Parenting is the process of raising and educating a child from birth, or before, until adulthood.
In the case of humans, it is usually done by the biological parents of the child in question, although governments and society take a role as well. In many cases, orphaned or abandoned children receive parental care from non-parent blood relations. Others may be adopted, raised by foster care, or be placed in an orphanage.
The goals of human parenting are debated. Usually, parental figures provide for a child's physical needs, protect them from harm, and impart in them skills and cultural values until they reach legal adulthood, usually after adolescence. Among non-human species, parenting is usually less lengthy and complicated, though mammals tend to nurture their young extensively. The degree of attention parents invest in their offspring is largely inversely proportional to the number of offspring the average adult in the species produces.
This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Parenting. The Official Guide to Parenting is Toni Schutta. Toni Schutta is a National Speaker, Author, Parent Coach and a Licensed Psychologist with a Master’s Degree in Psychology. She’s the president of Families First Coaching, an organization devoted to providing parents with practical information, easy-to-use tools and helpful resources that will empower parents and strengthen families.
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