Who Am I A Discussion on Muslim Youth & Identity.
Channel: Haifaa Younis
File Size: 66.24MB
So I may have lost pantalla except from all of us and may have lost pantalla put Baraka in the time. And in this gathering and in the topic that we are going to be discussing, and I'm going to go directly to the topic and I'm going to introduce right away. Our guests joining us, Sr. prosiding. Majidi joining us from California sunny California.
Welcome, Husain. This is a second time joining us and we I have still not yet met with her personally, but inshallah after the COVID Bismillah Ar Rahman sr, for so I want you to introduce yourself to everybody to our audience, and then we'll get into our topic, Bismillah, Bismillah, Sinhala, Kumara, flyover cathode, your doctor Haifa, Mashallah, it's such an honor, again, to be with you in your presence. Thank you so much for inviting me once again, to be here with you and your audience. Come to the lab. Just a quick I guess, a summary of my background. I'm a mom of two I'm an educator of with over 20 years of experience educating people of all different ages in the
community. And hamdulillah. You know, this topic that we're going to talk about today really comes from my experience working with members of the committee hearing from parents, as well as youth on this issue and this crisis that we are having today of identity. So I'm really excited to get into this conversation with you. I'm delighted that you all remember we had sister house I think it was in June, when we talked about Tick Tock and yes, there is a female scholar group, which is an amazing group. So how long I personally learned a lot. And you have woman hamler diamond, who Allah put them on this path of learning and teaching from all over the world. And this is how I came first
to become more personal and knowing get Jose more is when we had the talk about Tick tock, and we had the discussion on that group about it. And then we had this one hour. And we had her as a guest in June and 100 on brand me as a mother of two and getting into the teen age,
teenage age and challenge. And I thought of having her with us today to discuss this topic, what I see personally and I also you see it in that group, I think when you discuss with people who are involved in this, in this path that Muslims in general, Muslims in all ages have, and these days at struggle, problem, literally of identity. And I'm not talking about only youth, but definitely the youth. And that's what we're going to talk about. Who are we? Who should we be? Do we fit? Do we not fit? What does fit me? And who do we follow and this is becoming more and more and more difficult and more confusing, simply because of the NIH will say it's a blessing of the social media and the
internet because otherwise how we are going to be talking but also the pfitzner of the social media. And we are not going to cover all the ages. But definitely the number one that we see it on daily basis is our youth. Hate for mothers, you hear it from parents, you heard from friends, is the youth will look at you and may not say it by the way. A lot of them may not say they say to each other, but they will not say to their parents. Who are we? So I'm going to leave it to your son and you come and share with us what you see from your students from your studies is how do we tackle this question? Great inshallah, I'll first begin inshallah with that with Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim.
hamdulillah. So that was Claremont. I shuffle MBA with more saline, so that our Marina Where have you been I'm Hamad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam while he was selling the Sleeman kathira Bismillah. So in order first to understand this crisis of identity that we're seeing, as Dr. Hefner, you mentioned, not just within youth, but also the Muslim community, we really have to understand the larger problem happening in our society. And one term that everybody should be very familiar with at this point. Anyhow, I'm sure we've all heard it, but we should know exactly what it means is the term identity politics. And this refers to a political approach where people of a particular race,
ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, begin to form alliances, and then they organize, they start organizing politically to defend their group's interests. So we've been seeing the effects of identity politics for a long time, but even more so possibly in the past, maybe five to six years, there's been a really big push. And we all know why there's been a lot of political heightened political awareness and more activism in politics because of the president or the previous presidents term. That kind of brought people together to be more active, but in
In addition to be more being more politically active, we saw this uptick in this particular type of politics, which is identity politics. And so you're seeing this push of different agendas. And because of that, because of the popularity, and also the mediums that have been used to push those agendas, they are taking over the conversation on what is it? Who are you? What does it mean, you know, what, what do you believe in? What is your preferred, you know, label? Or how do you identify yourself? So these types of questions are now really, again, from all across all different ages and backgrounds, people are starting to question these things. And so we're seeing with youth in
particular, this, this crisis of, of trying to fit a mold based on again, what is the popular narrative of the time, right. And so I work a lot there's Dr. Haifa knows with youth, and, you know, maybe at a certain point, we thought as, as Muslims that, or I think for a long time, as Muslims, we've kind of naively thought that because our children are raised in Muslim homes, and that we are, you know, we, our faith is so strong and 100, our faith is perfect, there's no denying that, but we kind of, I think, had some blind spots. And we didn't realize that, that what who our children are exposed to, and how much time they're spending in the company of people outside of our homes outside
of our faith community, is absolutely making an impact on the way that they see themselves and their worldview. And so when we consider, for example, you know, the time let's just throw out public school, right? public schooling, as we know, is a place where kids are usually going from, you know, six, seven in the morning, until sometimes three, four o'clock in the afternoon, then they have after school activities, maybe they're playing sports, maybe they're playing instruments. And so if you're looking at that big chunk of time, outside of the home, outside, away from the family outside, away from other Muslims, in many situations, you know, I was recently on on a call with a
different millennials and Gen Z. And they were complaining that when they were, you know, in school, one of the hardships that they endured, and it was trauma, they actually said it was traumatic for them was that they were the only Muslim in the school, all growing up. And it was really hard to find their identity. Because, you know, young girls, for example, who wear hijab, in some, some families, young children, or young girls are wearing Hijab very early, but then going into a school system, where they have no other Muslims, no other even brown people, in some cases, was really traumatic for some kids. So you know, if you look at so many of the Muslim kids of this generation,
especially if the Gen Z, who had those experiences growing up, then what's taking place, if they don't have the influence from their parents, if they don't have other Muslim classmates to help them to really have a solid identity, then what do they do oftentimes, right. And children we know, are they imitate, and they look around, and no child wants to stick out, you know, you, if you know about children, you know, especially in the middle school years, in the high school years, sticking out is the last thing you want to do. Right, you want to blend in, you want to assimilate, you want to go under the radar. And so in order to do that, oftentimes it means a compromise. And what is the
compromise, the compromise is, for example, not really, you know, we see the name changing, right, Muhammad becomes more. And so we see name changes, we see also just visual of the external changes, you know, girls tend to also be very suddenly aware of themselves. And, you know, the idea of sticking out if they were wearing hijab, I've seen many situations where around that middle school, high school age, there's such a conflict with who they are that they start, you know, asking their mom, I don't want to wear this anymore, I don't feel you know, comfortable in this. And, you know, and not just, I don't want to wear hijab anymore, but now I want to replace the hijab with more
trendy, popular types of clothing, right? So it's a real switch. It's not just, you know, let me just kind of be, you know, again, have my own sense of style, but it is adopting a new style. And that's, I think, what what's really, what's so prevalent is that we're seeing this switch of, even in homes where there are strong, you know, there's the parents have a strong faith identity, they're still seeing this, this huge influence. And that's, and this goes back to just knowing that adult during the adolescent years is really when parents lose their influence over your peer group of their child, right, the peer group of their children actually starts to take over the influence. And
so we have to know this, we have to know that if we are sending our children and in some cases this is there's no other option, right? And we're not faulting anybody, but we also have to think, well, how can we protect them when they are being exposed for such long periods of time?
