Parenting: Agreeing on How Children Should be Raised

Dear Hajjah:
Although I am an educated woman who previously enjoyed a good salary, when we began to have children I decided I would quit my job to stay home with them. We have two young children and I am again pregnant. My problem is that my husband and I do not agree on how to raise our children. When I teach them discipline, he comes home and basically tells them everything the opposite, making me look bad in front of them. When I try to discuss this issue with him he laughs and dismisses my concerns. I am very frustrated with his attitude and feel it shows he has little respect for me. Can you please advise me what to do?       - F.A.

Dear F.A.:
The hadith says, "Paradise lies at the feet of the mother." Another hadith reminds us that the first to be honored is the mother, the mother, the mother and then the father. It is better that your husband not to put you down and laugh at you as it is like bringing shame on his mother or his sister. Most importantly, you are the mother of his children. If he laughs at you in front of them, they might lose respect for you. This will also give them the wrong message that you are not competent to care for them. If your husband sees something to disagree on, it is better the two of you discuss the issue away from the children. How would he feel if someone at his job laughed at him in front of the people he manages or supervises?

The mother is the one who spends the most time with the children and so she must be the main one to discipline them. As such, your husband and in fact all other family members, including in-laws, should respect your role and support you in this task.

Children may also get into the habit of running to their father or grandparents to complain that their mother did this or that. He should not welcome this behavior. In fact, it is his duty to reinforce that you are the authority in the home to whom they should listen. The two of you are partners, with your husband leaving the home and you staying in the home, each working to secure a better family life. How he responds to your role is a matter of respect and should not be taken lightly. Continuing disrespect has the potential to break the marriage. May Allah grant you and your husband both the wisdom and willingness to sit down and work out this problem.

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