Question and answer details
|As-Salamu `Alaykum. My son is turning 17 next month. I feel that most of the problems are created by my husband as he doesn't want to tell our son that he is not able to afford his demands. (His materialistic demands basically are to counter peer pressure). He keeps telling lies to our son who is very angry at his father as he thinks that his father does not care for him. My husband stops me telling the truth to our son, but I have already told the truth to him as I cannot let him live in fool's paradise. I want him to be honest and to build his image on his academic achievement instead of materialistic things. Whenever I give him Islamic references, he gets more angry and hyper. His belief that his father does not care for him makes him very aggressive, and so he does not focus on his studies. He asked his father and me not to expect anything good from him. His grades are suffering as he spends more time on games and songs now. Two-three days a week he returns from school with a headache because of the stresses of study, grades, image, etc. Please, tell me how to tackle and change both his father and my son, and what change I need for myself. Jazak Allahu Khayran.|
|Dr. ‘Abd. Lateef Krauss Abdullah|
Dear sister, thank you for writing us with your concerns. As a wife and mother, the situation you are dealing with must be a difficult one for you. As you love your husband and your son both very deeply I’m sure, you are probably quite torn on how to meet the needs of both parties and bring peace to your home.
Unfortunately, it is a very materialistic world we are living in. Materialism syndrome is a disease that is affecting youth and adults in many countries, so know that you are not alone in trying to combat this. The excessive materialism that parents are facing now requires teamwork and dedication to raising children in a home that is filled with love, support, discipline and understanding. We must do our best to create an environment in our homes where parents work together to provide our young people with all they need to face the often vicious world outside. This begins with the parents and the parental relationship. When parents are working together on the same page supporting one another and helping each other, this can occur. If not, then it might be a difficult situation, which is probably what you are feeling right now. Parents are the ones with the ability to dictate the culture of the home. They set rules, they instruct, they dictate patterns of living and lifestyle and others. When parents are working as a team, they can be a powerful force in molding their children in a positive way. However, if the parents’ relationship is strained or prone to fighting and a lot of disagreement, the children will undoubtedly bear the brunt. This negative culture will greatly impact on the children in numerous ways.
Teenage children, like your son, also need a stable father who can befriend them, and who can help and guide them into adulthood. There is a saying by Sayyidina `Ali (RA) who, in reference to rearing children, is reported to have said:
“Play with them until they’re seven, give them discipline until they’re fourteen, be their friend until they’re twenty one, then untie the rope.”
Children are often the barometer for what’s happening in the family, so if the children are having problems of a social, emotional, or psychological nature, it is often due to something that is not working within the larger family system. Your husband and you need to be on the same page as best you can when it comes to raising your son. The nature of your relationship will set the tone for the whole house, and your children will draw from your example in their own lives. It is of primary importance.
It also sounds from your question that you need to help your son understand your father’s situation and try and facilitate their relationship. Help your son understand that your husband is struggling, and needs everyone in the family’s support. At the same time, help your husband understand why he needs to be honest with not only his son, but the whole family and that together with Allah’s help, you can – as a team – tackle any problem that comes your way, in sha’ Allah. Deep, dark family secrets have the power to cast a very negative shadow on a home. Bring some of them into the light of truth and try to use these opportunities to bring more unity and togetherness to the family. Come up with ways where you can all chip in and contribute to the well-being of the family with each member playing a role.
Rather than dumping all the responsibility and pressure on your husband, work with him to come up with ways that everyone can help to make the home a more peaceful and pleasant place. You can get many ideas about how to do this from this website and others such as soundvision.com.
The power of unity and cooperation – especially within the family – can, in sha’ Allah, be harnessed to overcome many problems. However, it starts with consciousness of Allah and the conviction that Allah’s help is always at hand when we are able to put our personal frustrations, grievances, and petty complaints to the side for the sake and betterment of the whole. This is what we must live and teach our children, both through our actions and words. And this is what parents must teach their children through example.
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