When East meets West : change in cultural values about education and learning from Chinese immigrant mothers

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Liang, Angel Soo-Zoon

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Being an immigrant mother poses a unique challenge to the parenting experience because she is removed physically from her original cultural setting. In this novel situation the mother must balance her own parents' parenting values with the set of belief systems present in the new culture. This study identifies the unique ways and critical features of bi-cultural parenting decisions that the Chinese immigrant parents have come to make. Fifteen Chinese immigrant mothers participated in this study. Each participant completed a background information survey prior to the interview. Qualitative methodology was used to gather and to analyze the data. Descriptive quantitative statistics were used to organize the data. A substantive theory of accommodation of bi-cultural childrearing practices was generated that revolved around the three psychological processes of deviation, accommodation, and balance of views about education and learning. Four bi-cultural parenting strategies were identified that immigrant parents used: comparison process, opportunity education, child-inspired education, and the education of love. Specifically in order for the balance in their bi-cultural childrearing decisions and parental satisfaction to occur, the immigrant mothers had to deviate from the perceived negative cultural values and accommodate to the perceived positive cultural belief of both home and host countries. This research not only fulfills the need for empirical research on the role of acculturation in changing and modifying the central values of a cultural group, but also broadens the area of migration by examining in depth the change of cultural values in the context of migration. By using familial level of analysis (i.e., by using the memory of the parents as a factor contributing to the outcomes of parenting beliefs and practices), the continuity of vertical transmission of value congruence from parents to children in the context of dual cultures is achieved. Furthermore, this study explores value congruence between parents and offspring by taking not one, but two, cultures into account.



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