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When Home Sweet Home Is a Prison

Questioner

L (18-female-Angola)

Reply Date

Jan 15, 2019

Question

I am a young girl, 18 years of age. I say my prayers regularly and read Islamic books. My parents are over protective and they do not let me go out with my friends, who are all girls. I am also not allowed to talk to them over the phone. They feel that if I speak with them or go out with them I will become bad, but I feel that life is like a prison in this house where I am only supposed to work and get a scolding. Nobody takes me out, not even my brothers, nor am I allowed to invite my friends to my house. In such a situation I feel I am going crazy, please help me and give me some advice.

Counselor

Answer


When Home Sweet Home Is a Prison - About Islam

In this counseling answer:

“Obviously,  your parents are very concerned about your safety, but you might want to point out to them that you are safe but lonely. In the meantime, I encourage you to find activities at home that you find enjoyable such as painting, cooking, or other hobbies. Many times our parents keep us at home but don’t provide enjoyable activities.”


As-salamu `alaikum,

What you are describing is a dilemma that many Muslim girls and women face all over the Islamic world in varying degrees. As you know, your parents are trying to prevent your getting into trouble as “bad girls” do. Many times our parents in their great efforts to protect us from a dangerous world will encapsulate us to the extent that we remain naïve about a lot of things.

Some parents will even scrutinize their daughter’s friends and judge them so severely that their daughter no longer has friends because she too learns to be over critical.

As she grows up, she finds herself over critical and lonely. It would be great if we had a secret potion that would make parents fit into a uniformly agreed upon media that would be most comfortable for them and their daughters. Unfortunately, there is no such medicine for this dilemma and you are going to have to negotiate and talk this one out with them.


Check out this counseling video


 

It may be helpful for you to bargain with your parents on what they will allow you to do inside and outside of the home. Do not ever tell them that so and so’s parents allow her to do this and that- they will merely respond by saying that you are their daughter and they are not so and so’s parents! Instead of asking to be like other girls whom you know and be allowed to talk on the phone and go out, you may want to ask for one privilege only once a week.

For example, if you ask them to invite your friends once a week you may ask your parents to choose the friend and the activity. In addition, your mother may even be involved in the activity so that she may grow more comfortable with your friends. She may teach you how to cook a certain dish or learn a certain craft. I realize that these are not ideal circumstances for you, but they are your parents and you need to openly communicate with them.

Obviously,  your parents are very concerned about your safety, but you might want to point out to them that you are safe but lonely. In the meantime, I encourage you to find activities at home that you find enjoyable such as painting, cooking, or other hobbies. Many times our parents keep us at home but don’t provide enjoyable activities.

I know that it is normal to look around at other parents and the privileges that they allow for their children, but those people are other parents and not yours. Your parents, like you, come with faults and shortcomings. Please try to work with them and try to utilize the good attributes that they have.


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. In no event shall AboutIslam, 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 Layla A. Asamarai

Layla A. Asamarai is an Iraqi American Muslim residing in the United States. She obtained her MA degree in clinical psychology and is currently perusing her PhD in clinical psychology. She is very interested in the psychological dilemmas that Muslim youth in America are faced with.

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