The Challenge of Raising the Next Generation

Saad Tasleem

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Channel: Saad Tasleem

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ICNA-MAS Convention 2018

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The speakers discuss the challenges of parenting children who have a history of behavior and the importance of parenting children in achieving their goals. They emphasize the need for parents to take responsibility for their own lives and allow their children to grow and learn. The speakers also emphasize the importance of parenting and developing a sense of the " ADult," as a result of parenting children. They share personal experiences of feeling the need to control their children and develop a sense of the " ADult," as a result of parenting children.

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I'm

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Bismillah Al Hamdulillah Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah who are early he will be Manuela Allahu Allah Allah Allah Allah Allah Allah in the content it will Hakim Allahumma alumna and pharaoh now when fatten me my limp Turner was in trouble. I mean, Allah whom I didn't call was

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worried about the law belty law was organized in ABA was set out modicum Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh.

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Okay, just to start off, if I get a quick show of hands of how many parents we have in the rooms, just raise your hand.

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Okay, put your hand down. How many parents of teenagers?

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Okay, very good. Put your hand down how many teenagers in the room?

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Okay, very good. I just, I just want to know who I'm speaking to. Because that could affect what I say and how I say what I'm going to say. Now.

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This is not the first time that I've been invited to speak about parenting, and the topic of teenagers. And I usually get invited to like a panel like this. Not because I have teenage children or have a lot of experience in raising teenagers. Actually, I only have one child, he's three years old, even though he acts like a teenager, he's not a teenager, right? But I usually get invited to like a panel like this, because parents are like, can you just tell us what's going on in our kids heads. Like, you know, you're young, and you know, you talk to kids, and you deal with kids all the time. And you know, I'm going through this crisis, my teenager is rebellious now. And they talk back

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to me and this and that, or whatever. And I'm having a lot of problems communicating with my child and things like I don't recognize my son or my daughter anymore, just the way they talk to me. And it's kind of like when someone's world is flipped upside down. And they have nowhere to go. And then they they, you know, I'm invited to kind of like, give people some answers. And usually, when I speak about teenagers,

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I feel like my job now has become like, I spend a lot of my time just speaking to parents about not freaking out. Right, like evens Had Allah even sister, Dr. Medina, when she was reading the the stats, one of the things that I was doing was I was looking at the at the at the audience, and I was looking at the parents sitting in the room, and your body language, smoke spoke volumes, there was like, there was a lot of parents and this may have been, you know, you may not even realize that you're doing this, but there was there was a lot of parents internally freaking out. Right. And it's like all the dangers of social media, which are totally valid, right.

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But the reaction that we have a lot of times is to freak out, right? There's a lot of, there's a lot of parents like shaking their head, like, oh, I can't believe it. I've been you know, I've been telling my child to stop, you know, using their phones so much and, and get off the internet and whatever. And I knew it. And now that I'm armed with these facts, I can go to my child and be like, Look at the dangers, right? The reality is that that is not going to do anything for our children. Right? We have to realize that at those teenage years, yes, when you look at your child, and you feel like they're a different person, they are very much a different person. They are not the person

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that you have been raising so far. And look, I get it like i i Not 100% but I, I can kind of empathize. Right, my son, as I said, he's three years old. And he is like the world to me. And I know like how much time and effort and love I have put into raising him even like say he's only three years old. And when I think about the parents that I speak to, and when they tell me about the things that their teenage kids did, or what they said to them, it just it breaks my heart because I immediately often, like projected onto my son, and I'm like, is this guy gonna grow up? And if 15 years old, he's gonna give me lip like, is that what's gonna happen? I remember he's had a lot when

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my child was, my son was about a year and a half. And I was changing his diaper and my wife is right next to me. And I turned to my wife, and I said, Do you think this dude's really gonna grow up? And like, talk back to me? And she's like, Yeah, most likely.

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And I was like, I just, I can't believe it. Like, I wish I could just, you know, like, what am I gonna say to him? Like, how dare you give me lip when I was the dude wiping your butt? Right? Like how like, it's an n. So I get it like I get it when when parents are heartbroken, right? I get it when they first hear their child say to them, like, I don't want to talk to you, or like get out of my room or why are you always criticizing me and why are you always nagging me? Right? And oftentimes, our reaction to that is to like hunker down even more is to go harder, right? And even kind of going back to some of the stats that were being read this panel, I think, I think you

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One 70% of parents,

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what was the start? You said, trust the children trust their children, right? So 70% of parents trust their children. And then you ask the room and you said, how many parents here trust their children? And like three people raise their hand?

