The socialization goals of immigrant parents in the United States for their children reflect the childrearing priorities of both their culture of origin and the mainstream culture. These goals, which guide parenting, likely have shared and unique characteristics with other immigrant groups from the same geographical region of origin. The current study aimed to explore and compare the socialization goals of Chinese and Korean immigrant mothers in the United States; the role of child gender in mothers’ socialization goals was also investigated.
Ninety-six Chinese (Mage = 37.60) and 97 Korean immigrant mothers (Mage = 35.87) with preschool-age children living in the United States were interviewed regarding their socialization goals. The qualitative interview transcripts were coded by trained research assistants.
The interviews revealed seven socialization goals (Self-maximization, Lovingness, Personal Integrity, Proper Demeanor, Religious Values, Self-control, and No High Expectations) across both groups. Findings demonstrated that Chinese and Korean immigrant mothers were similar on their endorsement of five socialization goals. However, group differences were found for goals of Religious Values and No High Expectations, which further differed across child gender.
These findings highlighted the common socialization priorities of Chinese and Korean immigrant mothers of young children in urban contexts, but also the need to examine sub-ethnic groups separately to understand their shared and unique parenting experiences. These findings have meaningful implications for clinicians and other professionals towards providing more effective services to Asian immigrant families in the U.S.