You are on page 1of 15


Raising Children Across Cultures

Karin Beshay

John F. Kennedy


The purpose of this research Is to clarify how raising children is different across cultures

especially Asian, Americans and Arab cultures and the high standards parents put for their kids.

The values and beliefs parents stick to which are based on culture and the History behind it is

highlighted through the comparison between Western- style and Eastern- style parents. Scientific

research conducted by Stanford and Sara Harkness and Charles M. Super established norms used

by parents to discipline their kids according to their cultural codes. By clarifying this Information

It will inform people about different cultures and help them be more accepting and understanding

to other peoples beliefs and traditions.


Raising children seems to differ across cultures especially in Asian, American , Arab

cultures. The way they raise their children and discipline them in certain ways are the reason

why they are who they are and we can notice the differences between them. Every culture has its

norms and traditions that they keep and care so much to align with. I believe parenting kids is

one of the hardest jobs parents can have because it's so important how they teach their kids and

help them learn more things in life and at the same time following their cultures codes. They

also might be judged if they did not follow these norms even if they wrong for the kid from the

first place. Raising children across cultures differ because of their norms that they are used to,

the way parents discipline their kids and the background the family is coming from.

Initially for asian cultures parents tend to be more strict and they always expect their children

to be in a certain standard. They raise their kids with the idea of failure is not accepted cause

effort always pays off. Otherwise in arab cultures which is little bit more different than any cause

its more influenced by Islam cause mostly arab nations live in the middle east and north africa.

Girls are raised differently than boys and each one of them has their own job and they can not

change it because it's basically one the important values arabs have. American parents tend to

provide support and control while some others provide low support and high control. They raise

their kids to work from an early age to pay their bills by themselves and care fairly about their

education. According to Scientific research, Parents from around the world have universal

feelings of love, affection and hope for their children, but cultural values and expectations can

color how these emotions are communicated(Christensen, 2013). Also parents have different

definition of being successful and that's what theirs strategies in parenting are based on. Parents

generally raise their children with the goal of molding them into effective adults. But the

definition of an effective, productive member of society differs from culture to culture: How

important is happiness? Financial stability? Family connectedness? Faith? Generally, success

is defined by what ethics, mores and standards of life practice the culture in question possesses(

Bernstein, 2016). Parenting Is influenced by culture and parents start worrying about it before

their children Is even born.Culture-specific influences on parenting begin long before children

are born, and they shape fundamental decisions about which behaviors parents should promote in

their children and how parents should interact with their children (Bornstein,2013)

Starting with Arab culture and dissecting their beliefs, They have the mindset of Women

are more likely doing all their work at home, taking care of the kids and managing the house

while the father is the one who takes the big decisions. The family is the cornerstone of the

arab americans culture. Final authority rests with the father or, in his absence with the oldest

male in the family major decisions, such as the choice of a partner or a career, are impacted by

family expectation.(Abudabbeh,2005). Arab families the father holds the highest position and

has to be respected. He is in control of the family and is expected to cover all financial issues and

the one that should be asked first about major decisions of the family. A man in Arab families

grows up knowing that he will have a big responsibility in the future and that shapes him to be

the kind of man that expects his wife to be obedient to him. Thats why arab cultures face the

problem of gender equality.For example if a man is incapable of taking care of the family

financially that is simply a shame.Children are expected to be on top of everything academically

and anything less is not accepted and will lead to criticism from the rest of the family. From their

point of view the parents are doing their best to educate their children, pay money for their

education so if their kids are not doing their part thats considered so shameful. A mother is

expected to take care of the kids and the house in general. Girls are impacted by their family

backgrounds and tend to stick with the traditions and grow up knowing they have to be good

academically and are able to take care of the house, their siblings from an early age. They have

to learn cooking from an early age as well. The cycle goes on and one and a mother should be

protective if her kids are not doing their part as expected. Suhail had had difficulties with his

academic work prior to his arrival in the united states. Its struggle with education had affected

the family dynamics, as it made him more of a target for criticism by the males in the family,

thus pushing his mother to become more protective.(Abudabbeh,2005). At the end both parents

are responsible for supporting the family and following their traditional codes of parenting as a

way of honoring their culture. Whatever happens in the family has to be kept as a secret between

family members cause Arabs value privacy at home at a big capacity. both men and women are

expected to contribute to the support and maintenance of the family and according to the

traditional codes of family and honor and are responsible for the rearing of the children. In crisis

both are expected to view the good of the family above the fulfillment of traditional wishes and

self satisfaction.(Abudabbeh,2005).

