Ask About Parenting Live Session

Salamu alaykum dear brothers and sisters,

We would like to thank you for joining us in this live session.

We would like also to thank our counselor, sister Hannah Morris for answering the questions.

If you have any queries that you would like to send to our upcoming live session, feel free to send them to [email protected]

Question 1

My son is anxious about his education being ruined because of Covid. I have tried to reassure him, but he’s fairly obsessed about this. Is there any way I can assure him that it will be fine? He’s very ambitious and thinks his future is ruined.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

These times are certainly challenging for us all in one way or another.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for our youth is exactly this that your son is going through.

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Since March, some schools spent a period of time in closure, some longer than others, and even upon return the system is operating quite differently to usual. Change is challenging for anyone to deal with, especially the younger ones who have had little chance to experience and find ways to cope with change.

Given that school usually provides a structured routine to the day and is one of the biggest focuses in a child and adolescents life, it makes sense that an upset to the schooling routine will naturally cause some level of anxiety. Keeping this in mind might help you to help him more effectively by understanding things from his perspective. There are a few further ways in which you can support him moving forward.

Remind him that he is not the only one in this situation; that all of his classmates are in the very same boat as he is, as are all other students around the world. Everyone is facing the same disadvantage right now. He is in no worse position that any other.

Reassure him that teachers, schools, prospective employers… Etc.. Are all aware of the situation and have to accommodate everyone based on the current situation. They are all aware of the struggles that everyone is facing right now and how this is impacting on everything.

You can help him to sign up to any additional online classes that he may be interested in. If he is older, then perhaps be searching for courses that are relevant to the career that he is hoping to pursue.

This will also be excellent for his CV as a means to demonstrate his ability to work independently outside of the schooling environment. This should give him a bit of a boost and reassurance that his education doesn’t need to be interrupted If he is younger, then perhaps courses that will just help to keep engaged in educational activities

You could also check in with his teacher to find out where he’s at, what they will be covering over the year and if they are behind where they would otherwise be expected to be. You could find out which topics they will be studying over the year so that he could perhaps do some extra study on these topics from home also.

You might also involve your son in this conversation so that he can also get this added reassurance from his teacher.

Aside from supporting him in the field of education in some of the ways listed above, he is also clearly showing signs of anxiety so this is something to keep an eye on too. As well as reassuring him regarding his education, you can also support him in reducing his levels of anxiety more generally by guiding him to find peace in other things around him also.

This might bring his levels of anxiety down generally which will spill over into reducing his anxieties regarding his education. Keep him engaged in the other things he enjoys where possible. This may be through online Quran or Islamic classes if they are being held with your local masjid. Otherwise, reciting at home as a family if this is not an option.

This kind of thing can naturally reduce anxiety but will also strengthen the connection with Allah which is always beneficial in many ways in dealing with life’s challenges. Other things might include going out as a family within your local rules as a means to get some time outside in nature doing some gentle exercise; another means of maintaining wellbeing during these testing times.

May Allah reward your concerns for your son and grant him ease from anxieties at this time and moving into the future. May Allah grant him and your family success in this life and the next.

Question 2

My child asks me what does Christmas mean and why others celebrate it? I don’t really understand it myself, it seems like a non-religious holiday, but maybe not for a few people. How should I explain this?

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

This is something that comes up at some point or another for Muslim children living in the West especially. Some children struggle with it more than others, perhaps dependant on their level of exposure depending on the presence of others who do or do not celebrate Christmas.

The way you should address it with your child will be largely dependent on their age, but the types of things you can bring in to the discussion to assist understanding as well as remaining within Islamic values are as follows…

Regardless of his age, it’s important that you do pay attention to his questions and answer them to the best of your ability. Otherwise, he may feel inclined to ask his questions to those who will not be able to provide him with the most suitable answers and maybe he will even think it’s OK to celebrate it. Avoiding questions may increase curiosity further and only encourage further questions.

You can help your child by explaining very simply that according to Christians, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Isa. But, also make sure to be clear that that is the way they celebrate and its OK for them to celebrate it, but as Muslims, we do not celebrate Christmas.

We do believe in Isa, who they celebrate at Christmas, and as a prophet, we have a great respect for him. However, we don’t celebrate Christmas and instead, our big celebrations each year are done during the 2 Eids. Aside from this, even for Christians, the true understanding of Christmas as a celebration of Isa has gone astray becoming more of a commercial event with the incorporation of pagan practices.

