Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Heading for divorce after my stepson attacked me

domestic violence

Last month, my stepson who is 16, attacked me in our home. He put me in a headlock and punched me in my face about 12 times. I am the only father he has known since he was eight years old, but America has sort of ruined him. I told my wife that he has to leave. At first, I only asked for a weekend, but she has refused to have him go even for a day. That has me really upset. She is right that I have had my mind set for him to go, but that is because he has been threatening me and making it known he wants to settle things with me by fighting for at least a year. I did not fight him back when he went at me because I thought it would settle my disagreement with my wife about him living with us.

Instead, she has clung to him even more and demanded that he is not going anywhere. So I told her, she is right that while we are married he has to stay with her, but I can divorce her and that is where we are headed this January. Her response is that he is not 18 she will not let him live anywhere without her.

My question: do I have a right to request this boy leave my home? Am I right to see my wife as disobedient and not protecting me and proceeding with the talaq? Or is she right and I have to keep this boy in our home, even though it is a potential danger to the both of us since I won't let him beat on me anymore and the way he was fighting, it won't be a guy's wrestling match and someone will at least bleed and may end up in the hospital? Short version: Is she disobedient or am I wrongly throwing a kid into the street?


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59 Responses »

  1. How long you have been married? Why this boy is angry with you? Do you and your wife belong to different cultures? This boy may end up in jail some day. This problem is not going to go away. Let his mother go her own ways. Leave her.

    • been married 10 years. He is angry at me because he feels I do not teat his mother well and I put out his brothers a few years ago. I slapped him only once when he was little and may Allah forgive me. It was because he had to sleep in our room for an extended period and he was losing his boundaries.

      • AsSalaamu Alaikum,

        Why not sit down with your innocent child, and then apologize for slapping him when he was just a little boy, and then start to treat him and his mother nicely? Children do not forget things like this easly.

        He is still a child and this would be the best time to try to reconcile with him, so that he will grow up knowing that you changed and treated him so well.

        Calling police and other stuff may help in many ways, but I don't think that could remove the hatred in him towards you, especially when he becomes a complete adult. It will be very hard to reconcile with him when he becomes an adult, while he is able to take care of his own affairs.

        Also, I do not understand what you mean by "you put out his brothers few years ago". Do you mean you made them leave the house to sleep outsde? If so, what would you feel if you were in this innocent child's shoe?
        Where are the brothers now?
        Did you give them Islamic education?
        How would they be able to survive financially and religiously?
        Why would you even start something you can't complete?

        You need to find the brothers and reconcile with them too.

        May Allah soften your child's heart, and unite both of you, together with his brothers. Ameen.

        • Salaams,

          What I understood him to mean about putting out the brothers is that he ensured that after they turned 18, they left the home to go live independently. In the US doing so is a cultural value and parental goal; whereas in other cultures adult children can continue to live in the home for several years, sometimes even long after marrying.

          In the US, parents often feel their obligations (both financial and in raising a child) ends roughly when the child is ready to start college. A lot of parents take a more hands off approach with their children around this age and begin to treat them more as equals, as fellow adults and don't do so much "parenting". In line with this view, it's important to see the children able to take care of themselves without outside assistance, and it sounds to me that the OP is saying he wants to see this happen with the child in question as well.

          For those who have this paradigm (and I admit I do as well, for the most part), it's really difficult to consider continuing taking care of a child past that age or seeing them in the same light (needing protection and care) as younger children. Generally speaking, children who are raised in the US don't hold it against the parents for taking this approach, and often are ready and willing at this age to "cut ties" from their parents and forge out on their own anyway.


        • so many questions. the put out ones were two. one threatened me repeatedly (I will kill you) and openly (pretended) he wanted to fight me over and over. the other refused to show me grades and pay stud and ignored me when I told him that instead of this because he saw it as invasive, he could pay rent. His only response was to wait for him mom to come into the conversation and then to try to turn her against me. They were out for a year, they had no place, I took them back and it didn't work out. They slept in a care for about three weeks. I get indirect reports that now they are in a place, working and going to college.They have all went to public school. I have done all I could for ten years. Nothing is guaranteed as permanent. I have done my best and I am about to break because of a lack of cooperation.

          • Gregabdul: "so many questions. the put out ones were two. one threatened me repeatedly (I will kill you) and openly (pretended) he wanted to fight me over and over..... They were out for a year, they had no place, I took them back and it didn’t work out."

            The moment I saw your first posting, I could feel your life may be in danger. You are being too nice. i am guessing first husband never looked back.

            I hope you don't have a big life Insurance. Your stepson has a serious problem.

            i don't think you should even let a person live in your house even if you pay double the rent. Guy has repeatedly threatened to kill you. Be safe please. This is what you got for sending your atep children to good schools and trying to make them good citizens.

    • yeap....we are from different cultures and she insist that even though she immigrated to America she will do things they way they are done in the old country....which has caused my people to see her as weak because back home...wives bow to the in-laws, but in my culture, you have to tell people off and then make up to get a little respect.

  2. Brother, do not ever tell him to leave again. Ever.

    "She is right that I have had my mind set for him to go, but that is because he has been threatening me..."

    Brother, what he did to you is in no means okay, but there is obviously a reason for why he burst into anger against you. You said you've wanted him gone for a while, right? How dare you. He is not your step son, he is your son. He is not a pet that you can just kick out whenever you want, and how can you ever try to make your wife give up her child? You need to grow up, and take responsibility. You are her husband, but most importantly, you are that boy's father. But something tells me you never were a dear father to him, were you? Brother, I don't mean to be so harsh, but this is reality. You need to wake up here, and realize that this poor boy needed a father figure all this time, but you wanted him out of the house. You have no idea how much a child needs their father. A mother is absolutly important, but if you don't try to build a trust and love between this boy NOW, you WILL be held responsible for what happens to him on the Day of Judgment.