To to people and situations and conditions where they're not being reinforced, oh, you know, to, to with their identity, they have no real connection with that, and actually being conditioned, in many cases to have a totally different identity. And that's really, you know, one of one of the one of the really hard things about this this time is that kids are because of the pressure of identity politics, which is all about labels. Now, you know, you see a lot of talk about labels like what's your, you know, what, what do you identify which group do you identify with which race, which, you know, even I was reading a study about, about gender identity identification and sexual orientation.
There's a fascinating study that looked over three years of trends in this regard. And some of the statistics are quite shocking. And I'll share some of those just to give us an idea of just how pervasive This is, in terms of shaping in terms of what our kids are exposed to right here. This was a study called the developmental patterns of sexual identity, romantic attraction and sexual behavior among adolescents over three years. It was published from North Carolina State University. In this, the findings are just absolutely shocking. So they found that the results revealed that 26% of girls and 11% of boys reported fluidity and identity. Right. And 31% of girls and 10% of boys
reported fluidity in attractions. And at each time point, up to 20% of girls and 6% of boys reported a sexual minority identity label with concurrent same sex attraction. The majority of these participant participants also reported same sex behavior. Among heterosexual identified participants reporting some degree of same sex attraction at year three, approximately 66% of girls and 10% of boys reported same sex behavior that was amongst heterosexual identifying what age What did he say the CD was between the ages of I'm sorry, I'm looking here.
I had it here somewhere. The participants, you know what, I don't think I copied it. But it was in I remember reading it, it was a high school. So I believe it was in that, you know, ninth grade to 12th grade spectrum and those ages. So I mean, it's shocking, right to imagine that, that, again, heterosexual identifying kids are still engaging in, in behaviors that are outside of their own label. Why? Because there's this, you know, there's a there's, it's trending, it's very trendy now. to, to to have this idea of fluidity, right, that I'm not really set in my ways. I'm not really sorry, you know, I'm a, I'm a, I'm sort of figuring myself out. Therefore, I can kind of be fluid,
right? I Why do I have to have a solid identity? This is the popular narrative now. And what it does is it opens this idea of what of moral relativism, which we all really need to understand that there's really no objective truth, right? That there's no good because, again, these are postmodern ideas, but this idea that there's really no single, objective truth, right? And if you look at our society, we're pluralistic society, many faiths represented many, many different people from different backgrounds. So having one belief system, it doesn't exist, right? So in place of having one belief system, this idea that you basically create your own morality, right, that's what's
that's what's trendy, that's what's popular now. So it kind of makes these conversations like what's the big deal, you know, it's if there's no objective truth and and these are all constructs, you know, I'm using again, words that are that are kind of everywhere now. But these are awful human constructs, human beings meet made these labels. And, and so we can be whatever we want to be, we are a canvas, right? And so why is this problematic? Well, again, we have to look at what the research says. And there's another really great article that I recommend everybody check out it's a very short, you know, work that Dr. Rachel Sumner from Cornell put together, and it's called Who am
I? Can you can you share it's really short, I actually have it in my notes here, but let me see here. So can I post it may be in the comments. Okay. So it's called Who am I and and she, she, the title of her paper was identity formation and adolescence. Now her findings are really interesting. She first defines what is identity, right? And she says, personal identity is a cohesive sense of self. And then she explains to us that what you know what the experts what's what psychologists teach us about how we develop our personal identity. Well, there's two paths to it. One is exploration. Okay, so she says that there are two processes that are
About exploration. And then this is where involves, it involves trying out different roles or options. And then commitment, which actually is where you are committing to some aspects of identity, you actually have a very solid identity, and you're committed to that. So what happens here is that, as she explains, it's very interesting, that identity exploration in order to try to basically figure out what your identity is, you're encouraged. And this is, again, what we're seeing to try out different roles and options for themselves, right? Hanging out with different groups of friends, trying new activities. And this these are kind of general, you know, ideas about how to
develop your identity. But in today's world, what does that mean? I'll give you an example.
I had a woman sister come up to me a few years ago, and she told me she was it was very, she was very frantic. It was actually during eat. And he after the prayers, and she just asked to speak with me, and we huddled in the corner somewhere. And she just became became very, you know, panicked. And she said, I don't know what to do. My 12 year old, 12 year old Muslim Student daughter, told me recently that she thinks she may be a lesbian. And I said, Oh, you know, I was trying to figure out more information. I said, What happened? Can you tell me more? She said, basically, how did that conversation come about? Her friends in school, told her that you can't really know your sexual
orientation unless you want to experiment? Right? Only after you experiment, can you have a solid sexual orientation? So they filled her mind with this idea. And now she's utterly confused and tells her mother that unless she experiments, she cannot claim to be heterosexual. So do you see what's happening? It's vited. Right? So how about that doubt, you know, when we were growing up? The the identity was never an issue. Right? Right. We know who we are. Once, once you put doubt in something, then you have penetrated the fly, but you have penetrated the things that are the basics. Absolutely. And this is so so if I am following you, and this is very interesting, and this is very,
May Allah help all the mothers and parents, this is honestly scary. So basically, his identity is being invaded. Right? Right. And number two, in her study, she also talks about so after she explains these two different processes, then she goes into the consequences. So look, what she says about consequences of engaging in identity exploration, people who report high levels of exploration, and high levels of commitment usually have the best outcome. So if you're going to explore you have to at some point, have a solid, you know, identity that like the outcome should be solid, like if you're going to do something, you know, and we know from Team behaviors, there's, you
know, risky behaviors that they may dabble into, but usually they come out, and they know that that's not for me, or they kind of draw a line, right? But if there isn't that that solid commitment, and there's clearly problems and so she says the pitfalls are that exploring, exploring one's options for identity is associated with what identity confusion, or feeling a lack of certainty about one's identity. And people who are currently engaging in identity exploration and experiencing identity confusion, might experience increased symptoms of what depression or anxiety This is consistent with what we're seeing happening to our teens, I'm sure Dr. Ivor, you know
better. But the the number of anxiety disorders are skyrocketing, especially during COVID. But especially amongst youth, right? It's
how people are, and I, as we have been talking before, the program is like in the last 10 years, yes, the last things I even sit in my office, it's the I wouldn't say the norm, but it is not uncommon that the 14 and the 14 and 13 and 15. They're having anxiety, yes. And they are depressed, and they're on medications already. Exactly. Exactly. When you think it was like What did they experienced yet in life, too, you know, what am I saying that is not true, but what it's only 13 and 14 years, you know what's happened, but you're in what's happened in this 10 years. So Paula, it's exactly what we're talking about. It's this, these these ideas being pushed onto our kids. They're
being literally if you again, go back to the social media conversation we had several months ago when you're considering where are the main influences? What are the teens being influenced by right? When we were kids, we used to play all day with our friends and neighbors or we'd watch some cartoons and was pretty benign and innocent and that was it.
