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.