Unequal Childhoods in China: Parental Education, Children’s Time Use, and Child Development

Zheng Mu, National University of Singapore
Qing Lai, Florida International University

Previous literature has established that child development is greatly influenced by the family socioeconomic background. This study aims to articulate the role of parenting style in this process. We examine, from a time-use perspective, how parental background leads to different styles of parenting--namely, concerted cultivation versus accomplishment of natural growth (Lareau 2011). We also investigate how parenting styles ultimately affect various developmental outcomes of Chinese children. Based on a national sample of Chinese school-aged children (CFPS 2010), we found that family socioeconomic background had a strong impact on the style of parenting. Higher parental education leads to stronger concerted cultivation, which however, only helps with children’s education-related outcomes (i.e., educational expectation and academic performance). On the other hand, less educated parents rely more on the strategy of accomplishment of natural growth, which consistently exert a negative influence on educational expectation, academic performance, and non-cognitive skills.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 94: Time Use of Parents and Children