Question 1

Q:

My little kids (aged 3 and 5) feel bored as they are trapped at home because of coronavirus. Please help me how to entertain them?

A:

Asslamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

These current days have put us in a unique situation that has not been encountered before with many parents been placed in the position of having to find ways to occupy their children 24/7 as there is no longer the opportunity to go to school or engage in extra curricular activities.

Or even just go outside to do the same type of leisurely activities that families might usually do in the holidays. We must, therefore, find new and novel ways to entertain our children within the home due to these restrictions.

In the short term, whilst quite a shock getting used to a new routine, it can be reasonably easy to maintain levels of activity, but over time it might end up feeling boring again as a new routine is established.

Finding the right balance here can be quite a challenge for parents. It is important to maintain some level of routine to ensure all necessary tasks are accomplished, but at the same time as keeping things a bit new and fresh to avoid boredom taking over.

One way to do this is to give them some control over what happens. This will make them more likely to engage and feel excited by what they are doing and therefore not get bored. There are a couple of ways to do this.

You might try establishing a routine much like what they would experience in school where they have certain educational activities to accomplish first in the morning and allowing them to decide how they might entertain themselves in their leisure time (within boundaries of course).

This way they will still be instilled with their educational needs yet get to entertain themselves too.

Alternatively, or in conjunction with the above you could use this time to work on projects that are not only fun but also incorporate an element of entertainment too.

For example, between you, you can pick a topic to be working on for the week and use this as their project. If you fear they’ll pick something inappropriate or maybe even struggle to pick something you might come with a handful of ideas and ask them to pick which they wish to do a project on.

This way they have the control of selecting the topic, but it is from a selection carefully selected by you.

The educational elements can subtly be added into this project such as counting, science and reading/letter recognition depending on their age and abilities.

You can make this a project that involves a mix of classic writing and drawing and practicing these skills, missed in with a more practical and creative element or making and designing posters on the topic.

It might be that you encourage them to present their poster and project to friends and family members via a video call.

This will help to boost their self-esteem, keep them motivated and attain a sense of achievement. This will keep them well engaged throughout the week as they work towards their goal.

This might be a project that they could work on together as a collaboration, or if their interests differ significantly then they could work on individual topics.

Another thing you might look to is home school groups. This way you will be able to get plenty of other ideas from families who have been long used to encouraging similar systems in their homes already.

Or, you may come across other parents also looking for support and advice. This might also be a way to engage your children with other children from afar, only virtually and learn new skills that will be helpful as they grow up and enter a technology-filled era.

May Allah reward your concern for your children and may He bring you and your family ease during this difficult time. May He grant you children who will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

Q:

I found out that my wife was cheating on me for 4 years. I don’t know what to do? We have 2 kids. Please advise.

A:

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh brother,

Sorry to hear that you have ended up in this situation. It is incredibly distressing to find out that one has been betrayed so badly by the one that we should trust the most.

It can lead to so many different feelings ranging from anger towards one’s spouse to feelings of inadequacy wondering why they chose to go behind your back like that. Most importantly, you must remember that her actions are not for you to feel responsible for.

She will be held accountable for this whatever her reasons are so you do not need to assume responsibility.

In your case the situation is made more difficult as you have 2 kids and therefore must keep them in mind when you decide how to manage the situation because it will affect them as much as you and your wife.

The first step is to talk to her privately about the matter. You could ask a friend or family member to take care of the kids so that you can feel comforted knowing that they are somewhere safe and away from a difficult conversation whilst you discuss the matter and where you will take the relationship from here.

Perhaps it is that she is feeling remorseful and wants to try and make things work. If this is the case and you are willing to give it a go then you will need to work on building trust in the relationship again.

This a process that can take a very long time and on occasion can only lead to more difficulties in the marriage.

It is a process that you both must be entirely committed to. She needs to make sure to conduct herself appropriately and avoid all contact that could lead to the same happening again whilst being sensitive to the pain she has caused you.

You would also need to be prepared to avoid any accusations as this could cause difficulties too. It is not an easy process but could potentially significantly strengthen your relationship, to could also lead to a very painful breakup if things don’t work out.

It is highly recommended that you attend marriage counseling as a means to support you both through this in a way that will best you both, as well as your children.

If she is feeling remorseful and you are not willing to forgive her and try and make things work it is important that you follow the correct procedures according to Islam and make an arrangement that will benefit your children.

