The Greatest Gift A Parent Can Give To A Child

*I have a teenage daughter and I am worried about her. She is in the phase of having feelings towards the opposite sex. In our family, we have an understanding that we should not mingle freely with the opposite sex who is not our mahram. She likes this one boy and she tells me about him. She is about to go to university soon, so I am concerned that I can’t be there for her as much as I can now.

What should I do?

I appreciate the honesty and I will try to assist you the best I can.

First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your parenting because it seems like you have gained the trust of your teenage daughter. You must have done some things right in order to achieve that. I have seen and heard stories of children who can’t connect with their parents on a deep enough level such that they are comfortable to talk about personal things. If your daughter can share personal things with you, that means that she trusts you. So don’t lose that trust.

To be frank, it would be easier for you and for your daughter if one of the men in your house could get involved. Not to control the situation in any way, but to provide a male perspective about the situation. To put things simply, men understand men.

Having your daughter’s father or brothers on board would help since they would probably understand what and how the boy is thinking. Your daughter might be infatuated with the boy up to a point where she can’t think clearly. That is understandable. Love can do that sometimes and it can do that even to the best of us.

With regards to your daughter, it might be difficult to digest this, but she is already a woman. Adulthood begins at puberty. That is what we believe as Muslims. The logic behind that is we are responsible for our Islam at that moment; we are accountable for our good deeds (pahala) and bad deeds (dosa). Such responsibility and accountability mark the beginning of adulthood.

But, she needs help. Although she is now an adult, she needs your help to transition into adulthood. Part of the adult experience is love and physical pleasure. But without guidance, she might be tempted to act according to her emotions and not according to wisdom. You are her source of wisdom. Educate her on how to be an adult and how to be a woman.

Considering that she will start university soon, I think you have to optimize the time that you have with her now. How you educate her will be her best defence against the world. I understand that it would be easier to just put her in a cage, but it would not solve the problem. In fact, it would create more problems.

Humans need freedom, but they also need wisdom and guidance in order to use freedom in the right way. Educate her about God, about the Prophet, about responsibility, about dignity, about confidence, and about modesty. These will be her shield when she leaves the house.

The bitter reality is that parents can’t be with their children 24/7. There will come a time when the children will leave their nest and start their own individual journeys. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be needing you. They will. But they will have to walk on their own two feet from now on.

Once you have educated her to the best of your ability, you have to let her go when the time comes. At that point, put your trust in God and in your daughter. Using your wisdom and guidance, she will make the right choices insha Allah.

I know that I can’t help you much, but this is the best that I can. I pray that Allah will grant you wisdom, guidance, and strength. Ameen.

*Question above is paraphrased and generalized to respect the privacy of the questioner.