Parenting Tasks: Roles, Goals, and Responsibilities

Diana Lang

Despite contextual factors and varied goals associated with parenting, roles and responsibilities of parenthood are derived from national and international laws, policies, research, and practice.  Below are well-agreed upon fundamental tasks of parenthood [1] that extend across many cultures:

  • photo of a women feeding her child
    Figure 1. A parent feeding their child exhibits the “providing sustenance” task of parenting. (Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels License)

    Safety and sustenance: ensuring adequate food, housing, clothing, medical care, and protection from harm in a multitude of contexts (e.g., neighborhood, household structure)

  • Socioemotional support: providing warm and positive responsivity, affection, communication, expectations, affirmations, encouragement, emotional regulation, guidance, discipline, and modeling of appropriate behaviors
  • Stimulation/instruction: encouraging achievement and learning through exposure to developmentally-appropriate and culturally-enriching experiences
  • Supervision: monitoring whereabouts, communications, activities; collecting information from various sources; maintaining ongoing, reciprocal communications with children
  • Structure: facilitating organized environments and activities via routines, rituals, scaffolding, and time management
  • Socialization: supporting connections with communities, relatives, friends, peers, and institutions [2]

  1. Bradley, R. H. (2007). Parenting in the breach. How parents help children cope with developmentally challenging circumstances. Parenting: Science and Practice, 7(2), 99-148.
  2. Laukkanan, E., Karppinen, S., Maattaa, K., & Uusiautti, S. (2014). Emphases of parenting in the light of three comparison groups. International Education Studies, 7(3), 67-77.


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