Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Need advice in disciplining my 11 year old daughter

Confused girl

My 11 year old daughter is a wonderful kid. But this past week she has stunned me by lying about school detention and today I found my expensive perfume was missing.

I went to the school and asked her about it, and she admitted to me that she took it and gave it to her friend. I was so disappointed and heart broken that she has done these decieving things.

I gave her 3 swats for stealing and grounded her for awhile until I see she straightens up in school and also can earn some trust back.

Is there something else I am missing?

Please give me some advice so I can help my daughter through this difficult time she is having.

- habebah

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27 Responses »

  1. Salaam,

    May Allah help you in your quest to raise a good, honest and religiously committed daughter.

    It's difficult to give a straight answer, there are different approaches to discipling a child, some believe hitting is a good way others think not. I am so glad my dad beat me up every time I messed up as a kid, I would not be the man I am today if not for that.

    You must decide yourself what to do, speak to her, be open to her and ask her what it is she wants. Usually at that age girls are just trying to become more popular. What is your husband's stance on the matter? How has he reacted, usually a child will not do bad for fear of their father's reaction more than their mothers.

    I hope things work out.

    • Mohammed, I know you are just trying to help the sister, but I cannot believe that you actually referred to a father 'beating up' his child in a positive manner. That was shocking to read and it definitely is not what Islam promotes!

      Habebah, I am assuming a 'swat' is a 'spanking'. I do not agree with hitting children, it is harsh and degrading. I am sure parenting can be challenging but it is always better to keep the doors of communication open, so maybe you could have asked your child if she was having any difficulties or issues at school which had lead to her lying. Puberty is a difficut time as we all know and peer pressure can be difficult to keep up with. I am sure, her lying was not a personal attack against yourself.

      Hopefully a parent will be able to give you some practical tips inshaAllah.

      Best Wishes

      SisterZ
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

      • SisterZ,

        Islam may not promote violence, but even in Islam it is said use force, including hitting your children to get them to read namaz.

        I'm not saying beat your kid up for failing an exam or beat them up for being 3 minutes late from school because of a late train/bus. But if you kid is showing some really bad behaviour, a good beating doesn't go amiss. I was beaten 4/5 times badly as a kid for various misdemeanours including stealing. I never stole anything again for fear that my dad my beat me up again.

        I don't understand this view that hitting a kid or beating them up is bad, occassionally it is required and I would definately do it to my boys if they messed up.

        • me, i was maybe afraid to miss up again cos dont wanna get a slap. but for sure, i lied a lot and hide my bad points like many others things cos i was afraid to be beaten up. I really dont believe that i became more displined from this, i see a lot of very educated kids not being even once beaten up. and it s terrible when u see a child having physical pain . i will never do that to my kids and for sure, u can give slap if your kids dont want to pray. but not more and not for other reasons. there are many ways to punish a child, but not with physical pain.

        • What about encouraging your child to behave out of love and respect?

          What about instiling in your child that Allah is watching at all times?

          What about reminding your child that Jannah will be rewarded to him/her for refraining from bad and going towards good.

          Of course, there need to be warnings and consequence, but 'beating up' a child is wrong and not from Islam at all.

          SisterZ
          IslamicAnswers.com Editor

          • Sisterz,

            You are from a different point of view than me. Personally I never have any issues with beating up a child, not to the sense they are scarred for life, but a few heavy slaps or whips across the bottom.

            I know it's not related to discipling children, but I'm guessing you would also be against torturing criminals, severe and brutal interogation methods etc and perhaps the death penalty itself?

            I have no issues with any of those as I believe society requires it.

            As for raising your children in the way you've said, sometimes talking doesn't do the trick but a beating does.

        • Sorry just too add after a long while.

          Man I got beat when I was a child and I am sooo glad. hahahahahahahaha

          But this is mostly which males, females are more sensitives.

          But its correct we should also talk, but beating is always required I guarantee you that.

