Parenting And Culture Essay

1516 words - 6 pages

The universality versus cultural specificity debate both have aspects that make sense and can be applied to childhood development. On one side, supporters of the argument for the universality of parenting suggest that certain types of parenting styles will produce the same child development outcomes in different cultures. On the other hand, the argument for cultural specificity states that different parenting practices vary from culture to culture, and that culture ultimately determines the outcomes of child development. Each culture has specific styles of parenting that instill values on children particular to that culture. Each individual has characteristics of what their parents taught them, which gives every individual their own personality. Both sides present logical information on the cultural impacts of parenting on child development outcomes.
Universality in parenting is arguing that even with different ethnic backgrounds and parenting styles, child development outcomes turn out to be similar. Phinney, Ong, and Madden (2000) wanted to find out if there were commonalities in developmental processes among immigrant and non-immigrant groups. They studied those groups to see if living in America caused them to change their collectivist values over to individualistic values. They observed patterns among three immigrant groups: Vietnamese, Armenian, and Mexican. They also had two non-immigrant groups, the Europeans, and the African Americans. They separated the immigrant groups into two cohorts, cohort one being U.S.-born adolescents and parents who have longer residence in the United States, and cohort two being foreign-born adolescents with parents who have not lived in the U.S. that long. Participants were given questionnaires to complete, and the results showed that immigrant groups were similar with the differences in their values. However, as for intergenerational differences, the Vietnamese had the largest discrepancy among immigrant groups. On the other hand, Mexican families did not show much intergenerational differences, where each generation had similar values despite the difference in demographics. Phinney et al. (2000) found that intergenerational difference between African and European American did not differ from Armenian and Mexican families. “These results suggest that discrepancies in values between parents and adolescents are not necessarily related to the immigrant experience” (Phinney et al., 2000, p. 536). Parents of all groups value family obligations to a greater extent than their children. This shows that no matter the culture, all children end up valuing family obligations a lot less than their parents do. Adolescents of first generation immigrant parents usually experience the most pressure from society to conform to their values and ideals. On the other hand, these immigrant parents have a difficult time adjusting to a society like the United States, because it is so different from their country of origin.
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