I've long thought that the expression "Parent to" is being used in an inverse manner.

If I "Parent A to B" I make A the parent to B and B the child of A, but I often hear the expression being used to describe the opposite relationship.

Am I the only one being confused about this?

Here's an example @ 3:30 in an otherwise excellent video: https://youtu.be/xdPMziIHFlU?t=209

Can we agree that he's really making the foot the parent and the head the child?

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    $\begingroup$ I can't speak to whether or not the author of a tutorial is confused, but I know with certainty that the active object becomes the parent object. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Feb 26 '18 at 15:13
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    $\begingroup$ I know of 'a parent' and 'to parent somebody'. Is 'parent something to something' used anywhere outside the computer world? $\endgroup$ Feb 26 '18 at 16:04

Given the fact that there are more than seven billion people out there, it approaches certainty that many might share a similar view, even among the Blender community right now.

Personally I never saw this as a two way street until you brought it up. I have never seen the word used in that particular manner outside 3D. Turn B into A's parent would be more obvious, I agree.

It all comes down to definitions and associations. You try to give the verb a universally applicable meaning. And Blender's use of the verb collides a bit with previous uses of the word.

In Blender, parenting A to B should always mean: B is the parent, A is the child.

Just substitute 'parenting' with 'glueing'. Glue A to B. It's at least tempting to assume that B is somehow bigger, even if it's a bit biased.

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    $\begingroup$ The truth of the matter is that parents say to do one thing and children always do what they want... It is the parents that yield to the will of the children... maybe blender is the only one that acknowledges it... $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Feb 26 '18 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ @cegaton What does Blender know? Until the child of modifier it was all a huge bunch of single parent families. Not one marriage lasted. $\endgroup$ Feb 26 '18 at 16:49

Alright I just watched enough of that tutorial, and the author of it is not confused or using the term in a misleading way.

Yes the foot bone is the Parent object, and the head bone is the child.
He is parenting the head bone to the foot bone.

Whenever you use the word parent as a verb like that (parent A to B) it always means A is the child and B is the parent.
It follows the natural selection order, select the child first then select the parent.

You could think of it like a function with two parameters. parent(a,b) The first parameter is the child, then the last parameter is the parent object.

I think the trouble comes from "Parent" being use to describe the controlling object, and the linking relationship. Would it make any more sense if it was "Link A to B"? To me at least it is clear that A will be linked to B, thus B will be controlling A. No different if you use the word parent instead of link.

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    $\begingroup$ I personally agree with the OP. And to be frank, I do prefer Hant_House's answer, definitely cegaton's comment to said answer. However, your logic is impeccable, +1 for that. $\endgroup$
    – user27640
    Feb 26 '18 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ Link A to B doesn't imply any hierarchy. Well, not to a foreigner anyway. Do you mean natural in the 'Blender has only one active object' and 'there can only be one parent' way? Sue B for child support due to A would be more unambiguous. $\endgroup$ Feb 26 '18 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ As in set parent of a to b (a.parent = b)? And then is "parenting" the process of setting the parent of a to b, whereas one could look at b (the parent) parenting a, the child. It is a little confusing. $\endgroup$
    – batFINGER
    Feb 26 '18 at 17:52

Another way to think of it is to know that there is only one active object, but potentially many selected objects. Coupled with the fact that objects can have only one parent, Blender clearly must choose the active object to be the parent. With that in mind, you could expand the text to "Set the active object parent to the selected objects".

I must confess I normally think of it much like David describes and alternate (arguably more logical) interpretations had not occurred to me until I read this question.. Yet another example of normal, every-day english making no sense at all ;)

  • $\begingroup$ Hi all Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I'm pleased to hear that the issue is not entirely a product of my brain. Kind regards to all $\endgroup$
    – Ryosei
    Mar 1 '18 at 13:56

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