How to Deal With My Rude Step-daughters?!

28 June, 2020
Q Salaam, I trust you are well. I am a 28-year-old woman who is married to a 43-year-old man with 2 daughters aged 11 and 12.

I recently stopped praying and now I have a lot of problems. I always feel depressed. My mom said that not praying has bad consequences in my life.We have been married for 7 months now. I have a 5-year-old son from my previous marriage as well.

I would like some advice about how to deal with his daughters who are disrespectful, disobedient and speak out everything in our house.

They see their biological mother from a Saturday afternoon till Sunday afternoon when she feels like it.

I recently stopped praying and now I have a lot of problems. I always feel depressed. My mom said that not praying has bad consequences in my life.

She is not Islamically inclined and is a bad influence on the girls. I am struggling to be a good mother to them. Any advice?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•It will take time and patience, but you can slowly develop a very rewarding relationship with them insha’Allah as well as be a positive influence in their lives.

•Likewise, your husband should be seeking to build a relationship with your son.

•I would kindly suggest taking them to the Masjid, praying with them as well as setting up a time wherein every week (or daily) you sit with them and study Qur’an together.

•Focusing on family relationships, duties of parents towards children and duties of children to their parents as these as some of the issues you may be having.


As-salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for your question. As you have only been married for 7 months, there is still an adjustment period through which you, you and your husband’s children are going through.

When families are combined as yours (children from different marriages living together) it takes extra efforts and time for everyone to adjust to the new home composition.

The ages of 11 and 12 are very difficult ages indeed and the girls are dealing with not only a new family situation but also their budding hormones, changing emotions as well as trying to find where they fit in regarding opinions, independence and autonomy. It is a difficult time indeed!

Dealing with rude step-Daughters

In regard to their disrespect, disobedience and speaking about everything in the home, I would kindly suggest dear sister that you sit down with your husband and talk to him about the rules for the home and consequences.

If he really does not have any outlined, you may want to suggest working together to develop some based on Islamic principles. You may want to write down these rules and consequences for further reference for yourself and children.

I would kindly suggest sister, that you also ask your husband if this is new behavior from the girls and if not, how long has it been going on? If it has been going on for awhile perhaps it will take extra efforts to re-establish Islamic behaviors and guidelines within the home.

I kindly suggest that once you and your husband develop these guidelines, that you both sit down with all the children (so one does not feel targeted) and have your husband insha’Allah inform them of the house rules and consequences for not following them.

Ask each child if they understand the rules and consequences and ask if they have any questions.

While the girls’ mom is not Islamically incline and you feel she is a bad influence, she is still their mother and must be respected as such.

Additionally, as long as the girls have a strong and solid foundation of a home life grounded in Islamic knowledge and principles, then the short time they spend with their mom should not affect their Islamic values.

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The worst thing you or your husband can do is to talk ill of their mother in their presence, or even at all. I am not saying that this is what is happening sister, but children are very quick to pick up on vibes and feelings.

While I am not sure of your relationship with her, it may be beneficial to try to forge a positive, non-judgmental relationship with her.

Try to include her in on decisions and issues concerning the girls. This could, in fact, help her as well if she see’s that you are open and loving towards her thus removing any fears she may have about you trying to take away her position as the girl’s mother.

As you are a practicing Muslim, and her daughter’s “stepmother”, your kind treatment of her may actually help her become a better influence on her daughter’s and insha’Allah lead her to the path of Islam. Allah knows best.


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As far as being a “good mother” to them, it sounds like you already are sister as you wrote in concerned about their well-being. It is a role, however, that you will need to develop and create with them.

I would kindly suggest that for now, you try to build a relationship with them based on mutual interests and enjoyable times. Children need time to develop a trust and bond with a parents’ new spouse.

It will take time and patience, but you can slowly develop a very rewarding relationship with them insha’Allah as well as be a positive influence in their lives. Likewise, your husband should be seeking to build a relationship with your son.

I would kindly suggest taking them to the Masjid, praying with them as well as setting up a time wherein every week (or daily) you sit with them and study Qur’an together, possibly focusing on family relationships, duties of parents towards children and duties of children to their parents as these as some of the issues you may be having.

Please do make it engaging and fun for them so it will be something they look forward to. Perhaps a short quiz on what they learned with a reward afterwards (ice cream, etc) for successful completion.

Also, you may want to let them all take turns choosing a topic in the Qur’an to study which will insha’Allah help them feel involved in the process of learning.

Lastly sister, please do encourage them insha’Allah to make Muslim friends, participate in Islamic teen groups, activities and have good associates.

I am sure insha’Allah, that in time with your husband’s support and involvement as well as rebuilding a stronger Islamic foundation within the home the girls will adjust to the new home structure and family life.

Please do let us know how you are doing, you are in our prayers.

Salam

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.