    Do not fail to realize that this boy truly doesn't hate you, but hates the fact that you have never been there for him. Put your selfishness aside, and step up to be the father, Insha Allah you can be. And DO NOT file for divorce. Insha Allah, you still have the opportunity to make things right with the help of Allah.
    It will take your son a while to come around, but the change needs to start with YOU, my brother.
    So make that change now before it's too late.

    Brother, I wish you the best, and I know that Insha Allah one day this boy will be proud to call you dad.
    May peace and blessing be upon you all.

    • Ms Hooria. Do you know what headlock is?

      I think the father has asked the boy to leave because the boy almost killed him....Father also says "because he has been threatening me and making it known he wants to settle things with me by fighting". Sooner or later this boy is going to end up in jail.

      • Salam,

        I'm so sorry, please forgive me. May Allah give you and all those you love the highest level of Jannah.

        • Salaam aliykom
          This message is for hooria, please explain where in any authentic Islam teaching or hadith it says the son can hit a father or abuse him or swear at him and it's ok.
          Listen up bro, my father best our ass when we where young, we Bros love our dad for keeping us straight.
          Letting kids do as they want and then saying you be a better father bro really you need to wake up, why don't I send my son to you to slap you around a few days then come tell this stuff.
          Don't misguide people, the bros wrong for slapping him and asking him to leave but he don't have to take his shit, the kid needs to understand he's the kid a d the father is one who struggle s every day to support them.
          But hey what do I know, please email so I can send a few of these kids your way to slap you around then please update everyone how you feel after that.


    • Brother, please ignore the emotional rant by Hooria.

      Nobody and nothing is important when it comes to the matter of life. The fact that you have been severely beaten by this crazy child is enough for you to take extreme measures for your own safety and if that measure involves divorce, then so be it.

      You can find another wife and have children of your own. That child and his mother's behavior is unacceptable. You should have called the police on him the moment he touched you.

      Think with an open mind and keep all options open( including divorce). Your first priority is your life and health. Everything comes after that.

      • When I read your comment about me, it hit me with an ouch. I can't imagine how the poor man who asked us for help and advice must of felt. I am so sorry for being so disrespectful and making him feel even worse. Please forgive me. I am so sorry. May Allah give you, and all those you love, the highest level of Jannah.

    • No disrespect to you but you seem like one of those women who constantly blame the man in any situation and you've even admitted in a previous post that you are sexist towards men. I don't think there's any point in you giving advice here on this website as your perception on life is "it's always the mans fault no matter what".

      Before one of the editors decides yet again that my post is somehow innappropriate, I DID say I mean NO disrespect to the sister.

      • Salam,

        I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. May Allah give you and your loved ones the highest level of Jannah.

        • Sister there's no need to ask me to forgive you as you have done nothing wrong to me, I just want you to understand that you cannot be sexist and always blame the man just as there are men who are sexist towards women - it is wrong. We are all Allah's creation and we are all equal but only different in terms of piety.


    • Salam everyone, 🙂

      I hope you all don't hate me. Because I'm sure not very proud of myself right now either. I would like to apologize to the poor man who asked for our help, I am so very sorry, brother. I apologize from the bottom of my heart for being so disrespectful to you. Please forgive me.
      I should have looked at both sides of the story, but I was only thinking of your son. See the truth is, I feel like I completely understand his anger, because there are so many times when my dad makes me just want to explode. He always wonders why I'm so angry all the time around him, but then just walks off cursing at me when all this time, I just needed him to be there. And that's all I wanted to tell you, brother. To maybe, please give your son a chance. Because trust me, that's all he wants. What he did was absolutely unacceptable, but he's at an age where boys hormones just go crazy.
      But, what surprised me, was that you had the patience to not fight back. That is one of the most amazing characteristics a Muslim can have, Masha Allah.
      Brother, once again I wish you the best, and I'm so sorry about earlier. I hope you forgive me.
      May Allah give you and your family the highest level of Jannah, and guide your every step through hardship and ease.

  3. As-salamu alaykum brother Greg,

    No one has the right to blame you or imply that you are a bad stepfather. I don't know anything about your parenting style or your relationship with the boy; but the fact that you did not fight back when he attacked you tells me that you are a compassionate and patient man.

    No one should live in fear of physical assault in his own home. Something has to be done, that is clear.

    I suggest you make it clear to your stepson that if he assaults you again you will call the police and press charges. And I expect you to follow through with that. Stepson or not, his behavior is out of control and there must be consequences.

    Secondly, the boy needs counseling. He needs to see a therapist on a regular basis and work on these anger issues. In fact I think the entire family needs a family counselor. You and your wife should present a united front on this and pressure the boy to get the help he needs.

    If he is addicted to drugs then all bets are off. Get him into rehab. If he won't go then have him arrested the next time he breaks the law or attacks you.

    Yes, divorce is an option, but it should be a last resort.

    Lastly, don't forget to pray. Ask Allah for help with this matter.

    Wael Editor

    • Assalaamualaikam

      MashaAllah, I agree completely.
      May Allah guide your family to heal these rifts between you all.

      Midnightmoon editor

    • Only Allah knows who is good. I know in my heart I have not given 10 years of life with the intention of torturing anyone. I am not dedicated to making anyone suffer. But I have to protect myself and as I sacrifice for this family I have today, I have to see something that justifies my sacrifice. I can't just believe one day, someone will take care of me. First off, I don't want anyone to take care of "someday." The repayment I demand (wrongly?), is that the kid who lives with must work hard in school. When I am in this situation where I am working to support a child and he thinks school is a joke, that kid won't like me and i don't know how exactly to fix me to accept someone who jokes around with learning.

      • The repayment I demand (wrongly?), is that the kid who lives with me must work hard in school. When I am in this situation where I am working to support a child and he thinks school is a joke, that kid won't like me and i don't know how exactly to fix me to accept someone who jokes around with learning.

