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Please give me advice on child rearing and a disrepectful wife.

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

My wife of 2 years has a 6 yr old son. I want him to go live with his father. The boy is a disruption to our household and will be a bad influence on his younger sister (7 months). His mother showers him with excessive amounts gifts and does not scold him when he needs to be scolded. She prevents me from disciplining the boy. She will scold him for writing his letters incorrectly but will not scold him for being disrespectful or selfish or messy. In all fairness to the boy, it is his mother who has made him this way. What is the Islamic perspective of sending the boy to live w/ his biological non-Muslim father? Also, my wife has an anger management problem she will start screaming insults and cursing if she doesn’t get her way (in front of the children and my mother who lives with us). I know that she is not mentally stable but, she will have a negative effect on our 7 month old daughter and has already damaged her son. Please let me know how to proceed, as I feel like I need to divorce her for the sake of the children, as it will not be beneficial for them to grow up seeing this. She is ungrateful for the things that I provide for her and her son, and has started to complain about not having enough. Please give me some advice on this EXTREMELY negative situation. Inshallah.

Answer

Jazakallah for writing to the institute regarding the problems you are experiencing with your wife.

Marriage is indeed a great challenge and lots of compromises, give and take are necessary to make the family unit a functional one. You say that your wife ‘spoils’ her son. It also appears that there are some other issues which are causing disruption to the household and your relationship. Her attitude is obviously giving cause for concern. Your wife seems to lack basic skills in managing a household and the children. This problem is not an impossible one. With effort, time, and lots of encouragement and support, insha’allah she will become more confident in dealing with the challenges and stress motherhood brings. I would like to suggest that you consider going for counselling with her so that she can learn to deal with her tasks in a better way and behaviour modification can insha’allah be achieved. You have a little child and the chances are that the courts will award your wife custody of the child in the event of a divorce. If you are so concerned about the child now, can you imagine what it will be like for the child if you are not with her to contribute to her upbringing? Your wife needs expert counseling so that she can gain confidence and learn more adaptive ways in dealing with her children and her frustrations. Without this help, the cycle will continue and she may raise your daughter in the same way she is doing with her son. Your wife needs help in developing parenting skills. You too can benefit if you go along with her. (A session or two of family therapy which her son can also attend may just prove to be invaluable and of benefit to all of you.)

In the case of her son, allow me to suggest that after your wife’s behaviour is modified, the son will settle down. Children are pliable and they tend to take their cues from their parents, just as you have observed. The little boy will benefit from having the lines drawn for him so that he can learn the limits of what is / is not allowed. At the moment he is a confused individual and being a little child, he cannot draw the limits for himself. Insha’allah, if you can find it in your heart to spend more quality time with him, teaching him and by taking him out on his own, he may just bond with you and develop sufficient confidence in you. If he finds you to be an excellent role model, he will be prepared to obey you and be prepared to please you in many ways. This is a means of you earning the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala, if this child grows up as a Muslim. Since his father is not a Muslim, the chances are that if he went to live with the man, he will not learn anything about deen and you will thus lose the opportunity of keeping the child in the fold of Islam.

You also need to make mashura (consultation) with your wife on a regular basis. Seeing that there is much to be sorted out, do put aside an hour or so to spend quality time with your wife. Sometimes when problems mount to a greater level, husband and wife forget that they need to comfort, support and approach each other in a manner that will improve communication in the relationship. Both of you should also try to perform salaah together, read the Quran with understanding, (English meaning) and learn the etiquette of a husband and wife relationship by obtaining relevant books on the topic. It is through sincerer, determination and support and a real desire to please Allah Ta’ala that insha’allah your difficulties will be overcome.

May Allah Ta’ala guide you both towards raising your children with hikma, love and a firmness which is closer to love and understanding rather than indulgence and punishment. Ameen.

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

1SOCIAL DEPT.

CHECKED & APPROVED: Mufti Ebrahim Desai (FATWA DEPT.)

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