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Ready to Kick Out My Perfect Son

Question and answer details
Abdul-Haleem
Ready to Kick Out My Perfect Son
2005-08-23
I have four children. One of those children is causing me problems. He lacks good character. I expect my children to pray five times a day and to perform other religious duties, do chores around the home, and get perfect scores in school. However, something very wrong has happened in our home. The child in question got a B+ grade in English. I am so ashamed of him. I asked him why he brought dishonor to our family. He insisted this will never happen again and he is very sorry. We moved to an English-speaking country just over a year now. What can be his excuse? I do not know English well but he is in school learning, so there should be zero excuses. I think he is lazy. How can a boy of good character allow such a thing to happen?   All my children have brought home perfect scores in school, until this boy got lazy. My other three children got an A grade in English. They have never done English in school before yet they did what I expected. This boy is testing my patience. I decided he should study four hours a night doing math. However, I find he does not sit straight when doing his work and seems to rest his head on his elbow at times. To correct this problem I went to see a psychologist and a doctor. For some reason we were unable to determine any problem. I am puzzled. I have been most upset with this situation and have asked him to double his prayers, do his brothers’ and sisters’ chores, and study fours a night every day of the week until he corrects his math marks. He has cried about this and says he is trying so hard to please his family and that he made a mistake. I feel he is trying to get away with this dishonor he has brought upon us. I feel not only is he lazy but maybe manipulative. What can I do to correct this boy's behavior? I am ready to kick him out of the home.
Abdullah Abdur Rahman
Answer

We appreciate your taking the time to write to us about your son. Here are some thoughts for your consideration:

 

First, we commend you for having such high standards for your children. Many parents do not take the time to plan for their children’s socialization. Ma sha' Allah, you seem to be a concerned parent who is doing his best to raise his children to be upright Muslims and to achieve the highest results in their education.

 

Second, while we commend you for your high standards, we want to caution you about setting the standards so high and so unachievable that you could be setting up your children for failure. It is natural for each child to have a different personality and a different outlook on life.

 

While you might expect the best out of all of your children, do not assume that the children themselves do not also want what is best for them. They do. However, sometimes children find it difficult to see the larger picture and they are unable to see how the grades they receive in English or in mathematics will have an impact on their future goals. Children also are unable to connect their individual performance in a particular class with the concept of honoring or dishonoring the family.

 

Third, your son neither sounds as though he has a psychological problem nor does he sound lazy based on what you have written to us. He sounds like a typical teenager, doing his best to navigate these challenging years of growth and change.

Having also moved to a new country, he unlike the other three children might need more time to adjust. Between his adolescent growing pains and the burden of adjusting to a new land, you should be proud and honored that your son received a B+. With your encouragement and some additional studying, in sha' Allah, he could get an A grade.

 

However, if you insist on calling him lazy, telling him that he dishonored the family and keep treating him as though he has some massive psychological or physical problems, the boy could become vulnerable to developing low self-esteem. What he needs from you is love, nurturing, and consistent encouragement for him to improve.

 

Finally, we had to re-read your question several times to understand why you are ready to “kick him out of the home” based on the problems you have described. Frankly, we are unable to see the connection. We are unable to grasp why you believe forcing your son to do his chores plus the chores of his brothers and sisters will help him to improve. Neither do we understand how making him do math for 4 hours every night will make him like math any more or improve in it. And we definitely are unable to endorse any notion of kicking your son out of your home.

Please review what we have suggested here and, in sha’ Allah, make du`aa’ to Allah to strengthen the relationship between you and your son.

 

And Allah knows best.

 

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