Abuse - Child Abuse and Neglect

There are many things which will, if neglected, be wasted, and come to nothing. How often in this world do we see a child who has lost his parents and who, unless attention be devoted to his education and training, can produce no fruit. And better off dead than alive is he who produceth no fruit.

Bahá’u’lláh, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 247

We prescribe unto all men that which will lead to the exaltation of the Word of God amongst His servants, and likewise, to the advancement of the world of being and the uplift of souls. To this end, the greatest means is education of the child. To this must each and all hold fast. We have verily laid this charge upon you in manifold Tablets as well as in My Most Holy Book. Well is it with him who defereth thereto.

Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í Education, p. 2

. . . to train the character of humankind is one of the weightiest commandments of God . . . Children must be most carefully watched over, protected and trained; in such consisteth true parenthood and parental mercy.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Education, pp. 22-23

Were there no educator, all souls would remain savage, and were it not for the teacher, the children would be ignorant creatures. It is for this reason that, in this new cycle, education and training are recorded in the Book of God as obligatory and not voluntary. That is, it is enjoined upon the father and mother, as a duty, to strive with all effort to train the daughter and the son, to nurse them from the breast of knowledge and to rear them in the bosom of sciences and arts. Should they neglect this matter, they shall be held responsible and worthy of reproach in the presence of the stern Lord.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 126-127

Whensoever a mother seeth that her child hath done well, let her praise and applaud him and cheer his heart; and if the slightest undesirable trait should manifest itself, let her counsel the child and punish him, and use means based on reason, even a slight verbal chastisement should this be necessary. It is not, however, permissible to strike a child, or vilify him, for the child's character will be totally perverted if he be subjected to blows or verbal abuse.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 125

Child abuse is a very sensitive issue, and one that raises strong emotions and understandable concern. When suspicions of child abuse are reported, however, some . . . will prove to be groundless.

From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 4 August, 1996