Jonathan made the call in Abeokuta, the Ogun capital, at the funeral service for late Mrs. Taiwo Abati, mother of Dr. Rueben Abati, the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
The president was represented by Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, his Chief of Staff, at the service held at St. John's Anglican Church, Igbehin Abeokuta.
Jonathan appealed to parents to ensure that children were brought up in the fear of God and according to acceptable societal norms.
The president noted that many of the crimes and social vices in the country were perpetrated by youths who allowed themselves to be used by some elders for selfish interest.
He described many of the youths as victims of wrong indoctrination, adding that it was the primary responsibility of parents, particularly mothers, to provide proper tutelage for their wards at an early stage.
The president expressed the belief that once good virtues were instilled in children, they would serve as defence against undue influence.
The president, however, commended the deceased, saying, "The good character being exhibited by Mr. Abati are testimonies that he was properly brought up."
He called on mothers to play their roles in the ongoing transformation agenda by mentoring their children at an early stage.
Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Adekunle, the Bishop of Egba Diocese, in his sermon, urged mothers to emulate the standard of biblical mothers like Deborah and Hannah.
The service was attended by prominent Nigerians including Chief Emeka Anyaoku, the former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
Others were ministers, top government functionaries and journalists.