Hannah Morris: Counseling Session On Parenting and Family Issues | About Islam
Home > Live Sessions > 'Ask the Counselor' Q&A Session > Hannah Morris: Counseling Session On Parenting and Family Issues

Hannah Morris: Counseling Session On Parenting and Family Issues

Session Guest

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)


Thursday, Jul. 04, 2019 | 12:00 - 14:00 Makkah | 09:00 - 11:00 GMT

Session Status

Session is over.

Salaam `Alaikum dears brothers and sisters,

We would like to thank you for joining us in this Counseling Session.

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

Feel free to contact us and send your questions anytime to:

[email protected]


Hi. I'm currently in my master's studies in language teaching but the problem here is I don't know what I am entering into. I got confused as to where I want my future would lead me. In the first place, it's my mother's decision to pursue being a teacher that's why I entered graduate school. I have many plans as to what I want to be: a flight attendant, writer, or even a speech language pathologist. I feel so down and confused because I can't decide well for my future because of my mom's. I even got anxiety attacks whenever I overthink these kinds of situations. Can you help me? What shall I do



Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

 

At this moment it seems like you are unclear about what you would like to do for your career in the future and this is causing you serious anxiety. This is not unusual. In fact, it would probably be more uncommon at this stage to have a clear plan!

 

You have identified yourself that overthinking your situation and this lack of clarity is what is causing you such despair so the first step is to try and stop ruminating over this. Right now, you are enrolled on this course and you can go back and change that. It may be possible to quit your studies, but this is not advisable at this point especially when you are unclear about what you want anyway. It may be that over time you come to enjoy the course and decide that this is the career you want after all.

 

Whilst you overthink your situation you will not give yourself the chance to really embrace where you are at now. Perhaps since you are enrolled where you are now you should see it through to be sure that you do or do not want to take teaching on as a career. It’s easier to rule it out after you have given it a try as well as being clear to your mum that you at least tried as per her wishes.

 

At least if you complete this course she would be more likely to accept your not wanting to do it more than if you dropped out without completing it. Or, as I said, you may come to love it afterall and pursue a career in teaching or even have your eyes opened to a new career altogether that you may not have been aware of should you have not completed this course.

 

Use this opportunity to focus on your current course without overthinking other options. Once you are finished, if you are still not convinced, then you can try out the other options by taking relevant courses. By the time you have finished your present course things may have changed and you may have different ideas again regarding where you wish to take your career. In sha Allah, with more experience on your side you will be more clear about the next steps you will take.

 

When you reach this stage take the time to really sit down and contemplate your options. Block out time to solely focus on this free from other distractions. Don’t make any concrete decisions without giving them full contemplation first to avoid making decisions that you may later regret. In this time, make sure to research the options you wish to pursue fully. What are the future prospects in this career? Are their opportunities to progress? How long does it take to train? Is it affordable? What is the full job criteria? What kind of jobs will you be expected to carry out? It may be that you uncover things that make that particular option less appealing, or perhaps the options are simply not feasible or even available to you. This research will help you to narrow things down further and be more clear.

 

In the meantime, continue to turn to Allah and ask for His guidance on the matter. Make choices and pray istikhara and let Allah guide you to what is best.

 

May Allah guide you on the straight path. May He guide you to a career that will be good for you and you will enjoy.


Assalamu Aleikum.

I'm European, living in an arab country. I try to care for my kids best as I can, which is far from Arab culture. Sometimes I feel I'm going too far, I should trust more Allah and less worry. I never feel relaxed with kids outside of the home. I need to see every of their steps and whenever they broke any smallest rule I have given, it makes me furious. The reason behind is kidnappers who are pretty common around. That's why our outgoings are one from another, kids are behaving their best or I'm nervous and stressed.

I wasn't that much anxious before but all the bad experiences with in-laws and society have pushed me farer and farer. The only place my kids are going without me is school. Whenever school bus lates, even a bit, I start to imagine worst scenarios and don't get peace till I see them again. I even refuse them to take elevator alone without me while we are leaving the house. Also, I'm afraid if they take stairs alone without me as I don't know who might they meet on other floors.

