Ethnic backgrounds, religious affiliations, immigration status and other factors combine to create a perspective that informs the way parents make decisions. The role of culture doesn’t need to be inevitable. Parents can examine their parenting style through this lens to determine what might be positively or negatively influencing their child’s growth and development.
Parents might emphasize individualism or collectivism depending on their cultural background, according to Carnegie Mellon University. White cultures tend to highlight individualism, including self-expression, uniqueness and resiliency. In comparison, parents from Asian cultures might emphasize interdependence, solidarity and humility. Additionally, the white emphasis on self-expression means that language development might be emphasized over other developmental areas, according to the Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning. In contrast, teaching listening and social skills might be valued more in Asian parenting. Parents will make decisions that reinforce those values that carry more weight in their culture.
Multi-ethnic families have become more common in the U.S. and are projected to increase, according to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Yet parenting styles might not be affected when parents from different cultures raise children together. This might be because parenting partners from different cultures have already worked through cultural differences in order to maintain their relationship as a couple. Discrepancies in parenting styles may decrease the longer a couple has worked together to raise their child. When parents do have widely differing parenting styles, however, this can negatively affect a child.
Immigration can create complex problems for parents and children when it comes to parenting styles because of cultural differences. For example, children of Asian parents might come into conflict when faced with a mainstream U.S. culture that stresses independence when parents are emphasizing different values at home, according to Carnegie Mellon University. Traditional values might clash with values being absorbed by children at school or by being exposed to parenting styles of peers’ families. Immigrant families might also feel less confident about imparting cultural values to children since these may differ from the priorities promoted by U.S. culture, according to the Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning.
Parents should be wary when reflecting on parenting styles attributed to the role of culture because of the possible presence of stereotypes. For example, Asian culture encompasses a number of subcultures with differing parenting styles; Chinese and Filipino families might raise their children very differently, according to the Frances McClelland Institute at Arizona State University. Rather than adhere to commonly perceived stereotypes about culture-based parenting, parents might consider what works best for them and for their child.
- Carnegie Mellon University: Cultural Differences in Parenting Styles
- Frances McLelland Institute: Cultural Differences in Parenting Practices: What Asian American Families Can Teach Us
- Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning: Parenting Styles, Culture, and the Classroom
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Parenting Style Discrepancies -- A Comparison of Inter-ethnic and Intra-ethnic Couples
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