I’m 25, Yet My Parents Treat Me Like a Child

03 October, 2020
Q I am 25 years old. I am about to graduate from medical school but my family still treats me like I am 12. It’s our culture and how things have been all their life. I want to get married, but they don't approve of the good Muslim boy I have wanted to marry for the last 5 years.

They don't even consider that I should talk to any boy at all. Otherwise am not a good girl. Yet, when they do the same thing to my older siblings, none of which are married yet, they are angry that all the other people their age are.

I'm not allowed to go anywhere or do anything unless supervised. And all this has done is make me a better liar and able to sneak out and do what (halal) things I can as much as possible. They have a very big generation gap as my mother had me and my siblings in her 40s.

They consider my older brother who is 30 to still be a child and have said it numerous times. I do love my family even though I realize how crazy they are.

I want to marry and be allowed to go to movies and travel and have a life. But as I said before they are very old and have medical conditions. My mother also has depression because she grew up like I am and hates the way her life turned out but does nothing to make my life any easier. I have made them sick by simply disagreeing with them in the past.

Any small thing I do that they dislike makes my mother and grandmother and extended family sick or depressed or overreact. I have tried on many occasions to speak to my mother about changing some simple things slightly and she becomes so angry she refuses to eat and shouts and says she wants to die.

She does not want to see a counselor or talk about anything. On the outside, it seems as if we have the "perfect" well behaved, a well-adjusted family which makes things even more hard as everyone around my community will just view me as ruining my family’s life.

I feel imprisoned. If I stay here I am tortured. But if I leave then I torture my family. I want to live and make my own decisions but I don’t know how.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

This will continue to happen forever unless you and your siblings sit together with your parents and share your feelings and thoughts about your lives and your futures.

You need to let your parents know that it is not ok to make no effort in trying to find a partner for their children.

I suggest that you let his parents speak to your parents before you speak to them. This way, it is possible that his parents might help your parents understand that it is the right time to get their children married.

Until then, you must absolutely stop seeing him without the presence of a third person around as this is not completely allowed.


Assalamualaikum dear sister,

I thank you for placing your trust in our ability to propose a solution to your current situation.

I am very sorry to hear of the troubles you are facing with your parents at home. I can understand how frustrating it must be to be treated to a child when you are an adult. It must be hard for you and your siblings who are 30 and not treated the way they deserve to be treated.

I believe you are right in realizing that your parents’ behavior stems from their overprotection towards their children. They are not mentally ready to accept that all their children have grown up and are no longer in need of constant monitoring and supervision.

I’m 25, Yet My Parents Treat Me Like a Child - About Islam

In addition, it is possible that they have seen many marriages end in a disaster, so they are paranoid about getting their children married without ensuring that they are potentially choosing the best spouse. In addition, it is also possible that they are unaware of the importance marriage holds in Islam, and in the culture.

Talk to Your Parents

This will continue to happen forever unless you and your siblings sit together with your parents and share your feelings and thoughts about your lives and your futures. When you do not share what you feel as a person, parents are bound to think that whatever they are thinking is right. I suggest that you and your siblings first plan out a possible conversation with your parents and then bring up the discussion of marriage at the dinner table, etc.

Do not start the conversation head-on, but gradually steer the conversation in the direction of marriage. For example, if you have a friend who is married, mention how they are planning a trip, or starting to think about moving, etc. etc., and then talk about the age at when they got married, and then slowly start talking about what you and your siblings’ plans are regarding marriage.

You can also start by talking about the importance of marriage in the Quran and Sunnah.

In the Quran, Allah SWT says,

And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing. (Quran 24: 32)

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. (Quran 30: 21)

Therefore, you can let your parents know that it is important that one seeks to find the right match for the purpose of marriage.

Next, for your siblings to find a potential spouse, you obviously need to get them to network and let themselves be known around the community.


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Seek Help from Third Party

You also mentioned that your extended family members overreact when your parents raise anger with regards to marriage, it may be because they are not fully aware of the situation in which you are living. Have you ever tried speaking to your grandma? Ask her to speak to your parents. Try to learn why your parents are behaving the way they are.

You need to let your parents know that it is not ok to make no effort in trying to find a partner for their children. In some circumstances, like yourself, when you have already found someone you believe is a right match, then parents need to be understanding and accepting.

However, when children are not in a situation where they have found anyone for themselves, the parents need to ensure they know the children properly to find the right person who matches their personality. It is a responsibility they have.

I understand that it is easy said than done. I am completely in accordance with the fact that it is not easy to approach parents about marriage.

Therefore, if you have anyone you trust in your community, like an aunt, a friend, a family friend, etc. you should request them to subtly introduce the topic of marriage. With your siblings and parents without being too direct so that your parents realize that it is a part of having children that they simply cannot avoid.

Let His Parents Approach Your Parents

Lastly, with regards to you pursuing marriage with the classmate that you are interested in, I can suggest two methods.  If you plan to speed up the process of marrying him before you get your parents to understand the importance of marriage and the importance of getting their children married.

I suggest that you let his parents speak to your parents before you speak to them. This way, it is possible that his parents might help your parents understand that it is the right time to get their children married.

However, until then, you must absolutely stop seeing him without the presence of a third person around as this is not completely allowed. You must let your brother or other siblings know about the person you want to marry and then break the news to your parents.

Your brother will probably be a better person to share this information with if he is the type of person to understand you and give you good advice and help you.

In conclusion, I strongly advise you to handle these matters with peace, calmness, and happiness, and not worry about losing the ability to ‘live’ your life. You are living a life, do not become rebellious and destroy a good relationship with your parents.

If your parents are not reasonable and understanding, then you need to realize that you need to handle the bigger problem and be reasonable and understanding and patient.

Dear sister, patience goes a long way and will certainly give you all that you desire. When others are not completely too willing to understand, we need to work to make them understand using what they understand best.

I pray that you and your family soon see happy days.

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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.

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