Parenting comprises all the tasks involved in raising a child to an independent adult.

It includes:

  • physical care:
    • providing food and drinks, and in the case of small children, the process of feeding or helping with that;
    • providing a toilet and facilities for washing, and in the case of small children, the washing itself or helping with that, and providing diapers or helping using the toilet;
    • providing clothing, and in the case of small children, putting the clothes on and taking them off or helping with that;
    • providing shelter, furniture, medical care, physical safety
  • social development and emotional support:
  • intellectual development:
  • moral and spiritual development
Parenting may involve praise but also punishment, for instance putting a child over the knee for a spanking. The term "child training" implies a specific type of parenting that focuses on holistic understanding of the child.

Parenting is highly dependent on culture. For example, North Americans often clearly define 18 as the age of adulthood and children are expected to leave home at that age and support themselves. Oriental culture does not have such a clear boundary. Traditional children would live with parents in multi-generation homes and be "parented" even as they become parents themselves.

Benjamin Spock was an authority on parenting to a generation of North American parents.

See also: