Parents & The Youth (Counseling Live session)

Question 1

Asalamu aleykoum,

 I am currently 40 weeks pregnant and I had a issue with my hemoglobin levels 5 days ago and I was in the hospital for 4 days, just came back yesterday home. I live with my husband in another country, all my family live in another country so I am here living with my husband, and his family all live in the same area. Nobody has asked about me or anything my mother in law she didn’t even bring me a hot meal or something.

Today I was complaining to my husband and we had a big fight, because since September that I am living here I got pregnant and during my pregnancy I felt so alone my mother and sisters came to visit me but their life is not here so it was a short term visit. Now I am really confused and concerned because his brother asked him if we can live in the same house of my mother in law, because my father in law died on December.

So now she is living alone but during her Iddah everyday someone stayed overnight with her, even us 1 or 2 times a week and I’ve always treated her like my mother but I never had the same answer. Now I dont know what to do. Am I allowed to get divorced for this matter not willing to live with my mother in law. There is also other things that i cant explain that happened between us.

I wish you could give me an answer in shaa Allah. I love you husband and I don’t want to divorce but I am dealing with depression and anxiety in all the ways I pray to Allah swt for guidance.

Jazak Allah ou khair

***

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

I understand that you are going through some incredible difficulties at this time, but please focus on yourself and delivering you baby at this time. You are understandably distressed and rightfully so, but for now, try to leave these things aside and concentrate on 1 thing at a time. With your delivery due any day now, it’s important that you are in a good emotional and physical state to welcome your new arrival safely for both you and your babies sake.

If you are not receiving the emotional support that you need right now from your husband and his family then seek it elsewhere. You have a good relationship with your family and even if you live in separate countries, you can still converse via phone. Seek comfort from them during this time. Don’t use this as a space to vent about your current difficulties as this will only make things more difficult for you both now and further down the line.

Instead, be seeking their emotional support in a more general way by keeping in touch with them often and getting their advice on preparing for the arrival of your baby. Use this link as a positive outlet for you. Likewise if you have any friends close by. Spend time with them so that you can have some positive interactions in your life to help bring you up.

Of course, in addition to this, maintaining a strong connection with Allah will be your key to success in both your immediate situation and moving forward in overcoming your difficulties. For the sake of your baby, if nothing else, continue to keep your daily prayers and make dua for a successful and easy delivery to a healthy baby. Do keep in here as well to ease your affairs in dealing with your difficulties but that these difficulties will not make your postnatal period one of difficulty.  

Also, take time to do the things you enjoy when you can. Do the things that help you to relax. If, given your current state, that literally means to sit down and put your feet up, then you do that!! You need all the rest you can get right now. Don’t feel guilty about it either. Anyone who has been through pregnancy will understand.

Certainly this is not to say that you should just push all your troubles away completely because at some point you will have to face them, but for now you need to focus on the matter of most immediate importance.

In sha Allah once baby is here and you are settled, you will be in a better place to deal with your current difficulties. Until then, rest assured that once you reach that point that you do have rights as a wife that your husband should fulfil with regards to your living arrangements. He owes that to you. Also, don’t be too stressed at the prospect of a possible divorce because there are also avenues to take to try and make things work before it even hits that point.

Counselling can be a very valuable exercise to mend broken marriages, or otherwise make clear that it’s not working and give you confidence in walking away having tried all you can.

May Allah ease your affairs and grant you a safe delivery. May He bring you comfort during times of distress and support you in overcoming your difficulties.

Question 2

I have a son who is 7 years old. He is a really bad sleeper at night, I have no idea what to do with him. He is hysterical when he does not get what he wants, he says often at such times “I hate you mum.” What can I do?

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

This is a problem that is not totally uncommon in children this age. However, it is understandable how dealing with this and hearing such words directed at you can cause such distress. Noone wants to hear such words from their own child.

Alhamdulillah, there are a number of things that can be done to curb such behaviour.

