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The Communication Gap Killing Our Families

Where are we failing?Open communication will help families thrive and have a happy home. It is hard to have a happy home if kids are mad at their parents for days, weeks, and months, and vice versa. The more we hold “things” against each other, the harder it will be to love and respect each other. We need to take the time and reflect on how our communication skills are with our families. If we are able to respect and talk to strangers and others nicely, what is it that is making us angry at home and snappy and full of attitude when we talk to our siblings, children, or parents?

Where are we failing?In this world of technology, where people are constantly in touch and able to communicate from miles away in a matter of a few seconds, it is surprising how much of a lack of communication there is among families.

It’s not even about age anymore. Families have lost communication with each other due to “busy” schedules or apathy. Unfortunately, due to the many activities we bombard our days with, we tire ourselves out physically, emotionally, and most importantly – mentally! As a result, most of us are too exhausted to even talk about how our parents’ days went – even if they were at home all day.

It is important for families to communicate and talk to each other in order to increase trust and understanding. The less a family will talk to each other, the less they will feel the need to have each other in their lives, and this is not the way Allah intended for the family unit to be. Nowadays it is hard for even some kids to greet their fathers and mothers with “Assalam Alaikum” everyday.

Sometimes there is planning to be done or finances to be talked about. The less that families will discuss issues, the more of a problem they become. There should really be no “formalities” in a family – otherwise, the relationship will be that of guests living together under one roof, almost like a hotel. Communication is a two-way street, and both parents and children to discuss issues that are important them and relay the messages to each other.

Possible Problem: Kids hiding who they talk to on the phone or internet, or most importantly these days, who they text. Usually we have sisters and brothers of our communities text messaging each other, and due to many parents who are not so adept technologically, it is easy for kids to hide it from their parents. This results in the kid possibly lying to go meet up a friend, when it can be someone else, and in the end, the parent is usually left being lied to, and the kid begins a bad habit of lying instead of being honest about where they want to go, who they talk to, and who their friends are.

Possible Solution: Parents – step up your technology game. You can find ways to see what is going on in your kid’s life if they do not respond to you verbally due to their “teenager” attitude. They will feel their privacy may be violated, but parents need to find ways to discuss privacy in the family. Parents must make it clear that in the family setting, we do not hide things if we are not doing anything wrong. Parents, you also need to listen to your kids’ wants. They may just really want to go to the mall with their friends, so find a way to make it happen with your peace of mind, and for them to still have a social life outside of what you want their social life to be, provided of course everything is within Islamic boundaries.

Kids (no matter how old you are) – Be open with your parents. Many parents who have come from “back home” are not used to conversing and having open dialogue with their parents, so they themselves do not know how. Kids who have been born and brought up here love to talk and discuss, so do exactly that with your parents. If you feel you don’t agree to one of their “house rules”, ask them why they feel that rule is necessary; don’t say, “That’s not fair; all my friends get to do it!” This will only lead to anger and frustration on both sides. When both sides understand each others’ views, only then some sort of compromise can be made. One side has to be “the bigger person”, and Allah has made all humans capable of doing so.

Possible Problem: Older children who are still living at home with their parents get very frustrated when their parents call to see where they are or what they are doing. This results in the kids ignoring phone calls or coming home late. Not really caring to inform parents of whereabouts is a big problem because A) The kids are somewhere they are not supposed to be (refer to first problem to try and resolve that) or B) Not giving importance to a parents’ wants/need to know of their kids’ safety and security.

Possible Solution: Parents – Keep reminding your kids the importance of them telling you where they are. Explain that it is for your peace of mind and for safety in case, God forbid, something happens, someone will have some idea of where you were.

Kids – Try and understand where your parents are coming from. They just want peace of mind. If you cannot call, send a text message. If your parent does not know how to text message, teach them. They will appreciate it, and it will make the “getting in touch” process a lot easier.

Kids, if your parents are elderly, chances are they will not express their wants, because they do not want to be a burden. What is the harm in asking if they need something? Won’t that only increase the love and caring in a family? It shouldn’t matter that your parents are not like Jake and Katie’s parents. Respect and kindness to one’s parents is commanded by God in the Holy Qur’an in numerous places.

Open communication will help families thrive and have a happy home. It is hard to have a happy home if kids are mad at their parents for days, weeks, and months, and vice versa. The more we hold “things” against each other, the harder it will be to love and respect each other. We need to take the time and reflect on how our communication skills are with our families. If we are able to respect and talk to strangers and others nicely, what is it that is making us angry at home and snappy and full of attitude when we talk to our siblings, children, or parents?

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