Children learn moral values and social conventions through a process of socialization, much of which involves parenting. The process is bidirectional and involves a complex interplay between evolutionary predispositions and genetic and socio-cultural factors. Children's perception of, or assignment of meaning to, parenting interventions is central. Socialization occurs in different domains marked by different aspects of the parent-child relationship and different underlying mechanisms. Each domain requires different parenting actions that must be matched to the domain in which the child is operating and that result in different outcomes for the child. The domains include protection, mutual reciprocity, control, guided learning, and group participation, and are assumed to be operative in all cultures. The review concludes that children need to experience their parents as supportive and understanding, that they need structure, and that they need to feel they have some degree of control over their own actions.