Most parents today are busy providing, not parenting. The inculcating of obedience and discipline in children is a major part of parenting. Children must first learn to obey before learning to order. Brazenly flouting parental orders, acting without permission, or even secretly, is common. If not checked early, this behaviour generally goes out of hand. Swami Tejomayanandaji says, “A young plant has to be nurtured and protected; once it becomes a tree, it can give protection to others too.” Children being immature lack discrimination. They follow their likes and dislikes without knowing the dangers inherent in indisciplined action. Therefore parental guidance and control is a must. Parents have to live the values themselves. Silent teachings are conveyed everyday through parental conduct. Thus the scriptures call parenting a “Maha yagnya”.
Parents provide rich toys, gadgetries and expensive holidays, but rarely teach simplicity and control. Children learn to spend before they learn to earn.! Why strive, parents will provide. Good parenting must teach children to sacrifice, to give, to help and to support, through setting examples themselves. Permitted to do whatsoever he likes, he will soon rebel at things he dislikes. Strong likes and dislikes take root and enslave the child. Weakened by his constant inability to accept dislikes as part of life , his development becomes lopsided. Scriptures advise early guidance on equipoise and an intelligent control of likes and dislikes as a major training in childhood. A child emulates the elder he looks up to and relies on. Therefore the famous verse that teaches children: ‘Matra devo bhava, pitra devo bhava, acharya devo bhava’ Thus the parent figures also have to be ‘devas’ (noble souls) and the child must honour them and submit to their mature and beneficial discipline. So, in Hinduism, the character building mother, father and teacher are worthy of worship.