In the podcast Divorced Muslim Dad, host Imran Azam addresses the trials of parenthood from the point of view of a divorced father. He highlights the struggle many parents face when it comes to viewing their children as no longer children, but fast-maturing young adults. This struggle is further complicated for Muslim parents, as their concerns extend beyond the fear of the relinquishment of control or their diminished ability to protect their children, but also to the awareness that their personal spiritual journey is beginning. In accepting their children are maturing, parents also have to accept they no longer shape their lives and cannot protect them from the consequences of their own mistakes forever, which, although hard to accept, is necessary in Azam’s eyes.
A topic that this episode focuses on in particular is the issue of discrimination and racism. Azam examines the fact that although overt displays of violent racism in Britain may have decreased since his own childhood, the alienation and confusion of discrimination still impacts children’s view of themselves and the world around them in the same way, even if they are too young to fully understand why. This programme places importance on the balancing act that must be struck between wanting to protect children from the realities of an often discriminatory Western system and culture, and the duty he has as a parent to prepare his children for any racism they may face. Azam offers experiences from his own life to aid other parents in supporting their children in the same way. This podcast focuses on the emotional aspect of the parent and teen dynamic and how this gap can be bridged by understanding.
In this podcast the host Amin Aaser approaches the issue from a more practical angle. Hosted by Amin Aaser along with his guest, child counsellor Munira Ezzeledine, they discuss the most effective and healthy methods of communicating with teenagers. Ezzeledine makes it clear that the main tenets of Muslim parenting such as spiritual guidance, setting boundaries and clearly outlining consequences are still the responsibility of the parent. However, a respect for the opinions, thoughts and decisions of their teenagers are now equally important to keep the new dynamic working. She discusses her ‘ten words or less’ system when it comes to voicing concerns as a parent, some easy and practical advice any parent can implement.
Ezzeledine also expands on the biological reasons why young people may act in ways that appear irrational to parents, but encourages open communication in order to illustrate the limits and consequences of their misbehaviour. She also makes the vital link between teenager’s seemingly unruly behaviour and mental health struggles, which are becoming increasingly more prevalent in young people. Aaser and Ezzeledine both offer advice to parents on how to recognise the signs of mental illness and unhealthy coping mechanisms so they can help their children in these circumstances. This podcast offers practical advice with a scientific basis to help foster real understanding and graciousness between parents and their teenage children.