Although children have similar growth and development patterns, different parents across the world employ different parenting styles due to differences in cultural beliefs, values, and practices.
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Differences in cultural beliefs, values, and practices are responsible for cross-cultural differences in parenting styles that significantly influence how children grow and develop in various societal environments.
Across the globe, children usually receive parental care from parents, family members, friends, neighbors and caregivers, who have a significant impact on the lives of children.
Given that family is the basic unity of society, parenting styles impose cultural factors of the society onto children.
Keller, Voelker, and Yovsi (2005) argue that, across the globe, parents have specified beliefs and practices of parenting based on ethno-theories that elucidate parenting, nature of children, and their development into mature adults (p.158).
Hence, ethno-theories of parenting are responsible for different in styles of parenting across all cultures in the globe.
Thus, the existence of different races and ethnicities across the world implies that, parents employ different styles of parenting, or children experience varied styles of parenting according to cultural beliefs, values, and practices.
Style of parenting is critical in determining growth and development of children. Given that parenting styles that parents employ in rearing their children particularly at their ages of early childhood have a significant impact on growth and development, it is critical for parents to employ appropriate parenting style.
Although children virtually undergo the same process of growth and development, parenting styles across the world are not similar because parents have different beliefs, values, and practices that depend on their cultural background.
Therefore, it means that cultural beliefs, values, and practices considerably influence parenting styles and consequently determine growth and development of children in various cultures across the world.
Objective of the Study
The objective of the study is to establish if different parental styles exist in American society due to influences diverse cultural backgrounds of parents.
Given that American society is truly cosmopolitan, the study seeks to establish if African, Israel, Russian, and French families that live in United States employ same parenting styles.
To achieve its objective, the study will explore the sizes of different families, in terms of numbers of children and existence of other members, in case of extended families.
Moreover, the study will examine responsibility of parents, family members, and caregivers in rearing children during their childhood period.
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To examine cultural, social, and economic aspects of the families, the study will examine the nature of the surrounding community, professions of parents, forms of recreational activities, stable diet of the family, and roles that children play in the family.
After gathering enough information regarding target families, the study will compare and contrast different cultural beliefs, values, and practices with the objective of establishing differences in parenting styles.
Hypothesis of the Study
The study hypothesizes that although families may be living in common society, cultural beliefs, values and practices attributed to different races and ethnicities significantly determine parenting styles that parents employ in rearing their kids.
Thus, since American society is cosmopolitan, different families employ different parenting styles that suit their respective cultural beliefs, values, and practices.
Scope of the Study
The study will examine parenting styles of four families that have different ethnicities and races.
Due to ethnical and racial differences, the study will explore different parameters within each family such as the number of children, professions of parents, nature of neighborhood community, presence of caregivers, and family lifestyles under which children are living.
Specifically, the study will explore how parents bring up their children in terms of the extent of breast feeding, common diets that family eat, toilet training, form of punishment, and favorite games that families encourage their children to play.
Given that parenting styles across ages vary, the study will examine parenting styles that parents employ in rearing children during their childhood ages.
Hence, the study will not examine parenting styles that parents employ in rearing children who are beyond childhood ages. Moreover, the study limits its studies to four families that have different races or ethnicities.
Importance of the Study
Establishment of different parental styles that exist in the American society is notable, for it gives a reflection of how different families across the globe utilize different parenting styles, in rearing their children during their childhood ages.
As children have common growth and development pattern, establishment of disparity in parenting style is essential because it will offer robust explanation regarding differential growth and development of children.
Since ethnicities and races make parents cherish unique beliefs, values, and practices concerning parenting, examination of parenting from a cultural perspective is imperative in understanding and enhancing principles of parenting among various cultures.
Thus, the study will give an insight into existence of different parenting styles due to ethnical and racial differences in parenting beliefs, values, and practices.
Parenting style is particularly influential in childhood growth and development because it significantly influences how children mature into adults.
Since parenting style is critical in rearing children, sociologists and psychologists have formulated numerous theories and parenting styles that parents can use in bringing up their children.
To understand the influence of society and family on growth and development of children, sociologists and psychologists have established that, cultural beliefs and practices play a considerable role in determining how children mature.
Currently, it is evident that when parents interact with their children during parenting, they impose cultural beliefs, practices, values, and behavior onto children, thus influencing how they grow and develop in a complex society that is cosmopolitan.
Tajima and Harachi (2010) argue that, ethnic culture has significance influence on parenting since beliefs and practices of child rearing emanate from cultural knowledge that people inherit from one generation and pass into another generation (p.213).
Thus, cultural beliefs, values, and practices form the basis of child rearing in different families across the globe.
Despite the fact that there is acculturation due to migration of families and adaptation of new social environments, ethnical and racial beliefs, values, and practices take precedence.