American Parents have way different codes that they believe In. White cultures are more

open-minded than arabs and asians although not all white people are like that. Support for each

parent has a different definition some think by letting them be responsible and working is

supporting them while others see it differently in which they care more about their kids

education and their relationships. They get so protective sometimes. The little seems to feel at a

surprisingly early age that he has a part on the stage of the world, and in willing enough to act a

little before his time. Even then, it seems, american children had attitude. (Fass,2013).

American kids are used to being responsible of themselves at an early age. For instance they start

working starting from high school. Some care about work more than school as well. That shape

them to be maturing faster and getting familiar with the real tough world and also make them act

older than they actually are and sometimes having attitude towards their parents or not valuing

them as it should be. After his travels, he noted that in the united states children were early

emancipated from parental authority and domestic discipline children accustomed to the utmost

familiarity and absence of constraint with their parents, behave in the same manner with other

older persons, and this sometimes deprives the social intercourage of american of the tint of

politeness which is more habitual in europe.(Fass, 2013). This proves that being exposed to the

ough world from an early age makes the child think that he is not any different than his parents

and what they do. That increases the causality in the conversation they have with the elder or

sometimes less respect. That changed in society gradually as in the old days kids used to pay

attention to how they talk to their parents and express whatever they want to say in a respectful

and formal way. For instance these days it's normal that kids cuss in front of their parents as if

it's normal also parents now stopped paying attention to their language in front of their kids.

People changed and their beliefs became more open than before. American children considered

independence associates table right and fathers and sons treated each other with for less

formality than europe, since american opportunities for individual advancement beckoned,

children started to work early, according to gurowski, and were, as a result, treated more equally

within the household.(Fass,2013). This also shows how generational effects can have an impact

on the relationship between parents and their kids. American kids became more independent and

that raised the equality in treating elders and young adults. Back in the old days it was common

that we should talk formally to elders regardless of the age.When It comes to morals and values

Europeans and Arabs are different.Most Europeans, for example, take a fairly relaxed view of

alcohol and sex, while giving low priority to religion. Asian and Middle Eastern parents usually

encourage traditional values of morality and virtue. When it comes to parental values, the U.S. is

truly a melting pot, with parental views ranging from highly conservative to

permissive.(Christensen, 2013)

On the other hand, Asian culture which has its own unique different codes than American

ones. Scientific research spotted out some differences that seem Interesting because how children

react differently to similar Issues. Chinese cultures is largely influenced by a philosophy this

philosophy emphasizes respect for authority, devotion to parents, emotional restraint, and the

importance of education: chinese parenting are based on the concepts of Chiao shun (to train)

and juan (to govern and to love).(Frances McClelland Institute, 2010). Asian cultures in

general have their own unique philosophy with their kids and its more authoritarian emphasizing

education. They care to train their kids well to be successful in their live and to govern and love

them to reach the highest goals. In the asian american family model, the author suggest,

children learn the value of being independent with ones mother. In contrast european american

families tend to emphasize that the person is and should be independent even from ones mother.

The focus is on developing self esteem and self efficiency in the child.(Parker,2014). Asians

grow up at home with their mothers learning from them how to be Independent while In

American families a person should be Independent from the moment they are born.They also

push their kids to dedicate more time to study. Their definition of support is when they push their

kids to reach their highest standards and by that they have to be successful and that their kids will

thank them later for doing that.Asian american students experienced more independence with

their mothers and pressure from then, but the pressure does not strain their relationships with

their mothers as much as it does with european american , according to the study, asian american

students compared with european american ones are more motivated by their mothers and

particularly motivated by pressure from the mothers when it conveys interdependence.(Parker,

2014) I believe there are two ways of being pressured from parents and it shows here the type of

pressure that leaves a good mark on the kid and the other type that might weaken the relationship

between them both. Research also shows that the pressure from Asian mothers tend to motivate

their kids to do better and not affect their relationship while American kids cant stand pressure

from their parents and think its unfair.

The research findings suggest that asian american and europeans american truly see

moms differently for example asian american high schoolers were more likely to talk about their

relationships with their mothers than were european american. Asian americans more often noted

that their moms helped them with homework or pushed them to succeed.(Parker,2014).

