My child! Speaking of rearing of a child, I must agree that a child is capable of being trained. If it were not so, we the parents, would not have been obligated for your upbringing.
He also is capable of improving. Many evil doers who received the right kind of advice became righteous people. And many ill-tempered accepted guidance and converted into good natured gentle individuals.
So, in this manner, it is only wise for parents to offer their good advice to their children whenever they note the later are starting to misbehave or weaken their religious beliefs. Not by beating them up or by putting them under material pressure, or by kicking them out of the house. Rather, by offering advice or by having a mutually trusted individual talk to them and give them guidance. Furthermore, in a sympathetic way, they should pray to Allah that the child be corrected. They should rest assured that he will then be guided.
A man named Dawood (David) went to Imam Musa al-Kazim (as) complaining about his own son that he had wasted a large amount of his money. The Imam said to him:
استصلحه فما ماة الف فيما انعم الله به عليك.
“Try to correct your child. And know that compared to the blessings of having a child, one hundred thousand Dirhams (dinars) are nothing.” 1
As you just mentioned, the best way to rehabilitate a child and bring him back to doing good deeds again, is by telling him the solutions in a soft voice and in a respectable manner. One should avoid harsh words so the child would feel that all that is being said is well intended and is only for his welfare and that the purpose is to change his course to the right path in life.
- 1. Wafi, part XII, p. 211