Parents’ Duties to their Children & Children’s Duties to their Parents

Parents have a duty to take good care of their children, to give them love and affection and to lead them through the path of morality as set by the teachings of the Lord Buddha. In short, the duties of parents are to help their children become successful and decent human beings.

There are five primary duties that a parent must do while bringing up a child:

1. Not allowing the child to do anything evil, including the killing of people and animals, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, speaking foul language, drinking alcohol and engaging in self-destructive behaviour.

2. Teaching the child to be established in virtue, for example, charitable giving, observing The Five Precepts and cultivation of the mind.

3. Ensuring that the child is properly educated.

4. Guiding the child to the right path in the careful selection of a spouse.

5. Passing on inheritances to the child

Children’s Duties to their Parents

A parent’s greatest joy lies in knowing the fact that their children are grateful to them, that they follow their guidance, get a good education, are successful at work and are respected by others. Every parent wants his or her children to be good and virtuous human beings.

Children should show their gratitude to parents by living a virtuous life, showing good respect to them, speaking to them in a nice and warm fashion, and taking good care of them. Children should never hold a grudge against their parents, regardless of their shortcomings.

Parents can set a good example for their children by caring for their own ageing parents. When we take care of our parents, we should do so without expectation of anything in return. We already owe our parents a tremendous debt for giving us life in a human form, for bringing us up and for giving us an education among other things.

We should try to be self-sufficient and not count on our parents for support, even if they are wealthy. Their wealth belongs to them. They can choose to spend their money in whichever way they like. We should not regard their wealth as our own simply because we are related. We should earn a living for ourselves and create our own wealth. Any inheritances given to us by our parents should be considered as an extra gift.

If parents give their children their wealth, but the children have not built a good base of merit to sustain it, it will eventually be depleted and soon disappear no matter how much wealth is given to them. One who is void of merit is also void of wealth. This is set by The Law of Kamma.

Human life is made up of physical and spiritual components, such as the body and mind. Our fathers and mothers contributed the elements for our physical form, while our mind is our own. In a way, we can say that our bodies belong to our parents since they are our progenitors.

Our body is a gift from our parents and we should honour our parents by treating this ‘gift’ with respect and care. We should use our bodies for only worthy deeds and avoid unworthy ones. We should not allow our bodies to be contaminated by intoxicants such as alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. If we use our bodies to perform more good deeds and increase our purity, our parents will share the benefits of our good deeds too. This is another way to show our gratitude to them.

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