Understanding early childhood socialisation in immigrant families

Malaysian-Chinese parents’ perceptions on the importance of cultural identity and maintenance

Shi Jing Voon, Emma Pearson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This pilot study was designed to shed light on Malaysian-Chinese parents’ beliefs about ethnic identity and cultural maintenance in children’s socialisation following migration. Three Malaysian- Chinese families residing in Sydney, Australia, with at least one child within the early childhood age range of 4 - 8 years, participated in the study. Semi-structured interviews involved parents sharing information about their demographic and cultural backgrounds, expectations and hopes for their children, and the importance they attach to cultural beliefs and practices. The findings of this study indicate that parents’ socialisation practices are inherently geared towards maintaining culture. However, whether or not this reflects a conscious emphasis on the importance of ethnic identity among parents is less clear because, as the findings presented here suggest, the concept is complex and often implied rather than overt. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research that seeks to reveal further insight into this important but complex area.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)30-44
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational research in early childhood education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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