Raising Kids

Raising kids brings up all the feelings: joy, exasperation, pride, and worry (just to name a few). That's why it's important to have a toolkit of techniques for tackling both the fun and frustrating sides of parenting. When you're prepared for the curveballs that come with children's various stages of development, you're better able to give them what they need to stay healthy and happy as they grow.

We have ideas for navigating tough phases, planning safe and fun activities, and being savvy with tech to help kids thrive and make daily life easier.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is raising a child hard?

    It can be. In a survey by the Zero to Three foundation, 73% of responders call parenting their biggest challenge. It's no wonder—you're dealing with added responsibilities and costs as well as modern problems like screen time battles and planning pressures. But 91% of survey responders say parenting is also their greatest joy. The moment you see your child smile, master a skill, or discover a new passion, the hard work will feel well worth it.

  • What is the most important thing in raising a child?

    Opinions abound, but many child development experts say the key to successful parenting is being supportive in both good times and bad. That means worrying less about bolstering their skills and more about building your bond. Research has linked warm, nurturing parenting behaviors to enhanced brain development and better stress responses in kids.

  • What age is hardest to parent?

    It depends on your kid! Some "easy babies" turn into challenging children, and some colicky infants become calm. A recent poll revealed that parents most commonly think kids are hardest to handle at age 8, when they want to be independent but are still prone to tantrums. Toddlers and teens can be tough, too—likely because these are both stages in which rapid growth in some parts of the brain outpaces development in areas that regulate emotion, say experts.

  • How do you raise a confident child?

    Kids become confident when they have opportunities to experience success and also rebound from failure. You can give them plenty of chances to do both by encouraging them to take risks, being supportive when they make mistakes, and praising their perseverance above all.

  • What are the common parenting styles?

    Researchers have identified four main parenting styles: authoritative parenting, authoritarian parenting, permissive parenting, and uninvolved parenting. Authoritative parenting is often touted by child development experts as being the best approach because it involves setting rules and limits on kids' behavior while staying warm, loving, and communicative.

  • Why is raising a teenager so difficult?

    Change is hard—especially when it's going on inside of you. The teenage years are an explosive period of development, and often, kids reach physical maturity before the parts of their brain that regulate mood and impulse control are fully formed. Outbursts, grumpiness, and poor choices can result. The occasional mood swing isn't cause for alarm if they're getting healthy food, sleep, and social connection generally, but always check in with a pediatrician if you're worried or need advice.

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Page Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Zero to Three. National parent survey overview and key insights.

  2. Luby JL, Barch DM, Belden A, et al. Maternal support in early childhood predicts larger hippocampal volumes at school agePNAS. 2012;109(8):2854-2859. doi:10.1073/pnas.1118003109

  3. Study Finds. Parents say 8-year-olds hardest age to keep under control, survey finds.

  4. American Academy of Pediatrics. What's going on in the teenage brain?

  5. Child Mind Institute. 12 tips for raising confident kids.

  6. Kuppens S, Ceulemans E. Parenting styles: A closer Look at a Well-Known ConceptJ Child Fam Stud. 2019;28(1):168-181. doi:10.1007/s10826-018-1242

  7. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Screen time and children.

  8. Michigan State University Extension Early Childhood Development. The importance of critical thinking for young children.