Parenting is probably the most under-appreciated job one has to do. Everyone knows from the cradle to your child’s graduation, parenting is filled with many pit-falls and challenges. The most important aspect of parenting is the selfless act of parents, who give their all for their children.
That’s why Prophet Mohammad (s) said the one who marries completes half the deen. With marriage you are required to make many sacrifices, firstly towards your partner and then with the coming of children, the challenges never end. However, the rewards are immense!
The year 2020 has intensified those challenges and the associated stresses and no doubt the rewards as well. The pandemic has changed the world and the way we interact, and even impacted on the way we parent and relate to our family.
Remote learning itself, has placed great pressure on our youth as a whole generation have been denied the fundamental learning experiences in social situations, being with their peers and sharing experiences. For many it has been a period of isolation. And with isolation comes heavy stresses on our mental health.
Therefore, in conversations with parents, we established the first ever national Muslim oriented helpline in Australia because we believe that parents are not getting the support they need. It’s a free call, operated by experienced Muslim counsellors and psychologists, who are ready to give you personalised support.
Most calls are referred to specific agencies that can assist the families or we endeavour to provide follow up support and counselling. Unlike mainstream helplines, with our helpline, you speak to a person who does not treat you like a number and your case is managed to meet your specific needs.
Being a Muslim parent in Australia is demanding, not only are there cultural adjustments for new migrants, there is the ever-growing communication gap between parents and their teenage children and the multifarious issues that face young people in a modern fast-paced world.
The issues facing Muslim youth are no different from the mainstream. Drug and alcohol abuse, youth suicide, anti-social behaviour, inter-generational communication gaps, gender identity, family violence, religious commitment, parental pressure, body image, peer group pressure, demands of schooling and the list is endless. With so many problems facing families, those who are the ones who can assist or solve them, need our support; parents.
We get a wide array of calls, for instance, some of our callers have simply expressed that they just needed someone to speak to. Others had nowhere else to turn. Some callers have just called to clarify an Islamic question about divorce, marriage or other questions around fiqh. Obviously, most of those questions are referred to our list of esteemed imams and scholars ready to assist.
And most importantly it is not just for parents, although we started with the idea of supporting parents, the helpline can be for anyone, any age and for any reason. We get a lot of calls from youth and we encourage more youth to call and use the helpline as an anonymous way to get support, advice or guidance. Nothing is recorded, we don’t take your information and we are extremely discreet and confidential.
A helpline of this kind is a badly needed resource and well overdue. It has the potential to save lives and to save families from disastrous outcomes. But it’s up to you to utilise it and to let others know that it is available. Please share the facebook page (facebook/islamicarehelpline) and website (islamicare.org.au).
Many people ask how we fund this helpline? Well really its up to the generosity of the community for the Helpline to continue and we are always asking for more support. We do not receive ANY government funds.
The Islamicare Parenting Helpline number is a free call on 1800 960 009. If you need someone to talk to, discreetly and confidentially, someone who is a counsellor, a Muslim who has empathy and can provide that support you so desire, then give us call. We are here to help.