          (beating as in hitting but not soo hard that blood or anything...)

          Raja

        • What on earth? you are so crazy i swear dwn. hitting is never the answer. not everyone is going to turn out like you - being glad they were hit. Most children will end up hating their parents and turning their backs on their parents because they were hit. omdz i feel sorry for your 'boys.' Hitting is never the answer.. does violence solve anything in a fight? No. So how is hitting going to guide someone? all people need is guidance and explaining not hitting..! Jeez. :/

  2. Assalam-o-Alaikum Sister,
    I am not an expert in islam or child upbringing but my few cents.

    Please note I can't PM you therefore writing on forum but its no way a critique, just trying to help.

    I think it is not right to go to a child's school and call her/him out of the class or talk to her in recess while her friends/teachers/classmates/school fellows are noticing that this child's mother came to reprimand her. One thing I have learned is to talk to children or point out a problem in their behavior in a separate location where you are the only one with your child. If we try to correct them in front of others they try to defend their actions rather then admitting their mistakes. It would have been better if you could have waited for your daughter to come back home and talk to her.

    Also. if I may say, so what if the daughter took perfume with her. From what you have written it looks like the perfume is important. I think there is no important thing than a child. I realize you were concerned that she took away something costly without your permission. But this thing reminds me of this lecture, where Randy Pausch mentions importance of people instead of things.
    http://socialcapital.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/randy-pausch-notable-quotes/

    I think a better way can be to trust child's judgment and ask her reason why she did what she did. Either she'll give you some reason or will realize she made a mistake and won't do it again. After realizing her mistake if she does it again then you have some problem(but not unsolvable) else its just a childish thing.

    Parents are always concerned about children but they can only give them knowledge of right and wrong and can guide them through their actions to differentiate right from wrong and what steps to take while doing that. After doing due diligence parents can only pray to Allah to guide their children.

    May Allah help us and guide us all.

    regards,

  3. Lets say ur daughter has fallen in with a bad crowd or is bein bullied? Wat if she took that perfume to giv to sumone to appease them?or wat if she ddm realise how big a deal it was to u? There are many reasons she cud hv dun it. U wont no till u communicate with her. I hv nieces at this age n they are young, naive n dnt always realise consequences of actions. They need guidance n talkin to. Not slaps. I wud sit her dwn and speak to her. Try treatin her so she feels lyk ur her best friend. Thats the relationship u need to nurture so she always feels she can come to u. Trust me ul hv a lot more problems to face with her. As is natural but u need to be close to her n always communicate x

  4. Assalamu Aleikum,

    beating children is absolutely unacceptable in Islam. I think that the holy prophet forbade it clearly.

    It wasn't right to take away perfume, or lie to you, but at the age of 11 this may happen. Very often, they

    lie because they fear the consequences of telling the truth. Instead of grounding or beating, talk to her,

    strictly, determined, but be understanding. Ask her why she did it, maybe her friend blackmailed her. Why

    would she give away her mom's perfume? Why does she have problems at school?

    The problem is, when you beat her, she's going to beat her children as well. And it doesn't solve anything.

    Our prophet sallalahu alayhi va alehi va salam said: Let your children play until they're 7. From 7 until

    14, discipline them. And afterwards, let them make their own decisions and trust them. Disciplining

    kids is important, but please not through beatings. If you want her to make her own decisions from 14,

    be strict, but talking I think is more effective than beating. And grounding is better than beating as well.

    I don't have children yet, and I can imagine it's easy to lose patience. But I think if you want to discipline

    someone, it's better to be a friend than a master.

    God knows best

    Good luck

  5. Mohammed,

    You talking about 'beating up', as though its a Saturday morning 'fried up' greasy breakfast.

    Yes, I am completely against torturing criminals. How does that fit in with Islam? How did the Prophet(saw) deal with criminals? His kindness usually won them over. Had he been harsh, they would have turned away.

    No, I am not against capital punishment if enforced in the way authorised by Allah and His Rasool(saw). Capital punishment has its authorised place in Islam.

    With regards to beating children - the Prophet(saw) never beat any children and I stand firm on my view that beating a child is an abhorrent act and is not from Islam. I cannot see how a child taking a bottle of perfume will realise her error by being beaten. Yet, if she is encouraged to 'speak', the reason behind her taking the perfume would most probably become evident and then the issue can be dealt with - humanely.

    ***

    This is steering away from the original post now, but with regards to 'wife beating' - which so many non-Muslims are mislead to believing is a one of the top most sports in Islam. One of my learned Shaykhs who has studied Tajweed and Tafsir in detail explained to me that the word that is all too often translated as 'beat' in the Quran, has been mistranslated. A more accurate meaning of the word is to 'apply force' - this can be to 'speak with firmness'. Why it has been accepted as meaning to physically beat is really beyond me. Beating goes completely against the merciful and peaceful teachings of the Quran and we just have to look to the example of our Prophet(saw) - he never as much as laid a harsh finger on his wives or his children, let alone beat them.

    I have been wanting to learn Quranic Arabic for years now and this just reinforces that I must stop procrastinating and start learning it 'now'. I do not want my understanding of the Quran to be mislead due to inaccurate translations.

    ***

    I guess we can only agree to disagree on this point Mohammed, but I do not want your comments to reinforce the negative images of Islam amongst non-Muslims. Islam is a peaceful religion and it laid the foundations for Human Rights long before the 1951 UN Convention or the more recent Human Rights Act came into existence. But, how can we Muslims complain of non-Muslims having 'all these misconceptions' about Islam when some of our Ummah interpret the Deen in such a destructive and negative way? It is so dissapointing, we really do have a very long way to go.

    SisterZ
    IslamicAnswers.com Editor

    • SisterZ, I think Mohammed really just means "spanking". He's not talking about smacking a child in the face or beating him to a pulp. I'm not saying I agree with the practice, but I wanted to clarify. Actually I do not spank my daughter. I use nonviolent methods such as "time-out", taking away a toy or treat, or taking away a privilege. There were a couple of times in the past when I gave her a smack on the hand or the bottom, but it left me feeling bad and guilty afterwards, so I don't do it anymore.

      But we have to recognize that corporal discipline is an accepted in much of the world, even in a school setting. My mother and father often got their knuckles rapped with a ruler as school children, and there was a paddle on the wall for more serious cases. I'm quite sure that's still common in Egypt. When I was a teenager in karate, my Japanese instructor would hit me on the head with his knuckles when I misbehaved, not enough to injure me, just to get my attention and make a point. It's common.

      I'm not supporting it, but I do understand that it's accepted in many cultures, so to blast an individual for acting out of an accepted cultural tradition doesn't really make sense, because the two of you are speaking different cultural languages. You can't change a cultural tradition with an emotional argument, because it only comes across as an attack on the culture. Instead what's required (if you want to change someone's mind) is education, facts and reasoning. Have psychologists studied the long term effects of spanking vs. nonviolent methods of discipline? What have they found? What do modern psychologists and education specialists recommend, and why? Etc.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  6. My mother once told my father that I'd stolen her lipstick and I was beaten very badly when I return, called 'loose', and basically told that I would go to Hell. I was 12 years old at the time and had taken the lipstick because my mother didn't allow me to even do my eyebrows and as I was being badly bullied for being different I attempted to fit in by wearing make up.

    Note that my mother wore make up, perfume, etc but forbade her 12 year old daughter from doing the same. I lost all respect for her after that and 15 years later I still have not forgiven her or my father for humiliating me like that. My own daughter is taught by example and when she makes mistakes I never raise my hand but counsel her as a mother should.