I don't trust anyone with my kids and the reason behind it might be all the bad in-laws did to them while I trusted them with my kids before. It has to lead me to not trusting anyone anymore. Its really stressful life, I never rest from kids but at least I feel like im protecting them as much as I can.

Does it sound upnormal? Kids are growing bigger and need to learn independence, I have no idea how can I cope with the situation if anything gonna happen to them and I'm not even near. My intention is not to tie them with me forever, I'm actually preparing them for independent future by every way, except the part that is being alone outside with friends or buying something from a shop, etc. They are in age 8. Should I work with my fears? Or just wait till they grow bigger? Is there even a real problem, doesn't every mother worry?



Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

 

What you are going through does seem a little extreme to some extent, however, rest assured that all parents go through intense worry regarding their children. This is absolutely normal. It is common to have irrational fears about what could happen to our children if they are left alone. In most cases these fears are over exaggerated. Allah has trusted us to take care of our children and from babies we have protected them from harm when they haven’t been able to. The transition from this to fostering independence is as difficult for us as parents as it is for them as we have to be prepared to gradually let go.

 

Your children are 8 years old and therefore have reached that stage where they don’t need you to protect them as much anymore and they need to start learning to be more independent in preparation for the years that will soon come where you cannot be by their side all the time. It seems you are aware of this and do want them to learn the skills to be independent, but given a situation that has happened previously it is more difficult for you to accept this transition for fear of what might happen to them should you not be aware of their every move based on your negative experience. You therefore have added pressures to go through than most others as you face this part of your parenting journey.

 

In moving forward there are a couple of things you can do to support them and ease your fears.

 

Most certainly you just trust Allah in protecting your children, but this does not mean that you should let them go and do their own thing without doing what you can to protect them first. You should do your bit the best you can and then leave the rest to Allah.

 

Make their journey to independence a gradual one. Start with small steps. For example, the simple example of using the stairs or elevator alone. Let them use it alone one day whilst you are there. At least whilst you are there you know exactly where they are. They are in the building somewhere, not on a bus somewhere that you don’t know. You take the alternative method and meet them at the top. As you practice them time and time again and see them come out safe your fears will gradually ease as you continually see them come out safely.

 

The time in which you start this may be determined by where you live however. 8 years old is still young to be such things so independently. If where you live is busy and notoriously dangerous, then now might not be the time to start this just yet, whereas if you live somewhere more quiet and safe with trusted people around then you may start such practices now. Either way, you can begin fostering independence in them in other ways first to nurture your confidence in them in a more protected environment before moving on to the bigger things. For example, let them take the lead in doing chores at home, or preparing some simple food dishes and baking at home.

 

This will build their confidence in their ability to make their own choices and allow them to make mistakes in a more protected environment first. It will also give you the chance to watch them make decisions themselves and learn how to solve problems without your direct input and give you the reassurance that they are successfully building the skills towards their independence in a place where you can support them should they need your immediate intervention.

 

Once this trust has been developed then you might move in to using the elevator/stairs alone whilst you are in the same building and then gradually moving on to the bigger things. If it involves being with others, then make this process gradual also by starting off with smaller amounts of time and regular check ins by either calling the person they are with, or allowing them to have a simple phone for the purpose of checking in during their visit or outing. Again, as you see them safely through such events your fears will gradually decrease. These latter events will obviously only take place as you have built your trust and confidence in the more simple minor matters so whilst they may seem daunting right now, this will come after a time and by then your children will be older and have developed the necessary skills to cope in such situations.

 

May Allah keep you and your children safe and reward your efforts to raise them in the best way.


Salam, I converted to Islam and that's 4 years ago. I have a 9-year-old son and I was just diagnosed with cancer. None of my family is Muslim. I have talked to my family if I pass. They would respect my wishes to raise my son as a Muslim. My family disagreed. I have Muslim sisters that would be willing to take in my son. Is this permissible? I'm devastated over my family's decision. They seemed supportive when I converted to Islam and respected my choices and now they have changed.



Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

 

May Allah bring you ease during this difficult times and may He make things as comfortable as possible for you. It is unfortunate that you are facing these difficulties on top of what you are already going through with the cancer. It must be devastating that they were once so supportive, yet now, when you need their support the most they have changed their attitude. This will inevitably leave you feeling anxious about both the near and distant future.

 

The fact that they were supportive at some point sheds some hope that there is at least something in them that could become that way again. Are you aware of what it is in particular that changed their hearts about your decision? If you can target this moment in particular perhaps you could change their hearts once more.

 

I am unaware of the Islamic ruling regarding whether the sisters who would be willing to take your son in if you should pass, so do be sure to get advise regarding this as this will provide you with the best guidance regarding what you do next and how you prepare. Whilst it would be most ideal if his family took him on, if they are not willing to raise him as a Muslim then this is going to be most devastating. If it is that Islamically they must take him on then you should do all that you can, whilst you can to raise him according to Islamic values whilst also trying to encourage your family this way also.

 

Let them see the beauty of the Deen in the way you present yourself and maybe from your friends if you allow them to meet. You may even give them some gentle literature on Islam to at least educate them about Islam. If it is a fear of Islam that is leading to their seeming change in heart then hopefully this will correct their misconceptions. In sha Allah even if they don’t accept Islam themselves, they will be more willing to abide by your desire for them to raise him as a Muslim should you pass away.

 

It may be that they are simply nervous and not confident to raise your son in a religion that they have little idea about. This would be something to ask them. If so, perhaps you could talk in collaboration with the sisters you mention that your family could raise him as you wish, but the sisters could be actively involved in teaching him about Islam on a regular basis. This way the pressure would be taken off them if this is their concern.

 

If your family are still objecting to raising him as a Muslim and it is Islamically ruled that he could in fact be raised by the sisters you mentioned, then maybe upon the agreement of all, then they could raise him, but make sure that family contact is kept to a maximum and he is allowed to see his family often.

 

May Allah reward your efforts to please Him and raise your son on the correct path. May He give you the time to overcome this difficulty and set your affair straight before He takes you from this world and when the time comes, may He grant you the highest station in Jannah.


How can I stop doing masturbation?



Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

 

There numerous things you can do to help yourself in this matter. Your personal situation will also help to determine this to some extent. That is, if you are not yet married, then seek a spouse in order that you can have your needs met appropriately. In the mean time, there are ways that you can help to curb this problem whether you are married or not.

As I’m sure you are aware masturbation is not something that is liked by Allah and therefore you should avoid doing it to avoid the sin and His displeasure. Therefore, you should work on strengthening your connection to Allah. Fulfil your obligations as well as adhering to the sunnah and voluntary acts also. It also recommended in particular for your situation to fast as a means to control such desires.

 

This will increase your remembrance of Allah. The more you remember Him, the more you will be motivated to please Him. It will also increase your fear of Him and His punishment for sins such as masturbation. Seek repentence for such deeds and seek refuge with Allah.

 

Aside from strengthening your spiritual connection through acts of worship, also keep yourself busy in meaningful activities. Don’t let there be moments in your day when you have redundant time that gives you the space and time to think about masturbation. Get involved in your local community, do a course or start a new hobby; something that will have you focused long term on something useful and productive. In sha Allah, over time you will have gotten so used to a life without masturbation that you will no longer be focused on it and will have broken the habit for good

 

Aside from these things, avoid situations that stimulate you need or trigger your desires. Take time to think about times when you do it and see if you notice any pattern; is it at a certain time of day, after doing a particular activity, after visiting a certain place? Once you have identified any potential pattern or trigger to your behaviour then you can find ways to avoid being in these situations at least until you are better able to control yourself.

 

For example, if it is a result of adverts on TV on content of the things you watch, then avoid watching so much TV or watch things that cause such a reaction, if it is something you turn to when you are alone, then try to be around people as much as possible, if it is something you turn to as a means to bring you joy, seek joy with a more meaningful activity, likewise if it something you do just because you are bored.

 

Combining these different interventions should in sha Allah send you in the right direction in overcoming your current problem.


find out more!