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postgraduate thesis: Chinese parenting paradox: a cross-cultural comparison of maternal controlling behaviors

TitleChinese parenting paradox: a cross-cultural comparison of maternal controlling behaviors
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Lam, SF
Issue Date2012
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Tsang, K. [曾家儀]. (2012). Chinese parenting paradox : a cross-cultural comparison of maternal controlling behaviors. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4961822
AbstractPast research has indicated that controlling parenting practices may impede children’s learning motivation, while autonomy-supportive practices may facilitate learning outcomes (Grolnick, Ryan, & Deci, 1991). However, these findings may not be applicable to all cultures. Chinese mothers appear to be controlling (Chao & Tseng, 2002) but Chinese children outperform their Western counterparts in international comparisons (PISA, 2009). The present study addressed this paradox by investigating four postulations. First, given the greater emphasis of obedience and compliance in collectivistic culture as opposed to the uphold of independence and autonomy in individualistic culture (Markus & Kitayama, 1991), Chinese children were anticipated to perceive the same maternal controlling behavior as less manipulative than American children. Second, given the effect of mother-child relatedness on children’s motivation in empirical studies (e.g. Bao & Lam, 2008; Furrer & Skinner, 2003), regardless of culture, children high in relatedness with their mothers were anticipated to perceive the maternal behaviors as less manipulative than those low in relatedness. Third, in line with self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000), internalization was anticipated to mediate the association between relatedness and motivation in both cultures. Fourth, to investigate the limit of internalization, two levels of maternal controlling behaviors were presented. Chinese children were anticipated to perceive the low level of controlling behavior as less manipulative than American children. In contrast, both Chinese and American children were anticipated to perceive the high level of controlling behavior as manipulative since the behavior may be too controlling to be internalized by children. The participants were 120 Hong Kong Chinese 5th graders and 120 American 5th graders. They were asked to complete a questionnaire that included measures of children’s feelings towards low vs. high levels of maternal controlling behaviors, mother-child relatedness, children’s internalization and learning motivation. The results showed that the same maternal controlling behaviors elicited different feelings in children with different cultural backgrounds (Chinese vs. American) and different levels of mother-child relatedness (Low vs. High). Consistent with Hypothesis 1, Chinese children perceived the high level of maternal controlling behaviors as less manipulative than American children and in turn reported more motivated in learning. Consistent with Hypothesis 2, children in both cultures who reported high relatedness with mothers perceived the behaviors as less manipulative than those reported low relatedness. Consistent with Hypothesis 3, internalization was found to mediate the relation between mother-child relatedness and children’s learning motivation in both cultures. Contrary to Hypothesis 4, Chinese and American children perceived the low level of maternal controlling behavior similarly as not manipulative, whereas, American children perceived the high level of maternal controlling behavior as more manipulative than Chinese children. The limit of internalization could not be identified and further studies are needed. In short, the findings reveal cultural differences in children’s feelings towards the same maternal controlling behaviors. Chinese mothers’ behaviors that are manipulative in the eyes’ of the Westerner may not be perceived as such by the Chinese. Children’s perceptions, mother-child relatedness and the universal psychological mechanism internalization are important to understand Chinese Parenting Paradox.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectMother and child - Psychological aspects - China - Hong Kong - Cross-cultural studies.
Dept/ProgramPsychology

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorLam, SF-
dc.contributor.authorTsang, Ka-yee.-
dc.contributor.author曾家儀.-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.identifier.citationTsang, K. [曾家儀]. (2012). Chinese parenting paradox : a cross-cultural comparison of maternal controlling behaviors. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4961822-
dc.description.abstractPast research has indicated that controlling parenting practices may impede children’s learning motivation, while autonomy-supportive practices may facilitate learning outcomes (Grolnick, Ryan, & Deci, 1991). However, these findings may not be applicable to all cultures. Chinese mothers appear to be controlling (Chao & Tseng, 2002) but Chinese children outperform their Western counterparts in international comparisons (PISA, 2009). The present study addressed this paradox by investigating four postulations. First, given the greater emphasis of obedience and compliance in collectivistic culture as opposed to the uphold of independence and autonomy in individualistic culture (Markus & Kitayama, 1991), Chinese children were anticipated to perceive the same maternal controlling behavior as less manipulative than American children. Second, given the effect of mother-child relatedness on children’s motivation in empirical studies (e.g. Bao & Lam, 2008; Furrer & Skinner, 2003), regardless of culture, children high in relatedness with their mothers were anticipated to perceive the maternal behaviors as less manipulative than those low in relatedness. Third, in line with self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000), internalization was anticipated to mediate the association between relatedness and motivation in both cultures. Fourth, to investigate the limit of internalization, two levels of maternal controlling behaviors were presented. Chinese children were anticipated to perceive the low level of controlling behavior as less manipulative than American children. In contrast, both Chinese and American children were anticipated to perceive the high level of controlling behavior as manipulative since the behavior may be too controlling to be internalized by children. The participants were 120 Hong Kong Chinese 5th graders and 120 American 5th graders. They were asked to complete a questionnaire that included measures of children’s feelings towards low vs. high levels of maternal controlling behaviors, mother-child relatedness, children’s internalization and learning motivation. The results showed that the same maternal controlling behaviors elicited different feelings in children with different cultural backgrounds (Chinese vs. American) and different levels of mother-child relatedness (Low vs. High). Consistent with Hypothesis 1, Chinese children perceived the high level of maternal controlling behaviors as less manipulative than American children and in turn reported more motivated in learning. Consistent with Hypothesis 2, children in both cultures who reported high relatedness with mothers perceived the behaviors as less manipulative than those reported low relatedness. Consistent with Hypothesis 3, internalization was found to mediate the relation between mother-child relatedness and children’s learning motivation in both cultures. Contrary to Hypothesis 4, Chinese and American children perceived the low level of maternal controlling behavior similarly as not manipulative, whereas, American children perceived the high level of maternal controlling behavior as more manipulative than Chinese children. The limit of internalization could not be identified and further studies are needed. In short, the findings reveal cultural differences in children’s feelings towards the same maternal controlling behaviors. Chinese mothers’ behaviors that are manipulative in the eyes’ of the Westerner may not be perceived as such by the Chinese. Children’s perceptions, mother-child relatedness and the universal psychological mechanism internalization are important to understand Chinese Parenting Paradox.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B49618222-
dc.subject.lcshMother and child - Psychological aspects - China - Hong Kong - Cross-cultural studies.-
dc.titleChinese parenting paradox: a cross-cultural comparison of maternal controlling behaviors-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4961822-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplinePsychology-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b4961822-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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