This is why it doesn’t seem to come across as a non-religious holiday. If he can grasp this simple understanding of what Christmas is then he will be aware of things that he should not involve himself in at this time. If it is that he goes to a school that makes a big deal of Christmas, then you might speak to his teacher so that he is not forced to or encouraged to join in any Christmas related activities.

If they are not aware of this he may be encouraged to engage, or do so without knowledge of what he’s doing which can lead to confusion in himself and even more questions.

In addition to this make sure to keep him educated in Islam that he is firm in his faith and not lead astray by his peers who do celebrate things like Christmas. This will help him to feel satisfied and confident in his Deen. When it comes to Eid, make a big deal out of it, making it the joyous occasion it should be and something to look forward to every year.

May Allah guide you and us all on the straight path and keep us firm in our Deen. May He reward your efforts and concerns to educate your child in the way of Islam.

Question 3

I did not buy my son laptop so that he does not sin into this online world. However, since covid and online education happened, I had to buy one. As I feared, my son is now into social meda and computer games with his friends.

What can I do? I wish a healthy lifestyle to him. I try being with them, yet I also work, I cannot be with him all the time. lease suggest something.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

What you are facing with your son is becoming ever a more common problem these days. It has become even more of an issue in recent times with the move to conduct many activities online now as a result of Covid, to the point that it is almost impossible for children to be receive an education without the use of a laptop or computer.

It has almost become a necessity now. However, with this comes the challenges that most parents dread. That is, what other activities their child gets up to online. We hear all kinds of horror stories about the times when things have gone wrong which will naturally cause us to have anxieties about our own children’s Internet usage.

You may well have had Internet back in your childhood and were possibly quite competent in navigating your way around, yet your parents were probably clueless. However, things have changed so drastically in this short space of time and your own children are likely more competent than you when it comes to computers and the Internet.

With this in mind, you might consider looking for ways to educate yourself in Internet safety for parents. Your child’s school may have run sessions for parents previously, or otherwise may know where to point you to to get further information.

Otherwise, a search online will likely yield potential courses you could take to increase your knowledge on the topic to make it easier for you to work with your child at this time in a way that you understand what you are doing and can relate more easily to him in your discussions about it.

Beyond this, there are lots of ways you can work together collaboratively to ensure that he is kept safe and you feel satisfied that he is behaving appropriately.

The first thing to do to ensure that the rules are adhered to is to make it a collaborative effort between you so that you both get the chance to voice your concerns as well as desires openly so that you can arrive at a middle ground that satisfies all parties. This might begin by establishing some ground rules.

Establish a schedule where he is only allowed to use it for a set amount of time for leisure activities and that this can only be after academic tasks are completed. Also, having a time after which he must turn it off in the evening (making sure to sufficient time before bedtime for a stimulation caused by being in front of a screen wears off).

You should also discuss which types of apps and games he can use and any rules around these too. These are all things to discuss together. If you do these things together, then feeling a part of the decision making process is more likely to encourage him to adhere to the rules.

It’s important to allow him to put his own thoughts across and be able to get some elements of what he wants, but of course in such a way that you are comfortable with and this is why you should discuss rules together beforehand.

If he is not given any opportunity to be a part of this then may cause him to feel curious about what you are holding back from him and either cause him to be angry towards you or even rebel. Getting this balance that satisfies both parties will, in sha Allah, satisfy both of you.

Aside from this element of balance, you should also discuss the balance in what things he is engaged in on the laptop. He should have a balance between educational things for school, Islamic education and his games.

Once you have the rules in place, you might think about following a gradual process whereby he must build your trust before he is allowed more freedom with what he does. He needs to prove that he can be responsible on the laptop.

Again, this is something that you can discuss together in terms of what will be a fair consequence if he should breach the rules. This way he knows that any punishment is something that he has had a part in deciding and has agreed upon.

Part of this building of trust will come from very strict parental monitoring at the start. You can have a shared password to the computer so that you have the chance to check in on his activities at anytime.

Another thing to do is to keep the laptop in a shared space in the house where you can see what he is doing and he is conscious that you can see. This will be reasurring to you, but also protects him from breaking the rules too.

May Allah guide you both and protect him from harm. May Allah reward your concern to nurture your son in the best way.

Question 4

salam aleikom. Lying. What to do when my son comes home from nursery and he tells a story that actually did not happen to him but he says it as if it did happen? And when i question him or show i am not sure to believechim or not, he gets upset and cries. Or he lies because he does not want to take.the responsibility for his actions? How to teach him not to lie?

