Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Punishing Kids in Public

Though I haven't been a mother for too long, I can certainly say that anytime I'm out and my son does something he shouldn't, I'm not going to be one of those parents who just ignores what he's doing and puts a fake smile on and gives that nervous giggle. No way! I'm going to let him know what he did was wrong, even if I have to speak sternly. But for the sake of being in public, I will not raise my voice.

What do you think about reprimanding kids outside the home?

It wasn't until last week that I actually saw a parent really reprimanding their kid in public. Usually I see kids laying on the supermarket floor throwing a fit, in toy stores telling off their parents, or in the masjid running around like monkeys while their mothers sit in groups chatting and giggling. Well, Thursday I saw something completely different, but totally out of line.

Asr salah began and the students and teachers in the masjids afternoon class prayed upstairs, while most of the mothers who stay behind with their kids prayed downstairs with their babies and toddlers... so it was only myself and 2 other adults upstairs. The first raka'ah had just began and I heard a girl break out in loud, and very fake, coughing. Soon a boy on the other side of the curtain "responded back" coughing out of control. This "conversation" went on a few times and then I heard some girls bust out giggling. It was really distracting. These girls were still kids, but old enough to know that they shouldn't behave that way in salah.

What really confused me was that this girl was praying next to her mom and doing this. After salah the drama began.

"Come, sit here.." the mother told her daughter, pointing to the spot in front of her where she had made sujood in during salah. The girl obeyed and sat in front of her mother. The mother started going off in Urdu. I don't know exactly what she said, but I got the jist of it, she was asking her if that's how she's supposed to behave in salah and what person is so stupid as to behave that way in salah. The other kids sat there making dhikr upon the request of one of the elder teachers, and were peering over at their friend from the corner of their eyes. The mother started getting louder and louder.

A sister who teaches Qur'an and was sitting next to me, 2 people away from the mother, turned to me and said, "Lazeena, please.. ask her to stop.. this is not appropriate..." she begged me.

"Me? I'm a kid to her. You know people don't take it well when younger girls give them advice.."

"Yes, but.."


As I leaned over to get the aunty's attention, everything went so fast it took me some time to realize what happened. I was just about to open my mouth when this woman's hand cocked back and went flying into her daughters face - Slap 1. My eye's bulged, everyone stopped breathing. Even the daughter looked stunned. Her milky white cheek turned blazing red. Her mother continued to scream at her. "Aunty.." I said cowardly. The arm swung back again - Slap 2. The girls glasses flew off and hit the floor a few feet away, and the lens popped out. The girl was sobbing. The mother took her finger and poked the girl in the chest repeatedly as she asked her rhetorical questions. "Aunty please, not now.."

The sister who'd asked me to speak up had her hand to her chest. She started to tear, "Lazeena stop her, I've never... I've never seen something like this.." she seriously couldn't speak.. this sister was like.. in a state of shock. The girls watched in fear, and some backed away and hid behind the curtain. The mother continued screaming and shoved the daughter by the shoulder over and over, she made a fist and pounded her arm continuously. "Aunty, please!! Please, stop it!" I asked her.

This time the sister next to me tried to talk to her, the mother snarled at us and gave us the hand. Finally the girl managed to get up and run downstairs. My head was spinning, I wanted to barf. Sure she misbehaved... but she's a kid. How can you do that RIGHT after making salah? ..In the masjid, in front of all these kids, in front of all your daughters friends?

She sat there looking strangely proud for how she handled her daughters disruptiveness. She made a 2 minute du'a and then stood up and went after the girl she THOUGHT was praying next to her daughter... "AND YOU!!" she pointed at the girl and scrunched her face. "DON'T YOU EVER PRAY NEXT TO HER AGAIN!!" she screamed. "THIS IS YOUR FAULT. YOU DIRTY, BAD GIRL YOU. DON'T BEHAVE LIKE THAT DURING NAMAZ EVER AGAIN, YOU HEAR ME? YOU GIRLS ARE ALL BATAMESE, BESHARAM GIRLS..." her finger was all up in this girls face and she cornered her into the wall. "IF YOU EVER.. EVER.. DO THIS AGAIN, YOU SEE.."

There was commotion all around, kids were switching to their 3rd period classes and it seems that no one noticed this poor girl being told off by an older woman. A student of mine popped out of no where and wouldn't stop talking about how he liked staplers (...? okay..?! lol!!)

I turned around and the woman was gone, so was the girl. I spoke to a sister who I love sooo much for the sake of Allah and told her that we should really speak to the Imam about what happened and that he should tell them not to behave this way with their kids in the masjid. Also, that if they have a problem with someone elses child, find their mom, get their home number, or tell the Imam... they have no right to speak to someone elses child in that manner. If my son was bigger and at the masjid I would be so mad if some woman I don't even know was having such a nasty attitude with Yusuf, and I would be upset to hear that he had to watch someone get a beatdown from their parent.