        This is not a bad thing to demand from the kids, and the mother should also be in the position to assist the children to learn and not to help them disrespect your demand. However, I don't think this should be the reason why you should want the kids to leave your home. Just do your best for the sake of Allah. If you can't do it, that is a different thing, but if you can do it, then just do it for the sake of Allah. As brother Wael has said, "He needs to see a therapist on a regular basis and work on these anger issues."

        So reconcile between you and your child and then get him to visit the therapist. Maybe he is not listening to you now because there is the basis of anger you have built in him since when he was little, and he could not even sense all the love you are showing him due to that basis. So try to clear the basis of hatreds now in him, and then build a new love basis which will make him recognize your love and efforts. Perhaps, that will change everything, InshaAllah. And do not forget to ask Allah for guidance.

        I do not think you will ask your own biological son to leave your house just because he does not take his studies seriously, right?

        May Allah help you. Ameen!

        • I have heard this one more than once. that I am being mean because he is not my blood. In my mind I WOULD BE EVEN MEANER TO A CHILD I RAISED FROM BIRTH, WHO IS MY BLOOD WHO DECIDED THAT SCHOOL IS A PLACE TO LOUNGE AROUND. In a way I don't blame this boy because he went through things before me and then things with me, but I have done my best to be simple and clear with him and at some point the bottom line with me is the bottom line. I believe a truly learned person will become a Muslim and love learning. I do not like thugs and a thug who was my biological son would be an unbearable embarrassment.

      • Salaams,

        As I mentioned above, I do share and understand your concerns about this stepson and can relate to your wishes for his life. However, there were some things you said that seemed to indicate a belief system that may be contributing to the entire situation. To be honest, if that's the case, then the situation won't resolve as long as you hold those matter who else (wife, stepson) changes in the family. Please consider what I have to say, as it is based on over a decade of my own second marriage which I entered with two sons who were very young. I have actually been through many of the same dilemmas you have mentioned.

        You said, " I slapped him only once when he was little and may Allah forgive me. It was because he had to sleep in our room for an extended period and he was losing his boundaries." I'm not going to say much about you slapping the boy, because it was unequivocally wrong and no one can argue that. All we can do is take your word that it was a one time incident. No, what I would rather point out is the rationale for you doing so. You said he was very young when this happen, but that he earned it by "losing his boundaries" in sleeping in your room for a longer time than you preferred. Now here's the thing: children who are very young like that don't understand adult boundaries. We give them rules and they have to follow the rules, but they may not understand it's because everyone needs privacy or personal space. However, what you described doesn't sound like the breaking of a rule once or even several times, it sounds like something he habitually did. I doubt that something like that would continue unless your wife was allowing it, and given some of your other complaints about her I tend to think that was what was going on. If that's true, then the one who was breaking the boundaries was she, and your issue should've been with her. Yet here you are even years after the fact, seeing it as something HE did wrong. Putting such a high expectation on such a small child, and still thinking that was correct even though you've had years of experiences to balance it, is a sign that maybe your views about what he should or shouldn't be doing may be a bit unreasonable.

        So let's talk about that. Is it reasonable for you to expect your stepson to work hard in school? You said you care for him, so I think most people would find it understandable that you want the best for him and don't want to see him sabotage himself. However, many times you stated that you felt like he "owed" it to you to work hard, because after all, you work hard to provide for him and his mother (saying things like "I have to see something that justifies my sacrifice", and "The repayment I that the kid who lives with must work hard in school.) While wanting him to do well is reasonable, expecting it as a due right is not. You are his stepfather, and as such (and because you are the man of the house) you have the right to respect, courtesy, and some degree of obedience. However, those are issues that deal with your direct relationship with him, while his own grades have nothing to do with you whatsoever. It's not sensible to make how he manages his education something personal, or to make it an obligation owed to you when Islamically, that's not part of his duties. On the other hand, according to shariah, you are obligated to take care of your wife and the household. If he bad talks you or is breaking HOUSEHOLD rules. His grades shouldn't be under a set of "rules" per se, but there's nothing wrong with setting a consequence if he fails classes. For instance, with my oldest son, if his grades start dropping I will take away his socks and video games (he's really attached to his socks so this actually works for him). This helps him work toward getting his grades back up.

        In addition, I notice a lot of times you talk about your stepson as though you feel responsible for creating the person he should be. You said, " I can't work on fixing him", as though that was part of the duty of parenting. As parents (stepparents or otherwise) we don't "fix" children. We don't start out with an innocent child and raise them to ensure they are perfect when they are adults. Adults still spend most of their lives working on their bad habits, so why would we expect a child-especially a teenager- to be completely flawless? Yes, many adolescents have some really bad character traits or patterns. We as parents should work to help them overcome these, but the reality is that may or may not happen by the time they leave the home. We do the best we can, but we can't completely control the outcome. That's where all parents have to be willing to let go and trust that Allah will guide our children as He sees fit. As long as you maintain the mentality that you have to control the outcome, or force a result, you will be frustrated.

        In general, I think you have a bit of a demanding nature and tend to deal with people in a forceful way (from the bits I've read). By saying, " in my culture, you have to tell people off and then make up to get a little respect", it shows you see an innate tension between you and others that requires you to take the upper hand in conflicts. However, I live in the US myself and I don't think your statement reflects our culture at all. I have never had to tell someone off and then makeup to get respect. I've found that those who respect me do so because they see value in me without me having to demand it, and those who disrespect me will do so no matter how well I treat them. Perhaps if you feel disrespected in general, you are carrying a wrong understanding of how to earn respect overall. Generally the most respected people in any culture are those who have the best character and manners, and treat others well no matter how others are acting.