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Were you surprised by that? No. Okay. Why?

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Because parents freak out. Because not only do parents freak out, Muslim parents freak out much more. Right? So maybe 70%, you know, or no, definitely 70%. But I'd be is that a statistic for Muslims? Or just in general? Okay, I'd be very interested to see how that statistic comes out. When we're when we look at Muslim parents, you know, I, you know, I'd be, I don't know, like, if you're asked me to put a number on it, I'd say maybe like 10 to 15% of parents actually trust their kids, right. And I say this, by the way, because I deal with this on the day, like, on the daily, when I'm out and about, and if I'm, you know, at a conference, or I'm teaching a class, or I'm at the masjid,

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or whatever. So a parent comes up to me and says to me, like, Look, I just don't know what to do.

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I've done this, and I've done this, and I like I'm losing control. Right. And oftentimes, like I said, I have to tell the parent to like back off a little bit, there's a couple of things that I always say to parents, I say, number one, and I know this is a hard pill to swallow. But this is the reality. And we have to deal with this. Number one, we have to come to terms with the fact that our children are going to do dumb things. Right, it's going to happen, right as even from a younger age, like we try to control our children in this night or whatever. And, you know, being the parent of a toddler, I have so much control over my child, but I still don't have full control over my child.

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But our instinct is to want to protect them and shelter them and control everything that they do. But even as you know, a parent of a toddler, I've had to deal with the fact that I don't have full control. Right, and as our children as they get older, and as they especially hit that teenage mark, and as they get close, like 15 and 16, where, you know, they're they're growing and they're developing, they're developing their own identity, they're finding themselves, they're transitioning into the, into the realm of adulthood, of independence, of being their own person, where they want to have nothing to do with their parents, especially at that age, of course, we're gonna have less

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and less control. But the more we try to hold on to them, the more without, you know, without their consent, and what they don't want that the more we push on them, the more we're going to push them away. Right. And that and like I said, it's, it's, it's a hard reality for us to deal with them, right. And the fact that no matter how much we try, our kids are, they are going to do things that are wrong and messed up. Right, and I wish I could just drive that point home. Because, you know, a lot of parents, they have this ideal in their mind, you know, and we hear about the Sahaba, or the Allah that I know, we hear about the the Shabbat from the Sahaba, we we hear about, you know, those

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young companions, someone like Mozart being their mantle, the ALLAH that is one of my favorite companions, who accomplished so much at a very young age, you look at the Ibadan love and Mr. Nirmala, and so on and so forth. They did so much. It's easy to like, look at that, right, and like go to a conference, we hear about all these youth that did so much in the young age, and then to look at that, and then compare our children to that. And then it'd be like, Yeah, I've really failed, you know, much I've filled my children or, you know, my children are just so very far behind. And it's easy to, like, have that ideal in our mind, and keep comparing our children to

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that. And the reality is that our kids are different, right? They're dealing with it with a very different world. They're dealing with, with, with some challenges that are completely foreign to us and challenges. You know, sometimes it's easy to like, it's it's easy to look at our kids and say to them, you know, you have it's so easy, right? And I know that's something that that all parents say, and you know, I say this, but I'm like the biggest hypocrite because I look at my three year old son, I tell him all the time, how easy his life is. And I look at my son, I'm like Subhanallah like, you're so privileged, like I sometimes it blows my mind how privileged my three year old son is. And

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you know what, I grew up a pretty privileged life as well. I grew up in the suburbs, right? I never I never had, I didn't really deal with some problems that a lot of people around the world deal with. But it's easy to do that to be little the problems that that our youth and our teenagers and our children are going through. The reality is that just because their problems look different. It doesn't mean that they are any less severe. Right? Just because something doesn't look hard to us. It doesn't mean that it's hard for our children. Right. And when parents say like my life, like it was so much harder for us well, something being hard is relative to the

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A person, right it's relative to who you are and what you've been through and, and what you're going through. And so, I often tell parents, number one, my first piece of advice is chill out. Right? You have to you have to step back, you have to give them some space, you have to allow them to grow, and not saying, hey, free rein let your kids do whatever they want, right? Because some parents, that's all they hear, when I when I say this, I like parents come up to me afterwards, and they're like, How dare you tell me to like never watch my kids and and let them do whatever? And are you saying that we should allow them to just be on the internet and do what I that's not what I'm saying. But