Research proved that Asian kids can talk more about their moms and I believe thats because

how close they are to each other in spending time with them and also pushing them to be on top

of everything. One way Asian mothers help their kids is by helping them reach their academic

goals and that builds a close relationship with them that will last even If It was not valued at that

time .Adolescents are responsible for many family functions, including caring for siblings and

family members, cleaning the house and cooking meals. Emotional expression is considered

harmful to ones self and relationships and children are encouraged to avoid it. Such practices

create the saving face this value or behaviour is related to shame because it rewards

conformity to societys expectation for prosperity and harmony(McClelland Institute, 2010).

Teenegers are expected to take care of their younger siblings and be the second mother to

them. Especially girls should help in the house and do what an independent women do. Asian

culture dont support emotional expression to be able to survive and be able to overcome

whatever circumstances with courage and triumph over weakness. Also because what society

values or look for in a person.Filipino American tend to be based more on equality than

hierarchy. Family culture allows for affection and closeness and parents act as protectors of the

children particularly daughters. These relationships are based on the concept of utang loob

(reciprocal relationships). (Frances McClelland Institute, 2010). Filipinos care for equality and

they give space to love and protect their kids to provide for them the best environment to grow as

a healthy person that will be able to be mentally emotionally physically healthy and stable.

Overall their relationships with theirs kids are about loving and supporting one another.

Kids naturally imitate their parents. psychologists having long argued that infants quite

literally find themselves through others. This initially happens through time spent with their

parents and cultural norms reproduced through parenting behaviour.(Carr,2016) For instance a

daughter starts having the idea that she has to help her mom with all the house works and boys

tend to learn from his father how to work outside of the house and earning money. Girls and

boys get education but it's more important for men to get higher degrees so they can get more

money cause they are the ones taking care of the house financially.Embedded in the settings of

the childs daily life are culturally regulated customs and practices of child care: so commonly

used used by members of the comm and so thoroughly integrated into the larger culture that they

seem like obvious and natural solutions to everyday problems. (Harkness, Super, 2009)

Obviously a childs life is impacted by the culture they live in and the background of the family

and what circumstances they went through. Parents seem to stick with their traditional codes to

avoid being criticized which is common among family members.

Understanding parents ideas is essential for interpreting the way that they behave with their

children, but this is not always because many such beliefs, like their related systems of care, are

taken for granted ideas about what is normal or desirable for children of any particular age.

(Harkness, Super, 2009). Every parent aside from their traditional codes that they care to follow

they have their own codes as well. They have expectations and strategies to raise their kids that

only them think are the right way. For example if a person grows up with an abusive father or

himself being abused he will start planning for his future to avoid for that same situation to

happen again with their kids. Everyone of us wants to provide a better life than what they grew

up with If wasnt good enough. We tend to plan it and work on it to make sure we build better

future for our kids.Research on dynamic relations between culture and parenting is increasingly

focused on which aspects of culture moderate parenting cognitions and practices and how they

do so, as well as on when and why links between parenting cognitions and practices and

childrens development are culturally general versus culturally specific. (Bornstein, 2013)

Children's developmental codes are created not only by their parents, of course, but also

by aspect of wider culture such as an urban or rural environment, unfortunately by major social

dislocations including war. (Harkness, Super, 2009)


When a child grows up certain way with certain traditions, they tend to treat their kids with that

same way however if they went through a difficult time in their childhood the opposite occurs

and they make sure to avoid all the wrong methods and foundations that were built that

weakened the family bond. Another factor that have a big impact is where the family lives either

urban or rural environment. In rural environment they are less exposed to the modern life as a

result their relationships with their parents are the same as many years ago. While developed

areas seem to be more modern and change their values and codes faster. That's why a generation

is different from the other because of the traditions, norms and beliefs they grew up with.

Research suggests that immigrant parents can be misunderstood and criticised by

schools, other parents, mental health services, and child support workers who are not familiar

with different parenting beliefs and practices. This might include telling their children they

should avoid friendships with the opposite sex, or to always put family needs above their own.