        Honestly, I agree with you that a main aspect that needs to be resolved is your unity with your wife. It's true as long as you are not working together willingly and cooperatively, the marriage and entire family will continue to spiral down. The cultural differences are a big factor, so they cannot be overlooked. If there is no way to come to a peaceful resolution where your wife will fully support you and you will fully support her, then things will continue to decline. That being said, I'd like to suggest that you ask her what you can do to change first. Given the aspects I've mentioned above, I tend to think that maybe she doesn't feel like she's being valued and that you are overstepping the boundaries (ironically). Specifically, because those are your stepchildren, you should be less involved than you might like to be. In Islam, the parenting decisions fall on the biological parents, primarily the father. So if the boys' father is still alive or involved, he should be deciding with your wife what should happen with them (even though they're divorced). If she has cut ties with him, and you are the only father figure, you have to be willing to defer to her in the final management of her sons. You both can talk about issues that come up and share your thoughts and views, and even make suggestions on what she should do, but after that you have to be willing to back out and let her manage her children.

        I know I've written a lot, but I didn't want to gloss over some very significant red flags that I noticed in your responses. In shaa Allah you can take my observations with wisdom and reflection and use any guidance to improve things in your family.

        -Amy Editor

        • Amy: . "So if the boys' father is still alive or involved, he should be deciding with your wife what should happen with them (even though they're divorced)."

          Greg is paying for every thing to support the family. When it comes to dscipline, it should be left to his orginal Muslim father who dumped his wife with 4 kids what a great advice.

          Better send kid to live with his father, so father can take care of him in his own islamic way.

          Greg only expects kids to do well in school. Kids grades have gone from A's to D's and F's.

          Did you read the part where this 16 year old put his step father in headlock and punched him the face 12 times. This is how the kid is paying back to his step father who married a woman with 4 kids dumped by the real Muslim husband. May be kids problems have more to do with his real Muslim father dumping his wife and brothers.

          Every one is talking about Greg slapping this kid once when he was young. That has nothing to do with this. I am sure kid was fine for few years after that incidence.

          In my opinion this kid has a big problem which can't be solved by an imam or a counsellor. A psychiatric evaluation is need. Headlock can actually kill a person.

          Where is the real father of this contry? What country he lives in?

          Greg you did a nice job by marrying this woman. Most Muslims will not marry a divorcee with 4 kids. If you feel your life is danger please take necessary steps.

          • Salaams,

            Yes I saw the part about the headlock. That's why my initial response was that were I his wife, I would've called the cops right then and there....just based on that information alone. But since the OP has responded and filled in with more details, it's clear that this family has been in turmoil for some time (after all, he did mention that the stepson had wanted to aggress against him for about a year).

            My thought is that it's unlikely that the stepson is not the root cause of all this. The OP says he has been a part of this family for 10 years, so the stepson would've been 6 at the beginning of it all. It wouldn't have been until the young man started puberty within the past few years that any of that type of aggression would've been seen on his part. Yet we also know there is an older son not living in the home who the OP has hinted he had tension with (since he said he would call him back if he wanted to beat someone up), a wife who is uncompromising in her marriage with the OP (and quite frankly, between that and the stepson's view that she is treated badly, I have suspicions as to what might be going on here), and the OP himself who also has to work out some of his role in the matter.

            And I didn't say that the discipline should be left to the bio father. Actually I said it should be left to the bio mother, with stepfather's supporting her separately. I only mentioned the bio father to outline that Islamically, that's the way it's supposed to work. If the bio father is not a factor, it doesn't automatically fall on the stepfather to assume that role in entirety. The children won't inherit from the stepfather, so what gives him the Islamic right to take matters into his own hands against the wishes of their own mother? Islamically, that's not how it works.

            And again, there is nothing wrong with wanting a child to do well in school. What is wrong is when someone believes they are owed this, when there is no basis for such a thing in shariah. There is no duty on the child to earn certain grades, and there is no right upon the parent (even the bio parent) to have a child reach a certain level of academic success.

            The biggest issue in this situation is that the rights and duties of all family members ha ve been blurred and are currently disjointed. Getting back to the basic rights and duties between husband and wife and also between parents and children will help significantly. In order for that to happen, the respective family members will need to work on their thoughts and feelings and get their 'selves' out of the way so they can function as a unit instead of each looking out for their own interests, which is clearly what's going on here.


        • this is excellent advice sister. I am black american and my family is a bit rude. but you are right, they are more quiet about it, but the disrespect keeps coming and I am very focused on it because in crisis, you normally turn to family, but my extended family is not a good one for support. I will re-read your posts several times and try some of what you say. The only place I disagree is, without too many specifics, I am African American. I see many boys in my non Muslim culture who sit home into their 50s. No child can do that with me. We live in a black neighborhood and children slack because they have unconditional parents. I am not unconditional and i can't allow a grown young person to sit on me so he can cruise and not work hard.. So as the boy jokes around with school, in a year I am going to be the bad guy. His mom can take it easy on him now, but this is how I end up being a bad guy and it upsets me. Sister please understand. This kid was honors and top 10% in elementary. He knew more math than me by age 12. I am asking him for too much maybe and I will try to pull back, but his mother says and knows. I ask him to take actions to benefit himself and if he is good enough to benefit his mother. I love him because Allah has placed him with me. Without being long,, thank you for great advice. Divorce is terrible and I have an anger problem and I probably spend too much time demanding things that are not my right, but really I only demand for things I hope will cause me to see that my ten years of immigrating people has not been so that they come here and imitate the lowest Americans.

          • Salaams,

            I do appreciate your feedback. I can definitely relate to the points you are raising about your cultural concerns, as my oldest son is also half African American. Like your stepson, he is in TAG (accelerated classes) and has made top grades through most of his schooling until the past year and a half. He is also very handsome (with good hair, I'm sure you know what I mean) and is the most popular kid in school. He has girls falling over themselves when he passes and even the high school kids accept him. He also has a consuming passion for basketball and plays on the local feeder team, trying to get into AAU. All that rolled up together has led to some of the same slacking and a large ego, so I am not totally unaware of some of the dynamics that play out.

            He wants to be an NBA star and get a full ride scholarship to a top college with a reputable basketball team. I know he has it in him to do this, but his vices cause him to self sabotage. His stepfather used to take the same approach of coming down hard on him and trying to put fire on him to burn out the love of dunya he's developed. But that didn't work, that only made him escape to the things he loved even more.

