The word "children" stands for sons and daughters, who are entitled to indisputable rights of rearing represented in promoting their religious orientation and ethical approach in order to be armed with both merits. Allah, the Almighty, says: "O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones..." (The Holy Quran: 66:6)
The Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Everyone of you is a protector and guardian and responsible for your wards and things under your care and a man is a guardian of his family members, and is accountable for those placed under his charge." (Bukhari and Muslim)
Children are a trust put in the hands of parents who will be answerable before Allah on the Day of Judgment about their children as they are enjoined to satisfy their offspring's spiritual and religious urges in order to produce righteous men and women, to be a consolation for the eyes of their parents in both the present world and Hereafter. Allah, the Almighty says: "And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything. Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned." (The Holy Quran: 52:21)
The Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) in this context, said: "When a believer dies, his work ceases to be except in three areas: a perpetual Sadaqa (charity), some useful knowledge he leaves and a righteous son praying for him." (Muslim)
However, some parents have paid no heed to their children's rights and shirked away their obligations to them. Consequently the latter have got lost and begun to grope in darkness. Their parents have been too busy in worldly affairs promoting their financial situation and hoarding wealth to enquire about the company in which their children are involved or to guide them to good and make them shun evil, although they are more eligible for parental care, love and attention. Duties of father are not confined to catering for his child's physical well-being, nutritious needs and clothing only; he is rather demanded to care about the spiritual side of his child's character, feeding his heart with knowledge and faith and enveloping his soul with a clad of piety and the fear of Allah.
Children are eligible to be spent on in kindness with neither extravagance nor stint. Spending on one's children manifests deep gratitude to Allah for the wealth, which the Creator has conferred on to the father. He cannot withhold his wealth, nor stint on it; otherwise it will go involuntarily to his children after his death. Should he be stint, although it is the right of the children to acquire adequate money to sustain themselves.
Another right fully due to children is equality in parental treatment. No one should be given preference over the others in gifts or presents. The canonical law of Islam dictates that no child should enjoy privileges to the prejudice of his brothers or sisters; this is injustice on the face of it. Allah forbids injustice because it leads to aversion on the part of the deprived children, and creation of hostility between the ill-treated and the pampered ones or even between the former and their parents. One child could show more honor to his parents than his other brothers or sisters, the thing that invites his parents to single him out for more privileges to the exclusion of the others. This behavior is unjustifiable because the dutiful son is rewarded by his Lord; moreover, a privilege of this sort could on the one hand lead the child to vain glory and on the other, the less fortunate ones could develop a kind of aversion and then overstep the mark and indulge in further disobedience. Life is rich in vicissitudes; the undutiful son could turn into a respectful one and vice versa; after all, hearts are in the grasp of Allah and they could show different emotions as He desires.
Bukhari and Muslim reported a narration from An-Numan bin Bashir that his father Bashir bin Sa'd took him to Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) and said, "I have given this son of mine a slave." The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked, 'Have you given all your sons the like?’ He replied in the negative. The Prophet (peace be upon Him) said, 'Take back your gift then.'"
In another narration, the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Be afraid of Allah, and be just to your children."
And in another narration, he (peace be upon him) said: "Make anyone else a witness upon this because I cannot be a witness on a Zulm (wrongdoing)."
In clear words, the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) described preference of one's child over the others as injustice which is synonymous with Zulm (wrongdoing) and Zulm is Haram (prohibited). However, we must not mix up between preference and making an exception of one child and satisfying his urgent needs; this exception serves special exigencies and runs in the same channel of supporting one's family.
When the parent has discharged his obligations towards his offspring in all aspects including sustenance and upbringing, then the child should certainly manage to observe full obedience and honor to his parent. But when a father fails to fulfill his duties, he is liable to be punished that his son should deny his parental right and let the father be rightly recompensed of what he did.