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date: 19 January 2020


  1. The joys of parents are secret, and so are their griefs and fears.
    Francis Bacon 1561–1626 English lawyer, courtier, philosopher, and essayist: Essays (1625) ‘Of Parents and Children’
  2. Children always assume the sexual lives of their parents come to a grinding halt at their conception.
    Alan Bennett 1934–  English dramatist and actor: Getting On (1972)
  3. Diogenes struck the father when the son swore.
    Robert Burton 1577–1640 English clergyman and scholar: The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621–51) pt. 3, sect. 2, member 5, subsect. 5
  4. If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent.
    Bette Davis 1908–89 American actress: The Lonely Life (1962)
  5. When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.
    Nora Ephron 1941–2012 American writer and journalist: I Feel Bad About My Neck (2006) ‘What I Wish I'd Known’
  6. Having one child makes you a parent; having two you are a referee.
    David Frost 1939–2013 English broadcaster and writer: in Independent 16 September 1989
  7. My father was frightened of his mother; I was frightened of my father, and I am damned well going to see to it that my children are frightened of me.
    George V 1865–1936 British monarch, King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1910: attributed, perhaps apocryphal; Randolph S. Churchill Lord Derby (1959)
  8. Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
    They came through you but not from you
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
    Kahlil Gibran 1883–1931 Lebanese-born American writer and painter: The Prophet (1923) ‘On Children’
  9. Do they know they're old,
    These two who are my father and my mother
    Whose fire from which I came, has now grown cold?
    Elizabeth Jennings 1926–2001 English poet: ‘One Flesh.’ (1967)
  10. Nothing has a stronger influence on their children than the unlived lives of their parents.
    Carl Gustav Jung 1875–1961 Swiss psychologist: attributed; in Boston Magazine June 1978
  11. They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.
    Philip Larkin 1922–85 English poet: ‘This Be The Verse’ (1974)
  12. Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.
    Jo Ann Merrell: ‘Love: A Variation on a Theme’
  13. Oh, what a tangled web do parents weave
    When they think that their children are naïve.
    Ogden Nash 1902–71 American humorist: ‘Baby, What Makes the Sky Blue’ (1940); see Scott
  14. Children aren't happy with nothing to ignore,
    And that's what parents were created for.
    Ogden Nash 1902–71 American humorist: ‘The Parent’ (1933)
  15. The affection you get back from children is sixpence given as change for a sovereign.
    Edith Nesbit 1858–1924 English writer: J. Briggs A Woman of Passion (1987)
  16. If you bungle raising your children I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much.
    Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 1929–94 American wife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Theodore C. Sorenson Kennedy (1965)
  17. A Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy until they die!
    Philip Roth 1933–  American novelist: Portnoy's Complaint (1967)
  18. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.
    J. K. Rowling 1965–  English novelist: commencement address, Harvard, 5 June 2008
  19. Parentage is a very important profession, but no test of fitness for it is ever imposed in the interest of the children.
    George Bernard Shaw 1856–1950 Irish dramatist: Everybody's Political What's What? (1944) ch. 9
  20. Parents learn a lot from their children about coping with life.
    Muriel Spark 1918–2006 British novelist: The Comforters (1957)
  21. Parenthood remains the greatest single preserve of the amateur.
    Alvin Toffler 1928–2016 American writer: Future Shock (1970) ch. 11
  22. I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.
    Harry S. Truman 1884–1972 American Democratic statesman, 33rd President 1945–53: television interview, Person to Person CBS 27 May 1955
  23. Parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth.
    Peter Ustinov 1921–2004 British actor, director, and writer: attributed, in Times 30 March 2004
  24. Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.
    Oscar Wilde 1854–1900 Irish dramatist and poet: A Woman of No Importance (1893) act 2
  25. A slavish bondage to parents cramps every faculty of the mind.
    Mary Wollstonecraft 1759–97 English feminist: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) ch. 11