For instance, although the United States is a cosmopolitan society, beliefs, values, and practices that dominate parenting originate from ethnical and racial backgrounds of parents.
In essence, parenting style depends more on racial and ethnical backgrounds of parents than on beliefs, values, and practices of a cosmopolitan society.
According to Kagitcibasi (2005), interdependence and relatedness are key elements in a family that determines relationships between parents and children (p.410).
In a parenting model, three types of interactions exist within a family level. The first interaction is a conventional family where parenting depends on material and emotional satisfaction of children.
The second interaction involves relationships and interdependence of children and parents, while the third interaction entails psychological and material interdependence of consecutive generations.
Hence, it means that cultural beliefs, values, and practices are central in determining family interactions and subsequently influence parenting.
Comparative studies indicate that parenting styles differ from one society to another due to the difference in ethnical or racial beliefs, values, and practices of parents.
In cultural society, families operate under the influence of opposing forces of collectivism versus individualism and dependence versus independence amongst others forces that regulate how society and family function.
Resolution of opposing forces determines the orientation of the family to specified ethno-theories, which are applicable in parenting. According to Keller, Voelker, and Yovsi (2005), a study conducted to examine conception of parenting by Nso and German women indicates that Nso women prefer body stimulation and body contact, while German women favor face-to-face, as systems of parenting (p.173).
The difference in their styles of parenting emanate from the fact that Nso women have interdependent culture while German women have independence culture. This confirms that cultural backgrounds profoundly influence how parents employ parenting styles in rearing their children.
Many psychological theories hold that parents influence how their children grow and develop in a complex society with varied cultural forces.
Ideally, parents act as a link between society and children in that children receive societal beliefs, values, and practices from their parents.
Application of parenting styles such as authoritarian, authoritative and permissive relies on racial and ethnical backgrounds of parents.
Moreover, application of parenting style depends on individuals attributes, family and individuals experiences in parenting, behavior of a child and social context that family lives.
Keshavarz and Baharudin (2009) argue that, since diverse cultural backgrounds influence parenting styles, cultural orientations of individualism and collectivism determine how parents response to societal beliefs, values, and practices in the process of acculturation (p.68).
Hence, collectivism cultures and individualism cultures have a different impact on parenting styles that parents use in rearing their children. Therefore, literature review has shown that different cultural beliefs, values, and practices influence how parents rear their children.
Since the objective of the study is to determine if diverse cultural backgrounds are responsible for differences in parenting styles that parents employ in bringing up their children, the study will examine parenting styles in four families.
The four families emanate from various regions around the globe, and they have different racial and ethnical backgrounds. Thus, analysis of parenting styles in four families provides significant information that is essential in ascertaining influence of cultural background on parenting styles.
The study is qualitative determination of parenting styles that families with different cultural backgrounds use in rearing their children during childhood ages.
To gather significant information regarding parenting styles among the four families, the study employs open questionnaires. Open questionnaires are advantageous because they give parents, who are the subjects of the study, freedom to provide ample information regarding their families.
To collect appropriate information, researchers will administer open questionnaires by interviewing parents from respective families and record relevant responses in questionnaires for further analysis.
Subjects of study emanate from four families with different racial and ethnical backgrounds, thus enabling researchers to collect variable data regarding parenting styles.
Thus, researchers will collect data from each family by administering open questionnaires and recording appropriate data regarding parenting styles.
Sampling of Subjects
Since the study seeks to determine whether different cultural backgrounds are responsible for diverse parenting styles that parents utilize in rearing their children, the study selects four families with different ethnical and racial backgrounds.
Thus, first interviewee should be an American with French background as an ethnical or racial background. A French parent will provide information concerning parenting styles that French parents employ when rearing their children.
The second interviewee need to be a black American with South African background to provide parenting styles, which black Africans use in bringing up their kids.
Black American is essential in understanding how Africans rear their children during childhood. The third interviewee must be an American Jew with Israeli background.
An American Jew will provide parenting styles that Israeli families utilize in bringing up their children. Ultimately, the fourth interviewee should be an American with Russian background to provide parenting styles that Russian families employ in rearing their children.
Overall, the four interviewees will give an insight of how parenting styles vary across the world due to ethnical and racial backgrounds of parents.
The researchers will administer open questionnaires containing the following questions:
- Age? Gender? Race? Nationality? Ethnicity?
- Do you have children? If yes, how many?
- How old are/is your children/child?
- After your child/children was/were born, did you experience depression or some extent of sadness or anger? Explain.
- Who lives in your home?
- What kind of work do the parents of the child/children do?
- Does either parent/guardian stay home with the child/children?
- Does/do your child/children attend daycare or school?
- Does/do your child/children get interaction outside of the mother/father figures?
- Is your child around other children his/her own age? If yes, how often?
- Do you live in a close-knit community? Explain.
- Do you live in a distant community? Explain.