Third-party assistance might be useful here to ensure that you are adhering to Islamic guidelines in doing so as well as for the safety and security of your kid’s safety and wellbeing.

If it is that you are taking this path due to the anger you feel to her then you might consider taking a short break away from everything to calm down and ensure you approach the situation appropriately and not in a state of rage.

This is where a third party will also be useful to ensure that such feelings don’t take over and control the situation and your kid’s rights are maintained. This third party would ideally be someone who has no emotional connection to either you or your wife, such as your local imam. This way no one will be left feeling that they are being treated unfairly or sides are being taken.

If she is not feeling any sense of remorse and wants to end the relationship regardless of whether you are willing to try again or not, it is most important that you follow the correct procedure according to Islam to protect the rights or both of you and your children.

Perhaps after a time, things will change but for now, it is important to remain calm and collected to make sure no regrets are had due to irrational behaviors from either of you in the heat of new discoveries. As mentioned above, making sure a mutual third party in involved will be helpful to everyone to ensure this occurs.

To minimize the impact on the kids you might request that for compassionate reasons they be allowed to stay with a family for the time being whilst you have such discussions in working out how to move forward. During this time you and your wife would need to have a mature conversation on how best to manage the situation regarding ongoing contact in a seamless way that will not impact on their wellbeing.

Aside from all this, whatever choice you make, you need to make sure to take time to take care of yourself. What you have been through is a big shock and can lead to a process of going through many different emotions so it is important to take care of yourself so that you can best manage your emotions appropriately.

Make sure to eat well and exercise often. Continue to maintain social contact with friends and family to get much-needed support, but whilst doing so be cautious not to get involved in conversations that could lead to backbiting about your wife’s actions as this could impact negatively the situation further by exacerbating your feelings more.

Most importantly, maintain a high level of spirituality. Turn to Allah for guidance eon what to do and as a source of comfort during a difficult time.

May Allah make things easy for you during this difficult time and guide you to what is best and most pleasing to Him. May He protect you all, especially your kids, as you move forward, whatever the outcome is.

Q:

 How to help my teen son who suffers from anxiety and isolation during the coronavirus quarantine? 

A:

As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatulhi wa barakatuh,

Current times are very testing for all to some extent or another and some people are expressing more anxiety than others.

This is a natural feeling that occurs when one is faced with some kind of threat like the possibility of catching a deadly virus that is spreading uncontrollably quickly.

In order to gain some kind of control over the situation, most countries have imposed a level of quarantine, stricter in some countries than others so we have essentially all been placed in a state of isolation as means to try and overcome and control the spread of this virus.

Consequently, it is commonly reported of late that people are experiencing heightened levels of anxiety which, along with isolation that is expected is only exacerbating the feelings of anxiety further.

If your son is a person who suffered from anxiety prior to the outbreak then he will be more susceptible to increased levels of anxiety given the situation and will require even closer support, perhaps more so than someone who is anxious now, but doesn’t usually experience anxiety.

It is also important to understand the specific reasons behind his anxiety and this will help you to deal with him more appropriately. For example, if it is due to the fear associated with catching the virus then try to limit his exposure to the frightening news that is consistently presented.

Avoid putting news channels on too much and instead favour more positive material such as the wealth of Islamic channels available.

It may be that they are also discussing the virus, but they will be doing so in a way that is in line with Islamic values and provides a more comforting perspective on the current situation.

If it the isolation that is causing him anxiety, perhaps due to the natural fear response it might elicit to be forced into this situation, or even simply the fact that he must remain confined within the house for an extended period of time then his anxiety could be addressed by helping him with the feelings of isolation.

In most normal circumstances being with others is a recommended way of boosting psychological wellbeing and improving levels of anxiety and depression, but this current situation has placed us all in an unusual situation where it is not possible to do so.

Thanks to technology however there are ways to overcome this somewhat. Despite the fact that we must remain indoors and have no direct contact with other we can still have regular contact with others only through other means, whether it be through email, social media or telephone. Such contact can even be made more personal by engaging in such using video calls.

You might encourage your son to keep in touch with his friends and family via these means so as to help him feel less isolated. This could help with the feelings of anxiety too, in sha Allah.

You might also encourage him to join online classes in his area of interest. Again, this is a means to connect with others of similar interests and lessen the feelings of isolation.

It could also help to reduce anxiety as his mind is kept occupied in useful activities.