            Nowadays I try to use what he likes to entice him. I tell him his good grades will be rewarded with a new pair of ball shoes. I tell him that managing his attitude will get the athletic socks he likes. I tell him that we can work on getting him a personal coach if he does his chores without whining and treats his family with respect.

            Most of the time that makes things go in the right direction, but there will always be exceptions because he has a nafs, for sure. I can only do so much to entice him to Islam because the dunya has a good grip on him right now. I pray for him, and hope that when he is fully mature it all balances out with some assumed life lessons he will face. You are right that people who are spiritually inclined don't need to be needled to develop their religiosity, but for those who aren't spiritually inclined we have to leave them to Allah for guidance in shaa Allah.

            I sincerely hope things will take a turn for the better. Miracles happen every day, and are the best of surprises.


  4. Hooria,

    Please do not speak about things with out proper knowledge.
    In Islam, children born not from yourself, cannot be called your own children, you are not allowed to give them your name. Hence technically, the kid is not his son.

    Brother- you as a muslim have a responsibility to guide those under your protection. Please be the better man and try and forgive him. Make him feel he is wanted in the house, not just tolerated because of his mother.

    Hope that helps.


    • I would like to thank you for being so kind to me. Especially when what I said was not at all good. Thank you.
      May Allah give you the highest level of Jannah, and all those you love. 🙂

    • I let everyone know he is my stepson, but I could not love him more even though I make him miserable.

  5. Boy in question should be evaluated by a psychiatrist and reported to police for assault..
    I did not suggest that because this may make the boy determined to hurt the father more and in worse way..

  6. asalamu alaikum,

    can you tell me what kind of relationship you had with your 8 year old stepson? did you participate in his life? did you do something which upset him? were you negligent towards him? seems like an attitude problem. pretending to be tough. but if he attacks you again, you grab him on a hold, give him a slap, and tell him stop, enough is enough otherwise if he continues there's gonna be a problem. sometimes if you take the abuse, he thinks you weak, and will continue. some 16yr old think no one can step up to them, pride etc. show them a bit of fear.

    I also blame the mother, a child should never raise his hands towards an adult, never mind the father. what does she have to say? seems to be mother and son are the same.

    also don't force the child out. does the child have someone who he respects? if so get that person, and try to find why he hates you, so you can find some common ground.

    ma salama..

    • when he was eight, he loved me to death and followed me all over the place. It broke my heart, because I knew he would become a teenager and hate me. So I am always sad and even then I was sad at how much he loved me when he was small. They are easy when they are little...but they always grow a little alligator turns into a big alligator.

      • Assalam alaikum Br. Greg,

        It is so true what you said about kids loving you when they are 8 and you dread them becoming teenagers.

        I am really sorry to hear about all your troubles and much has been said and it is all very good advice, mA.

        I agree that your wife needs to be on the same page as you when both of you are disciplining. Perhaps she needs to hear this from a third party other than yourself.

        I wondered what your son was interested in doing for the future? Sometimes we really worry about kids and want them to finish high school when they are 18. The way I look at it is, when you are 40, will it really matter if you finish high school when you were 18 or 20 (for example)? I have seen students who have joined the work force for a year (as they couldn't focus in school) and after coming across the reality of dealing with a boss and pressures at work, they come back to school with a completely different mindset. I don't know if this particular idea could work for your son, but maybe he needs to learn more about the challenges of life first hand to develop a true appreciation of education.

      • GregAbdul. You have some serious issues with yourself that you need to deal with before dealing with the problem of your child. The prophet never got angry except when Allah's boundaries where transgressed. Yet your screaming about your child not taking his education serious as if he has committed a big sin in islam. check yourself brother. Please see a councillor

        • you do know that I am not Prophet Muhammad don't you? I seek to imitate him...and for the record 'he never got angry for his own sake, but only for the sake and the rights of Allah."

          EVEN THE PROPHET GOT ANGRY. Are you a kid with too much time on your hands? You don't seem like someone who really knows Islam and I know you have a computer for a toy, but in my culture old folks don't play with children.

          Ya Allah!
          Peace and blessings be upon the messenger of Allah.

          • No offense but the way you replied to this brother shows you really need to control your anger brother. Try to be patient Allah is watching let him judge. As a. Father do your part as far as possible.

          • his reply was do not know my situation other than what I tell. I have gotten excellent advice here. I shake my head (smh?). I do a hard job, but I don't have time to pat myself on the back and the good that comes to me is only a mercy from Allah....the not too smart comments in Ramadan....I thought Satan was chained?

          • Let's take it easy with the rhetoric, Greg. Be nice.


          • No doubt saitan are chained but unfortunately it's in our nafs brother we all have to face it!

            Anyhow may Allah ease your trouble brother.

          • Sorry Brother Wael...this issue was done and I have moved on with the help from the advice here, praise be to Allah. I am human and I don't always respond patiently and nicely, especially when someone is degrading me or my family. I brought my dirty laundry here because it is Muslims. Brother Wael, your advice was dead on. The boy knows now he can't do what he did. He's a good kid and it is an awesome thing to watch someone imitate you and not know he's doing it. His mom is always the one pointing it out to me. We don't tell him because we don't want to make him uncomfortable. So I know I can't rant and rave and be a nutso with him because I will be setting him up for 50 years of crazy. Am I perfect and NEVER lose my temper...I don't lie like that. I do my best to hold it in and find the right words to voice my displeasure without going off. I learned a long long time ago, in my twenties that marriage is an extremely private affair, unless it's physical domestic abuse, it's always a he-said she-said. I have given my side here, trying to be as fair as I can and not over divulge me and my wife's private affairs. The boy is off the charts smart, growing like a tree and playing around in school. If I didn't like him, I would not say he is the smartest kid I have ever seen. I do get angry and I ask Allah to help me be a cooler person, but it's in the genes. My bio dad was a hothead who loved to beat people with his fists. I tell my stepsons about him and that my struggle and our struggle is to not be that kind of man. But it is hard for me when Muslims do things that I think are clearly not smart from an Islamic perspective. We say, only Allah knows the human heart. So to come to this comment thread and say, I have anger issues, and I am not even married to you...I don't even know you...shows a lack of understanding about Islam and giving advice as a Muslim. I am so angry....that I come and type my problems into a box and ask for advice? From that behavior, you can see...."I can't control my anger"???? That certainly gets me a little hot under the collar (smile).

