Question: When children are upon goodness, is this a blessing [from Allaah]; and when they are corrupt, are they a curse?
Response: Without a doubt, indeed children are a blessing from Allaah if they are upon goodness; however, there is a reason for their being upon goodness, and that is good nurturing – the nurturing of the father towards them, as he (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
«Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them if they do not when they are ten years old, and separate them in their beds» [transmitted by Abu Daawood, declared authentic by al-Albaanee].
[So] goodness does not come by accident, there has to be a reason – and that [reason] is good nurturing; because bad nurturing causes the children to deviate away from the sound natural disposition [towards worshipping Allaah alone – as they were created], as the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
«Every child is born upon a sound natural disposition [towards worshipping Allaah alone], [and it is] then [that] his parents bring him up as a Jew, or a Christian, or a Magian» [transmitted by both al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
And the nurturing of the father towards the children plays a big role – both in them being upon goodness, as well as their corruption; and he is responsible for them in front of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala.