How European American and Taiwanese mothers talk to their children about learning

Authors
Jin Li,
Heidi Fung,
Roger Bakeman,
Katharine Rae,
Wanchun Wei
Year of publication
2013
Publication
Child Development
Volume/Issue
85
Pages
1206-1221

Little cross‐cultural research exists on parental socialization of children's learning beliefs. The current study compared 218 conversations between European American and Taiwanese mothers and children (6–10 years) about good and poor learning. The findings support well‐documented cultural differences in learning beliefs. European Americans mentioned mental activities and positive affect more, whereas Taiwanese mentioned learning virtues and negative affect more. Mothers, especially European American, reciprocated their children's talk about mental activities, learning virtues, and negative affect. Children, especially Taiwanese, reciprocated their mother's talk about positive affect. Mothers invoked more mental activities and positive affect when discussing good learning, but more learning virtues and negative affect when discussing poor learning. These findings reveal a source of cultural differences in beliefs and potential enculturation.

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Suggested Citation:

Li, J., Fung, H., Bakeman, R., Rae, K., & Wei, W.C. (2013). How European American and Taiwanese mothers talk to their children about learning. Child Development, 85, 1206-1221