    • Very powerful story with an important lesson, thank you. There's never any benefit in humiliating a child or any human being. And hypocritical rules only create a cynical and disobedient child.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  7. Assalamo Alaikom,

    THanks for everyone's comments but I think some of you mis understood what you read. I never embarrassed my daughter at school. I went to the school and pulled her to the side alone and simply asked her a question. She gave me the truth simple. No one saw or heard anything. MY daughter was embarrassed and ashamed in front of me for what she did. She apologized and understood why she was punished. I need to make another point clear, I do not beat my child but spanked her on her hands 3 times. If I just speak to her about it, what is the next step? Stealing begins as at home and progresses. In my home country when a person steals their right hand is cut off. I must show her to remind her. The purpose was she lied to me and took something that was not hers, not the perfume in itself.

    And to respond to those questioning peer pressure, This was not the case. She is the popular one in her school. Straight A student and liked by all. My daughter accepted her punishment and our relationship is closer elhamdulilah. She is not shy to come to me for anything, but the respect has been established between a mother and her daughter. For those questioning my husband. Her father was upset because of the idea that she would lie as opposed to just asking us. He spoke to her and that killed her worse than my swat on her hand. THanks for being concerned for her.

    Jazak Allah kheir

    • lol hello who posted this ? obviously you and what did you xpect? obviously comments! now stop judging ive seen this is a common thing most mothers feels like they have the right to beat their kid and why? coz they gave birth to them lol how sick and also they feel they know their kid better then anybody and whatever they teach them is correct,wrong absolutely wrong u dont know ur kid ur not with her 24/7 my parents dont know me at all even though they think they do my dad does not even know that i dont love him lol and she stole perfume a wordly material y did it offend you? u should only b offended coz of the fact that she stole.and as if you would say yes if she asked you for the perfume dont fool yourself kids aint stupid.

      • Nadheerah, may I ask you how old you are?

        You have to be polite when commenting here. It's not appropriate to tell a mother she is "sick" because she spanked her child. Your tone toward this questioner is mocking rather than helpful.

        Wael
        IslamicAnswers.com Editor

        • wael no offence but why you taking things in the wrong way i myself am a mother but not all mothers are good and i have the right to say that and believe that coz i know alot of cruel mothers who murder and abuse kids are those mothers not sick? and i did not say this women is sick i said MOST mothers read again. well yes i replied rudely i admit cause she poated something and when people comment she laters advises herslf and tells them what is correct so why did she post it? could she just not comment on herself instead of putting down their concerning comments?

    • Salaams Habebah,

      Alhumdulillah, things are better for you. Just wanted to clarify, I didnt think you were beating your daughter, most of my replies here were in response to the brother's comments. Now that you have mentioned that you live in a country where the penal law is so strict, I can see where your thinking and actions have stemmed from.

      I have alot of children around me but am not a parent, so maybe my thoughts are somewhat idealistic. I am sure parenting a child directly is very challenging and rewarding too. Theres a saying which goes, 'Mothers are like angels in training'.

      All the best,

      SisterZ
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  8. There is much criticism here, but how many of you are raising children in USA? I bet most of you do not have children or do not raise them in usa. I follow my deen and will continue to do so as we are guided. We are to teach our children and sometimes in order to do this we must discipline them with a hit. Even a man is told to hit his wife to make her submit. do not be hypocritical brothers and sisters, Hitting does not mean to mark them but gently tap them to raise awareness.

  9. first of all she is 11 years old? she is a kid,beating could make someone hard and cold in character,and mohamed your a guy you cant compare yourself to a girl,i think instead of beating her he should bond with his kid teach her what is correct through words,she is 11 she does not know the importance of good she is just living and going with the flow kids at that age do not forget,do you want your kid to grow up thinking my dad beat me? look me as a kid was beaten up by my dad since i was 9 i still remember i feel awful i wish i didnt have to have it in my memory,i wouldnt say that made me who i am today i am who i am today coz of ALLAH he sent me to a islamic madrasa and there he showed me right and what is wrong and today i love him so much, i dont hold it against my dad the past is the past but violence is violence and ill never stand up with it,and honestly i dont feel anything for my dad today his just another human i never missed him,to me a dad is someone who made your mom pregnant then your mom gave birth to you someone who loves you helps you protects u from others and from himself and who teaches you in islam wats wrong and right not through beating,if one is missing he aint a dad and to me i dont have a dad.

