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30-10-2019 | Review Paper | Uitgave 3/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2020

Parenting in Chinese Immigrant Families: A Critical Review of Consistent and Inconsistent Findings

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2020
Junqian Ma
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Due to the fast growing population of Chinese immigrants in the Western countries, parenting in Chinese immigrant families has gained increasing attention in research. This paper identifies the consistent and inconsistent findings among contemporary studies on the parenting in immigrant Chinese families from three aspects, including parental beliefs and values, parental expectations, and parenting practices.


This paper presents a critical review of 30 relevant empirical studies published during 2007–2017. These studies were searched systematically searched from four databases—A+ Education, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), ProQuest, and PsycINFO are to identify relevant articles.


Research inconsistency is shown in three places, including the inconsistency: (1) between the studies describing parenting in Chinese immigrant families as a collection of characteristics and the studies describing parenting as a changing process, (2) within the studies that define parenting in Chinese immigrant families as a collection of characteristics, and (3) within the studies that conceptualize parenting as a changing process.


The study finds that the different nature of data, research settings, and data collection methods are the main possible reasons for the inconsistent or even contradictory findings. Despite the research inconsistency, categorizing parenting into cultural groups and perceiving parenting as a collection of static characteristics are the two major limitations of these studies. To overcome these limitations, this paper argues for breaking stereotypes and investigating parenting as a dynamic process instead of a collection of static traits.

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