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what I'm saying is that the amount that you're pushing right now, that amount, it needs to chill out a little bit. Right, you need to allow it and and I was actually very excited for Dr. Susie's talk, you know, treating our teenagers as adults, right to have to have the guts to do that. And when I say guts, I really mean that because part of treating our children like adults, part of giving them responsibility is relying upon Allah, Allah subhanaw taala is understanding that in the end of the day, you can do whatever your you want, but it is Allah who has control over our children. It is Allah who decides the piety or the Empires nature of our children, right things are in the and that

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is why Allah subhanaw taala gave us examples of the prophets. We have the example of new Allah He set up who was not able to guide his own son. Right? This is the Nabhi of Allah salAllahu alayhi Salatu was Salam. Right? So we have the example of the Prophet sallallahu. I know he was Senator, who was not able to guide some of the own members of his family. Right? His uncle, he the process, send them wept with him on his deathbed, urging him pleading with him to say now ilaha illAllah. He said, Just say the kennemer just say La Ilaha illa Allah, so I have something with Allah so I can go to Allah with something and I can seek here for seek forgiveness for you. But he was not able to

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guide him. And that is why Allah has the panel at the outset in the manner but what our kin Allah Haidee, Manisha, you don't guide those whom you love. Rather, it is Allah who guides whomever he wills, right. And so what cool, by the way, by talker, I don't mean just let them go. That's not what I'm saying here. To what good is to take the means that Allah has given to us to educate ourselves with the resources that we have. And you know, the family Youth Institute, amazing thing, you know, and I think parents need to be more educated today, we need to know and understand what our kids are going through. But beyond that, after that, we have to have a sense of putting things

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in the hands of Allah subhanaw taala take the means. And then trust in Allah subhanaw taala. Right, the time for, you know, like I said, you know, this age at the age of, you know, this teenage age, and I speak passionately about this age, and I speak passionately about teenagers, because a lot of my growth and my changes in my life, they started when I was a teenager, because before I was a teenager, I didn't really have any faith, right? I live my life the way most other people live their lives. And, you know, it's just about, you know, school and activities, and this and that. And for me, like music was a big part of my life, like, my main goal in life was to make music and so on and

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so forth. But as I started to grow and mature, and really think about life, and think about the purpose of life, and I'm actually very grateful to my parents for allowing me that freedom. Right, and I know it sounds weird, but it is, I believe it is, it's, it's that freedom that I had to really deeply look at myself, and to be treated like an adult, where my my ideas and my concerns and what's bothering me is just as important as as an adult. And it started when I was 15 or 16 years old. And it took me a few years. And it wasn't until I got to college, where I really, really, really, you know, thought even more about the purpose of life and what happens after death, and what is the

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purpose of everything that we do and so on, so forth. But it was that those teenage years, that was the spark, and I fear some sometimes panela that we as Muslim parents, we we dim that spark, we get rid of that spark, all out of a sense of how you know, wanting to control our children. Right now, and I'll just give you I'll just give you one example. You know, and this is not so much you know, Dean but even in our even in the dunya even the worldly life for our kids, you know, a lot of times before our kids ever, ever, you know, develop into who they are starting to figure out who they want to be and what they want to do in their life. We've already decided for them what their career

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should be.

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Right? I mean, we all know the whole like stereotype about daisies and doctors, right? Like all daisies want their kids to be doctors, right? And I am I am from the generation that saw the effects of that type of parenting. Because I know people who are adults now, right, who spent years and years and years

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going through school and, and med school and this and that or whatever. And now they're 35. Or they're 40. And they're married, and they have kids, and they go to work every day, and they come home and they're tired. And they're like, I don't find meaning in my career. Like, I have no passion for this. And it begins to affect other parts of their life. I, you know, and I'll just share here, this one case that I dealt with, and I was talking to

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this family, who the parents, both the mom and the dad, both of them were doctors. And they had three children. Two of them had already become doctors, the youngest child was in college, and you know, he was studying or whatever. But they were having a tough time with their youngest child. And they said, you know, he just he's not motivated, you know, he doesn't take his schoolwork seriously. Like, he's not, you know, academically, he's just, and they're like, We got him tutors and this and that, whatever. Can you talk to him? And I spoke to him. And I asked him, I said, you know, what's going on? And what he said to me, like, absolutely caught me off guard. He said, Look, I'm just

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going to be honest, I'm just gonna be real with you. I'm not as smart as my brothers as my as my brother and sister. Right? I'm not as smart as my parents want me to be? And I was like, do not say that. Right? Because I don't believe that.

