Parenting and children's ethnic identity development




Su, Tina F.

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The relationship between parenting and children's reports of ethnic identity was examined among 98 immigrant Chinese families in Canada. Children (average age = 12 years old, 57% girls) reported on their parents' parenting practices (i.e., warmth and inductive reasoning) and their feelings of ethnic identity. Mothers and fathers completed measures assessing their parenting cognitions (i.e., authority role beliefs, relational childrearing goals, and parenting self-efficacy). Higher levels of warmth and reasoning by mothers were associated with stronger feelings of ethnic identity among children. The results for fathers were more qualified. Fathers' warmth was related to stronger ethnic identity, but only among boys, and fathers' reasoning predicted stronger ethnic identity, but only among 1* generation children. In contrast to parenting practices, there were few relations between parenting cognitions and children's ethnic identity. Only mothers' authority beliefs were associated with reports of ethnic identity, and this was true only among first generation children. The findings are discussed in the context of culturally emphasized roles and relationships, differences in the cultural experiences of children who immigrate at younger versus older ages, and the importance of parenting relative to other factors that promote feelings of ethnic identity.