Nowadays, we have something that I find even more dangerous than a weapon in our children's hands. And some kids as young as you know, 89789 have iPhones, they have full access to browsers, they have full access to all apps, like we talked about Tick tock, which is an incredibly toxic environment for any child to be on. So if you're thinking about, you know, well, where are they getting these ideas? And why do they have suddenly these very fractured identities? What, what's what's going on? It's because, again, the influence is so powerful, their peer group is also being influenced as these ideas are everywhere now in schools. And not just that, I want to make this clear, it's not
just in public schools, private schools, Islamic schools, they're seeing this everywhere across the board. And I know I work with many different school systems. And I have seen these problems consistently, I've received emails and messages from parents from all over the country, who are saying, I don't know what to do my child, you know, is confused about this. And that, and this topic, by the way, I've done on Instagram, several surveys, like what topics parents would interest you? Or are there specific topics that you'd like, you know, more information about, and the topic of LGBTQ plus and, you know, having gender identity crises is probably is is the most requested
topic I get from parents the most requested every single time I do a survey, that's the number one, I'll see several, several requests, please talk about this, please talk about my chart, my child is confused.
And so we have to again, look back and I mentioned, you know, there are, you know, artists, they're singers, they're they're actors, they're social media, you know, influencers, who are very much Pro, these topics that we're talking about. And again, if our kids are being, you know, exposed to that content all day throughout the day, then it's no wonder why they start to maybe self, you know, evaluate and start thinking of themselves through the lens that they're being taught to think about, which is why do you believe what you believe in, you know, so we have, by the way, and this isn't entirely just about gender and sexuality, we're also seeing phased out our TVs. And this is the real
crux of the issue is that their faith is completely now that they don't know what to believe in, because why it becomes about, you know, they're, they start to feel conflicted. Well, I have friends who are like this, but my faith says otherwise. So now it's almost like I have to make a choice. And I've actually had that situation presented to me as well, I was once with a, in a gathering and a mother also came with her daughter and said that her daughter's friends were basically calling her a hypocrite, if she did not accept, you know, certain things, and they were making her question her faith, based on these arguments like, well, how can you be a fair and just person? And how can your
faith, you know, be all about love. So they start to mess with the belief system of our children by presenting these arguments, usually based on these political movements that are very popular now. And these ideas that if you don't accept these ideas, there's something wrong with you, right? It's not that we should be mutually respectful, and that you have your belief system, and I have my way of living, it's that if you don't accept my way of living in my identity, as you know, being right, and being normal, right, that word normal, then you are flawed, there's something wrong with you. And you're, you know, you have an ethics or, you know, a hypocrisy and ethics situation are your hip
or your hypocritical. So these are the types of arguments and you think if these kids, they're like, 12 1314, they don't know how to answer those questions. So what they do is they start to believe them, especially if you're looking at this is now widespread, so they're, they're, you know, they're the single one out, and what do we say earlier, that's the worst, that's a recipe for disaster as soon as a child in these environments feels, you know, completely alone in their, in their, who they are, and they don't have, you know, anyone who allies with them, they'll likely suffer the consequences, which is to be bullied and maybe, you know, other negative things or they capitulate
and just and start to adopt the same attitudes just for self preservation, you know, they want to Yeah, so basically, if I want to, for those who are just joining us, so and we're talking about the youth mainly because of the influence, and because it's easy, they are much easier to be influenced. So basically, there's two major identity is the gender sexuality, who am I, and this is huge. And then the other one is who I am as a human being basically, as a Muslim. Exactly. And this is actually an I will say both boys and girls, maybe girls more because the girls
Once she identify herself as a Muslim, especially wants to practice it becomes very obvious, then she will be more and more, I would say a target, because easily identified. So these are the main two ones. And I want all the parents who are listening to us, mothers and fathers, we need to accept these facts, we cannot deny it anymore. It's reality. It's a sad reality. But it is reality. And unless I accept reality, I will not be able to, number one, identify them. And number two, seek solutions. What should we do? But I will say one thing like they assume rohilla do not ever disappear from the mercy of Hamas. pantalla. So anything else that the identity or these are the
main two things? Yes. Oh, there's a lot of content. So I actually have a presentation that I offered to teens and youth just to really understand how we establish our identity. I'd love to share some of those slides for this conversation if we have time. So I'm gonna quickly screen share here and I'll pull up that presentation, the smilla.
So I want a moment here.
Okay, application window. There we go.
Okay, this should come up now. And Dr. IV. Just let me know if you'd like me to expand this or if you can, if you can see it clearly.
Dr. Haifa I'm sorry, I can't Can you hear me?
Touch it. I can't hear anybody. So I don't know if I've done something I hope not.
