Child rearing & culture

Written by laurie rappeport
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Child rearing & culture
Child-raising techniques vary among cultures (Child image by Serenitie from Fotolia.com)

Culture and ethnicity can have a deciding effect on the child-rearing techniques that families employ throughout the world. Differences such as methods of discipline, expectations regarding acceptance of responsibilities and transmission of religious instruction vary among families. While parents' personalities and family situations may greatly affect their child-raising decisions and strategies, the family's cultural background will also play a strong role in how the family rears its children.

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Expectations

Parents' views of the importance of education can affect their childrens' scholastic achievements. Chinese parents, both in China and among Chinese Americans, begin to indoctrinate their children about the importance of educational success from an early age. The parents continuously stress that the child's academic success will help the child in the future. The parents also imbue their children with a respect for teachers and the teaching profession, emphasising the honoured place that teachers hold in the Chinese culture.

Isolation

Religious constraints can help a community maintain its continuity by controlling what its children see and hear. Hassidic Jews insulate their children from the surrounding society in order to isolate the children from influences that may corrupt them and draw them away from the Hassidic way of life. The children speak Yiddish at home and at school, attend schools run by their Hassidic sect and generally find almost all the goods and services that they need within their own community. Families do not have radios and TVs in their homes and most do not have Internet; if they do, it exists only for the parents' livelihood and the children have no access to the Internet.

Grandparents

Many Asian parents include the grandparents in their children's lives as an integral part of the child-rearing. Grandparents often help with the physical and educational aspects of child-rearing. In many Asian families the grandparents live with their children and grandchildren. Children learn to treat their grandparents with the utmost respect and participate in caring for their grandparents.

Responsibilities

Creating a sense of belonging and community binds children to their community in many cultures. In the Amish society, children learn, from an early age, about their responsibilities to their families, homes and communities. Hard work forms a core value of Amish society and children receive chores from an early age to contribute to their home and family. In addition, the activities of the community have the effect of creating a warm and nurturing environment which draws more than 80 per cent of Amish youngsters to declare their affiliation with their Church and join the Amish community upon attaining adulthood.

Shared Child-Rearing

Societies where children receive instruction, discipline and love from many different sources produce children whose childhood included a homogeneous child-raising. Arab children often grow up in an extended family that includes grandparents and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. The adults love and discipline all of the children, regardless of which children belong to them biologically and which children belong to a sibling or other relative. As a result, the children develop a close bond with their extended family, since many of the adults served as their "second parents".

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