Family Skills: Parenting: What is a Parent?

Whether you’re a parent, a future parent, a caregiver, a grandparent, or someone who want to teach others how to be a better parent, then the Insight Skills Library at has some original activities which teach people how to become more successful in this crucial role. In fact, we have written 58 different activities (over 22 hours worth of education) which help individuals learn how to deal with their wacky children.

Below is a group learning activity that is designed to help participants of all ages understand the roles of a modern parent. It takes about 15 minutes to complete. If you’re not teaching this to your children or to a group of learners, then you may want to complete this activity with a partner.


parenting, poster activity, parenting roles, definition, caregiver


The word “parent” is defined as “caregiver.” Individual groups make lists of the many different roles people play as parents.


The participants will understand the roles of a parent.


15 minutes


Pieces of paper, a counter-top bell


Step 1: Divide the participants into two or more groups and have each group sit together. Give each group a piece of paper.

Step 2: Say: We use the words “parent” and “parents” throughout these activities to indicate a child’s primary caregiver. Of course, not all kids live with two biological parents or even one biological parent. Whenever we’re talking about a primary caregiver, we’d rather not spell out “biological parent, step-parent, foster parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, legal guardian,” or whatever. If you are someone who is raising and guiding a child or teenager, then when we say “parent,” we mean you.

Step 3: Say: Of course, there are lots of other words that describe a parent or the things that parents do. In your groups, brainstorm all the words that describe these things. The group with the most words, wins the contest. When you hear the bell ring, stop and count up your items. Any questions? Go!

Step 4: In a few minutes, or when it appears that the groups are starting to run out of ideas, ring the bell and declare a winner. Have the winning team read their words and have the rest of the groups add any words they have missed. Possible answers include:

  • Advisor
  • Advocate
  • Allowance-giver
  • Barber
  • Bookkeeper
  • Bottle-maker
  • Chauffeur
  • Comforter
  • Cook or chef
  • Diaper-changer
  • Disciplinarian
  • Dish-washer
  • Doctor
  • Father
  • Guardian
  • Income provider
  • Mechanic
  • Mother
  • Nose-wiper
  • Nurturer
  • Party planner
  • Peacemaker
  • Playmate
  • Referee
  • Tax preparer
  • Teacher or tutor
  • Toilet-cleaner

Step 5: Wrap up by saying: It looks like a pretty overwhelming job doesn’t it? Luckily, we don’t have to be an expert in every one of these jobs. Just make sure that you have more than one child: the first child is like the first pancake off of the griddle—it usually ends up in the trash; the next ones are the keepers. :)

This learning activity was originally published in the Parenting section of the Family Skills volume in the Insight Skills Library. If you are an Associate-level member at, you may access this activity and its associated handouts (if any), as well as 1827 additional educational activities, by clicking on the following link: