Parenting and Family

Courses aimed at building positive parenting skills and raising spiritual families

The Bahá’í teachings uphold the importance of raising children of good character and building unified families, calling mothers the first educators of the child and children the “most precious treasure a community can possess.” But what do these teachings really look like in a modern day context?

Counter to the common assumption that parenting skills emerge automatically once a couple gives birth to a child, raising service-oriented and resilient children requires a great deal of knowledge, reflection, and skill building. Families thrive when both the parents’ and the children’s growth and development are founded on spiritual teachings. The Parenting and Family courses at the Wilmette Institute aim to build capacity in the participants to make wise choices and create happy, unified homes that are of service to those involved and outward to others.

The Wilmette Institute offers spiritually-based, practical, and participatory courses for:

  • Individuals wanting to study parenting and raising children within a spiritual context
  • Individuals interested in building skills to face the challenges of modern day parents using a Bahá’í perspective
  • Parents who want to engage in practices that uplift the spiritual atmosphere in their homes
  • Members of families and institutions wanting to support parents in their role of raising the next generation of humankind
  • Groups of individuals wanting to study and discuss materials together, either in the same geographical location or over the Internet; groups may be organized with the assistance of a Local Spiritual Assembly or other entity

Course Content:
Courses include the Bahá’í Writings, parent education materials, discussion questions and Forum, learning activities, skill-building opportunities, videos, articles, the arts, mentoring by email, and more.

Course materials are in English, with Google Translate available for approximate translations.

Technical Requirements:
Internet access; devices capable of downloading and reading pdf documents, and email. Most of the readings, activities, and discussions are available on the course’s website, the Internet, or transmitted through email.

The Wilmette Institute provides discounts and scholarships as needed to groups, couples, youth, senior citizens, and pioneers. Please do not register for a course more than three months in advance, because course dates sometimes must change.



Sharing Bahá’u’lláh’s Birthday with Children

FACULTY: Swathi Baskaran
Dates: September 8 – October 5, 2017 (extended until 22 October)

Sharing Bahá’u’lláh’s Birthday with Children is designed to help parents, teachers, and other adults share Bahá’u’lláh’s birthday with children in ways that will help children understand the significance of Bahá’u’lláh’s birth and instill in their minds and hearts the greatness of the day. It will also help children celebrate this very special birthday in a fun and uplifting way. The course will focus on the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the childhood and youth of Bahá’u’lláh, and the early adulthood of Bahá’u’lláh. It will include stories from the history of the Baha’i Faith, service project ideas, activities, and songs to help children understand the underlying spirit of the special two hundredth anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh’s birth.


Nurturing Your Baby Spiritually during Pregnancy

FACULTY: Swathi Baskaran and Chelsea Lee Smith
Dates: February 5 – March 18, 2018

This course invites participants to nurture the spiritual wellbeing of a baby during pregnancy and in the parents as they experience this significant change. The content can also be useful for a couple who is planning to become pregnant. Topics include the role and preparation of mothers, fathers, and other family members for the changes ahead; the use of prayer and spiritual scripture throughout the experience; the marriage and family unit as the secure foundation for the well-being of the child; and how to build a spiritual and emotional support network for new parents.


Helping Children Navigate Media and Screentime

FACULTY: Justine Finn and Chelsea Lee Smith
Dates: May 7 – June 10, 2018

Do you want more tools to help your child navigate society’s intense media environment? In today’s world socializing, personal expression, and dating often occur between texts and social media, raising new challenges and opportunities for children and teens. This course is aimed at parents, caretakers, and educators of children ages 8 to 18 years old. It will help you learn how to address the common media-related issues facing your children and guide them to apply spiritual principles to their time online.


Conscious Parenting for 3 and 4 Year Olds

FACULTY: Swathi Baskaran and Chelsea Lee Smith
Dates: June 4 – July 8, 2018

This course invites participants to learn positive parenting practices with the objective of nurturing spirituality in children ages 3 and 4. Topics in the course include analyzing the roles and responsibilities of parents according to a Bahá’í perspective, strengthening the ability of parents to nurture spiritual qualities in young children, creating a positive relationship between parents and children even in the face of challenging behaviors, and building family unity through engaging in spiritual practices and service together.


Fostering a Bahá’í Identity in Children

FACULTY: Julie Iraninejad and Chelsea Lee Smith
Dates: September 3 – October 28, 2018

How can we help children place love for Bahá’u’lláh and the desire to be of service to others as the foundation of their lives? This course enables parents to explore how they can foster a child’s connection to the Bahá’í Faith through developing spiritually uplifting routines at home, enabling their children to engage in service within the home as well as in their communities, and aligning family activities with the current goals of their communities. Participants will be given positive parenting tools inspired by the Bahá’í Writings as well as hands-on strategies for implementing spiritual practices at home. Materials are suited for those with children 10 years old and under.


Communication Skills for Spiritually-Minded Parents

FACULTY: Chelsea Lee Smith
Dates: October 29 – December 16, 2018

At times, parents wish their children could listen better or be more skillful at communicating clearly. This course will give you tools to build a foundation of open and respectful communication in your home. Inspired by quotations from the Bahá’í Writings as well as stories from the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the course materials will invite participants to explore different techniques for communicating effectively, help them understand the importance of encouragement, empower them with language that fosters a learning mode, and teach them how to implement and carry out family meetings. The course is appropriate for those with children 2 to 10 years old.


Parenting and Family Faculty Team

The Parenting Section is under the Relationships and Marriage Department.