Your question has various aspects, but as they are all related, I hope that my answer addresses all the items in some fashion.
Q1 - You may want to read Ohr HaChaim's commentray on the verse you cited. While not directly indicating what the halacha is, he implies that from the wording, the concept is that the parents should tell the story of Pesach at night specifically when Matzah and Maror are in front of him. Keep in mind that there was no concept of a "Seder" at the time the Torah was given. What is also apparent from the placement of the verse, is that the previous verse says that you should eat Matzah for seven days, and a key phrase in this verse (the one you cited) is "ba'avur zeh" - because of THIS - meaning it is an answer to why we eat Matzah - at least, immediately. Rash"i also explains that this is an answer to the wicked son, a concept developed later, as the 4 sons are part of the Seder.
Now, to answer the rest of your questions - you raise a valid point, and this has been addressed in the past. I refer you to this article . Within it, he mentions these points:
- Citing Mishnah Pesachim, 10th Chapter, it says:
When the second cup of wine is poured, it is expected that the child,
curious about what has transpired, will begin questioning. If the
child is not aware enough to notice the differences, his father is to
prod him with a series of observations – “Look at how different
tonight is from all other nights!” The continuation of the Mishnaic
description states that the father should teach his child according to
the child's ability to understand, and suggests that the teaching
begin with an exploration of how bad things were before they got
better. Finally, the Mishnah adds that part of the seder should
include an expounding of the Torah portion beginning with the
description of the wandering Aramean.
Let us consider what preparation this child had for this event. Was
the child trained in advance to memorize a series of questions he
would perform for the assembled? Apparently not, as the Mishnah seems
to suggest that the questions are spontaneous. In fact, there is no
fixed text for the questions the child asks, only for the father whose
child has failed to notice the changes at the table.
So, it seems clear that you are correct that the commandment is for the parents to teach children and not in reverse.
The author suggests the following:
Creating a contemporary educational program for the seder needs to
focus on the parents as much as on the children, restoring the
parent's role as a key transmitter of an oral tradition, and should
account for the essentially non-text component of the evening. In the
younger grades, model seders should be held for parents, and not their
children. Educational packets should present parents with the tools
for leading a seder which positions the children at the center of an
inquisitive process directed by the parents; as their children grow,
parents need to be taught how to encourage their children to ask more
I also recommend reading the related blog to the article, as some of the writers offer supplemental ideas. In one of the emails, the author of the article adds this story:
I have been told that in the late Forties and Fifties Rav Avigdor
Miller would tell the members of his Shul that they should make sure
at the Seder to listen to what their children had learned in yeshiva.
During those years the majority of the members of his Shul did not
have extensive yeshiva educations.
On the other hand, a grandson of his told me that at his Seder Rav
Miller would go through the Haggadah, and focus on explaining only a
few key points. When a grandchild would say "My rebbe said," Rav
Miller would smile and say, "Let's wait until later to hear what he
said." He would then move on, continuing the Haggadah narrative. The
grandson told me that he never recalled "later" coming.
In summary - you raised an important question, and I hope the article addresses your concerns. With that, wishes for a Happy and educational Pesach.