learned parentingParenting intinctparenting practices

The real reasons parenting is not an instinct and a learned behaviour


Parenting intinct


Parenting is the process of raising children. Through the process of parenting, parents are expected to fulfil the needs of babies and children who are dependent on them for nutritional needs, shelter, safety,  shelter and overall well-being. Parents provide their children with ways to interact and behave in society. 

The core debate 

Is parenting is a learned behaviour or a natural instinct? Many people believe that Parenting is an intinct which comes naturally to parents. On the other hand many people think that Parenting is a learned behaviour and Parenting Practices are determined by this learning. If you look at strength of arguments, later opinion seems closer to the facts. Here are the arguments that support opinion of people who believe parenting is learned behaviour. 

Social learning theory

According to social learning theory by social psychologist Albert Bandura, our behaviours and patterns of interaction in society are learned and imitated. Similarly, parenting is learned and repeated. People learn it at family, societal, educational and other institutional levels. Parenting is not an intinct but a learned behaviour. 

Parenting patterns are influenced by culture, values and norms of the society 

Our culture, values and norms greatly influence our dress, food, patterns of living and interaction. Parenting is not an exception. A child is raised according to these cultural ideals and in a way which is appropriate to norms. Otherwise, it will become difficult for the child to live in that society.  Culture, values and norms are not natural but created by men and vary from society to society. Some cultural practices are even very harmful for the children. 

Patterns are inter generational 

Parenting is an inter generational cycle and one transfers from one generation to other. All good and bad parenting practices are transfered. Through education and awareness,  abusive parenting practices can be changed. Thus, parenting is not natural or an intinct but a learned behaviour. 

Changing paradigms of Parenting Practices over the period of history 

Over time parenting patterns have been changing constantly. From times of hunting society to tribal, agrarian, industrial and modern society family structures and patterns have been changing. This change was the result of  changing human development, infrastructure 

How research in education, social sciences and human behaviour has affected Parenting Practices and patterns 

Research in the disciplines of education, social sciences and psychology has challenged the traditional concepts of parenting and unsustainable authority of adults to deal with children. Due to research and advancement in the fields of social and child psychology, concepts about parenting are completely transformed. Concept of positive parenting emerged as a result of new research in child psychology and human behaviour. On this basis of research and learning, earlier parenting practices are challenged. States are making efforts to create awareness about effective and positive parenting and legislating to protect children from harmful parenting practices. Child protective services are established to protect children from abuse and harm by anyone including parents and caregivers. There are the ways to learn positive parenting skills.


On the basis of arguments discussed above, it can be concluded that parenting is a learned behaviour rather than an intinct. Parenting patterns and practices have been changing due cultural influences, historical paradigms, religion and research in social sciences and psychology. 

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