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Parenting is the process of raising and educating a child from birth until adulthood.

It has recently become a very popular topic due to the necessity of clarifying the process of upbringing a child at home by parents as the opposite to the formal education of a child at school. A teacher-student relationship is different from the parent-child relationship. Therefore a parent's methods of educating a child must be different from a teacher's. At school teachers give a child general literacy and scientific knowledge; at home parents give a child general wisdom of life as parents themselves understand it.

The term "parenting" is a derivative of the word "parent" taken as a verb. When people say "to parent" a child it means "to be a parent," or "to fulfill parental duties." Since everyone who has a child has to parent he or she has their own view on what their parental duties are. Generally, the majority of parents admit that those duties are to provide for the basic needs of a child - the child's need for security and development. This implies security and development of a child's body, mind and psyche. In other words, it is physical, intellectual, and emotional security and development.

Parenting is usually done in a child's family by the mother and/or father (i.e., the biological parents). When parents are unable or unwilling to provide this care, it is usually undertaken by close relatives, such as older siblings, aunts and uncles, or grandparents. In other cases, children may be cared for by adoptive parents, foster parents, godparents, or in institutions (such as group homes or orphanages). There are also circumstances, such as on a kibbutz, where parenting is an occupation even when biological parents exist. Parens patriae refers to the public policy power of the state to usurp the rights of the natural parent, legal guardian or informal caregiver, and to act as the parent of any child or individual who is in need of protection (i.e. if the child's caregiver is exceedingly violent or dangerous).

Parental duties

Providing physical security

Providing physical security refers to a safety of a child's body, safety of a child's life.

Providing physical development

Developing a child physically refers to providing a conditions to a healthy growth of a child.

  • To provide a child with the means to develop physically
  • To train the body of a child, to introduce to sport
  • To develop habits of health
  • Physical games

Providing intellectual security

Intellectual security refers to the conditions, in which a child's mind can develop. If the child's dignity is safe, that is nobody encroaches upon a child physically or verbally, then he is able to learn.

  • To provide an atmosphere of peace and justice in family, where no one's dignity is encroached upon.
  • To provide "no-fear," "no-threat,"no-verbal abuse" environment
  • To spend bonding times and share wonderful moments with children

Providing intellectual development

Intellectual development means providing opportunity to a child to learn - to learn about laws of nature and moral laws.

Providing emotional security

To provide security to a child is to help protect and shield the child's fragile psyche. It is to provide a safe loving environment, give a child a sense of being loved, being needed, welcomed.

Providing emotional development

development refers to giving a child an opportunity to love other people, to care, to help.

  • Developing in a child an ability to love through:
    • Showing empathy and compassion to younger and older, weaker and sicker, etc.
    • Caring for others, helping grandparents, etc.

Other parental duties

Parenting models, tools, philosophies and practices

Conventional models of parenting

  • "Rules of traffic" model

It is an instructional approach to upbringing. Parents explain to their children how to behave, assuming that they taught the rules of behavior as they did the rules of traffic. What you try to teach a child doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll get through to them. For example, a teenager was told "a thousand times" that stealing was wrong yet the teen continued to do so. The problem of parenting, in this case, is not that they tried to teach him/her the right thing, but that they considered parenting as a single, narrow minded method of parenting, without fulfilling the range of parental duties.

  • "Fine gardening" model

Parents believe that children have positive and negative qualities, the latter of which parents should "weed out" or "prune" into an appropriate shape. The problem in this parenting method is that parents fight with the faults of their child rather than appreciate their current achievements and/or capabilities; a method which may continue through their whole life without success.

"The models “rules of traffic” and “fine gardening” are especially dangerous because we, following our best motives, constantly quarrel with our children, destroy relationships, and all our parental work becomes a hopeless effort. Moreover, we don’t understand why this has happened." S.Soloveychik, [1]

  • "Reward and punishment" model

"RaP" is a most popular model of parenting based on logic: for a good action - a reward/praise and for a bad action - a punishment/scolding/reprimand. To teach a child by this logic is relatively easy and can even be effective, especially if it is done consistently. It is because it forms a sense of justice in a child's mind that it works. But, simultaneously, it imparts the child's universal image of the reward and punishment and when real life doesn't prove to be just it undermines the child's faith in justice, according to S.Soloveychik. He writes "It is dangerous for the future of children. It may happen that a man, grown up by this model, facing the first serious failure or first trouble, would lift his arms and ask, “Why me?”

Modern models of parenting

Parenting typically utilizes tools of reward and punishment method, but most child development experts now agree that corporal punishment is not an effective behavior modification tool. In some jurisdictions corporal punishment (e.g., spanking or whipping) has been prohibited by law. Many parents have adopted non-physical approaches to child discipline, for example time-out. The other "civilized" forms of discipline behavioral control, structure, accountability, Parental supervision, etc.

  • Examples of modern parenting models

"Nurturant parent model"

A family model where children are expected to explore their surroundings with protection from their parents.

"Strict father model"

Places a strong value on discipline as a means to survive and thrive in a harsh world.

"Attachment parenting"

Seeks to create strong emotional bonds, avoiding physical punishment and accomplishing discipline through interactions recognizing a child's emotional needs all while focusing on holistic understanding of the child.