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

It can be difficult when a child does something that is wrong yet cries when they are reprimanded for it. This is what is happening to your son on occasions. He is doing something wrong by lying, but cries when you question him about the lie.

This probably makes it difficult for you to question about it the next time because as much as you don’t want him to lie, you also don’t want to upset him. It may be difficult for you, but at the same time, he needs to know that it is not OK to lie, or even tell tales that are essentially the same as lying, only in a different level.

Alhamdulilah that this is happening at a young age where he can be taught the best way to behave before it becomes a habit. With this in mind, you can understand why it’s important to put a stop to it at this young age. If you don’t stop it then it could turn into something much bigger that could land him in alot more trouble in his older childhood years.

He may shed some tears in the process, but ultimately it is for his benefit. There are a few ways that you can approach the situation that, in sha Allah, will make it easier for you both.

On the surface, there are 2 main approaches you can take; you can either ignore him when he tells the lie and don’t feed into it further so that he will stop because you are not giving him any attention, or you can confront it. The former is less likely to lead to tears.

However, it may facilitate the lies further because you are explicitly telling him to stop. The latter is more direct and clearly let’s him know its wrong, but may come across as harsh if not approached appropriately.

However, at the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that maybe the tears do hurt you, but if nothing is done about it, then he will continue to think his behaviour is OK and won’t stop.

They are 2 very different approaches which may or may not yield different results for different children. You might try both and observe which seems to be most effective and have the most desirable consequences.

These are the 2 main ways to approach the situation, but there are ways in which to implement them and support you in getting the message across.

For example, there are many books with moral stories that address the topic of lying. Many of these books are written in a way that is appropriate to his age.

Considering getting some to read together with him. This way you get the opportunity to read together whilst learning about the consequences of lying in a child friendly way. This could also serve as a way to bring up the subject in a gentle way in relation to the lies he is telling.

As part of this, you might also discuss how he would feel if you told a lie, or made up tales. Try and think of something equivalent that you could lie about and ask him how he would feel if you told him that.

This will give him the chance to see how it feels to be on the other side of the lie. It will help to give him some kind of empathy for what you have to face when he tells tales. This could provide some motivation for him to stop.

Show your emotions in the way you talk to him. When you know he is telling a lie, let him see that you are not happy with him in your tone of voice.

Likewise, when you know he’s being truthful then be pleased with him and show that. Even better, if he takes a step back and withdraws a lie, make a point of verbally rewarding him for that too. This will increase his positive associations with being truthful and make him feel bad about lying.

If you feel that he is not responding well to you after some time, perhaps you could get someone else involved that he may listen to, such as grandparents or aunties and uncles. Otherwise, his teacher.

Another approach you could take is when he tells you a tale, to tell him that you will go and check in with his teacher about it. You can go together and talk to his teacher about the tale and she can confirm that it is not true. This alone may cause him embarrassment that he will refrain from telling tales again.

This approach may be a bit risky, so it might be wise to call his teacher ahead of time just to give her an idea of what’s going on so that she too can be prepared. It also go es you the opportunity to work collaboratively with his teacher in the place in which the lies are stemming from. This also gives him a firmer message that his behaviour is not OK.

Essentially, you need to nip it in the bud early before it gets out of hand. He needs to know it’s not OK to tell lies and tales. It may feel harsh when he cries, but it’s a lesson he needs to learn, and there are quite a few ways to approach it.

May Allah reward you for doing you best to raise your son with good moral values. May Allah guide him on the straight path and make him the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

Question 5

Is it true that young children are attracted to their parent of the opposite gender? So boys to their mother and daughters to their dad? Or if not attraction, then how the child’s relationship to the parent of the opposite gender influences the child’s life later on?

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

This is a very well known theory in the field of psychology. It is also a very controversial one amoungst Muslims and non-Muslims alike and certainly would seem like an absurd theory to those who haven’t studied it, which is the majority of people.

However, whilst it makes little sense, especially in the Islamic context, looking more broadly at parental relationships with their children we have a lot to consider in terms of how these relationships affect the lives of children growing up.

It is well known that relationships with children generally can have a profound affect on a child’s development, particularly their social development. Secure and healthy relationships leads children to go on and be more likely to have secure and healthy relationships in adulthood. However, those with dysfunctional relationships with this parents don’t fare so well in adulthood relationships.

This goes for relationships with the parent of either the same gender and those of the opposite gender. However, in your question, since you are focusing specifically on relationships with the opposite gender, we will focus on this. That is, the father with the daughter and the son with his mother.

