Parents and parenting
Parents are a person’s mother and father and parenting is the task of bringing up children. Because we are entirely dependent on our parents during our first few years and because they are the first people we have a relationship with, parents have a crucial role in our physical, intellectual and moral development.
Having been a parent himself, the Buddha had much to say about the art of parenting. The parents’ role, apart from loving and caring for their offspring is, the Buddha said, ‘to restrain their children from wrong, encourage them to do good, give them an education, provide them with a suitable marriage partner and leave them an inheritance’ (D.III,189). He also said that children should love, respect and honour their parents ‘because mothers and fathers do much for their children – they bring them up, nourish them, and introduce them to the world’ (A.II,69). As if to emphasize the blessing of gratitude, the Buddha said that it is impossible for us to repay our parents for all they have done for us. Then he added this proviso. ‘But whoever encourages their unbelieving parents to be believing, their immoral parents to become moral or their ignorant parents to become wise, such a one by so doing, does repay, does more than repay, their parents (A.I,61).