Okay, it says everyone can hear it can see and hear you. So inshallah we're good to go. Okay, good. Thank you. I'm the data. So here is this presentation that I created. And it is about identity in the search for meaning. And so I like to go through with teens, if they're watching, as well as parents, because inshallah it'll kind of give us some more information to work with. So at first, right away, start off and just explain that, you know, we have two distinct personnel are identities, right? We have the social identity and the personal identity. And the social identity, of course, is what we want people to think of us it's our are not a persona, per se, but yes, in
many ways, it's what it's what we want people to just the minimal that we want to share with people. And then we have the more personal identity, which is what we share with our intimate friends or family, the people that we're really close to and bonded to. So it's normal for everyone to have, you know, both of these identities, right. But we also want to understand what how, you know, the stages of development that we go through in order to develop these identities. So what I like to share here is, this is from Eric Erickson's model, he has eight stages of development of identity development, and he expands on and so it's really fascinating, because what he talks about is that
we go through different conflicts at each of these stages, right? And so you can see here, difference, you know, like infancy, early childhood, and then the different conflicts are right underneath. Now, what's interesting is what is the conflict in adolescence, which this is the demographic that we're talking about youth, right. And adolescence, by the way, is not just, you know, teens early, you know, sometimes people associated with, like tweens or, you know, the early teen years, but adolescence is like a very long period of time, we're talking, in some cases from 10 years old, all the way to 2122. So this is 10, or more years of development that we're talking
about. But here, you know, identity versus role confusion, this is literally the conflict that teens are going through. So that's why this conversation is so important, because just by virtue of the stage of life, they're in they're already experiencing an identity conflict. And now you add this conversation about, you know, labels and any you have to pick this side, and you have to identify with this group, and it suddenly becomes intense pressure. And of course, what's trending is going to have a big influence what's popular, what all their peers are into is going to have a big influence on the way that a teen navigates this conversation about identity, which is exactly
precisely what we're seeing. And so I like to just explain this for teens, especially because this is presenting. I'm presenting this to them, that these are normal cycles that we go through or stages that we go through, but we have to understand again, what's you know, that is specifically the pressure that's put upon teens and so then we talk about and this is again, just
Another breakdown of the same slide. But now I get into the five changes and adolescent feelings and behavior just to again help teens understand that some of those impulses to be different right to rebel to push back, they are part of the adolescent experience. But again, you know, we have to consider the context with with which our teens are in now and try to help them navigate what's in their best interest and what's not right I mean, as Muslims
This is the you know, what we do as parents, we are protectors we teach we help them to see right the dangers around them and to get through those stages of danger. So we have to know this information and we have to speak in a language that they can understand. So we talked about, you know, moving towards independence, this is a very, by the way natural experience for teens, they want to become more independent. So we have to also understand that and the reason why I mentioned this is because a lot of parents shut down around these conversations because as soon as they see their child who was very obedient and kind and gentle, enter those complex adolescent years and now
they're being a little bit more Curt in their responses more short tempered, maybe the doors are slamming and you'll start to see some a little bit of what would they would say is disrespectful behavior. They they double down and they become very angry because they personalize this behavior. And what that does unfortunately is it actually shuts down communication, so your teen is likely not going to feel that you are understanding them and what that does is it literally throws them into the arms of their peer group and you begin to start to lose more and more influence and control over them as soon as that happens. So we have to understand the stages and really be more empathic
because from empathy we can we can reach them right so understanding future interests cognitive development, these are all again the feelings and behaviors that teens go through the relationship development wanting, you know having interest in the opposite sex You know, there's a lot of shame in our culture sometimes and we tend to be very just puritanical and which is of course we want our children to have heya and to be modest and to always behave in the correct way. But if we are going to shame them as soon as they express certain feelings or thoughts, we are going to push them away especially in this hyper sexualized society where these conversations are open all the time there's
no hat anymore I was talking to speaking to Dr. heifer earlier. Alive everything's changed from when we were younger. The things that we couldn't even think to ever mention in front of an adult now it's fun it's it's it's encouraged and you have to keep in mind is this generation has been raised with a camera and a phone in their hands from birth. So that's why you see on tik tok absolutely no conflict with young kids dancing and putting their all of their you know, just their bodies on display their faces on display some of the most popular Tik talkers and anybody who's on Tick Tock knows this as a fact, you know, they some of the most popular tick talkers are young teens who all
they did was just have a camera directly either in their face, and they're making funny faces or they're dancing and gyrating their entire bodies. So the idea of our youth, you know, not shouldn't talk about certain things and you know, shutting them down and shaming them, we have to just realize they're in a culture that is very It rewards them for being open, It rewards them for having not having modesty. So you can't be you can get harsh with them, when they display those behaviors, you have to be more again, understanding of the external influences around them. And so those are normal, again, feelings, physical changes, and ethics and self direction. So these are all the five,
you know, things that teens are going to have to grapple with. And we have to be ahead of the conversation. If we're not even aware of these changes, how can we possibly expect our teens to be able to navigate these very complex issues, especially in today's day and age, so we have to be aware of what they're dealing with. And then also the areas where they struggle the most. And so this is also very important. So for example, status symbols, we have to explain to our teens that, you know, the, the impulse to, to establish yourself through prestige, right wearing certain types of clothing, and we see this now again, we're in a very hyper sexualized society. So a lot of our
Muslim girls even though and I've seen this, I'm sure Dr. Haifa, you've seen it as well. They wear the hijab in the message shed, but super tight, tight skinny jeans, very short sweatshirts, their buttocks is completely exposed, and they're standing in this in the gym out you know, or, and even some of our young boys are also dressed in very tight fitting clothing. This is all because of this, again, they want to achieve, you know, some sort of a status right through symbols and so we have to explain to them that these are natural but what
As our Dean say, and so always going back and forth between what's what's normal, what is what's, what's, what they're seeing all around them and what their peer group, but the standard of our faith and why the wisdom, why do we put such an emphasis on clothing, you know, from from the, as soon as a child begins to develop and, and they're now accountable and they enter that early at why there's it's a protection, it's not for any other reason but to protect you so that you are not molested you are not the US you are not exploited, you are not, you know, treated in any other way. But with respect, and this goes for boys and girls, right. So always looking at this conversation from those