  7. Assalam alaikum Br.,

    Though what Hooria said wasn't appropriate, divorce isn't the next best option.

    Perhaps you could take measures to have a counsellor visit the home and have a trial separation from his wife for things to cool down before running away from this marriage in which he knew he would be raising a step-son.

    The easiest thing is to divorce and remarry--and if that it is what you want, so be it. However, I strongly urge you to seek a mediator to come to the home--and make it clear that the police will be involved if you are assaulted again. It will probably help the boy to have some serious consequences before he can make real changes in his life.

    May Allah ease your difficulties, Ameen.

  8. Salaams,

    Just want to say as a mother of a soon-to-be 14 year old boy (who is as big as a lean man himself), if my son ever did this to his stepfather (assuming stepfather was never physically abusive to him and he was not protecting himself), I would call the police myself on my son. I wouldn't need to wait for an ultimatum from my husband, nor would I wait for a "second time" to act.

    Boys at this age of adolescence, especially in this day and age in these western societies, need to be accountable for their actions in hope that they don't end up harming more people when they go on and marry/have children of their own.

    That being said, it's very rare that a boy of that age would do what you've described unless he was abusing substances, seriously mentally ill, or being abused himself.

    -Amy Editor

    • Sister Amy, it's four boys. The second youngest, I would say I came closest to abuse with him...because his mom told me to hit him! we were just married and was trying to discipline him, but she said I was torturing him and that the old way back home was best. Later I saw that was something stupid she said and now I try to filter her for really bad ideas, but back then I didm' know better. The youngest in any family usually gets spoiled. Our youngest's big disadvantage was him seeing his brothers thrown out and not given aid. I lightly slapped this youngest one only one time like I said, because he was in our room and I forget exactly now, but he was talking rude to me about nine years old as I was telling him to do something. I re-read your post. I backed away from divorce, but I was still saying the issue was his grades. he is doing even worse now and the only thing I am pressing his mom about is a transfer to another school. This may be world war three with him. I will take a month and then try to make sure that without ego or anger, me and the wife decide if it is better for him to finish school someplace else because the school he attends now is not helping my opinion.

    • Sr. Amy, I have been focusing on your long comment and trying to implement it, but with some unintended consequences. I think sometimes when we talk about Islamic solutions, we ignore that some of it is Arab culture that is not practical when talking about living in America. Arabs, in the Prophet's time did not fool with step children. You rightly say that in Islam I have no right to make demands on this boy, but by Islamic rules, I have no obligations either. He is supposed to be dependent on his biological dad. This is why many Muslim men don't want to marry sisters with children. I have tried very hard to cool down and restrict my requests as much as possible. But it is getting to the point that if he makes it to 18, I will throw him out. He is dependent on me to take care of him and he takes my help and goes and lounges around in school. You can cite Islam and say he has no obligation to me and I have no right to request anything out of him, but those rules assume I am not the one taking care of him. In lieu of rent or payment or repayment, I ask him to justify the sacrifices I am making for him. My wife said to me yesterday that I expect tit for tat and one hand washes the other. YES. Because to just give from my side and watch people abuse my help is not my idea of a healthy relationship. His grades have everything to do with me. I have to give him his lunch money and refill the fridge after he eats all the food everyday. I have to buy his school clothes and pay for the SAT's. Mostly I just want you to know about the feelings I am developing by assuming a stand back attitude. He has to move out. It's his business. If I can make it 11 months, he is going the day after his birthday. I have no rights with him and he is a cost to me and it is a cost that is going to waste. He is who he is, but we each have highs and lows. I am burning to throw this boy out. His mother has demanded over and over that he has to be 18. I am distant from her because of him for now, and maybe forever, but I am trying to make it till next year. But this thing were you say, I have no rights because he is my stepson, that's why we guys don't like women with children. Someone else messes him up, I come in and try to help and then I am told how I am nothing. Better he deals with the real world without me being the one he can come lay down on after he has not worked hard in school. I think maybe it's a man thing (maybe it's only me) but I only demand he works hard in school. I don't demand he cleans his room. I don't demand he maintains prayers or masjid attendance. for me, the best way to have clear boundaries is for people to each live in their own place. She is ignoring him and calling long distance back home all the time. The only time she pays any attention to what he does in school is when i look up his grades and tell her and this was why I was wanting to divorce her in the first place. Now I am trying to save this marriage, but today, I am not into it. Maybe Ramadan will make things better, but for me this boy has to get out of my house. You have made the point he is not my child. I am demanding and I expect too much. Okay...the other side of that is I can have NOTHING to do with him as soon as I can get him off me. This is the Arab thing and why Muslims don't marry women with children. Kids running wild and a man sits there paying bills and can't open his mouth. Sorry..venting,..