"Taking Children Seriously"

Sees both praise and punishment as manipulative and harmful to children and advocates other methods to reach agreement with them.

"Parenting For Everyone"

The philosophy of Parenting For Everyone considers parenting from the ethical point of view. It analyses parenting goals, conditions and means of childrearing. It offers to look at a child's internal world (emotions, intelligence and spirit) and derive the sources of parenting success from there. The concept of heart implies the child's sense of being loved and their ability to love others. The concept of intelligence implies the child's morals. And the concept of spirit implies the child's desire to do good actions and avoid bad behavior, avoid encroaching upon anybody's dignity. The core concept of the philosophy of Parenting For Everyone is the concept of dignity, the child's sense of worthiness and justice.

Christian parenting

In the United States, disparate models explicitly termed "Christian parenting" are popular among some parents who claim to apply biblical principles to parenting. Information on Christian parenting is found in publications, Christian parenting websites, and in seminars devoted to helping parents apply Christian principles to parenting.[citation needed]

While some Christian parenting models are strict and authoritarian, others are "grace-based" and share methods advocated in attachment parenting and positive parenting theories. Particularly influential on opposite sides have been James Dobson and his book Dare to Discipline,[2] and William Sears who has written several parenting books including The Complete Book of Christian Parenting & Child Care and The Discipline Book.

In a study[3] of Christian parents done by Christian Parenting Today in 2000, 39% of the families surveyed have family devotions once a week or more, and 69% of parents consider Sunday school, youth and children's programs extremely important.

Parenting issues across the child's lifespan

Pregnancy and prenatal parenting

During pregnancy the unborn child is affected by many decisions his or her parents make, particularly choices linked to their lifestyle. The health and diet decisions of the mother can have either a positive or negative impact on the child during prenatal parenting.

Many people believe that parenting begins with birth, but the mother begins raising and nurturing a child well before birth. Scientific evidence indicates that from the fifth month on, the unborn baby is able to hear sound, be aware of motion, and possibly exhibit short-term memory. Several studies (e.g. Kissilevsky et al., 2003) show evidence that the unborn baby can become familiar with his or her parents' voices. Other research indicates that by the seventh month, external schedule cues influence the unborn baby's sleep habits. Based on this evidence, parenting actually begins well before birth.

Depending on how many children the mother carries also determines the amount of care needed during prenatal and post-natal periods.


Being the parent of an infant is a major responsibility. Infants require dedicated care, including (but not limited to) feeding, bathing, changing diapers, and health care. Because of this, you would be wise to be committed to this child's well-being, since the rest of your life will have to be centered around it.


Parenting a toddler requires time and hard work. Parenting responsibilities during the toddler years include (but are not limited to) feeding, bathing, potty training, ensuring safety, teaching, and attending to the well-being of the child. Parenting toddlers also requires emotionally sound parents and guardians. Toddlers are basically older infants and require the same if not more patience.


Parents are expected to make important decisions about preschool education and early childhood education.

Elementary and Middle School Years

Parenting issues related to parenting school age children include Education, Kindergarten, Primary education. Parents must also gear them for the school years to come, which require emotional toughness.


During adolescence children are beginning to form their identity and are testing and developing the interpersonal and occupational roles that they will assume as adults. Although adolescents look to peers and adults outside of the family for guidance and models for how to behave, parents remain influential in their development. Parents should make efforts to be aware of their adolescents activities, provide guidance, direction, and consultation. Adolescence can be a time of high risk for children, where newfound freedoms can result in decisions that drastically open up or close off life opportunities. Parental issues at this stage of parenting include dealing with "rebellious" teenagers, who didn't know freedom while they were smaller.

Young Adults

When grown-up children become adults their personalities show the result of successful or unsuccessful parenting. Especially it is noticeable when young adults make their independent life decisions about their education, work and choosing mates for friendship or marriage.

Adults and Older Adults

Parenting doesn't stop when children grow up and age. Parents always remain to be parents for old children. Their relationship continues developing if both parties want to keep it or improve. The parenting issues may include the relationship with grandchildren and children-in-law.

Parenting Styles

Main Article: Parenting styles

There are four universal parenting styles, each with different methods of parenting. Each parenting style has different levels of demand and responsiveness and the resulting child is different for each style.


Parents may receive assistance from a variety of individuals and organizations. Employers may offer specific benefits or programs for parents. Many governments provide assistance to parents.

Another source of Assistance is other parents. Using the advice of other parents is sometimes the best advice due to the fact that some have lived through exactly what you are experiencing.


Some organizations are fighting for more parental rights in the United States:

Parenting authorities

See also


  1. Parenting For Everyone (Педагогика для всех, 2000, ISBN 5-8246-0042-2)
  2. Dare to Discipline. Bantam, 1982. ISBN 0-553-20346-0

Further reading

  • Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth & K. Lee Lerner (eds) (2006). Family in society : essential primary sources. Thomson Gale. ISBN 1414403305.
  • Juul, Jesper (2001). Your Competent Child - Towards New Basic Values for the Family. Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, N.Y. ISBN 0374527903.
  • Alvy, Kerby (2007). The Positive Parent: Raising Heatlhy, Happy and Successful Children from Birth through Adolescence. Teachers College Press, Columbia University.

External links

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