From the book Ancient Art of Self Healing which is a collection of excerpts from lectures, notes and classes by SSS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa (Yogi Bhajan)
"The mother, is the only one who can teach her child tenderness and compassion. It is this exposure to gentleness in the lap of the mother for the first 7 years of life that teaches a man to be just, tolerant, and compassionate in his dealings with others. And when that tenderness will be lost, we will not have compassionate males. What will be the result? The result will be a lot more killing, a lot more war.
The entire nervous system, and consequently the entire capacity of a person for self-control, is determined by the touch of a mother. All human character, which has that gentleness for which humanity is proud, comes from the gentle touch of a woman. Our entire value of acceptance of others, hospitality, compassion, pain for others, thinking for others, sacrificing, welcoming, — all this is learned in the lap of the mother. There is a saying in the scriptures: "Whatever goodness a man has, it is learned in the lap of his mother." That is how important the institution of a woman as a mother is in our society.
Mother Nature writes the destiny of the child when the soul enters the womb on the 120th day of pregnancy.
Whatever character the mother gives to the child in the first 3 years becomes his first fundamental permanent foundation of character. The next 4 years, up to age 7, are the second coat, and all the mother can give the child has to be done by the 11th year.
After this time, the child will become more a friend than a disciple of character. Therefore, whatever a mother has to give a child, must be given within the first 11 years.