Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 27 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Simeon Sylites
home iconNews
line break icon

What is involved in raising children?


Aleteia - published on 09/01/13 - updated on 06/08/17

What is involved in raising children?

Simply put, parenting is the process of promoting the development of children and guiding them into adulthood. But in order for children to reach such a level of fully formed development, more is required than a basic provision of material goods. Parenting requires attention to a number of facets of human development, thereby making parents "the first and most important educators of their own children" (Pope Bl. John Paul II, Letter to Families). A child's comprehensive human development includes growth in the following areas:

Physical Development

The physical care of a child is the most fundamental aspect of child rearing, one which makes subsistence possible. This requires adequate provision of shelter and nourishment, but also the provision of proper medical care and physical activity.

Emotional Development

Children require signs of affection in order to develop a healthy sense of self-esteem and relationships with others. Parents encourage children’s emotional health by providing a peaceful living environment built upon a healthy marital relationship and a positive interaction with each child.

Social Development

Children’s first experience of community living is the family. Parents foment this aspect of child development through the application of rules and procedures meant to instill discipline and a well-ordered respect for proper authority within the child. They also do this by encouraging their children to engage in healthy extra-familial interaction with different individuals and in different settings – extended family, friends, school, church, etc. This makes the child’s successful integration into greater society possible.

Intellectual Development

Many educational options exist for children. Families, given their particular circumstances, can opt among public school, private school, parochial school, or homeschooling. Regardless of the option, parents should take great care in ensuring that children are acquiring the knowledge and skills they need to become contributing members of society. Parents should also be mindful of children’s cultural formation and awareness.

Spiritual Development

Parents are the primary influencers of a child’s spirituality (or lack thereof). Through their example, parents can initiate children in the practice and knowledge of religion, and instill in them a genuine love for it.

All in all, the parent-child relationship constitutes the "civilization of love" that families are called to exemplify. Raising a child is an act of selflessness and partnership on the part of the parents, as together they outpour their love for their children. For this reason, John Paul II called parenthood a "genuine apostolate" and "a living means of communication, which not only creates a profound relationship between the educator and the one being educated, but also makes them both sharers in truth and love, that final goal to which everyone is called by God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" (Letter to Families, 16).

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.