Negligence in caring for a child during their young age usually leads to their becoming deviants in the
future, because our society is filled with moral corruption. This is the case if the child is neglected, so how
about if the parent themselves are those corrupting them? Reforming children begins at a young age. If
they get older, the train of reform will have passed, unless Allaah the Exalted chooses to favor whomever
He Wills through His Mercy.
A father once came to Shaykh Ibn Baaz, may Allaah have mercy on him, complaining, and said: “I have
children that never pray. I advised them, spoke to them, admonished them, and cursed them about this,
but to no avail. What should I do?” The Shaykh, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “Advise them.
When they reach ten years old, he should hit them until they reach puberty. As for at the time of puberty,
then afterwards, hitting does not benefit, and it only results in hatred; also, the son might respond and hit
their parents twice as hard as they hit them.” Look at the deep understanding of this Imaam, and how he
knew that children, after reaching the age of puberty, have also passed the age of reformation.
An elderly man on once said: “My daughter goes out to the street alone, hails a taxi and rides it. I do not
know where she goes or where she comes from. I admonished her but she did not listen to what I said. I
spoke to her mother about it, but she and her mother screamed at me and said: ‘This is how we live!
Leave us alone!’ So, what should I do?”
To this we respond: now, after the period of education and raising them correctly has passed, you wish to
try and advise and order them, and you wish to be obeyed? Raising and teaching children occurs best
when they are young. When the young person is raised on something, they grow old doing that thing. We
should fear Allaah the Exalted with regard to our children and should begin teaching them when they are
young, and before they enter a stage wherein they do not accept our advice or guidance.
Such a person should not despair in the Mercy of Allaah the Exalted. He should continuously call them
and advise them. He should also vary his methods. Thus, he should invite them sometimes, with a tape,
other times through speaking to them, other times through a book, and other times through asking one of
the righteous women in his family to talk to them. They should persist until Allaah the Exalted rectifies
their affairs, or Allaah the Exalted allows a matter to proceed that He had predestined.