As I went downstairs to get my shoes on to leave, I heard someone sobbing in the closet. It was the girls friend sitting in there in tears. She could barely speak. "She.. she yelled at me.. and it wasn't me. I did not even pray next to her daughter," the girl sobbed. I hugged her, "It's okay. You know the truth. Don't worry about it, don't worry about what she said. You saw how psycho she went right? Don't cry okay?" The girl nodded and went to her mom to tell her what happened.

The whole incident was just so crazy to me. It happened so fast and unexpectedly. I know for sure if she were in the supermarket, the mall, the park, or her daughters school she would have never even yelled at her. What makes it okay to do in the masjid? How far is too far? Did her laughter learn anything from that punishment? Well.. actually she did. She learned to stop praying next to her mom and to pray far away from her, where she can giggle and chew gum and bump her friends arm without her mom knowing. Had her mother explained to her that in salah you are presenting yourself before Allah and worshiping him and should be on your best behavior, maybe she would have stopped. Had she told her that Kiramun Katibeen are on her shoulders writing her every action, thought, and intention down, which will be presented to everyone on the Day of Judgment.. maybe... just maybe... she would have grasped the importance of focus and behavior in salah.


JMenzel said...

that's just sooo not right in many ways... :(

Anonymous said...

That woman had no right to yell at the girl. Her mother should have been contacted if there was a problem. The Imam needs to be notified so she can be spoken to.

I'm sorry, but why was that woman telling you to say something? There should have been other people saying something. I don't care how much you yell at your children, but they shouldn't be smacked like that in public. The responsibility wasn't just on you, but the other women as well.

I think that the way you parent shouldn't be compromised in public because then children will think they can get away with anything at any other place away from home. Stern looks and raising the voice do work so it is OK to do that. You also don't want to put any one else in an akward situation if you go ballsitic on your child. Like it happened in the masjid.

I know I hate hearing parenting advice from others when sometimes they just don't know what they are talking about but if someone was out of line then talking needs to be done.

Let us know what happens if you or someone ever talks to her.

Hanna said...

Wow that is way too harsh!! I hope the Imam does speak to everyone in a general meeting of some sort. I can undrstand the sister being scared and not wanting to say something, I have never seen something like this either and just reading it I am shocked beyond belief that a mom would do that right after praying! I feel so bad for the girl poor thing. You're right, there is no lesson learned in that punishment..

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

Mrs H - I agree. Too many parents act differently outside the house than they do outside, which confuses their kids and eventually their kids find out a way to get around their parents and take advantage of them.

Also, it was only myself and 2 other sisters upstairs, one who I think didn't even know what was going on. And the sisters next to me like.. I dunno I got scared she would pass out man haha, she could not talk at all, she kept fanning herself with her hand and crying.

Anyway, I'm sure word got around to the other moms of what went down and it seems as though no one's said anything to her. I swear she creeps me out haha. But inshaAllah the sisters I spoke to will speak to the Imam who can bring this matter up to all the moms. They just sit there and gossip and laugh while their kids are in class, they would benefit from a nice talk from the Imam I would think, inshaAllah!

Anonymous said...

how can u hit ur child so much like tht. evne tho if i was so mad i would think like omg everyone is watching and they will think so bad of me. tht is so wrong i hope she doesnt do it at home too and maybe was just a 1 time thing like if she snapped

Umm Omar said...

It is out of line, but I'm not surprised. I was out with a sister once and her daughter misbehaved just a little, and she wacked her right across the face (the girl was 4 years old at the time). It was no big deal to her and her daughter totally seemed like she was used to it.
And across the face, too...ugh, so demeaning.

Asha said...

It seems like a minor problem to me but her mother makes a big deal out of it. Kids will be kids but to hit and humiliate them in that manner.. subhnaAllah, that is not the way to go.

I had a friend whose mom would hit her whenever she made a mistake whilst reading the Quran. She was about 8years old then. You can imagine how much she hates reading the Quran because of that? I think the same goes for this girl if her mom is going to be beating her for the most trivial reasons.

Anonymous said...

Asha, hitting your kids for misbehaving in prayer is not a trivial issue. We have to set the line and teach them right from wrong especially in matters of deen. But this woman overstepped the boundaries. Beating your child is a good way of teaching them, but like slapping and punching especially in others is not a good thing to do. Very out of line. She should have at most yelled and when she got home told her dad and the nthey could have come up with something. Like Lazeena said she should teach the girl how precious prayer time is. Imagine how enraged the mom was during her whole salah and probably didn't focus because she was probably thinking I'm going to smack this girl when I'm done! Not good for her prayers either. She needs to think of hers and her daughters.

