Below is an excerpt from an article written by Shoma Chatterji. This about says it all for parents as teachers.

Teachers cannot take the place of parents in a child’s life because:
(a) Teachers are permitted to teach given subjects from a given syllabus within a classroom situation.
(b) They are bound to the prescribed rules and regulations of the school, college or university.
(c) Teachers remain with the children for around eight hours for five or six days in a week. So, time and space limit their interaction with students.
(d) Since teachers rarely meet the students they teach beyond the school premises, their understanding of the nature and mindset of the children they teach is limited to school hours and school discipline. They have almost no way of knowing how these children behave at home, or, with their neighbours, etc.
(e) Teachers generally teach an entire class of children where one-to-one communication is absent. So, they find it difficult to tackle individual problems of a child from a large group.
(f) Teachers are mainly concerned with the teaching of academic subjects and have no time to instruct children on the more important aspects of life such as values, principles etc, except in an indirect manner.

Parents teach less by telling children what they should or should not do, and more by example. A father who wakes up late, will never be able to teach his children to wake up early. A mother who lies all the time, cannot expect her children to be honest in their speech. Parents, who are disordered and indisciplined, will not realise the importance of teaching their children to be orderly and disciplined. Value education is the education we receive from our parents. Academic education is the education we get from our teachers. Parents who are cowed by temper tantrums and screaming defiance are only inviting more of the same from their children. An alcoholic father is very likely to have an alcoholic son. Research on marriage and divorce has shown that children of divorced parents are very likely to have broken marriages themselves.

Why parents are the best teachers -
1. Parents have subtle ways of humbling you, of reminding you of your origins, perhaps by showing up at the moment of your greatest glory and reminding you where you went wrong.
2. Parents can be understanding and accept the more difficult stages as necessary times of growth for the child.
3. Parents don't make mistakes because they don't care, but because they care so deeply. (Berry Brazelton)
4. Parents through their own behavior and the values, by which they live, provide direction for their children.
5. Values like honesty, integrity, discipline, obedience, loyalty, and reverence for elders are passed on by parents to their children.
6. Parents can offer their help by suggesting and locating resources likely to be unfamiliar to children, such as people, books, and materials that can be useful.
7. Parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with threads of the future and leave their own bright patterns as they go.

British novelist Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) rightly said that parents cannot expect advice to have the same force upon their children as experience has upon themselves. It would be apt to conclude with Fred Rogers’ quote. He said, “parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with threads of the future and leave their own bright patterns as they go.”

“Parents teach in the toughest school in the world: The School for Making People. You are the board of education, the principal, the classroom teacher, and the janitor,” wrote Virginia Satir (Columbia World of Quotations, 1996.) Are parents the best teachers? It depends on what one means by the term ‘teaching.’ If teaching is limited to elementary lessons in the three ‘r’s, namely – reading, writing and arithmetic, then, formal educators in school would perhaps be considered the best teachers. Teachers who teach us in schools and colleges are educators. They are necessary for the formal education of all children. But they are no substitute for parents. They never can replace parents in the shaping of the child’s character, life and future.
Published: 2006-08-03
Author: Shoma Chatterji