According to Merriam Webster's online dictionary, parenting is the process of taking care of children until they are old enough to take care of themselves. As a biological parent of two daughters, but some other form of parent (step, chosen, etc.) to many others, I beg to differ with MW. Parenting does not end when children are old enough to take care of themselves. Parenting is a life-long, permanent process that evolves in its duties and obligations throughout the course of one's life and the lives of one's children. The definition should include this - not only for accuracy, but as a warning to those considering delving into this lifestyle. As a parent, I have raised a few children from birth, some from younger ages (step daughters), and some from teen years or older. With each different population came different parenting requirements. One thing that was consistent among all of the populations was this: no two kids are the same, and there isn't one parenting style or set of rules that works in every situation. Some kids are more headstrong than others and require a more stringent set of rules. On the other hand, some kids are more passive and can be trusted to self-regulate more consistently than their more head-strong counterparts. Regardless of the temperament of each individual child, it is essential to note that all children do, in fact, need some sort of guidelines to follow if they are to have a successful upbringing that leads them into a successful adulthood.
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