two angles of this is how it is, but this is how it should be. And when you frame it that way, without again, we're in a very, you know, mature presentation, instead of shaming and kind of just personalizing everything, you'll actually start to make sense to your teens. And I know this I work with a lot with teens, they want dialogue there, you know, it's very frightening time for them because they're trying to navigate this giant world and adulthood is on the horizon, and they feel very conflicted about who they are. So all the tools they can get to understand themselves and the world around them is helpful. But we have to as parents be mindful of that. And take out the
language where we, again, start to come down on them, but rather just just as if we're teaching a class like I'm doing now, we just kind of present the material and help them see the hikma because the hikma of our Deen is undeniable anyone who can actually contrast what's going on in our society with what Islam says on these topics. We'll have a clear picture that Islam it's all about preventative prevention it's all about preventing harm and and really wanting the best for for for everyone not just the individual but for society at large. So you have to do that contrast right? So forbidden behaviors and teens very normally it's again look at society look at what they push them
to they push them into adulthood very early not even teens anymore now you're looking at elementary kids who are doing things and wanting to be more adult in their behavior because these are the models that are put in front of them you know all of these celebrities and other people they act to adult like very early on and so young children are taught to do the same and aspire to do the same so we have to talk about that about what's forbidden what's not acceptable you know things that we should not be doing drinking drugs dressing provocatively flirting you know I've seen way too many young girls it's very tragic especially on social media you know openly talking about their crushes
having no problem you know just speaking like adults and it's like wait you're only in elementary school you're just you know in the beginning of your junior high How are you speaking about these things so openly? Again it's they're they're following you know what what society is telling them which is this is cool, this is what makes you relevant. Otherwise you know you're not relevant and who who wants to be irrelevant right? rebellion right? This is what we mentioned earlier, when you see a teens having that impulse to rebel against their parents. They need to understand that a lot of that yes comes from wanting to have their own identity but it's also you know, simply what a
society tell them look at all of the messaging in cartoons and films so much of it is to undermine authority you know parents are are usually figures and in a lot of popular media children's media they're they're not very smart you know, and there's so many you know, ideas that children can outsmart their parents or outsmart their teachers so there's a definite attack on authority and you have to explain that to them so this is you know, look at how they're they're creating this tension in relationships by by presenting parents like they're just fools you know and all these popular characters Bart Simpson for example, the longest running cartoon I think in history it's it's a
complete I mean it's horrific how they present every single authority figure they're from teachers to law enforcement to parents completely undermine the concept of authority and it's no surprise you know, the the the creators are self proclaimed and our guests they don't you know, I believe they're atheists they are atheist actually, they don't have a belief and belief system so why would they care about trying to you know, teach what we teach which is we believe in a loss of data we have the concepts of good already they don't care about these things. So you have to help your kids to see that there's an agenda a greater agenda outside of them but having again these types of
conversations then idols you look at all of the you know, celebrities as we're talking about social media influencer influencers, look at what type of lifestyles they're they're living, and how many of them have drug addictions, how many of them have been in rehab or have had broken relationship after broken relationships, some of the most popular singers. Most of their records are sold because it's all breakup songs with
Different people, I mean, this is this, what we're aspiring to, right having these as our role models for our kids. So just helping them to understand that the people that are in society and they're making money off of off of us are not people that we should be wanting to mimic and look at, you know, just because they have money does not mean they're successful. Oftentimes, they have a lot of mental health issues, they're on medication, they have very complicated lives, right. And then, this last point is just about peer group and the behavior within peer group about cliquish exclusion. And this is also a big topic that I do like to highlight when I'm talking to teens, just
because especially with girls, we see this a lot where, you know, where within certain circles girls can start to become very mean, towards each other. It's true, the mean girl phenomenon is very true, but we also have to call them to a higher standard, this is not part of Islam, you know, to, to start excluding people, because they don't fall into whatever is popular, and then you, you know, you start doing the same bullying behavior that you're, you're seeing, you know, done to you, this is forbidden, you we don't mark, we don't exclude, we don't do things like that as Muslims. And so I like to, you know, have this conversation with that bifocal lens of presenting what society, you
know, the degradation, or the degradation of society now, and then what our Dean has, because it does help them to see, yeah, that makes sense, like Islam is against all of these things for wisdoms, and this is these are the prevalent things that you're, you know, being pushed into as a teenager, how does that make you feel? And so we get into, you know, after this part of the discussion, then we move on to another skip that part we talked about, this is my, you know, a topic that I love to talk about, and we'll probably adopt it. But if you are ever interested, I'd love to do a session on this, because I think it's a it's it would take a whole other hour, but I won't I
won't go through all of the slides. But this topic of emotional intelligence is what I'm so passionate about, because this is the framework that really will help our teens solidify their identity, because the problem exists, we have a problem with identity. It's it's clear as day, but how do we help them overcome these, this crisis? We have to teach them about how to formulate a strong identity. So what is emotional intelligence? It's a framework that I have studied for several years, and what it's a modern framework, popularized by Daniel Goleman, who's a psychologist, but what I like to do with this framework is use it as a as a sort of a catalyst, I guess you could say,
to help our teens really make the connections connect the dots between the prophetic example because everything that you will find about emotional intelligence goes right back to the source of the most intelligent, emotionally intelligent, paragon of perfection, our Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. So this is where the conversation really begins to turn, because now we're building right we, we had to lay it all out, and now we're in the building part of it. So I'll just quickly go through these slides. But what is emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage one's emotions. So Daniel Goleman, identified five qualities. And I'm sorry, I'm just skipping ahead
because I want to make sure we have time for any questions. But here, he mentioned, five qualities. So we talked about, for example, the first quality, he says is self awareness, right? So if you want to help your teen or yourself, work on your identity, this is a great framework, but we always again, want to have that bifocal lens, using modern frameworks, to help us to see the wisdom of our own name because honestly, as soon as I read these five qualities, My mind went immediately to suppiler. While they're describing our prophesized setup, who was more self aware than the province by seven, right? And so much of our Deen focuses on on becoming self aware of an orphan episode.