      Salam alaikum,

  9. as salaam alaikum and may Allah reward those who have given me advice on this matter. Just seeing the concern here is a blessing for me and a relief. My wife has said several times in the last few days that I knew she had children when we married. For me, the real issue is she is disobedient. On important issues she refuses to stand by me. As I began with the children they would go to her for permission not to do what I was trying to tell them and she would stand by them and tell them they did not have to do what I requested. There are four boys. I have failed to bond will all four. So I feel it is me in a way. But it is me in the sense that I am a person that goes all I can for people I care about, but I want something back. My wife says this is wrong. I think it is a guy thing. Women love unconditionally. For me, I get up and go to work and If I don't show up or break rules, my work relations are done. For us to go to Jannah, is not an unconditional thing. We have to believe. For this son who lives with us. He is at an age where he does take religion seriously and I don't blame him and I am trying to get out of that part and leave it between him and Allah. But his secular schooling is another matter. He is the smartest kid I have ever seen and I say this as someone who has worked in a school system as a teacher, but he is lazy and takes his gifts for granted. His mother is a housewife and I thought she understood when we married that I don't need her to work, but I need her to make sure the kids work hard in school. I am a convert and I became a Muslim through hard study. I feel extremely cheated when I go to work and take abuse and work hard and then I look up my stepson's grades and he is getting A's one week and incomplete assignments and D's and F's the next. He is one year from graduating high school and he is treating it all like a joke. He jumped on me and punched me because he was angry at me for contacting his teachers. I never like to pretend to be perfect and my errors are legion, but I Iove this boy as my son. I know he is at an age where he will do many stupid things. But I get tired. I have told him over and over and this is where I lose patience. "When you walk into a classroom, everything you think is important is on the line." He always doesn't do his homework. I go to work in the evenings and walk by him going out to work as he comes in from school and I leave him at home alone with his mother. She gives lip service to how important it is for him to work hard in school, but she is a woman who like many women believes in get-along and maybe too much get along. I end up being the one to say, "you're not working hard in school." I know as a stepparent this is a big no no. I talk to her over and over and she basically sits on the couch, calls long distance home and watches junk television. She gives me the talk, but when it's time to set priorities with action, she wants the kids approval ,so they can do whatever they want as long as the Mule (me) gets his butt out the door and brings in some grocery money. That is why I am deep into considering divorce. I won't fight this boy because I love him. I would spend the thousand dollars on a plane ticket and get his oldest brother here if I wanted to beat someone up. I know I have to defend myself and it has been shown to me that this incident with this boy has badly damaged my trust in my wife. I knew she was lip service. but I didn't know how much. I don't want the boy gone forever, but I need him to know he can't sit on me and take school for a joke. The main message she sends him is that he is going nowhere. And she sends him that message instead of demanding that he pick up his grades. That is how divorce ends up in the front of things. I can't work on fixing him because his mom's response to his bad behavior is to tell me he is not going anywhere and I am wrong for even saying it (never mind that in a year he is 18 and is supposed to be using a scholarship to leave).For me that breaks it because if I cannot say who lives with me, then I have no say at all. She says when I say "he goes" then she will go and she maintains this openly to him. I tell her: the only yes you give me is when I say divorce, so what choice do I have? Getting counseling is hard. We have been told over and over to stay married, but when things don't work and are broken badly, this is not good advice.

    • Asalamoalaikum brother,

      I am very sorry to hear about your struggles. I can but imagine how difficult it must be for you but also for this young teenage boy. I’m going to play the devil’s advocate in this post so please know that it is because I’m trying to see all perspectives of your situation and would like to give you sound advice, inshAllah.

      Firstly, I entirely agree with you that education now a days is paramount. This teenage boy however is clearly lashing out because the issue is deeper than what shows on the surface. Perhaps it’s his way of calling out for help. The straight As one week and then straight Ds or Fs show that (a) he has the potential to excel (b) but, his inconsistency is perhaps a reflection of the inner turmoil or conflict he’s undergoing. I do not think he is lazy or taking advantage of the privileges he’s been given (although it seems that way to many parents who deal with their teenagers). We must bear in mind though that they are teenagers and at this stage in life everyone seems like their enemy. Not only that, they become super sensitive which might factor into play his mother’s overly supportive behaviour towards him as she may feel that by supporting you she’ll lose out on her son’s love or trust (not that I think it is correct for her to do so). My husband is a very bright man mashAllah but when he was in high school he would do horrible. He felt what was being taught was taught at a very slow pace and he’d lose interest in school that way. It was in grade 11 he realized that he had to do something with his life when one of his teachers inspired him. Today he’s at a very good place mashAllah and looking at him you’d think I’m lying when I tell you he failed math in high school. My point here is that this boy definitely has potential but not the fire. Your wife and you need to ignite that. Look at his strengths, bring those to the surface and suggest career options that you think he might enjoy and succeed in. Show him you care by having meaningful and loving conversations. Go out with him, just you and him, one on one. Does he enjoy sports? Play with him. Take part in his life and assume an active role. Let him know that you’re not his enemy, that you care and that is why you worry about his future and stress on the importance of school. Sometimes as parents we become so mechanical in our daily duties we begin to think that those duties should be sufficient in showing care and love to our children. You just have to let him know that the ball is in his court and you’re not here to take that away. You just want to show him some tactics and tricks to succeed. When children become teenagers, it’s important that you become their friends because disciplining does not work at this stage of development like it did for toddlers and children. They need reasons for why they should do the things you stress they do, so give him that. Eventually he’ll turn towards you, but right now you both need to develop that trust and someone needs to make a start.

      Coming down to the relationship with your wife: you both need to start being on the same page else wise the above advice given is useless and your marriage isn’t going to get any better. You need to sit her down in privacy and explain to her with love that these are the things you feel and it may be different from her perspective because you both come from different cultural backgrounds but these values are important to you. Then ask her what she feels and why. After that look for commonalities and find a middle ground. You BOTH are going to have to compromise. You are sailing on the same ship so it cannot be my way or the highway. With the differences in cultural lifestyles this might be a bit difficult but it’s not impossible. Also, you’re wife needs to stop going against you in front of her son. If she disagrees with your decision, you both need to talk it out privately so this boy knows that he can’t get away with things with dad but he can with mom. The parenting style has to be consistent. One parent cannot be overly passive while the other enforces discipline and structure. You both have to possess all of these qualities in certain dosages. I highly stress marital counselling. The communication between you two needs to improve and these professionals can help you both with that. Perhaps a therapist who is objective and unbiased can shed some light on your situation. Before you finally resort to divorce, give marital counselling one last try and from there you can decide what you think will be best for your health and well-being.