Random Muslima said...

Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaah billaah. Sometimes people just cannot keep it.
But I think the responsibility goes over when no one goes to interfere, I know its not easy but when things are totally out of control, someone should, just as someone should go and interfere when kids are misbehaving, if not their natural parents (I KNOW ;) that this is not something to make you popular)

I don't know.. most of the time people who behave so that they have no slightest rahma in their behaviour, they do have something inside they are dealing with themselves. May Allah cure their hearts and place there rahma for the little ones.

Umm Ismail said...

Firsty I seek Refuge in Allah from Such actions. True this gurl did Direspect Salah but What her Mother did Disrespect Her Daughter and the Masjid and also Others in the Masjid.May Allah help her this women has no Respect this women needs to be Checked Shameful this was. Next if your child is actiong up Step out of th Masjid or even go to the Rest Room and Handle your business. Or a look or Pop on the butttom depending on Age. but to Assult and Verbally Abuse in the Masjid Where is Her Adab. SubhanaAllah. This should not have went as far as it did
she should have been Stop before she got to the childs face. We can't Set and let this things go on and no one should ask you to do anything every one in that room should have spoke up for the sake of Allah. Or even took the Gurl away from her mother and of course she would run after you that's when you tell her What the issue is. My son is a Toddler and acts up and Makes mess's. but there is a way to handle things..


Candice said...

Anon, I think Asha was saying that the little girl's misbehavior was trivial, not the hitting.
I've never seen anything like that either. I'm sure she wouldn't do it at the school, mall, etc. People would have gathered to yell at her, I think. I really wanna do that right now! I can't even believe what she did.

Aalia said...

One word: PSYCHO

What does "Batamese" and that other word she said mean? And why didn't anyone do something, only expecting YOU to take action??? Subhan Allah. Come one Muslim women, where is your nerve!!!

Bec said...

I agree with Aalia. There were other adults there that were offended but they turned to you to tell you to step in. Unless you are the highest ranking teacher of Qur'an, it should be a group intervention (you and your friend).
However, a religious place is about God and violence does not belong in God's presence. Love and worship should be. That woman is teaching her daughter wrong. Maybe if she explained the importance of proper behavior to her daughter, her daughter would behave out of love and respect for her mother, and not fear. Worst, is that in my experience children who have negative experiences in their house of worship (i.e. a masjid) tend to turn their backs on their faith. Or do not follow their faith correctly because they don't understand the rhyme and reason of it, because instead of explaining things to them, their parent just slaps them on their face and say "I said so."

Empress Anisa said...

Yes, this Mom was totaly wrong with hitting her daughter in the manner which she did. But also too on the flip side of that, if this girl is old enough to have known what she was doing was incorrect (and it indirectly involved a BOY) then she should be corrected but in a respectful fashion.

Being a Mom, I think what might have gone thru her head that her daughter is behaving during salaat, it involved a boy, the others are laughing (more distraction) and it's HER kid that's causing the problem- some people see this as a relfection of THEM and how they bring up their children... while striking your child in public or private like that should never be accepted, I think she might have thought if she handled it that way, her daughter would NEVER think of doing such a thing again and send a fearful message to the others to don't even think about acting like that in the masjid.

And yeah, what's up the sister pushing YOU up to confront her???

Empress Anisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Empress Anisa said...

I meant to state that the how her daughter was *misbehaving* during salaat... me and my typos!

Habayeb said...

Batameese is one who doesnt have manners and Besharam is one who doesnt have shame.

Bint Ahmad said...

Did anyone read the entry correctly or am I seeing things? Sister Lazeena said that she and the sister next to her was really the only adults there at the time and one was there but didn't realize what was happening. I am sure if there were other women there someone would have said something. I have seen this before in my masjid but not so severe, just the shoving.I also was scared to intervene but finally did when another sister came and saw, we did it together. But this woman can't get away with this. The Imam should address this issue maybe in the khutbah or something for people to know how to punish their kids. The sahaba used to hang sticks and whips in the house for kids to see if they misbehave what's in store. It really scares them, I have heard I don't have kids so I don't know. But like someone said, this girls actions were not trivial. Playing around in salah when you're big enough to know not to is a big deal. WHile the mother shouldn't have done so with her as she did, the girl still acted out of line and inappropriate too

Joyful said...