Right? We know this term, but also throughout the Quran, Allah has always compelling us to ask to look at the science to be aware of ourselves within and the universe around that awareness that that mindfulness of his presence, that he is real, that he is watching, that he is listening, this is completely, constantly repeated throughout our faith, right? And so knowing, you know, again, more and more on self awareness is paying attention to those signs coming into understanding of who you are, but also knowing the foundations of your faith, right? You're a paida What does it mean to be a Muslim? So many of our youth, they've never even they don't even know the word of PETA. They've
never been taught that. So this is really concerning, because we have to ask, like, Why do how do we expect our teens to have a solid identity of a Muslim if they don't know the core beliefs of a Muslim, right? So teaching them their opinion is so important, and then what their responsibilities are, you know, to the last part that has creation, knowing their temperaments, knowing their strengths and weaknesses. So this is how we build and it's again
A larger conversation, but I just wanted to introduce this today at least to give parents and teens who are watching something to hold on to our takeaway that they can maybe look into, which is this framework of emotional intelligence because it really does help for teens to start examining themselves and putting more focus on themselves then get falling into this, this trap it's really is a trap of, you know, I have to have this label and I have to be this I have to be this way because someone's telling me that in order to be relevant, I have to listen to them. No, you don't, you don't have to listen to anybody, you have to think for yourself. And so if you, you know, again,
give them the tools you'll see that they actually really respond to it. I've had great feedback from teens when they learn tools like this, I always encourage parents you have to be ahead of in the conversation, you can't wait for problems and disasters to show up and then scramble to try to find people like Dr. Haifa or you know, go to the chef at the masjid and desperately call them to say oh my god, I have a crisis of my family, my teenager no be ahead of these conversations. So I'll quickly wrap up and just go through all five qualities but self regulation is the second one this is when we talk about the skip and nuts we have to our kids should know about these things because all
of this will help them their tools. And they're all part of the therapy or the upbringing of a child to teach our kids these things but unfortunately, if they're not learning these things, they are going to be exposed to what's around them and they will fall so the third is motivation right? Giving them a mode of motivation of the purpose why were you created Why did the loss of power without a create you for what reason so that they know that every day they wake up they don't have to worry about what's on social media and how many likes and followers they have. But that Allah subhanaw taala is you know, watching over them and hit pleasing Him becomes more the more the bigger
priority empathy Of course we know so Pamela, what a beautiful quality of the promise I sent him and he personified it perfectly more than any again human in history, we learn empathy from the progress SM in every which way from how he spoke to, to his family and his companions, to perfect strangers to even the enemies, the people who tried to kill him. The proposition was empathic to animals to other creation of all those products, the story of the palm tree right, the member when he switched so many powerful stories where the process is exhibiting this beautiful quality and then social skills. These are all areas where our teens are desperate and thirsty and starving for guidance on
so why not take a framework like this help them build themselves up so that they don't fall into these polemics and debates about identity and then get lost and then we wonder why you know our kids are having this problem that problem we have to again guide them and this is a wonderful framework so maybe inshallah, Dr. Haifa when we have more time I can
score but I'll go ahead and stop with the screenshare because I know that we were we don't have too much time to get into a lengthy presentation but this is you know, such an important conversation to have so I'm so grateful to you well I take I mean this this is a lot of information absolutely a lot of realities and I love that there is a solutions because we we are very you hear a lot of the complaints and parents and and teenagers and we have this problem the most important things What are we going to do about it so basically what I took from this is two things number one it's reality we have to accept it yeah and we have what I'm what I mean by accepted is not accepted as norm, but
accepted as it's there. We cannot say it's not gonna affect us. We are Muslims, we are different. We are supposed to be different. But the reality is, the reality is it's not always the case. So number one is know that your teenager or the teenager was listening to me that you are probably getting exposed to all what we discussed today. That's the norm in the schools and I agree with you Islamic schools may be better at least less but that doesn't mean it's immune completely exempt because it's the children are the kids are not only in Islamic schools I'm it's eight hours in the school but then when they come back, it's the social media. I call it a flood the social media for they are
absolutely drowning in what they are seeing so all these images, so it is there then comes to it. How do I combat it? What do I do? If you look at the identity? I need to put their identity the question I have for you if you allow me what age you start this you're not gonna wait till they're 15 it's
absolutely you do not that's certainly not 15 I would say honestly I have you know, don't have energy. Do you have a NINE and a 12 year old, I've been having conversations about these topics from I don't know maybe since they were five or six I because I
You know, I'm an educator, I'm a teacher, and I'm with my kids, I have the privilege of being a homeschooling mother. So I can be with my kids throughout the day. But I always have conversations about these topics about the importance of being self aware, what does that mean, really guiding my kids on on just having a strong Muslim faith and also looking at society through the lens that we should look at it, which is suspect we should not be trusting that, Oh, just because something is popular, and everybody's doing it, that it's okay. That's the worst, I think, idea that we should, in any way support, we should rather say, if everyone's doing it, and we're seeing on the side of
research and data, a lot of harm, then maybe we should be suspect of what everyone's doing. And that's how I try to with my kids explain things. So for example, you know, very early I mentioned this maybe in our last conversation, but social media and phones and devices very early Dr. hype, I had my kids, I would show them videos showing the effects of these devices on their brain, I wanted them to understand that this wasn't about control. It wasn't about me just not giving them what their cousins and their friends and whoever else in the masjid had. And they thought mommy was withholding something from them that they really liked, you know, because every child, of course,
likes to play games, but rather that I if they trust me, and they love me, they should know that I am looking out for them. So when you frame conversations from a place of concern, a place of love, not of shame, not of control, not of trying to just, you know, shut down conversations, which I get parents are exhausted, they're tired, who who wants to have a long lecture every time they have to, you know, to give a specific rule or establish, you know, a rule in the house. I'm not saying to do that, or I'm saying to do is to have open, honest, transparent conversations and be willing to answer tough questions. So for my kids Hamdulillah, sugar law, they have habituated to not looking
at the phone or games as something that they want. And they, you know, they get it once a week, Fridays only for one hour. Sometimes if I'm being generous, I'll give it to them for one and a half hours, where they can play games that are very benign, you know, soccer, things like that I don't let them go on social media, they don't even know how to use browsers. I don't I don't I want to protect my children. Because as I said to earlier, Dr. Haifa, that I consider this a weapon, it is a weapon in the hands of our children, and I want to protect my children's fitrah to the utmost extent that I can, if that means delaying their exposure to a lot of the things in the world, I'm okay with
that. Because you know what, they have 100 non Muslim friends, they go out with me, I don't shelter my children by any means they have exposure within even our family to people of different faiths and backgrounds. So I'm not sheltering them from that I want them to know the world is more than just what they see in our home. But I will absolutely draw a line with giving them something that may expose them to something they cannot forget, may expose them to something that will be traumatic for them. And I'll tell you, I had a friend call me once. And she said that she needed advice because someone reached out to her and said that they're, I believe it was a seven or eight year old. Well,
you know, open the phone, their mother's phone, and just I don't know how ended up on a pornographic site. And this poor child, he was waking up in night terrors, because of that scene. I mean, that's the kind of stuff that we have to really understand is a daily occurrence. By the way, daily, this happens to children, and they have to go and now get into therapy, and they have real trauma from these things. Because those images are not meant for children to see, or even understand that it's just alien to them the whole concept of those things, especially if it's very graphic. And so I'll do whatever I can to protect my kids. So yes, my children will come to the lab, we have boundaries,
they don't get on these devices. But why did I? How did I do it? open, honest conversation. So as early as possible, just start talking to them about why it's not right for that, or it's not safe for them, and you will find less back and forth and debates when they get into the adolescent years and they start to you know, want to do more because they trust you you've established that trust with them early. So So talk to them orally
with this because just very recently I had a friend and we had this conversation with she has three teenagers.