- Did you breast-feed your child/children? If yes for how long? If yes, is that common in your community?
- What does your child’s/children’s diets consist of?
- At what age was your child toilet-trained?
- Do you allow your child/children to help you with daily activities? If child is not old enough, will you allow him/her to as he/she ages?
- Can you explain the sleeping arrangements of your child/children?
- Can you discuss what your child/children does/do for entertainment?
- Can you describe punishment in your household?
- When your child/children is/are sick, how do you react?
Data Collection and Processing
The researchers identified four parents who had different cultural backgrounds from across the globe and administered open questionnaires by interviewing them.
The questionnaires have twenty questions that satisfactorily seek pertinent information about the families in that, when analyzed, it will give robust data that is critical to determining parenting styles, which parents employ in rearing their children.
To enhance the validity of the data, researchers approached the subjects and assured them that information they give would be confidential.
Moreover, the researchers assured them that information is relevant for search purpose; hence, no need for them to offer their real identities in terms of names.
To interview them, researchers visited the subjects at their respective homes during the weekend when they had ample time for interviews.
Questionnaires administered showed that researchers interviewed two male and two female subjects from diverse ethnical and racial backgrounds across the globe.
The first subject is Mary, an American woman aged 38 years and having French background. Mary has Canadian nationality but currently lives in United States where she works.
She has two children, 4-year-old son, and 8-month-old daughter. For more details, see her questionnaire at appendix A. The second subject is David, an American man who is aged 40 years.
David is a black African with cultural background of South of African. He has four children, 6 and 12 year-old sons and 2 and 8 year old daughters. David lives together with his family and grandmother.
See his questionnaire at appendix B. The third subject is Catherine, an American woman aged 32 years but having Israeli background. Catherine is a Jew with one child, a 2-year-old daughter.
She lives in a nuclear family. Questionnaire three, in appendix C, gives more of her details. The fourth subject is Smith, an American man who is aged 34 years with Russian background.
Smith is an Asian with 2 children, a 5-year-old daughter, and 1 year-old son. He lives together with his family and his cousin sister. See appendix D for his questionnaire.
Comparative analysis of questionnaires indicates that parenting styles that the subjects apply in rearing their children are different due to differences in their ethnical and racial backgrounds.
In the four families, there are differences in number of children that families have and existence of other relatives within the family. Kagitcibasi (2005) argues that, independence and autonomy of a child depends on family interactions (p.411).
Therefore, it indicates that, interaction of children with other people differs from one family to another. While Mary and Catherine live in a nuclear family, Smith and David live in an extended family; thus, it means that children experience different parenting styles.
Moreover, Questionnaires indicate that parents train their children toileting at different ages. While Mary and David train their children at age of three years, Catherine trains her kid at two years while Smith trains his children at the age of four.
Children in respective families eat different diets that differentially affect their growth and development.
Moreover, different families have varied social economic activities that enable them to rear their children well.
All families seem to provide exceptional sleeping arrangements for their kids and offer them opportunity to play and interact effectively with neighbors.
However, each family has its own worries concerning accessibility of medical services. While Mary and David do not worry when their children are sick, Catherine and Smith feel worried because they cannot access pediatrician quite easily.
Another difference in families is connectedness to community. While Catherine seems to live in isolation, Mary, David and Smith live a community where they associate with their neighbors.
According to Tajima and Harachi (2010), cultural beliefs, duration of residence, socioeconomic status, and acculturation are determinants of parenting styles, which immigrants use in rearing their children (p.411).
Hence, from questionnaires, it is evident that cultural background of Catherine favors individualism orientation while cultural backgrounds of Mary, David, and Smith favor collectivism orientation.
The study has demonstrated that cultural backgrounds of parents influence parenting styles that parents employ in bringing up their children.
Since the study examinees parents who have ethnical or racial backgrounds such as French, African, Russian, and Israeli, analysis of information in questionnaires has indicated that, the families employed parenting styles, which suit their cultural beliefs, values, and practices.
Hence, the study confirms that although American society is cosmopolitan, different families use different parenting styles according to their cultural beliefs, values, and practices.
Kagitcibasi, C. (2005). Autonomy and Relatedness in Cultural Context. Implication for Self and Family. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 36(4), 403-422.
Keller, H., Voelker, S., & Yovsi, D. (2005). Conceptions of Parenting in Different Cultural Communities: The Case of West African Nso and Northern German Women. Social Development, 14(1), 158-179.
Keshavarz, S., & Baharudin, R. (2009). Parenting Style in a Collectivist Culture of Malaysia. European Journal of Social Sciences, 10(1), 66-73.
Tajima, E., & Harachi, T. (2010). Parenting Beliefs and Physical Discipline Practices Among South Asian Immigrants: Parenting in the Context of Cultural Adaptation to the United States. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 41(2), 212-235.