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I said, why? Like, why do you think you're not as smart as your brother? And he goes, Well, because they, you know, they studied everything that I'm studying. And it was, it was, it just seems like it was so easy for them. Right? Like, I work hard, like, I really study for my tests and my exams or whatever. And I still, I still don't get the grades that they get. And then I realized I've had Allah, that, you know, this is not, I thought this in my head. And I didn't say the same yet. Because I had to speak to the parents first, before I get in trouble with the parents. I spoke to the parents, and I said, Look, how important is it to you that he becomes a doctor? And they said,

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Well, you know, we want him to have a secure future. And this and that. And, you know, it's, you know, you know, everyone else has done it in our family, or whatever they said, and I said, Look, your quest for your child to be a doctor is destroying him, it's destroying his self esteem. It's destroying, even like his mental is having an effect on his mental health, right? Because now he's at a point now where he, he just believes that there's something wrong with him, when the reality is, and I can see this, that he's not dumber than his his siblings, they're not smarter than him. His strength may be in a different field, he may be way smarter in a different field. Right? He may,

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he may, he may, if his parents just allowed him to explore a little bit, maybe he would find a field that he would that he that, you know, he would gel with. And he would do, and he would excel in that. But a lot of times and I spoke to the parents that I spoke to him and finally allowed me to say this to Him, because it really will hit it hurt me to hear this, this young guy say I'm just not smart. I'm like, Yeah, I don't believe that. But the point here is, my brothers and sisters,

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that when it comes to our children, and when it comes to how we deal with our children, when it comes to the expectations that we have with our children, it's not fair to treat everyone the same. It's not fair to compare our children to other children. It's not fair to compare our children to this ideal we have in our head, and I'll be I'll be just I'll be honest with you, right? I'm guilty of that myself. And I really have to rein myself in. Like, sometimes I have conversations and my son like he's three, right? And I'm like, Yeah, so you're gonna grow up and you're gonna memorize the Quran by the time you're six. And then you're gonna study fifth and Hadith, like while teach you

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filth and Hadith, and we're gonna have these classes, and inshallah you will grow up. I'm like, You're gonna have all these advantages that I didn't have. I started studying Arabic. You know, after my, you know, my, my 20s. And I studied Islam, and I started memorized, like, so late. I'm like you, you can do it right? You're so young. And there's so much that you can do so much that I didn't do. And I'm like, subhanAllah, I'm turning into all those parents that I speak to. Right, like, that's me. That's who I'm becoming. And usually, like, my wife has calmed me down. And she usually says something really provocative. Right? Like, what if he is not interested in like,

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Islamic academics at all? What if he just wants to be like a regular Muslim, pray five times a day or whatever. And initially, I was like, Wait, why wouldn't like that's the best career in the world. Right? It's the best career for me, maybe, but not necessarily for him.

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But as parents look, I you know, and I don't, I'm not here to like, just shame all the parents here, right. Like I said, when I started my talk, I know that all of this comes from an area of love and affection. All of this happens because we care about our children. And if there's one thing I can say to the teenagers in the room, I know your parents need to chill out, right? I know

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They need to give you some space. I know they need to allow you to grow and mature and give you some space. But at the same time, you have to realize that you are the world to your parents, that they they and this is something you know, I can't I can't explain this to teenagers, I can't do it. Because I myself didn't really understand this until I became a parent myself. Right? There's just one quote I read, which is like horny as heck. But as a parent, like it's so true. And basically this quote is having a child is like, watching your heart, walk around outside, right? It's like somebody took the heart out of your body, and you see it walking around, and that's what your child

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is. Right? And so to the to the kids in the room, help your parents, right? I know you feel like your parents are from a different generation. I know you, you you feel like they don't understand. But just like your parents need to empathize with you to try and understand your plight and what you're going through. Likewise, you need to just give them a little bit right to understand that you know, look at what you know, try to empathize what they are going through, and Allah has penalties Allah knows best Subhana Allah humma Bendik I sent to Allah and a stockbroker to be like with Zack and set up

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just like a locker