One of the main significances of these relationships specifically is that it provides the child with the first idea of how they should be treated by their spouse. A father, as the first male role model in a girls life will look up to him as the ideal figure for a spouse.

If a father shows his daughter love whilst nurturing and protecting her, when she is ready to get a husband and leave home, she will expect her new husband to fulfil these roles also. On the other hand, if she has an absent father who doesn’t show her these things, then she may not expect these from her husband.

It could even encourage her to look for the type of affection that one would expect from a father figure elsewhere and potentially lead to haram relationships before marriage.  This could have negative consequences for her future marital relations.

However, that’s not to say that she could not have a successful marriage, because she still could also. Girls may not have a good father figure, or may not even have a father at all for whatever reason, and this does not mean that she could not go on to live a happy life and have a happy marriage, if she is nurtured otherwise in a way that satisfies her emotional needs, but perhaps in a less conventional way.

Mothers can also help to fulfil these roles too. The same goes for the effect of the mother of the son in terms of being an example of providing a role model for what one might expect in a wife.

This is also teaching us as parents why it is important to foster good relationships with our children because of the longlasting effects on their future relationships, especially those that will stay with them long term, such as marriage.

May Allah guide us all to be good role models to our children for their sake of their own wellbeing and future relationships.

Question 6

My teenage daughter turned to me recently that she has lesbian desires. She likes boys, but for some reason recently she is not able to imagine herself sexually with a man. She does not find it interesting. She is virgin and she is a good Muslim lady, hamdulillah.

She is just worried about these thoughts. She does wish to get married. I am a bit worried. I looked up on the Internet and found psychologists saying it is normal, all of us have thoughts and fantasies of the same sex as well, not only the opposite gender. Especially at her age.

How normal it is, in your opinion, as a Muslim psychologist and what can I do as the mother to help my daughter? JAk

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Alhamdulilah that your daughter is a good Muslim lady and Alhamdulilah that she is feeling worried about the feelings that she is having. This indicates that she knows what is right and wrong Islamically.

Given your daughter’s age it may be argued to some extent that people of this age are going through many emotions with heightened hormones as they experience a whirlwind of experiences as they pass through a very significant phase of life encountering new experiences of independence.

Understanding the things that she is going through can help to understand where her feelings might be coming from. Adolescence is a time of great transition as they prepare to face a future where they are more independent and will be embracing many life changes, such as marriage and career.

As much as it can ebe exciting, it can also be very frightening too. Islamically, marriage is prescribed and even though it comes with so many benefits, can be very daunting too. It is a time where you have to make compromises to live a satisfying life with someone from an entirely different background.

As a result, its not surprising that at this age some people are frightened to get married or even say they don’t want to get married at all. Perhaps in your daughter case, this fear is being expressed in the form of having some homosexual desires despite the fact that she does actually want to get married because ultimately, she knows that is what is best.

Perhaps her current feelings are almost acting as some kind of emotional defense mechanism to cushion her fear of the changes to come.

,If you are living in a country where homosexuality is acceptable then this could be partly responsible for the kind of feelings that she is having due to the social environment that she is engaged in.

In order to counter this as much as possible, you can encourage her to endeavour to surround herself with other sisters who also follow the same beliefs as her as a Muslim and would not endorse homosexuality.

Another thing to remember is that to have homosexual feeling as she is, is not a sin, but to act on it is. Alhamdulilah that she is aware that to be a lesbian is not OK in Islam and in sha Allah, she will not act upon her desires. This is something to reassure her about as well.

Since she would like to get married, now might be a good time to educate her about marriage in Islam so that she knows what to expect when the time comes.

It might also help her to feel more inclined towards it and away from the desires that she is currently having towards other women. To do this perhaps you could enroll on a course together.

This will show her your support and let her know that she can open up to you about any concerns she might have along the way. Depending on her age and situation, when she feels ready to move forward and get married, take that opportunity to start the process of searching for a spouse.

Doing so in the Islamic way should help to ease her nerves since you can be present when she meets any potential suitors along with her mahram. This experience will give her the chance to see what marriage could be like, and to have her own say in who she marries with your support.

Once she gets married, she will likely find that her lack of sexual desire for men will dissipate as she establishes the marital relationship. At this stage, it probably isn’t anything to be concerned about. In fact, being overly concerned may even make the situation worse.

May Allah reward your support for your daughter and may he guide her on the straight path. May He grant her a righteous spouse who will acceptable to you and the coolness of her eyes in this life and the next.

Monday, Nov. 09, 2020 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

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