These traditional values are often very different to the way things are done in their new countrys

culture.(Carr, 2016). Challenges that we face everyday or In society In general is raising our

kids especially If it's in a foreign country because that might have a big impact on them and

change their way of thinking. Another problem that caused culture clashing is that not everyone

is aware of what others believe in. This also can create stereotypes because people only know

about other cultures from the Tv or Social media which sometimes show a false picture that leads

to judging others. What our nation need is unity, awareness and acceptance of one anothers

beliefs. Living in a foreign might increase the chances of parents being more protective. For

Instance some parents will add a lot of restrictions like not talking to the opposite-sex or not

surrounding themselves with people that have different faith than they do. The cycle goes on but

I believe If the relationship between parents and their kids are strong enough it will never let a

sprinkle of doubt come into anyones head and building that trust will make it easier to

communicate. Its also proven that If parents became over-controlling that might affect the kids

behaviour in a bad way as well. Rather than dictate their child, authoritative parents listen to

their childs point of view and make suggestions and provide direction. Because older children,

especially teenagers, have an innate psychological need to assert their independence and develop

their independent sense of self apart from their parents, much previous research has concluded

that this type of parenting yields the healthiest and most emotionally and mentally stable

children- at least for Western cultures.(Chang, 2007). At the same time neglecting does not

seem like a good Idea to strengthens this bond. This kind of neglect can be very dangerous to a

child because it affects his sense of self, self-esteem, and well-being. This impacts a childs

ability to trust not only relationships, but also adults. It also makes him take on

responsibilities far too early, robbing him of his childhood.(Gross, 2015). Being moderate will

work in building a healthier generation that is able to accept one another and do the right thing at

the worst of times.

In Conclusion,Raising children across cultures differ because of their norms that they are

used to, the way parents discipline their kids and the background the family is coming from.

Every culture has its own norms that they are used to and everyone should learn to accept others

codes In parenting so It can be used In a good way to learn from others. Culture has a big impact

on parenting and kids that they have no control on but by accepting others and being aware that

will drive us to live in a healthy society that seeks to know more about others.


Differential parenting of children from diverse cultural backgrounds attending child care. (n.d.).
Retrieved April 07, 2017, from
The title of the article is Differential parenting of children from diverse cultural
backgrounds attending child care. That article was written on April 07, 2017. It talked about
variations in parenting, Cultural Influences on parenting, parenting goals and discipline beliefs.
The Intended audience is anyone who wants to be more Informed about how parenting is
affected by culture

Mcclelland Institute. (2010). Cultural Differences in Parenting Practices: What Asian American
Families Can Teach Us. Retrieved from
The title of the article isCultural Differences in Parenting Practices: What Asian
American Families Can Teach Us and was published In 2010. It explains Asian cultures
tradition and how they treat their kids and discipline them. The Intended audience is anyone who
Is Interested in knowing more about how Asian parents raise their kids.

Parker, C. B. (2014, May 20). 'Tiger moms' vs. Western-style mothers? Stanford researchers find
different but equally effective styles. Retrieved April 07, 2017, from
The title of the article is Tiger moms vs. Western-style mothers. It was published by
Stanford Report on May 20,2014. It talks about Asians and how they raise their kids to respect
authority and be focused on their education In order to be successful in life. The intended
audience is anyone that wants to be informed about the traditions of the culture and studies that
were done to describe Asian families.

How Americans Raise Their Children:Generational Relations Over Two Hundred Years. (n.d.).
Retrieved from

Abudabbah, N. (n.d.). Arab Families. Retrieved from
The title is Arab Families. Noha Abudabbeh Is the author. It was published In 2005 by
The Gulford Press. It talks about Arab cultures and the family structure. It also explains how
Americans treat their kids and the norms they are used to doing. The intended audience is
Americans or people from other cultures as well to Inform them about how American kids are

Harkness, S., & Super, C. (n.d.). Parenting Across Cultures | SGI Quarterly. Retrieved from

Bernstein, R. (2016, July 19). Cultural Approaches to Parenting. Retrieved from
The title of the article is Cultural Approaches to Parenting .It was published by the
NCBI In 2012. It explains the main idea about culture and parenting. It also talked about
different methods in parenting that is based on cultur. It is for people that likes to read
Informations abided with scientific facts.

Carr, S. (2016, July 21). What other cultures can teach parents about raising their children.
Retrieved from

Christensen, J. (2013, January 7). Role of Culture in the Influencing of Parenting Styles.
Retrieved from

Chang, M. (2007). Cultural differences in parenting styles and their e ects on teens' self-esteem,
perceived parental relationship satisfaction, and self-satisfaction.
Retrieved from
The title was Cultural differences in parenting styles and their effects on teens self
esteem, perceived parental relationship satisfaction and self satisfaction. It was written by Mimi
Chang in 2012. It explains the results of the different parenting systems that is based on different
cultures. The intended audience is everyone that wants to be educated on the issued related to

Bornstein, M. H. (2013, January 3). Cultural Approaches to Parenting. Retrieved from

Gross, G. (2015, July 29). How Different Parenting Styles Affect Children. Retrieved from