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Making Your Home an Emotionally Safe Place

By Dr. Kristi Wolfe

You’ve plugged the outlets, gotten rid of the poisonous cleaning products, and locked up the alcohol and medications.  You try to do everything you can to keep your child healthy and out of harm’s way.

But have you considered all kinds of safety?  The examples above are all about physical safety, which is where we tend to focus.  It’s easier to understand physical dangers and also to come up with solutions to avoid them. Emotional safety is just as important, but it’s something we don’t always think about.  Just like keeping knives and dangerous items out of your child’s reach enhances physical safety in your home, there are steps you can take to provide emotional safety in your home.

When people (of any age) trust that their feelings will be responded to with sensitivity and respect, they feel safe. They will be more honest and vulnerable with you if they know they are in a safe place. Think about how you act with the people you trust the most. You feel free to share your deepest thoughts and feelings and you value the feedback you get from that person.  It works exactly the same with your kids or teenagers.  If they feel safe with you, they will express their thoughts and feelings more, be open to conversations with you, and listen to your feedback.

However, if a child feels even a little bit unsafe, they may be more fearful of criticism or rejection from you. Again, think about when this has happened in your own life. Has someone created an environment where you felt unsafe expressing yourself? How did you handle this? You probably stopped sharing your true thoughts and feelings with that person.

If your child feels unsafe, they will not want to share their true thoughts and feelings for fear of being criticized.  They may just tell you what they think you want to hear because they think this is the best way to keep themselves as safe as possible.  Their feelings may come out through their actions since they don’t feel safe opening up to you using words. They will likely behave more defiantly, act more defensively, and seem more uncooperative. They also will probably not be as open to talking with or listening to you in general.

 

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(Bukhari).

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Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).