Family disintegration and its relation to child delinquency

Family disintegration and its relation to child delinquency

Family disintegration is one of the most common problems that family members encounter in modern society. Sadly, the relationships between family members have become (overwhelmingly) marked with indifference, neglect, and slackness. Neither the father nor the mother is concerned with strengthening family relationships, and each of them is preoccupied with their own life and personal activities that they prefer not to share with anyone else! When the father returns home from work, he rests for a while and then runs out to spend the rest of his day outside the house! Likewise, the day of a stay-at-home mother is filled with hard work, spent in carrying out endless household chores and caring for her children until, at the end of the day, she throws her tired body on the bed, drained of energy, and falls into deep sleep. If she is a working mother, alas..., it is even worse!

As a result, the children remain lost between studying, communicating with friends, engaging in random entertainment activities, surfing the internet, and watching numerous online programs. In this way, the family misses out on engaging in dialogues among themselves which strengthen the relationships between family members. Thus, the consequence of these circumstances causes to diminish tolerance and bonds within the family and this leads to family disintegration, which in turn results in a weak society lacking connectedness and cohesion.

Causes of family disintegration

If we wish to underline the reasons of family disintegration and its root causes, we must first understand what is meant by the term “family disintegration”.

Family disintegration can be defined as: the emotional and physical estrangement among the members of a single family. It has many causes that are all correlated, the most important of which are probably associated with the characteristics of the parents. A few of them as follows:

1- The absence of the father and his nominal presence in the family.

2- The absence of the mother and her negligence in shouldering her family duties.

3- The competition between the husband and wife, each trying to replace the other, and this is known as ‘role conflict’.

4- The addiction to using modern means of communication and the negligence resulting thereof.

5 – The total dependence on the maid and entrusting all the household affairs to her to replace the wife.

6- The economic status of the family, whether it belongs to the elite upper class or the poor low class. The economic status of a family significantly affects the cohesion and communication among the family members.

7- Divorce and the resulting problems and disputes.

8- The preoccupation of the parents with the burdens of life and their failure to allocate enough (quality) time to spend with their children.

9 – Unfaithfulness of either spouse, thus igniting problems between them.

10- Their failure to honor marital life, monitor the children, and provide them with a good righteous upbringing.

The effects of family disintegration on children

The primary victim in all family problems and bad marriages in different societies are the children, who bear the consequences of the wrong actions done by either parent, especially given that they are the weaker party.

Family disintegration is one of the major factors that cause child delinquency; it causes children to live in a state of constant anxiety and turmoil due to the absence of one of the parents. Such absence makes the children feel insecure and drives them to search for their lost sense of security and stability outside the family, even if done through ways deemed unlawful by the Sharee‘ah (Islamic principle)!

Family disintegration also has a role in the emergence of some psychological disorders in children, such as hostility, addiction, stress, tendency to seek solitude, introversion, weak academic performance, and many other disorders that are difficult to treat if neglected by parents.

Moreover, family disintegration may result in sexual or material exploitation of the child, as the child feels like an outcast, ostracized from the community, and his self-confidence plummets, rendering him an easy prey for material or sexual exploitation.

Solutions and remedy

Family disintegration is a plight that afflicts societies and must be treated and eradicated, especially since this is urged by Islam. Allah, the Exalted, Says (what means): {Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment} [Quran 2:229] Kindness, good companionship, and mutual respect are among the key factors and components to a successful family life. Both husband and wife are jointly responsible for tending to the needs of the children, managing their affairs, and taking care of them. Our noble Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) clarified this meaning in his statement: “Every one of you is a guardian and is responsible (shall be held accountable) for the people under his guardianship: The ruler is a guardian over the people and is responsible for his subjects, a man is a guardian of his household and is responsible for those under his guardianship, a woman is a guardian in her husband's home and is responsible for those under her guardianship, and a slave is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for that. Beware! All of you are guardians, and all of you are responsible for those under your guardianship.” [Imam Al-Bukhari and Ima Muslim] To conclude, it is apparent that a religious foundation based on the Quran and Sunnah would be the guideline for a safe family integration and eternal peace as well.

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