Parenting has become a commonly used term. As both a noun and verb, it is now applied to the many aspects of caring for a child from birth to adulthood; however, the word did not emerge in public usage in America until the 1950s. It was preceded by the term parentcraft, which was used in Britain in the 1930s to refer to learning the skills related to a wide spectrum of practical family matters. Even today, with increased emphasis on the importance of parenting and the prevalence of available child-rearing information, there is no general agreement on what parenting specifically means.

Rather than a unitary concept, the term invokes a host of assumptions and expectations and encompasses a cluster of meanings. Broadly speaking, parenting might best ...

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