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Is the Western parenting style better than the Eastern style?

Is the Western parenting style better than the Eastern style? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

There has been a long ongoing debate over parenting styles and about its critical impact on a child's emotional development, academic performance, self-confidence, and the ability to face life's challenges. The debate is mainly between eastern and western cultures.

What would a new-age parent do?

Would a new-age parent prohibit their children from watching television and ask them to choose an extracurricular activity instead? This is something that the author of the bestselling Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011), who is also a Chinese professor at Yale Law School forbade her two daughters from doing. Her books compare the differences between American “soft” parenting and Asian parenting.

Understanding parenting styles

There are two types of parenting styles. The authoritative style, in which parents provide guidance and set boundaries, but also give children the freedom to make decisions and learn from their mistakes which is the most beneficial for all-round development of children. This is commonly practiced by the Eastern parents, for instance, in countries like India and China. While Western parents are believed to be more open-minded, ranged between easy-going and authoritative.

Who is getting the benefit from an authoritative parenting style?

Eastern parenting has the rule with parents demanding blood, sweat, and tears from their children to strive for academic excellence. A private school in Kota (India) reported an earning of Rs. 750,000 million per year, a testimony to India's tiger parents. On the other hand, in western culture, children are often not burdened by such high expectations.

Does the authoritative parenting style always work?

No! Every child is unique with different talents and amplitude, and using a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not recommended. It is the parents’ role to provide a productive and conducive home environment for their children to develop their academic as well as socio-emotional skills. According to De, Suinthra Prasad, a psychologist who works with special needs children, parenting styles need to be modified and adapted to suit the child's talents and personality.

Do the history and the culture of a country affect the parenting style?

Yes indeed - and the impact is huge. For instance, there was a case study done in China, where a researcher found that Chinese culture is largely influenced by Confucian philosophy. This philosophy emphasizes devotion to parents, respect for authority, the importance of education, and emotional restraint. Hence Chinese parenting methods are based on the notion of chiao shun (to train) and guan (to govern and love). Comparably, in the ancient times of India, children studied in gurukul, a system based on respect for authority, devotion to parents with great importance for learning and education.

Raising a child in the Eastern Hemisphere

The cultural conformity and family bond in the Eastern hemisphere is very strong and deeply rooted in the community. Extended family, including neighbors, contribute greatly to raising children. On the other hand, this would be regarded as interference and an infringement of the personal space of nuclear families in Western cultures. What's more, is that it is common for parents to be actively involved in the lives of children after their marriage in the Eastern culture and joint families are still very prevalent in rural India. Sometimes, parents would support their children financially and emotionally throughout their lives in India.

Can both styles work?

There was research conducted by Stanford University that confirms that both styles work. The results of the research showed that motivation in Western children come from within an individual in Western families, while for Asian children, they find strength in parental expectations. The conclusion is that children can be motivated either way.

What is Changing in the Age of Social Media?

With constant influence from social media and technology, parents are adapting and customizing child-rearing styles and strategies. Moreover, globalization and new technologies are influencing cultural values that underpin parenting styles. Countries in [Asia](The 8 Best Countries in Asia for Teaching English Abroad), Africa, and South America are becoming more industrialized and westernized, their cultures are becoming more individualistic and parents are adapting Western child-rearing styles and values accordingly. For instance, in China, parents are reportedly becoming more sensitive and less authoritarian towards their children, encouraging them to exercise greater independence and autonomy.

Similarly, there’s growing evidence to prove that Western parents are having higher expectations of their children in terms of academic achievement, and are supervising and monitoring their activities more closely.

Both sides of the hemisphere are influencing one another. In the West, the importance of education has made parents concerned. They’re pushing their children hard to succeed academically.

In conclusion, it is in the best interest of children that parents on both ends of the globe learn from one another and customize their parenting styles to raise their children. It is important to teach children how to be independent, as well as making sure that they become good decision makers. To become a good decision maker, academics automatically becomes important.

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