Firstly, I assume that the fact you mention his sleeping pattern indicates that you believe there maybe a link between that and his behaviour. You are right. As you probably know first hand, lack of sleep can cause any of us to be irritable! Fixing his sleep pattern may or may not fix his behaviour, but regardless, it will be good for him anyway.

This is usually best done by establishing a regular pattern. If, like many boys his age these days, he plays games on the computer or tablet, this can be a cause of poor sleep. Regulate this by agreeing on suitable timing whereby his scheduled time playing comes to an end a good bit before bed time. Bright screens can stimulate the eyes and brain for sometime even after turning the device off and make sleeping difficult.

Aside from this, establishing a bedtime and morning routine can help to encourage healthy sleeping patterns. Have a set bed time each night as well as a wind down routine where lights are dimmed and sounds are reduced in the lead up to bed time. Also, making sure not to eat too close to bed time too. Try to be firm with this routine until it becomes natural. If he still has problems after trying this for some time, take him to the doctor to get some support and guidance and how to overcome what is a common problem.

This may or may not fix his attitude, but either way will be helpful for you both and may take his attitude at least a little.

Otherwise, there are other ways to deal with his attitude too. Firstly, it is important that you remain firm with whatever you implement because he needs to know that his attitude is not acceptable and if you slip and allow him to continue, it may only get worse and be detrimental to you both in both the short and long run.

There are some things you can do yourself without the intervention of others and there may be times where you get the support of others too and this nothing to be ashamed about as it is for his own sake as well as your own.

As for things you can do, you can work with him on his attitude indirectly by nurturing your relationship so that he will be more responsive to your words. Pay attention to his achievements and give him attention when he does something good. The positive reinforcement will encourage continued good behaviour to get the positive reward. It also lets him know that you are paying attention to him. Do things together too. Pay attention to his interests and initiate something related to this that you can do together. Working collaboratively like this can do wonders for your relationship and bond.

As well as an indirect approach, you can also combine this with the more direct approach of picking him  on his bad behaviour and letting him know that it’s not OK. When he’s in a good space, you can sit down together and talk about it as well as collaborating on how he should be reprimanded for his bad behaviour in future. Doing this task together and letting him be a part of establishing the rules will give him that sense of responsibility, help him to understand what the boundaries are and be more likely to adhere to them because he was part of the team making the decision. You might also decide together on rewards for extended periods of good behaviour too.

Understand that these things may not work immediately and may take repeated attempts and patience to establish but in sha Allah in time they will. However, if you find that nothing is working you might then consider involving a third party. If there is someone in the family that he is particularly responsive to, then you may consider bringing them in for the additional support. If possible you may have this person talk to him in your presence so that the calm mood is set in your presence and nothing will be upset by you then coming in. You can just step in and take over this way. Alternatively, it may be that this person speak to him privately a few times first to steady the mood first before bringing you in alongside. Work on the task mentioned above together with this third party present it you do need to resort to this, its important that the person involved continues to check in along the way so that your son does not feel abandoned.

In another approach, if you believe that there is something else that could be causing his troublesome behaviour such as past family issues, or difficulties at school, then it’s important to confront this issue either through contacting the relevant party, or initiating counselling for him isf necessary. You may or may not be aware of any such issues, but use this as an opportunity to really think if there could be any other underlying cause for his behaviour. There may not be. This kind of behaviour happens a lot in boys of his age, but sometimes there can be somethingg causing it that needs addressing.

May Allah reward your concern for your son and may He guide him aright. May He ease your affairs and make your son and upstanding member of the community who will be the coolness or your eyes in this life and the next.

***

Question 3

I divorced my husband, we have a 12,5 years old son who is with his dad, but we are neighbours. For 3 month he refuses to meet me. I do not know what his problem is. Earlier, i did not witness such a behavior from him.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

This must be very distressing for you to live in such close proximity to your son but yet he is refusing to meet with you. What seems especially concerning is that he wasn’t always like this so it almost seems like something has happened to change his attitude towards you. However, do also consider that his age may be a significant factor here. Teenagers of this age can often have this attitude even to parents that they live with. It is generally seen as part of their normal development as they develop their own sense of identity. Kids this age may have a hard time speaking with their elders feeling like they don’t know how it feels and perhaps since you don’t live together that makes it a bit more difficult too.

