How Do I Deal With Parents Who Demand Perfection and Don’t Show Love?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question: 

How do you deal with wanting your parents’ recognition of the good you do when they rarely recognize your efforts? They reprimand me when I make mistakes or forget something, and they don’t leave room for error. They are harsh to me as the eldest yet merciful to their youngest. They claim to love me the most, yet their actions contradict this. They were born in Bangladesh, but my siblings and I were born in London.

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. I am so very sorry about the attitude that your parents display, and I hope that you can tell them how you feel instead of bottling it up inside.

Harshness

The truth is that parents usually are harshest with their eldest, whether they realize it or not, because the eldest sets the bar for the others. They also have much less experience raising children before their first child, so the eldest gets the brunt of their inexperience. Although showing love should come naturally (fitra) to most parents, others mistakenly assume that showing it will hinder their child’s progress or spoil them. This is wrong, and I ask that when you become a parent, that you be wary of this.

Steps

My advice to you is to be patient with them and tell them they are being too harsh. If they are smart, they will think about it and change. Remember that you have tremendous value as a believer, a son, and as a brother, and don’t let your parents take away your self-confidence. Your parents are not perfect either, so try to show them that you are human through communication and honesty. Try these tips as well:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/how-do-we-deal-with-parents-who-emotionally-and-spiritually-abuse-their-children/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/dealing-with-difficult-parents-and-keeping-promises/

Turn to Allah

Remember that although your parents demand perfection, Islam does not. Rather, Islam asks you for excellence because Allah loves those who excel in good and try their best. He says in His book, “They are those who donate in prosperity and adversity, control their anger, and pardon others. And Allah loves the good-doers. “[Qur’an, 3:134]

Instead of focusing on acquiring recognition from your parents, focus on becoming beloved by Allah, and the rest will fall into place in a way that you could never have done yourself:
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/prophet-muhammad/becoming-beloved-allah/

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.