Links between Socialization Goals and Child-Rearing Practices in Chinese and Indian Mothers

Nirmala Rao*, James P. McHale, Emma Pearson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    96 Citations (Scopus)


    Mothers of preschoolers in China and India reported on the value they accorded to items tapping two socialization goals, Filial Piety and Socioemotional Development and two parenting styles, Authoritative and Authoritarian. In both cultures, maternal valuing of Filial Piety was associated with greater exertion of parental control, whereas greater valuing of Socioemotional Development was related to more frequent use of Authoritative practices. However, patterns in relationships between Filial Piety, Socioemotional Development and Authoritative parenting differed across Chinese and Indian mothers. Positive associations were found among these three variables for Indian mothers, reflecting Hindu beliefs about young children and childhood. Among Chinese mothers, on the other hand, Filial Piety was negatively related with Socioemotional Development and the use of Authoritative practices. Our results suggest that Chinese mothers believe that the use of authoritative practices, which encourage socioemotional development in children, will inhibit achievement of filial behaviour and academic achievement. Contrasts between these two Asian cultures highlight the importance of considering parents' socialization goals and beliefs in cross-cultural studies of child-rearing practices.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)475-492
    Number of pages18
    JournalInfant and Child Development
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


    • Chinese
    • Indian
    • Parenting
    • Socialization


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