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November 1987

Parenting and the Pediatrician

Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(11):1188-1192. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460110058022

The pediatrician is the primary person to whom parents turn for advice, and advice on parenting is often sought. The curricula of pediatric residency training programs devote little time to parenting. Thus, many pediatricians may be poorly prepared for their role.

Our report defines parenting, examines the family, discusses parenting advice and parents' needs, and looks at the role pediatricians play.


Parenting is more than biological procreation. Parenting is care and concern for the new human from the time the infant is born until maturity. Parenting is not easy. It is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, decades-long task, and there is little feedback—parentsparents may not know for many years how well or poorly they have done. Furthermore, the advice of experts varies considerably in all areas, from the job description to the rules.


The traditional mechanism and process for providing parenting is the family. All human cultures