Parents’ high expectations of children to become successful? The parenting belief mediating effect between socioeconomic status and home learning environment

Mei Tzu Chen, Li Tuan Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Family is the first environment in which individuals come into contact with the process of socialization; said process is a crucial part of children’s lives and considerably influences them thereafter. Different parenting beliefs lead to parents exhibiting different parenting values and hence offering different learning environments for their children; this in turn can influence their parenting behavior. This study discussed the confluence of traditional Chinese culture and Western thought as well as parenting beliefs held by Taiwanese parents with young children. The actual circumstances of the home learning environment were considered. This research had three purposes: To understand parenting beliefs and the home learning environment that parents provide; to understand the relationship among socioeconomic status, parenting beliefs, and the home learning environment; and to determine whether the mediating effect of the model fit of parenting beliefs on the home learning environment is affected by socioeconomic status. The literature review focused on parenting beliefs, the home learning environment, and factors related to the aforementioned concepts. First, meanings, contents, and Chinese parents’ parenting beliefs were discussed. Second, the meanings and contents were discussed. Third, factors influencing parenting beliefs and the home learning environment were analyzed, including the relationship between home socioeconomic status and parenting beliefs, the effect of home socioeconomic status on the home learning environment, and the relationship between parenting beliefs and the home learning environment. Samples were retrieved from a database established by Chien-Ju Chang (2019), and the database called Kids in Taiwan: National Longitudinal Study of Child Development and Care (KIT): KIT-M36 at 36 months old [Data file]. The sample comprised fathers or mothers of babies born between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, including a total of 2,099 research participants. The research instrument was the Kids in Taiwan: National Longitudinal Study of Child Development and Care (KIT) questionnaire, which was planned and prepared from August 2011 to March 2016 by the Center for Educational Research and Evaluation, National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, NTNU, both commissioned by the Ministry of Science and Technology. This study used SAS 9.4 to test the median of the questionnaire scale for variables and perform correlation analysis. Furthermore, the study used structural equation modeling in Mplus 8.0 to analyze whether the mediating effect of the model fit of parenting beliefs on the home learning environment is affected by socioeconomic status. The independent variable of this research was socioeconomic status. Based on the formula revised by Lin (2005) from Hollingshead’s Two-Factor Index of Social Position (1957), the scores of respondents’ socioeconomic status were calculated as follows: Socioeconomic status education level job type. The mediator variable was parenting belief, which consists of three constructs: Guan, teaching, and achievement expectations. The word "guan" means "caring" or even "love" as well as "ruling" in Asian countries. There were three questions for guan, two questions for teaching, and three questions for achievement expectations; on a 4-point scale, interviewees’ correspondence levels were collected, and the median value of the scale was found to be 2.5. The home learning environment consisted of five constructs: Environmental diversity, learning materials, learning stimulus, parental responsivity, and conditional discipline. There were four questions for environmental diversity, five for learning materials, five for learning stimulus, three for parental responsivity, and three for conditional discipline. On a 4-point scale, interviewees’ correspondence levels were collected, and the median value of the scale was found to be 2.5. To determine the validity of the research instrument, through factor analyses, three constructs of parenting beliefs were independently attributed to one factor. The cumulative explanatory variation reached 68.55%, and five constructs in the home learning environment were independently attributed to one factor; the cumulative explanatory variation reached 62.00%. Regarding the reliability test, the internal consistency measured by Cronbach’s α was.72 for total parenting beliefs, and Cronbach’s α was between.64 and.66 for each construct; the Cronbach’s α coefficient was.89 for the internal consistency of the total home learning environment and between.65 and.83 for each construct. The factor analysis and Cronbach’s α revealed that the research instrument reached acceptable levels of validity and reliability. This research discussed the parenting beliefs of parents with young children, the home learning environment that parents provide, and the mediating effect of parenting beliefs on the relationship between socioeconomic status and the home learning environment under the confluence of traditional Chinese culture and Western thoughts. The main findings and conclusions are as follows: 1. In Taiwan, parents with young children still hold strict parenting beliefs In Taiwan, parents of younger generations still hold a high level of guan and a “teaching” attitude toward their children; however, compared with parents in the past, they are seemingly not as strict. The results revealed that changes in parenting beliefs seem to have occurred; however, the research participants were parents with children under 36 months of age, and their expectations regarding their children’s achievements may thus have not clearly manifested. Therefore, long-term studies are required to follow the trend. 2. In Taiwan, parents with young children provide a good home learning environment for their children. Today, most parents with young children tend to provide a good home learning environment for their children; especially in the constructs of a home learning environment, a positive relationship exists between conditional parenting and the home learning environment. However, whether conditional parenting does good or harms the development of young children requires further exploration. 3. The higher the socioeconomic status of parents, the less strict the discipline and lower the expectation of parents. In Taiwan, parents with higher socioeconomic status tend to be less strict with discipline and hold lower achievement expectations for their children compared with those on themselves; however, a relationship does not exist between parents’ socioeconomic status and teaching beliefs. In addition, parents of a higher socioeconomic status provide a superior home learning environment for their children. Whether the introduction of Western parenting beliefs has influenced Taiwanese parents’ parenting beliefs requires further discussion. 4. Although teaching does not exert a mediating effect on the relationship between socioeconomic status and the home learning environment, parents of all socioeconomic statuses place emphasis on teaching. Observed from the construct formula of this research, no significant relationship existed between home socioeconomic status and teaching; however, from the average analysis of teaching, parents of all socioeconomic statuses emphasize teaching. Furthermore, parents’ focus on teaching contributes to the provision of a good home learning environment for children. 5. Guan and achievement expectation exert mediating effects on the relationship between socioeconomic status and the home learning environment. This research indicated that socioeconomic status influenced the aspects of learning materials, parental responsivity, and conditional parenting in the home learning environment through guan and achievement expectation. Parents with higher socioeconomic status tend not to hold overly high expectations for their children and know to assist their children’s learning with an environment more conducive to learning. Parents with lower socioeconomic status tend to possess higher achievement expectations for their children; however, they may not know effective parenting methods and tend to rely on stricter discipline when parenting. Hence, parenting education may provide parents with lower socioeconomic status with appropriate parenting methods related to guan and achievement expectation and also help their young children’s development with a positive and abundant home learning environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-388
Number of pages24
JournalBulletin of Educational Psychology
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Chinese cultural parenting
  • Home learning environment
  • Parenting belief

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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