamic. It is also the way things are done in your field, medicine– it is all about who “knows” the most and a hierarchy. But, a power-struggle way of interacting is very destructive to a productive, fruitful process of conversation and interaction.

In marriage, Allah says, ”you are equal but the man is one degree above”, which means, don’t compete, find out what everyone needs, and then, if you can’t agree after you did that, the man gets the privilege of having the last say after he gave everyone their voice! Suratul Asr also describes a process of mutual consultation in its last ayyah:

“Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (Quran Suratul AL-`Asr)

 

 

When you meet with a patient, I can only assume that you have to find out from the patient what their problem is.

The patient’s needs have to be heard and respected as an “equal” human being (in terms of their humanity – not in terms of their knowledge of medicine) and in terms of their knowledge of their own body and symptoms—the thing about which you have absolutely no knowledge until they tell you what they, as an individual are feeling and experiencing. The same thing is needed by your children.

Find out what is going on with them so you can address their needs! It is a great sign that they apologize after the fact – they want to do good – but, old habits die hard.

So, help them by crafting your conversations with them to draw out of them what they need from you – not you telling them what to do. Then, meet them where they are at and go from there. Nothing is off bounds – if you want to “reach” them.

Another thing that doctors do that is great is “consult” with each other (as well as their patients). This is a very humble act that is not a power -struggle.


Check out this counseling video

That is what I suggest you do with your children too. Let them know that you will have the last say, if you cannot agree, but that you want a win/win situation, if possible, and that you want to hear what they have to say – they are experts at least in one field: what they feel and think. Find out from them what is going on with them.

When our children are young, we have to tell them what to do—to keep them alive. When older, we have to not tell them what to do—to give them their right to be their own person and stand on their own.

But, we do have to do something else for them: “consult” with them. The Prophet called it being “their advising friend” (translated into English, obviously).

Then, there is the in-between time and process when we are kind of telling them what to do and kind of not – “transitioning” them.

That is the hardest one to manage because, unlike math or science, it is not an exact science – it is metaphysical and “relative” to the individuals and the environment and and and so many factors that are not writ in stone!

The way around this problem is talk talk talk to find out what is going on inside the other person. What might look crazy to you may make perfect sense to the other person… and to you when you hear the explanation.

May Allah Make it easy for you.

***

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.

Read more:

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Help Me Stop Yelling at My Stubborn Child

Yelling at a Stubborn Toddler

 




About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem

Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery. For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.

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