      May Allah swt ease your marital affairs and put rahma and mahabba in your home and family, ameen.

      -Helping Sister

    • asalamu alaikum,

      I just want to say, I only read just bout quarter of what you wrote, due to short time, but something's really stuck out, "For me, the real issue is she is disobedient. On important issues she refuses to stand by me. As I began with the children they would go to her for permission not to do what I was trying to tell them and she would stand by them and tell them they did not have to do what I requested."? your wife is the problem.

      the mother and father have to be on the same page, in order to make things work. if the mother says, you don't have to do what the father said, its obvious the children gonna act like you are nothing but a stranger to them. they wont respect you nor would they listen.

      so explain to your wife, she is the one that can mend things. I doubt she is willing to.
      so many single mothers wish they had a husband who can be a father figure for their children, yet some take it for granted. you don't know what you had, till its gone..

      ma salama

  10. correction: * I look at what they do and I find it very inadequate (no news flash that young men tend to be extremely selfish in a negative way)....

  11. seriously people lay off Hooria, she's apologized numerous times! we are muslims, we should forgive and forget.

  12. Greetings,

    I am not a Muslim, but I have been reading the blogs on this site and they have been very helpful. I was raised with a strong Biblical back ground. I have an issue with my step children being defiant and disrespectful towards their mother. When I try to intervene and tell them to stop talking to their mother in the ways in which they do, Their mother says its ok. IT'S NOT OK!

    When I married her, I took an oath to love honor and protect her. That also means protecting her from her own entitled children. I do certain things that are within my rights to do so, If the oldest step daughter is rude or disrespectful, I do not let her drive the car, which I own. When the step son disrespects his mother I deprive him and unfortunately everyone else of internet by removing the router. It works temporarily but my concern is that they will only be repentant enough just to get their way and nothing more.

    I have taken the place of both of their deadbeat fathers and I feel highly unappreciated. I love these children but sometimes it makes me want to leave and I despise myself for thinking such terrible thoughts.

    I hope you can give me some good feedback.

    • Tony, I think it's fine to want to instill discipline, and to expect your stepchildren to treat you and their mother with respect. Also, I admire you. It's not easy to take on the role of stepfather and to raise someone else's children. My question is, do you balance that out with kindness and humor? Do you spend time with them? Do you treat them sometimes to the things they enjoy? Try to make sure that your treatment of them is balanced and fair, and hopefully you'll be respected in return.

      Wael Editor

      • Tony i think you have come to the right place. I was just reviewing and there is good advice here. In Islam the biological parents have more rights, but if you think about it, it makes sense. Our struggle as step parents is that we were not there during the child's formation, when the child was very young and learned to bond. Now one of the parents, usually the dad has cut and run and we feel saintly one day and decide to step in. Now that saintly feeling really really gets stretched. But we signed up to be a sort of dumping ground and dishrag. You can't say you wanted to sit high on the hog (so to speak) or you should not have married a woman with children. I know foster kids are a mess. Well being a stepparent can be just as messy. Sister Amy here has rightly told me, as stepparents, we need to know when to step back and not violate our boundaries. In a certain way, the kids we love so much will always see us as outsiders. They have distinct memories of when it was just them and mom and how wonderful it was before we came in and gummed up things. God sees the good you do. Don't expect your step kids to see it. Sister Amy has me right. I am flaring up over what I think I am owed, even though I dress it up. But I knew these boys were in a bad way and I decided to come and do what i can for them. God knows there fate and I am too late into their lives to even think about deciding what kind of people they will be. My stepdad inspired me. I never saw him lose his temper and he took me and my mom out of poverty. But he knew his place and constantly smiled and said "yes Lissey" to my mothers every command. I spend my life poorly imitating him. May God guide us and protect our children.

        • GregAbdul: I was just reviewing and there is good advice here. In Islam the biological parents have more rights, but if you think about it, it makes sense.

          What about biological parents having more responsibilities too? When a man divorces his wife and leaves his kids, his rights should be limited depending on how much he is supporting his kids

          You mentioned in your OP: ".Last month, my stepson who is 16, attacked me in our home. He put me in a headlock and punched me in my face about 12 times. I am the only father he has known since he was eight years old, but America has sort of ruined him"

          You have to be very careful in dealing with this boy. Let his biological father take care of him.

  13. Theres a reason lions eat the young when they take over the pride

  14. I know this is a really old post but I am the mother/wife in almost this exact same situation. My son attacked my husband , same way, choke hold and punched him in the face and broke his cheek bone and had to have surgery. My husband now has permanent nerve damage in his face. He is the only father my son knows since he was 6 years old as my son biological father passed away. At the time my husband immediately left. I felt i had no choice but to kick my son out of the house. This had to be because my son has a history of drugs and anger issues and that was the last straw. My daughter was 10 at the time and I also had to consider her safety. That was overt 2 years ago. My husband came back home after 6 months and i have been to this day trying to help my son improve his life and get clean without enabling him. I love him very much but he just cannot live in the same house with us at this time as he has not shown any remorse nor any actions to show he is wanting to change. The previous comments make a valid point. My husband was quick to scold my son but didn't always give him time and affection. My husband and I both regret our actions and know where we went wrong with my son. But now my son is 22 and needs to take responsibility for his actions.

  15. Is your wife being disobedient?
    Did America ruin her son?
    Want to know what the problem is?
    Your example...your utter and total lack of respect...

    Respect begets see your wife as ‘disobedient’...You sir are disrespectful of her...why should she obey you? She’s not a dog, she’s a human being ....

    The boy may well in fact have assaulted you, but you need to examine your behavior towards him since he was 8...

    And for God’s sake stop expecting this woman to obey you....
    Ever dawn on you that without women none of you would be here?
    Try to pull yourself out of 600 AD and enter the 21st century...

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