She has another sibling younger than her at home. My friends say that this would be the wrong example given to the younger sibling if I allow one child to follow the wrong path.
"What message are you sending to her? You're supposed to guide them to the right path – without boyfriends, nightclubs etc." – they say. What should be done in this situation?
In this counseling answer:
•The first approach is to simply talk to her about it and your concerns.
•Let her know why her behavior concerns you and do so with Islamic explanations to support what you are saying.
•Ask her if there’s anything else that they like to do that doesn’t involve parties and boys and facilitate this for her instead.
•You can be supporting her in forging new friendships also with other young ladies who are Muslims and share the same values and beliefs.
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,
Raising children comes with so many challenges. As babies, we are faced with certain challenges and as they become toddlers and young children, they present with a whole bunch of new challenges.
During the teenage years the challenges again come to change and the ones you are facing with your daughter are common especially for those living in the West where the Muslim population is smaller and it is seen as a ‘normal’ part of growing up to mix with boys, drink alcohol and attend parties and nightclubs.
The challenge with this for Muslim teens is that all of these things are Haram and incompatible with Islam for various reasons.
I am surprised that a sheikh has advised that you attend parties and nightclubs with her since these are clearly forbidden in Islam. Perhaps you could go back to this sheikh again and ask for clarification in case you misunderstood.
Regardless of this, it certainly is important to engage with her on the matter rather than push it aside, ignore it or even fight with her about it at this point. This is important because as your friends have also said, this is not setting a good example for your younger daughter.
She looks up to your daughter as a role model and will likely seek to copy her from now and as she grows up so it is important that you set things straight with your teen daughter before it has an impact on your younger daughter too.
You have to be careful how you do this to ensure that she takes heed and listens to you. Being too harsh may only push her to it more, whereas being too lenient will only allow her to continue her behaviour.
There are a few ways to approach this of which you could try one or a combination depending on the kind of person she is and what you think she will be most responsive to.
The first approach is to simply talk to her about it and your concerns. Let her know that you understand that her friends are all doing these things and this is why she wants to do the same so that she doesn’t get left out.
Letting her know that you understand why she is behaving like this will make her more likely to continue to listening to you more so than if you are reprimanding and shouting at her for her behavior.
Likewise, you could take a harsher approach of forbidding her from doing these things, but this is more likely to encourage her to keep sneaking out for fear that she will be punished in one way or another.
The fact that she is even sneaking out to do these things in the first place, while not being a good thing to do, is an indication that she knows it is wrong and that you wouldn’t approve, which is a good thing.
Explain your reasons
Let her know why her behaviour concerns you and do so with Islamic explanations to support what you are saying. Also remind her about her younger sister and how she will be seeking to copy her.
When you talk to her this will be an opportunity to take a collaborative approach to getting through this situation. As an 18-year-old she should be encouraged to a state of independence so to be telling her what she can and can’t do prevents this. However, independence needs nurturing and support from others.
In this case, you and her could talk about and come to an agreement on the alternative to maintaining friendships.
Rather than forbidding her to see them instead ask her if there’s anything else that they like to do that doesn’t involve parties and boys and facilitate this for her instead.
This way she will feel supported by you and more likely to listen to your concerns about her going to parties. Also, her needs for friendship will be met in a way that is more acceptable and perhaps she will feel less inclined or pressured into things that are not acceptable.
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If you feel that she won’t be so responsive to you in having this talk, then you might ask someone else in the family who you feel she would be most likely to listen to.
Making new friends
Additionally, you can be supporting her in forging new friendships also with other young ladies who are Muslims and share the same values and beliefs. Be a role model to her by attending sisters’ events in the local masjid and invite her to go with you.
There may be others there her age, or you may meet other sisters who have children her age. Encourage such friendships and especially connect with those who have children her age so that you can collaboratively facilitate such friendships.
In sha Allah as your daughter develops strong friendships with other sisters her age she will find it even easier to leave behind the activities of those that she currently spends time with.
Attends such events and even being with other sisters her age will help to boost her connection with Islam which will be another thing that will help separate herself from doing things that are not acceptable in Islam for fear of Allah as well as simply having a deeper understanding of why such things are forbidden.
May Allah reward your concerns to raise your children in the correct way. May He guide you in helping her and may He guide her on the righteous path.
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