Before I begin though, I would like to say a big thank you to all our listeners for all the amazing feedback. We thrive on your compliments and your critic, it helps us grow.
During the week, I received a short message from a listener, it reads;
I really enjoyed your first podcast and I can’t wait for the next one. I would like you to consider my situation on your next episode. I am a 30 year old lady with extremely possessive parents, and this is not because I am female, they are like that with my 35 year old brother too. My parents would harass me about marriage, they’ve tried to force me to marry several men in the past, they undermine me all the time even in front of my staff, they are sometimes abusive, they call my married brother at odd hours, summoning him home for trivial issues, constantly meddling in my affairs and those of my brother, it is even affecting his marriage. It is very frustrating. How do you suggest we handle this?
I do not give advice, however, I see how this topic can benefit you and your brother. I would speak more on the matter and wish upon you the spirit of discernment.
Bear with me, as I would go a little spiritual before I discuss my perspective. I am muslim, but I would utilize the two religious books for this podcast.
The Bible says in the book of Ephesians 6: 2-3
“Honor your father and mother, that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on the earth.
It further says in verse 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath; instead, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
The Quran also spoke about respecting your parent’s in several verses, it even went on to say that the paradise of a child is at the feet of his parents.
[Quran 4:36] You shall worship GOD alone – do not associate anything with Him. You shall regard the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, the related neighbor, the unrelated neighbor, the close associate, the traveling alien, and your servants. GOD does not like the arrogant sh gt ow-offs.
I chose this particular verse because it buttresses the need to show respect to everyone including those we consider beneath us.
Islam also gives a lot of attention to the need for showing respect to the children.
The Prophet Muhammad SWT has said:
“Respect your children and give them good training so that Allah rewards you.”
‘Ali, The Commander of the Faithful, says:
“The meanest person is one who shows disrespect to others.”1
Once a Bedouin saw the Prophet kissing a small kid. Out of wonder he said, “I have eight children but I never kiss them”. The Prophet remarked, “What can I do if Allah has taken away love and compassion from your heart”.
The Prophet SWT said: “Fear Allah and treat your children fairly” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2447; Muslim, 1623).
So both religions spoke highly about honoring our parents, but it also went on to urge parents to treat their children kindly.
It is important to never loose sight of the fact that for most of our parents, their actions are driven by their love.
A lot of people born before the 70s believe that loving someone especially children is about possession. Loving a child must mean that they always know what’s best for that child. Again for a country so religion driven, it is very ironic.
Spiritually, parenting is about guardianship, leadership… to become a good parent one must first strive in themselves, because children would do what you do, not just what you say because you say it.
There is no love more unconditional than God’s love for us, yet he does not possess us. He gives us the gift of free will to make choices after setting down the rules (his boundaries). But God is a just God, and there are consequences for our actions.
Therefore, based on the commandments from God, it is our duty to honor and respect our parents, regardless of their attitude. If you do otherwise, you would be judged accordingly. If they choose to interact with you without love and respect, it is their prerogative, but you can be rest assured that they would also be judged accordingly.
And this is a rule that transcends parents for me, I choose to respect everyone, but I also reserve my rights of engagement. If you choose to be disrespectful to me, I would simply disengage.
Outside boundaries that govern society and social interactions, the issues of personal boundaries can be very subjective.
What might be unacceptable to me, might seem like not such a big deal for you. It is important to clarify these early on in your relationships. If I have been respectfully clear about what I want for myself or not, I refuse to engage with people who choose to consciously and continuously push my limits. Now, how do I mean? This is where Emotional Intelligence comes into play. Refusing to engage is not conflict, it just means that I would no longer interact with you as regards that matter, no matter how many times you choose to bring it up. Emotional Intelligence is what helps you gauge how best to manage your relationships; what levels of interaction is required, how to enforce your boundaries etc.
Let me give you two examples.
Example 1: I have a friend who is very bad with money, I personally don’t play with my money. She often loans money from me, then pretends to forget for months on end. Or she buys things from my business and then claims that I gave her. She has many good sides, however this issue is something that I simply cannot continue to tolerate. So now when she asks me for a loan, I just say I cannot afford to do it at the moment. When she asks for something from my business, I ask my staff to send her an invoice and ensure payment before processing the order, shikena!
Example 2: I have an Aunt who made it a point of duty to constantly discuss my marital status, always harassed me about not getting married and asking me questions about the delay. One day I had had enough, so I decided I would no longer engage in these discussions. What did I do? Once she starts, I would just say with a huge smile “It would happen in good time” and change the subject as many times as was required to get her off the topic. If she chose not to get the message, I simply excused myself politely from the environment.
After all said and done, remember that you have no control over the behavior of anyone but yourself, you may not be able to do much about your parents, but you owe it to yourself and your own children to do better. I find that you cannot do better simply by identifying what is wrong and saying that you do not want to be like that. To be and do better, you need to equip yourself through self-development; like reading books, seek mentors, practice etc.
After all said and done, it is up to us to be intentional about respecting ourselves and others.
What are your thoughts on the topic of the day. We would be back next week to continue this monologue. However, if you would like to contribute to this podcast, kindly send an email to email@example.com or comment on our Instagram page @healingthechild. Thank You for your time. Have a good week.