Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Relationship between Maternal Parenting Style and High School Achievement and Self-Esteem in China, Turkey and U.S.A. 1

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Relationship between Maternal Parenting Style and High School Achievement and Self-Esteem in China, Turkey and U.S.A. 1

Article excerpt


Research conducted largely in the USA has documented techniques used by parents as they raise their children. A widely used typology of parenting styles was created by Baumrind (1971) based on interviews and observation of parent-child interactions. The three parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative and permissive) developed by Baumrind continue to provide the basis for much research. The styles are differentiated by the parent's utilization of both control and responsiveness. Parents who are authoritarian have clear standards of behavior and are directive with their children to achieve those standards. They are likely to demand obedience, and punish for non-compliance. Permissive parents, by contrast, maintain positive relationships with their children and make few demands rather than risk conflict or negative emotionality. Authoritative parents display a position somewhere between these two styles. They communicate warmth, and give guidance to their children, but achieve compliance by sharing their reasons and explaining the consequences of the child's behavior.


Typologies such as Baumrind's simplify complex patterns of parenting techniques by summarizing a parent's behavior as a category, and may be inadequate to measure the full range of parenting styles. Parents are very likely to vary their techniques according to situation and display characteristics that exemplify more than one parenting style. For this reason, in some studies, researchers (e.g., Glasgow, Dornbusch, Troyer, Steinberg, & Ritter, 1997; Li, Costanzo, & Putallaz, 2010) prefer to give parents continuous scores on several parenting dimensions instead of assigning one type of parenting category to characterize the dynamic parenting process.

Cultural Differences in Parenting Styles

Much of the research on parenting has been conducted in America and other Western countries. However, it cannot be assumed that findings will hold for other cultures. Crosscultural studies show that children growing up in different countries confront a myriad of varied situations; the techniques used by their parents provide a wealth of information about linkages between parenting and children's developmental outcomes. In particular, there is a growing body of research on the techniques and goals of Chinese parents (e.g., Ang, 2006; Chao, 1994; Chao & Tseng, 2002; Li et al., 2010). Chinese society is influenced by Confucian values which include filial piety and conformity to established authority (Ho, 1994). Chinese society has also been characterized as collectivist (Oyserman, Coon, & Kemmelmeier, 2002; Triandis, 1995) because of its emphasis on interdependence.

By contrast, American children grow up in a culture that emphasizes and values individualism (Triandis, 1995) and the pursuit of individual pathways rather than obedience to adult demands. It should be noted that researchers (Kagitçibaçi, 1996; Tamis-LeMonda et al., 2007) have found that members of a culture may display both individualistic and collectivist tendencies; the emphasis on each is what characterizes the culture.

Turkish culture has been found to have both individualistic and collectivist orientations. It was ranked in the middle of 93 countries on individualism (Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkow, 2010), yet, like China, it is generally categorized as a collectivist society (Triandis, 1995). A meta-analysis of 46 studies (Oyserman et al., 2002) concluded that the Turkish people were as individualistic as Americans, but also more collectivist. This finding was supported by Ayçiçegi-Dinn and Caldwell-Harris (2011). Turkey shares collectivist values, but not the tradition of Confucianism, with China.

It is to be expected that parenting would be different in individualistic and collectivist cultures. Authoritarian parenting appears congruent with the orientations and traditions of Chinese society, where authority is typically hierarchical (Fuligni, Tseng, & Lam, 1999), and so children must be taught to recognize the wisdom of adult decisions and obey them; the child's individual preferences are not emphasized. …

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