If you are able to, talk to his dad about it, or ask someone who can to talk to his dad about to find out if there is anything going on with him. Given the time of year and the current events of this last year there’s a chance he may be experiencing a difficult time with something like adjustment back to school life, or perhaps exams, changed routines, unusual relations with peers due to social distancing… There are any number of reasons why he may not be in a good space right now.

If this is the case and you cannot talk to him directly, do make sure that he is getting the support he needs. It is possible to support him indirectly even if he doesn’t want to talk to you directly just yet. This may mean making contact with someone close to him who will be able to get him this support.

Whether there is an actual problem, or whether he is just going through the typical changes that come with becoming a teenager, regardless of whether he wants to meet you or not, simply letting him know that you are there will be a big support to him. He may not avail of your offers still, and may not for some time, but consistently letting him know that you are there let’s him know that you care. In sha Allah some time when he’s in a good space he will reach out. The point is to keep this up son that he knows your support is not just a one off and that you have a genuine interest in spending time with him. Try doing this directly. That is, by calling or texting, or even calling by in person if you live nearby. In fact, he may feel even more inclined to meet with you if you are there in person.

Perhaps you may need to bridge the gap to begin with if he’s feeling a little uncomfortable after prolonged lack of contact by having a mutual family present too. If there is somewhere you know he likes to go, or eat, offer to take him. This shows that you are taking an interest in what he likes and is perhaps more likely to get him out to meet you. Perhaps it’ll be more comfortable for him to meet you publicly like this.

In sha Allah, this is just a product of his age and it will soon fly over and he will be ready and willing to make contact in due course. In the meantime, may Allah reward you concern for him and strengthen you bond.

***

Question 4

My 16 years old son is not interested in me. We live in Egypt, but my son moved to Europe a year ago. (The country I am from originally. ) This year, I visited him for 3 weeks, but he is not interested. He is not with me as he used to be. He is always out with his friends. If I do something he does not like or want, I am the “ disgusting mother”. When I get old, I will not be able to rely on him. He is always just hurting me. Is this normal from a 16 years old? What can I do?

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Unfortunately this is not completely unusual! When children enter adolescence and gain a certain sense of freedom and begin to question and establish their identity they tend to become more attached to their peers. Fortunately, as long as they don’t fall into the hands of bad friends, it is a phase that will pass.

You need to be consistent as his parent and maybe show tough love at times if you notice him going astray by alerting him to any inappropriate behaviour. This is your responsibility as his parent. He may not take well to it, but when he comes to realise right form wrong he will appreciate the direction.

Adolescents may feel like the know it all, and certainly they are becoming more knowledgable but they do still need some level of support from their parents, even if it is to just know that they are there any time they need them or to fall back on if necessary.

Understand that his words to you may be painful, and certainly you should let him know this, but it’s highly unlikely that he really means it. However, at the same time, he does also need to know that that attitude is completely unacceptable. If you cannot tell him yourself, then do ask someone who you know he will be more responsive too, such as an older male in the family to talk to him either directly about his attitude to you, or just generally about the experience of growing up and the importance of Islam and being respectful to parent.

In the mean time, do try to continue to engage with him by showing him that you are there for him and interested in how he is doing. Offer to take tmhim to places where he likes to go to do things that he likes to do and try and join him and show interest in the same. This can help to foster the bond between you and perhaps ease any friction. It may be that you do this not alone, but with other loved ones too so that it doesn’t feel too forced. Continue with to show your continued interest and support.

May Allah guide you both. May He reward you patience in trying to raise a good son and may He make your son the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

Monday, Jun. 14, 2021 | 10:00 - 11:00 GMT

Session is over.
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.