Cultural differences in children's development of social competence between European American and Chinese immigrant families
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the developmental outcomes of Chinese American children's social competence in their transition to elementary school. In this study, I used a mixed-methods research design. The first part of the study was a secondary analysis of data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort. I examined cultural differences in the effects of parental warmth, parental SES, parent-child communication, and children's participation in peer-oriented structured extracurricular activities on the social development of European American and Chinese American children. For the second part of the study, I developed questions based on the findings of the quantitative analysis and conducted interviews to further explore how Chinese immigrant mothers' parenting beliefs and practices contributed to their children's development of social competence. The results showed that in Chinese immigrant families, parental SES influenced parent-child communication, which in turn promoted children's social competence. Parental SES, but not parental warmth, predicted their children's participation in peer-oriented structured extracurricular activities. Years of stay in the U.S. positively predicted children's participation in peer-oriented structured extracurricular activities, while it negatively predicted parent-child communication in Chinese immigrant families. The qualitative data suggested that Chinese immigrant mothers facilitated their children's social development by giving them verbal guidance for peer problems, encouraging conversations at home, and serving as role models for their children. Children's activity participation was restricted by the affordability of activities and parents' ability to provide transportation for their children. The Chinese immigrant mothers perceived taking on daily responsibilities and spending quality time together with their children as ways to express love toward them. These mothers' childrearing practices were influenced by the generational gap and acculturation. This study broadens our understanding of Chinese American children's development of social competence in their transition to formal schooling. It contributes new knowledge about 1) cultural differences in the effects of parental warmth and SES on parent-child communication; 2) the influences of parental SES on parent-child communication and Chinese American children's participation in peer-oriented structured extracurricular activities; and 3) the effect of years of stay in the U.S. on parent-child communication in Chinese immigrant families.