How to Deal with My Disobedient Daughter?

01 October, 2020
Q As-salamu `alaikum,

My daughter has reached the age of 15, and she is very disobedient. She swears at me and does not listen to me.

She also talks to boys at school and on the phone. This is greatly distressing me and causing me to become angry with her.

Please, I need your help, what should I do?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•In Islam, as you know at this age a parent’s role is deemed to be more of a “friend” at this time as well as a continued, guide, mentor and educator.

•Begin the conversation with a subject or issue that you experienced when you were her age.

•By sharing oneself as a parent and also expressing empathy based on these experiences, you may help her to feel closer to you.

•You may also want to explain to her that as a young adult now, she has increased responsibilities for her actions.

•Begin to share with her your self, talk with her as a “friend” yet continue to instill good morals and values from an Islamic foundation.


As-salamu alaykum sister,

I am sorry to hear that your daughter is engaging in disrespectful behaviors. Especially the swearing at you and not listening.

As we know we are to be respectful of parents at all times and treat them with kindness. When our child is disobedient and especially disrespectful it hurts us. And we also may fear Allah’s wrath upon the child for their mistreatment of us as parents if they don’t repent.

Disobedient Daughter

As she is 15 and going through adolescence, you may see behaviors in her which were not present before. During this time a young person’s body is going through a lot of changes . And their emotions are also ever changing. Even so, this is not an excuse and her behavior and it needs to be dealt with and limits set.

In Islam, as you know at this age a parent’s role is deemed to be more of a “friend” at this time as well as a continued, guide, mentor and educator. We are supposed to guide them towards acceptable behaviors and good manners.

As parents, we will always want to try to ensure that their actions, thoughts, and inclinations are to be Islamic.

However at this age, it is often difficult to do so and based on theories of child development, it is common to experience turmoilous times as the now young adult is seeking their own identity separate from that of the parent(s).

Be friend her

Islamic scholars have also noted that this can be a time of disobedience upheaval in the home.

As your relationship with your daughter is now of one “friend” (though you will always be her mother of course!)  you may want to sit with her during a calm time and discuss your concerns with her.

I kindly suggest that you begin the conversation. it could be with a subject or issue that you experienced when you were her age.

This may be an illustration of how you dealt with sexual urges. Or how you felt when your parent’s denied you something you wanted to do. Or share a  story with her about your teen years.

In this way you are insha’Allah opening up the door of communication with her. By sharing yourself and how you felt when you were her age. 

By sharing oneself as a parent and also expressing empathy based on these experiences, you may help her to feel closer to you. And open up more about her relationships with boys, what she is feeling.

How to Deal with My Disobedient Daughter? - About Islam

This will help facilitate a “working” relationship in that she may be more willing to listen to your advice’s. As you are approaching her as not only her mom but as her “friend” as well. 

Approach her viewpoint

When we look at this concept and approach from her viewpoint, often times a young adult will be more readily able to accept advice and guidance from friends than from parents.

One of the reason’s being is that often times they feel parents just do not understand nor can they ever comprehend how they feel. 

Insha’Allah, once your daughter begins to see you in this new role of trusted friend and confidant rather than just a punitive role, she will begin to reflect on the wisdom, Islamic values and things you have been through,  and she will start to change her behaviors.

By illustrating that you can not only be a good mother but also a good friend. Insha’Allah in time your daughter will become more restrained in regards to her interactions with boys.

Set your rules

As the home your daughter lives in belongs to you and your husband, your daughter does have the obligation to follow the rules of the home.

While this is not inferring that you are in a position to make choices for her or impose your choices on her as she is a young adult and Islamically she must now make her own choices, you do however have the right to be respected and household rules followed. This should be made very clear to her. 

While it may sound like a contradiction, in fact, it is not.  While she cannot be forced to do anything at this age, she certainly must be held accountable for her actions that are against home rules.


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You can explain it to her in this way, for instance, if she were at her friend’s home I am sure it would be unthinkable to her to swear at her friends’ mother or to break one of their home rules. The same responsibility goes for her home. 

She is to conduct herself in a respectful manner. You may also want to explain to her that as a young adult now, she has increased responsibilities for her actions.

Express your feeling

In discussing her swearing and disrespect, you may want to ask her if she speaks to her friends in such a manner. Also remind her of her Islamic duty to her parents to show respect and the consequences of not showing respect (sinful behavior).

You may also want to tell her how much it hurts you when she swears at you and is disrespectful.  While you are building a new kind of relationship with her, insha’Allah she will lose these hurtful behaviors and begin to control her emotions and dialogues leading to a more respectful discourse.

However sister, as she is going through a lot of emotions right now which can bounce from happy to sad to angry, persistence and patience is needed in stopping this horrendous mistreatment of you.

Conclusion

Lastly, please do not take it personal sister. She loves you and you are the closest person to her. Hence her feeling she can say anything when she is upset or angry.  However, there are limits and she needs to follow the limits you set or have consequences.

The consequences sister should be insha’Allah, something that continues to be a teachable moment. Such as having her write an essay on “How does it feel to be Bullied” or “How I express Anger”.  While these are not directly related, they may get her to begin thinking in another way insha’Allah. 

In addition, you may want to start taking privileges away. Such as going to the movies. Or visiting a friend as a part of her contract to take on the responsibility of being respectful as a household rule.

Sister, insha’Allah this phase will not last for very long.  I think that a lot of parents do go through this phase with their children and it is not easy.

You are not alone. If you begin to share with her your self, talk with her as a “friend”. Yet continue to instill good morals and values from an Islamic foundation.

Insha’Allah she will begin to feel more centered in her emotions. And begin to view you as a confidant rather than the punitive parent. And have more confidence in herself as a young Muslim women.

You both are in our prayers, please let us know how you are doing.

**

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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.