Doing things like this can also provide a means to boost self-esteem as he learns new skills despite all the other restrictions in place at present. This, in turn, can also help with the feelings of anxiety.

Most importantly, encouraging him in his Deen, to get closer to Allah, make sure to pray together, make du’a together, read qur’an together, watch Islamic lectures together..etc..

This closeness to Allah and the family will help to ease his anxieties as he finds comfort in the remembrance of Allah. In doing so, make sure to recite the du’as for anxiety and protection, especially those have been recommended to read during times like this.

May Allah make it easy for you and your family and may He ease the feelings of anxiety for your son. May Allah let this current situation pass quickly with no more loss of life.

Q:

My teenage daughter spends almost all day on social media, doing useless things and watching entertainment videos that add nothing to her knowledge…just a waste of time.

This really frustrates me and I can’t help being aggressive with her sometimes and take away her mobile and she gets upset.

She refuses to engage with younger siblings in any entertaining game or even help me in household chores.

How should I deal with her?

A:

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Unfortunately, this is a very common problem for our teens these days! Given the content of what she is accessing you are right to be concerned. It is a problem that many people have regardless of age.

Unfortunately, it is not only something affecting our teens, but even adults are also doing the same – wasting time accessing nonbeneficial content. However, as her parent, you have the added burden that you will be held accountable for her actions so you are doing the right thing to seek advice on how to combat this problem. As her parent, in sha Allah you are in a stronger position than anyone to support her with this.

It must be very frustrating to see her behave in this way, but you must do your best to approach her about it in the most appropriate way. Naturally, when we get frustrated we do respond in angry, and often irrational ways and can easily become aggressive as you are.

This is quite a normal response, but you should work on trying to tame this when approaching your daughter about this issue or you run the risk of the opposite to what you are looking for happening.

In fact, an angry outburst from you may only cause her to become more rebellious in her actions and may even be potential reason behind here attitudes towards her siblings and household chores.

There are a couple of alternative approaches you might consider in approaching her with this matter.

The first thing to remember is that as a teenager she is at the stage in her life when she would like to take more responsibility for herself and take some control of her life.

At times this might come across as being rebellious as she has not yet figured out how to do so appropriately.

Additionally, this need to be more independent is in conflict with the fact that at this age she is living under your roof, under your guardianship so she also needs to respect that too. This is a difficult balance to maintain for most to begin with.

In approaching her you need to be careful that you don’t come across as too controlling and perhaps you taking away her phone comes across this way. However, at the same time, she also needs to know that she should respect you and follow your rules.

A better way to approach at this stage in her life is to give her some control, but in a responsible way. This way she will be more likely to adhere to any rules imposed upon her.

To do this you should approach her and come to a mutual agreement between the 2 of you regarding her phone use.

Let her be a part of this process and any decisions made so that she feels like you are giving her that element of responsibility to make decisions for herself.

Things you might discuss here might be things like the amount of time she is allowed on her phone for, the types of materials she is accessing and how much you are allowed to monitor what she is looking at.

Let her have her say and you yours and find a middle acceptable ground between the 2 of you. Also, discuss potential consequences for if she breaks the rules.

Again, let her have some say in this 2 and come to a mutual agreement at a middle point between you.

This will make her more likely to adhere to the rules and obey the consequences as she is fully aware of them and was part of the decision-making process to formulate them. Likewise, for agreeing upon the chores she engages in and when.

In this discussion make sure you approach when you are in a state of calmness so that you will not respond irrationally and will be ready to hear her opinion.

Let her know why you are concerned about her behavior and its impact on her as well as for you too. If she know that you are concerned about her then she will know that you are only being the way you are because you care.

This should also make her more likely to listen calmly to what you have to say and respect your opinions on the matter. This will help increase the bond between you further and make her more likely to obey you and engage with her siblings also.

You can also support her bonding with her siblings by doing activities together as a family that will increase bonds altogether rather than only between the siblings.

Strong relations in the family like this will make her more likely to naturally want to help out with her siblings than feeling forced to when she doesn’t want to engage with them.

May Allah reward your concern for her and may He guide her on the straight path. May He make her and your other children the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

Thursday, Jan. 01, 1970 | 00:00 - 00:00 GMT

Session didn't start yet!

Submit Your Question

DISCLAIMER
Views expressed by hosts/guests on this program (live dialogue, Facebook sessions, etc.) are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent.