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Parenting Research

Current Research

The single most consistent predictor of healthy adolescent development is the quality of their relationships with their parents. How parents choose to parent affects their relationship with their teens and their effectiveness as a parent. Parents are tasked with teaching children the values and rules necessary to function effectively in their local communities, and the broader society. Therefore, it is imperative to understand which types of parenting behaviors promote positive Muslim youth development, so they are able to become successful and productive adults.

Parenting Styles of American-Muslim Mothers and its Influence on Adolescents’ Adjustment Outcomes

The Family and Youth Institute Researchers: Madiha Tahseen, PhD

Parenting ResearchWhile parenting research encourages parents to foster autonomy and independence in their adolescents, the bulk of this research has been conducted within individual-oriented groups and cultures in Western societies such as America. It is unclear if such practices are effective in the same way for adolescents from collectivist, group-oriented cultures, common in many Muslim societies. Parenting is even more dynamic and complicated for American Muslim parents and their children who may identify with multiple cultures (both individual and group-oriented) resulting in a cultural mixing of their parenting repertoire. The current project aims to examine the parenting styles of American Muslim mothers and understand how these styles are related to adolescents’ well-being in order to promote more effective parenting skills.

Collaborators in this area of study include Merve Balkaya-Ince, Ph.D. (Baylor University), and Charissa S.L. Cheah, Ph.D. (University of Maryland, Baltimore County).

  • Tahseen, M., & Cheah, C.S.L. (2015, March). A multidimensional examination of collective identity, parenting and psychological well-being among Muslim-American adolescents. Paper symposium presented to the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, P.A.
  • Balkaya-Ince, M., Cheah, C. S. L., Kiang, L., & Tahseen, M. (2020). Exploring daily mediating pathways of religious identity in the associations between maternal religious socialization and Muslim American adolescents’ civic engagement. Developmental Psychology, 56(8), 1446-1457. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000856

A Structural Model of Racial Discrimination, Acculturative Stress, and Cultural Resources Among Arab American Adolescents

The Family and Youth Institute Researchers: Sawssan Ahmed, PhD


Parenting Research

Despite evidence towards the risk for discrimination and acculturative stress that Arab American adolescents may face, the link between socio-cultural adversities and psychological well-being in this population has not been established. This study examines the role of socio-cultural adversities (discrimination and acculturative stress) and cultural resources (ethnic identity, religious support, and religious coping) in terms of their direct impact on psychological distress. Understanding the manner in which socio-cultural adversities and resources are linked to psychological distress can inform the development of culturally appropriate interventions that can effectively mitigate mental health concerns for understudied and vulnerable populations.

Collaborators in this area of study include Maryam Kia-Keating, PhD (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Katherine H. Tsai, PhD (University of California, Los Angeles). 

List of Publications on Parenting

Peer-Reviewed Journals

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).