The words patient if and multiplied. And it needs a lot of patient. You have to know that that's one of the virtues. The most virtuous virtue of some is if I will put number one is patient. So you really I mean you have to be patient with these children. Because it's a phase we were just saying this before the program, I had one of the families
I remember years ago she said if I had the choice I will put my children in the freezer from age 12 or 13. And then I'll get them out at age 18. And then I'm done with this use. These are the toughest years. So Pamela and we all remember in even our days, we were not maybe as as now but also we were not easy because you know, we didn't know who we are. Right and what's right what's wrong, everything was like cloudy, so right. And your job as an adult, let alone as parents I will say number one, show them love. Absolutely let them feel it set them see it and the reason you are not giving them what they want or you're wanting them to be different is because you love them and don't
push them. Third, I also will add is you really need to remind them that they want to be independent, they are adult they will be responsible for this are the results of what they are doing in a lot we asked them Yanni engrave in them the word we all use taqwa but not the top what the big frame top one is Allah is seeing you just keep throwing the word Allah seeing you he's with you, with your friends, the difference between you and them that you know there is a lot and I will add number four, if not, I will put it number one. So love your heart, your heart pray for them, don't you don't ever pray against them. Especially when you get upset. Always Yanni the word that if
you're really really upset you're Allah guides them. And you never know. In that moment, Allah will open so a lot of understanding very difficult time. Love them, love them, make a lot of joy out for them, understand when they make mistakes. And the most important thing and I will end here is the end result is not in our hand Subhan Allah The end result in a loss hand and I always when mothers come talk to me about their children, I say Satan and
Satan anyway, his son is Kapha did not read and save Abraham I will ambia his father was Catholic. So what is teaching you and me is I am not in control, you are not in control. But that doesn't mean I am not going to take do everything I need to do. And I will add one more alarm you remember this? You need to be the example. Absolutely. And if you are not going to let your child spend that much time on social media, you need to lead by example. Absolutely are not spending time on social media and you think they are sleeping Allah knows they know you probably more than you so you say you know look at me. I am not using it we all get to not use it and May Allah Subhana Allah make it easy. I
think we have a lot of questions on on there. Do you have time to take some ASL? hamdulillah? Yes, we have time inshallah. So I can see Julius is on 22 and I recently converted to Islam. I'm aware of all topics you have discussed with us today. How can I guide my friends, future kids, to prevent them from being dependent from dependable from society, norms and behavior? Mashallah, does that go ahead? And Juliet's a wonderful question, I really think sofa is everything we have to do better in terms of providing good stuff for our kids, and whether our kids are going to public school or Islamic school or their homeschool. What have you been providing the the core who are the main
influencers, that our kids are going to be around? Who do they have shared values to the families have shared values. So really, I think in those early years, it's so essential for moms and dads to be looking to other couples with same age children that have similar values, that they can create those systems of support, so that the family can convene, you know, because this whole idea of isolating, you know, based on you know, kids go in one room and adults go in another room, we have to move away from that what is the problem of with the families convening together, you know, two or three families for example, traveling together two or three families getting together for Ramadan
for thought, this is much healthier because it creates the system where there's a larger You know, there's a support that the child will be raised with, throughout and especially in the teen years when adults have to accept parents I know I'm gonna have to have the same conversation with myself as soon.
But we have to be aware that we also have to learn to find mentors for our kids in those teen years because some conversations are too awkward for children to have directly with their parents, but they if you have trusted us
You know, Friends or families that you've been around since that child was young, then maybe those adults can be can stand in place of mentors or even aunts and uncles, cousins. You know, the The point is, is creating systems early and getting your friends or you know, for all of you who are out there and are young couples are thinking to have children making this a priority. Because as and I mentioned this to Dr. Haifa, but one of the leading authorities on parenting in general in this country, and I've had the pleasure of doing panels with him. And meeting him he's phenomenal is Dr. Leonard Sachs. And I would highly recommend looking at his material and, and really looking at his
overall message, which is, you know, he has a book called The collapse of parenting, for example, where he talks about what's happened with this complete, like, you know, collapse of authority. And part of the problem is that children are no longer spending a lot of time with their family, there's no priority with family time, it's all about friends, friends, friends, and for some reason, we've adopted this idea that as soon as a child gets a little bit of independence or 1516, that it's okay to just let them always be with their friends, and we start to get guilted very easily, and we don't put our foot down as parents. But again, I mean, that's a different, you know, topic that we can get
into but the point is, is if you have adults that are mentors that can fill those roles, then your child will have access to other other responsible adults that you trust to talk about important things and they don't lean on their peer group that's the problem is that in the absence of trusted adults, they'll turn to their peer group or they'll turn to again places like social media, which are destructive demonic forces, in many cases, these are forces where shade on is everywhere and expose our children or give them this feeling that I can't they can't talk to me they can't they don't have any other adults to talk to, or you know, not give them exposure to members in the
community that are good solid role models, and then they feel they have no choice but to go to those spaces and learn their whatever the questions they have from from them. You know, we have one more question. So this is from Nadia, she's actually from California and I know her very well. Any tips on how to build a strong Muslim identity for the younger age, children 70 year old so when they grow older, they are comfortable being Muslim very good question. A question about a co op sister Nadia 100 I do a parenting session and I cover a lot of many topics that Dr. Haifa mentioned in terms of love in terms of just being really there for them patient for our children but for the younger kids
what they need as I said it reminds us right in the younger years you play with them and then from from it you know until seven and then from seven to 14 you teach and then from 14 and beyond you befriend that is a wonderful you know, a reference for us to just keep in mind younger kids need play they need you to play with them and I I you know, I used to run with my dear friends Shazia and Maria in Southern California, we ran an Islamic school Co Op. And we you know, found that it was interesting because the mothers were in the co op and Mashallah, you know, a lot of them would come would watch us as we were being goofy and silly and dancing and doing all of these things with their
kids. And they would tell us like, Oh, it's so hard for us to do that, you know, or how do you guys do that? So, but it's part of, you know, what we have to do as parents is just no child development, you have to study children, and what reaches them. For younger kids during the Age of play. They're in the age of fantasy, they're in the age of imagination. So when you build a rapport with them, that they can feel like Oh, you're welcome to enter their world and you want to willingly enter their world instead of shooing them away all the time go play with your toys close the door, I don't want to hear you that kind of negative separation is not making them feel loved and respected. So
you want to actually go into their world and then what happens is when they when I advise you to look up the nine year change because this is usually the year of children coming out of that place stage and they now are becoming more self aware and see themselves as separate from the world and they get more serious so it's called the nine year change you can look it up but when you see that nine year change happening Guess what? When when now it's their turn to enter your world right the world of more responsibility the world of more serious conversations the world of more you know just delegating and giving them more you know things school or skills teaching them more skills
delegating more tasks to them, they will what warmly enter that world because you set the precedent like Dr. Haifa said you set the example you were willing to do it in their time and now it's time to do the opposite. So play with your children share wonderful stories, and stay away from all of the the eyes that have to do with you know, Johanna and shaytaan. Let's not talk about anything like that stuff. We have to make our choice.
