Parents were invented to make children happy by giving them something to ignore.
—Ogden Nash (1902–71) American Writer of Sophisticated Light Verse
The parents exist to teach the child, but also they must learn what the child has to teach them; and the child has a very great deal to teach them.
—Arnold Bennett (1867–1931) British Novelist, Playwright, Critic
There is no such penalty for error and folly as to see one’s children suffer for it. — There is no such reward for a well-spent life as to see one’s children well started in life, owing to their parents’ good health, good principles, fixed character, good breeding, and in general the whole outfit, that enables them to fight the battle of life with success.
—William Graham Sumner (1840–1910) American Polymath, Academic, Historian, Sociologist, Anthropologist
Irreverence ran on both sides of our family… my parents brought me up to think we could all change the world.
—Richard Branson (b.1950) British Entrepreneur
The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children.
—Clarence Darrow (1857–1938) American Civil Liberties Lawyer
Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going.
—Phyllis Diller (b.1917) American Actor, Comedian
To show a child what once delighted you, to find the child’s delight added to your own — this is happiness.
—J. B. Priestley (1894–1984) English Novelist, Playwright, Socialist
Selective ignorance, a cornerstone of child rearing. You don’t put kids under surveillance: it might frighten you. Parents should sit tall in the saddle and look upon their troops with a noble and benevolent and extremely nearsighted gaze.
—Garrison Keillor (b.1942) American Author, Humorist, Radio Personality
We speak of educating our children. Do we know that our children also educate us?
—Lydia H. Sigourney (1791–1865) American Poetaster, Author
Your children need your presence more than presents.
—Jesse Jackson (b.1941) American Baptist Civil Rights Activist, Minister
Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.
—Anne Frank (1929–45) Holocaust Victim
To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.
—Pope John Paul II (1920–2005) Polish Catholic Religious Leader
If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.
—Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929–94 ) American First Lady
Parents have become so convinced that educators know what is best for their children that they forget that they themselves are really the experts.
—Marian Wright Edelman (b.1939) American Civil Regrets Advocate, Humanitarian, Lawyer
Children need guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.
—Anne Sullivan Macy (1866–1936) American Educator
Oh, high is the price of parenthood, and daughters may cost you double. You dare not forget, as you thought you could, that youth is a plague and a trouble.
—Phyllis McGinley (1905–78) American Children’s Books Writer, Poet, Writer of Children’s Books
I am the slave of my baptism. Parents, you have caused my misfortune, and you have caused your own.
—Arthur Rimbaud (1854–91) French Poet, Adventurer
It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
—Maya Angelou (1928–2014) American Poet
No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self-deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
—Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) Spanish Novelist
Parents are sometimes a bit of a disappointment to their children. They don’t fulfill the promise of their early years.
—Anthony Powell (1905–2000) English Novelist, Memoirist
Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same — and most mothers kiss and scold together.
—Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973) American Novelist, Human Rights Activist
Parents learn a lot from their children about coping with life.
—Muriel Spark (1918–2006) Scottish Novelist, Short-story Writer, Poet
How selfhood begins with a walking away, and love is proved in the letting go.
—Cecil Day-Lewis (1904–72) British Poet, Critic
A suspicious parent makes an artful child.
—Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796–1865) Canadian Author, Humorist, Businessperson, Judge
The sacred books of the ancient Persians say: If you would be holy instruct your children, because all the good acts they perform will be imputed to you.
—Montesquieu (1689–1755) French Political Philosopher, Jurist
The sooner you treat your son as a man, the sooner he will be one.
—John Dryden (1631–1700) English Poet, Literary Critic, Playwright
Where parents do too much for their children, the children will not do much for themselves.
—Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915) American Writer, Publisher, Artist, Philosopher
I wish you would moderate that fondness you have for your children. I do not mean you should abate any part of your care, or not do your duty to them in its utmost extent, but I would have you early prepare yourself for disappointments, which are heavy in proportion to their being surprising.
—Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762) English Aristocrat, Poet, Novelist, Writer