Honestly and Truly, I believe beating doesn't do anything. Children in their minds think that when the beating done they don't have to speak about what happened. So all they have to worry about is the 2 minutes of pain, and not the guilt trip. I think there are alernatives to beating. Like taking away favourite or symbloic items for awhile, that does more harm then a slap in the face. And the Imam should speak to the parents.

queen said...

that is so horrible i think we forget how precious our children are.some parents find it is easier to hit than explain to a child. it is wrong.

Lisa said...

If she did that in the Supermarket, it's quite possible the police and CPS would have been called. Clearly, this could go much further at home, and you wonder if this girl constantly has fresh bruises. I'd be on the lookout for some.

This mother single-handedly disrupted the entire prayer and should be ashamed. The problem is that the mom smiled and felt vindicated that she did the right thing. And that is the fault of an Ummah that with your brave exception, stood idly by. Sigh*

Love you Lazeena. So sorry you had to witness this.

Jaz said...

Wow that was totally out of order, and in the masjid..? It's a totally disrespectful way to behave. She was mad at her kid for misbehaving during Salah yet she went on to behave much, much worse in the masjid. The girl was a kid and she is an adult! I hope the Imam does talk about this and she feels thoroughly ashamed with herself, even I am embarrassed for her.

Umm AbdulAziz said...

why do women go to the masjid?

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

Umm Abdul Aziz, your question is kind of vague but I'll answer it pertaining to the situation I posted about. The masjid I attend has classes for kids between 4-7pm. Mothers are usually the ones to take their kids there. Some of them stay because they drive from so far, by the time they get home it's time to come back for them. Others have kids they want to keep an eye on, and some of them have very young children who still need a parent by their side. Also, some days there are womens classes during the time period where their kids are in classes. There's no reason for them not to be there really..

Umm AbdulAziz said...


JazakAllah for the response.

I generally avoid going to the masjid unless there is a talk or we are en route to someplace and the masjid is on the way. This is mostly because i have a hyperactive son who has no fear of strangers.

Unfortunately desi culture doesn't frown upon hitting even in public. Really it establishes nothing for both the mother or the child. If the girl was that young maybe one of the teachers should be supervising the girls as they pray, so as to correct unruly behavior. Either have the young girls form a line in front of the women or behind the women but not with the women, so that no ones prayer is disturbed. And maybe have a series of talks for parents on the sunnah way to behave with their children at home and in public.


Stacy aka Fahiima said...

Wow. I just don't think think that was ok on so many levels. I think its especially wrong to hit a child on the face. She is just teaching her daughter to react out of fear, which means she will probably behave even worse when out of her mother's sight. Children need to learn to respect prayer for the sake of God and not because they are afraid of being beaten.

Anonymous said...

assalaamu alaikum

This reminds me of my mother. She used to beat me a lot when i was a kid, and usually for trivial stuff like Making mistakes while learnin the quraan, not keepin my room clean, other small stuff. She used to use shoes, hangers and anything else that came into her hands.

Now many years later i see the same anger in me, and i feel like using the physical force too, but i don't, instead it just comes out in tears now.
Sadly my mom's treatment has left me a bitter, resentful, and depressed person.
I pray Allah can guide me out of this state.

ummu qais said...

i just cant believe that a mother can do such the thing. mom suppose to be a shelter for her children. so sad for the slaped girl, hope she wouldn't treat her doughter(in the future) the same.

OurAdviceTooTheWomen said...

Subanaallah. This is nuts!!!
I probably would have grabbed her child away from her, this is something we HAVE to stand againts, a punch on the arm for a child is rough, but a slap in the face!!! thats humiliating, and HARAAM to slap another muslim in the face let alone A CHILD. may allah protect all mothers from this type of anger inshaallah ameen!

Anonymous said...

hey Lazeena....wt ever you wrote is very crestfallen a mother shud always act like a guider , supporter and like an inspiration to a child...! her wud hv told her politely , decently in the name of allah ...the conseqences she cud hv faced if she wud nt ''act best'' in frnt of allah..she wud told her humbly tht if u want tht allah shud lv u always n ur namaz to accepted by him thn u shud nevr evr repeat this agian.......instead of bashing her up in frnt of jammats if she wud hv told her the same as mentioned i think the girl thn wud hv nvr forgotn wt her mother told her..indeed she wud hv bcm more conscience , closer n sincere towrds allah n his daily 5 times prayers..!
thank you very much..(Afsheen)

Sarah Plain & Short said...

Salam Aleikom,

the sad thing is her daughter will NEVER forget what has been done to her. InshaAllah Allah will put mercy in her heart towards her mother.

Islam4Parents said...


Excellent post. I love the way you write mashaALLAH.

JazakAllah khair for sharing it.