Love maker children level of support that in the process of share all of the stories that are going to make their eyes dazzle you know the it's a mirage the cave experience in the cave you know our kids get so you know I'm impressed by all these Disney movies and that's fake it's not real whereas we have incredible experiences that are prophesized set up and other prophets witness it's real and we have to make it come to life so tell really powerful stories attach their hearts to Allah and the Prophet slice them and you will see there will be proud Muslims you know I reading books and then also I really encourage you to have a good home some home library and there are so many phenomenal
books now out there that reinforce you know the importance of having a strong Muslim identity so these are the ways to build for our young children inshallah
kilo here I'm going to add one thing
for my children to to have a strong Muslim identity I have to have a strong one absolutely vertical beautiful It's amazing I mean we always want things a lot of the parents want from their children what they don't have so young I wanted to be in for example, I want to be a physician I couldn't so I want my child to be that may work. But for for Islam for religion, there is always exceptions to the rule. But the norm the norm as we say in the RV faculty shade it, if you don't have it, you cannot give it I have to be comfortable in my identity app. So I will look as a parent, am I as a mother or as a father? It needs to be both. When I am in my society with my friends with my wife at
work, am I being identified as a strong Muslim?
If I am so comfortable with my identity outside there when I come home, it's gonna be the same my children will see it a lot of what children learn and correct me if I decide not only from discussion and teaching is by observing 100% modeling 100% mods exactly modeling you all you all have seen the 340 year old you are in your sweater they come in without even their hijab on will do and your institute and they follow you
so yeah no idea which I know a lot about to come up with mount la make you stronger, but we need to have personally strong Muslim identity and I will add one more thing don't force it on them. I have seen the rebellion when it is forced on the children from young age young, young, younger and then when they get to the teenager and college. They will absolutely rebel don't force it. Exactly sit yourself love it yourself bring it to your home. Share it Be patient Don't play with them after seven teach them till 14 after 14 you're their friend. They will not listen anymore. Absolutely. Have you have any more questions? Good Yeah, can you take one more yeah Jose oh you have to go for a
can we do one more inshallah? Okay. This is very good from Farzana she said how to respond to and kids ask questions on how much Allah powerful she's seven years old Masha Allah
Allah think again going back to the stories from the poor and the stories of the prophets showing the universe like you know, our kids should look at pictures of space and like not like cartoon pictures, show them the pictures that are from the Hubble telescope show them how microscopic is the earth compared to the galaxies of the unknown universe out there show them amazing things like the animals that are you know a camouflage and they can be turned into you know tree those What do they call the those branch no branches I forgot their insects basically but they look like branches you know, it's upon a lot how Allah's creation is, you know, all of the different creations that we can
point to, to show Allah's might and power. And then of course the stories of the prophets reveal that as well. So I think storytelling is a really great opportunity to show all those powers power but also looking at our bodies going inward looking at me, Dr. Heiko Marshall is a physician she could certainly expand on this even more but just the idea that our hearts are beating and our lungs are breathing without any effort, how is this happening? How are we doing that? You know, and, and just really bringing awareness to our children about the way that the sun and the moon and the stars are in this beautiful rhythm. And that I used to tell my kids this it's a panel I you know, again,
this is according to research, if the earth was moved by just you know, small, you know, degrees
very minimal movement from its place and it's on the axis that it's on right now. We would not be able to exist we would not be able to survive on this planet because the sun is too powerful we'd have half the planet freezing or half the planet in flames but these are really important things to bring awareness of a lot is put everything in does there's a design in everything universe show your design exactly that the molecular design the the cosmic design, pointing all those things out for children is to bring them into awareness and certainly we have a creator in our Creator is perfect, and his universe is imbalanced because he is sustaining everything in this universe. And
Zack Lavinia beautiful I cannot believe it's more than an hour
because this is the hustler has to catch up her mobile handler Bellamy Joseph, Mohit everybody. We have people from all over the world. Matt Laurie, would you all I want you all myself, please pray for the people of Texas. We have a really bad snowstorm yesterday and I live in St. Louis really had a bad one. But we are I would say us but we see this every year. But the people in the south specially in Dallas and Houston. They were hit hard. They lost their electricity. They're one of our volunteers who usually help us with this program couldn't join us today. She's from Dallas because of the lack of electricity and internet so and we grateful to the near Mr. For law. Let us write for
what Allah gave us exactly luck area for science was beautiful. I can tell you it's not going to be the last time
may Allah I mean you're visiting a lot of healing gymea Anak along with your handicare shadow Elijah and stuff. You're going to be excellent alesina mahama. While earlier he was happy to see my kathira Cinema