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IslamQA: Should parents scold a child who doesn’t pray?

Salamu alaikum. I have a friend whom confided in me and wants to ask two questions to you: 1) Is it appropriate of a mother to scold her children for not praying on time, while she never taught her children about religion properly since their parents were gone to work and left their children with a babysitter at home; 2) How far can a parent force a religion to their children, if all the children's life are shown how their parents aren't giving constant good example of establishing it?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I discuss that issue in detail in my essay Why Your Teenager Hates You. We can only lead our children by example. We cannot force them to practice it. And whether they practice Islam or not, we are required to continue to love them and take care of them.

I don’t think scolding or shaming them will do much good. We should give them the freedom to discover and appreciate Islam on their own. Once we reassure them every day that we will love them whether they end up religious or not, they will be much more likely to want to follow our example.

And God knows best.
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