  10. Marhaba Habebah

    let me ask you, are you mother or commandor?...come on, we talk about one 11 old kid...is normal time to tiem to make misstakes..even adults makes misstakes...it is simplly part of life...i undertsand you love your dauther and trully wish to give her a good education, to make her to be perfect..but...please, let her time to learn it ...and if she does misstakes take her hand and pass both, side by side over the problems...don;t punish her and send her to corner...is not a criminal..is your personal gift from Allah...

    i don;t know if i'm right, but i trully belive one mother should be the love-flame which with her unconditional tenderlly love change one building into "home sweet home" place...one mother is the soul of the house...is place where we run wehn we make misstakes.....

    i sugest you to try to get closer to your dauther...as soul...and rather to punish and discipline her, invite her out to one ice cream and there open the topic and ask her why did she hided the truth from you..why did she offered your parfume to her friend...is it very possible she to not think she's s stealing..maybe she just wished to express her great affection for that little girl..and maybe, she hidded from you exactlly because she was scared you'll react agressive and forbid and get strong and...so on...and..here you are...a wall between you and your dauther...

    you can also ask your dauther to pray togheter...make it both in peace and famelly love..and from here you can talk with her about Allah...about what is good and what is wrong on life...about everithing...

    also, as other sisters says in other comments..you may pray to Allah each day, asking Him to help you into yoru wish to be a good mother...because this is after all, you wish to be a good mother, just...you choosed a too stricktly way to do it...also, pray Allah to forgive your misstakes...because, as well as yoru dauther made misstakes, you also, passing the day time, maybe you misstaked too...

    maybe you'll tell me you already done this..and still, it happened what it happened....well...what may i say in this?...kid;s educations request time, patience and of cource, the most important, love....it may happends one kid to make wrong..is not the end of the world...ok, is not good..you can;t congratulate for a misstake..but is a perfect oportunity to have a debate about the topic, when you to try to undertand what was into child's mind when she misstaked and also, to give her the tools, the advicess that in future that misstakes to not repeat...

    what you didn;t sucess with strogn atitude education....you can get it with undertanding and comunication..and don;t get tired to repeat over and over your advicess....is not realistik your kid to learn them and follow them from all from begging...

    if you consider usa society as not a good society for child's education...i am 100% agree with you....in other parts of world, girl's parents are carefull to educate her to keep her inocent (untouched) till marriage day...in usa, i think, many parents try to keep theyr kids AIDS-negative, and drug-free...whatewer, i sugest you to try to invite muslim lady to your home, with theyr kids..and to create a little muslim comunity, where your dauther to have the chance to see there are more way to live life...or, if you have relatives on middle east, mayeb you should make them a visit and spend there one month in summer...and there the kid to get closer to other kid of comunity...

    i'm sure a golden heart mother,but worry...please, trust Allah ...He'll keep His eyes over your dauther all her life..and don;t be afrraid ...misstakes are part of learning process

    peace be with you

  11. Bismihi Ta'ala.

    A salaam mu alaikum WA rahmatulla

    ALL PRAISE IS DUE TO ALLAH S.W.T PEACE AND BLESSING BE UPON OR BELOVED LEADER AND MASTER NABI MOHAMMED S.A.W

    Nabi S.A.W stated that when a person sees something wrong taking place then he should try and stop it with his hands and if he can’t do that then he should try and speak about it to the person and if he cannot do that then he should think bad of it in his heart (the action) and that is the weakest form of imaan
    We should not miss understand the hadith

