Question: Whenever my child commits a mistake, I beat him a lot, but he still repeats his mistake obstinately though he suffers the bitter pain of beating and cries. I then punish him more severely than before, and he intentionally commits the mistake again and with more obstinacy, all the while looking at me as if to let me know that he does it intentionally. I do not know how to deal with him! Sometimes I fear that I will not be able to control my nerves when I beat him and I may cause him a permanent handicap in his body, and this will cause me great remorse besides the punishment of my Lord. Would you please tell me what I should do with him and with myself?
The answer: By beating him, you implant the mistakes in him more deeply. Extra beating and punishing do not lead the child to aught but greater obdurateness or physical hindrances and psychological complexes because the child, in return for being beaten and insulted, will defend his dignity and personality with all the physical and mental powers he has. His obduracy will continue until all his powers run out.
Do you want this? Certainly not! However, if you do not control your nerves, you may realize that which you fear, and then regret shall neither restore your child’s soundness nor inspire the soul in him again. Therefore, you should not destroy your child’s personality, dignity, and powers. The mistake he commits, whatever it may be, is less harmful than the harms you cause him. A mistake may disappear by advices or by the passing of time, but the physical and mental damage cannot be treated by advices or by the passing of time.
Besides, severe beating is not lawful in the Islamic Sharia. You have to keep this legal matter and the aforementioned fact in mind to give up your wrong manner of dealing with your child. You can follow another manner in educating him that is closer to the Sharia, reason, and peace of mind.
I remember a story of a young man who beat his father until he was about to die at his hands. One day I asked my father, ‘Why does he do so to his father?’ My father said, ‘He is just reaping what he sowed! He used to always beat his son when he was a child and did not think that some day things would change, that he would be weak and his son would grow stronger and avenge himself on his father in the light of the scenes he had kept in mind since childhood.’
You should give up angriness, severity, and beating. You should adopt the qualities of the true believers as Imam Ali (a.s.) has said, ‘The believers are easy and lenient’.
Dear brother, I would ask you to write down this saying (of Imam Ali) and hang it on every wall of your house so you can remember it whenever you become angry. I would also ask all those who disagree with others to hang this holy tradition before their eyes lest they follow the steps of the Satan when they are in disagreement.
FOR A BETTER FUTURE