    1) Stopping with the hand would mean using a certain amount of force to stop the action from taking place so for example if a person is witnessing a close friend that is about to walk into a night club then go and pull him by his hand take him a side and explain to him why you feel he should not be there tell him of the reasons like music is haraam and that zina is taking place in that club and what would happen if the angel of death has to take his sole while in that club. That would mean the using of force and talking

    2) As far thinking bad of the action is concerned that would be the weakest form of a persons imaan would mean that you don’t have the power to stop it with your hands nor can you talk to the person about it

    Sister Habebah mentions that she went to school and took her daughter a side and asked her if she took the perfume her beloved daughter said yes and then to try and stop her from doing it again she gave her a few shots as if to tell her my dear darling daughter I don’t like what you did its upsets mom (and no daughter would like to see her mom upset) she did not hit a daughter to such a extant that she needed to be seen to by a doctor or had to go to hospital etc........Sometimes Allah also gives his servants a wakeup call when they go of the path so as to realise that we are going of track a small calamity might befall the person and then he realises that hey I did this wrong and this is what happen so next time he does not do it

    So when disciplining our kids sometime the parent might find it necessary to give them a few shots but only when very necessary we can’t hit them every time they do something wrong (and I am sure sister Habiba is not hitting her kid for every wrong she does) But when using force we should not let our anger overtake us and never hit the kid to and to a stage where he or she lands up in a hospital etc....
    Like the old saying goes to cannot make a crooked tree straight once it’s grown

    So we should understand that The Sister is trying to instil good values in her daughter

    We also need to understand that it is human nature to think that someone else could be doing wrong not our kids.

    What if sister Habiba had some family visit her and during their stay her bottle of perfume went missing what thought could have crossed her mind that one the visiting family members took it and it could have caused a huge problem Allah forbid

    At the moment I am busy with a case where a 14 year old stole money from his moms closet and the mom blamed the lady that helps her with some work only to find out a week later the son comes home with a fancy mobile and when questioned where he got the funds to buy the phone he admitted to stealing the money they did not beat the child they spoke to him and explained to him that he should not steal etc....

    Allah be my witness the mom phoned me 2 days ago and told me that her son went in to the cupboard again and stole and this time the lady that helps them seen him and he got caught out

    So as Muslims we need to instil good values in our children and the parents should know what means to adopt Sometimes the child does a certain thing to please someone sometimes they do it for show sometimes they do it due to the fact that they lack attention.... And many a time the entire family is sitting around the devil box (TELEVISION) and looking at programs where zina is taking place where, stealing is taking place where drugs and drinking is taking place and all other filth and then our kids pick up these habits and when certain things happens then we ask ourselves WHY

    PLEASE NOTE I AM NOT SAYING THAT THIS IS WHAT IS TAKING PLACE IN SISTER HABIBAS HOME I AM JUST TALKING IN GENREAL

    So dear sister speak to you daughter and ask her the reason for doing what she did and explain to her what Islam has to say about stealing and also explain to her that the next time she needs anything she should ask you and it does not mean that you should give her everything she ask for as that would be spoiling her but sometimes we need to also explain to them the reason why we can’t give them what they want for example maybe you cannot afford it at that time etc... And ask her also to make dua to Allah for anything she needs and then tell her to try and adopt the Halaal method of getting it

    Sorry for the long reply but it’s all said out of concern

    I pray that Allah make all our children the coolness of our eyes and my Allah make it such that we adopt the Sunnah of our Beloved Nabi S.A.W and live our lives as true Muslims

    Ws salaam mu alaikum wa rahmatulla

    A Brother in islam

  12. thanks for the posts everyone. God forgive me if i come across as a sick parent. i love my children with all my heart. i believe i have a good relationship with them. again thank you for pointing out your feelings. Im sure Nadeerah your children are the best and your children do not secretly despise you as you did your father. I just wanted to get a better perspective and I recieved many so I think I better stick to seeking Allah and the people who know us best.

  13. disciplined your daughter with love

    ..and know her problems maybe she needs your help..

    pray to God too..prayer changes everything..

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