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Parental Influence

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Differences in parental influence on adolescent academic achievement in American and Asian societies (Taiwan, China, & Japan) A lot of attention has been paid to the roles parents play in influencing adolescent academic achievement. The purpose of this project is to compare differences in parental influence on adolescent academic achievement between American and Asian societies. The Asian countries focus on Taiwan, China, and Japan. The project also offers some explanations for why Asian adolescent students outdistance American students in academic achievement. If we give a definition of achievement or achievement motivation, we can define it as people wanting to develop a competent self, or individuals having the motivation to succeed, to be good at something, to be independent and competitive, and to do well at whatever they may attempt. We can analyze Weinerís attribution theory of achievement into three dimensions: the locus of control, stability, and controllability. (Weiner, 1986) What students attribute their academic achievement to is a big issue. If students believe a failure is controllable - the result of low effort ñ they may be spurred on by that failure to do better next time. And a significant and important factor that affects studentsí attribution might be parental influence. In different countries, parents have totally different attitudes toward their childrenís academic performance. This article provides possible reasons for why Asian students outdistance American students in academic achievement.
As we know, Asian adolescents tend to have higher academic achievement compared to American adolescent. Most of the reasons might be attributed to parental influence. (1) Parental expectations and perceptions in American and Asian societies are quite different. American parents evaluate their childrenís mathematics skills less critically and hold lower standards for mathematics achievement for their children than do Asian parents. (Crystal & Stevenson, 1991) American parents have low expectations and unclear evaluations of childrenís performance. No clear norms or guidelines exist in the area of academic achievement. In contrast, Asian parents have very strict criteria for establishing high standards for their children. Parental satisfaction with American studentsí achievement and education remains high and standards remain low. (Stevenson & Chen & Lee, 1993) Despite the emerging awareness that American adolescents are not competitive with their peers in Asian countries, American parents, teachers, and students hold markedly lower standards for academic achievement than do their counterparts in Asia. (Stevenson, 1993) (2) The extent of parental assistance and involvement. There are two types of assistance. One is assistance that occurs within the family: direct assistance includes such supportive activities as monitoring homework, working with children on drillbooks, and giving unspecified active assistance, as indicated by statements like ìIíll help youî or ìIíll explain it to you.î The other is outside assistance: this includes hiring a tutor, buying extra materials, enrichment classes, and special after-school or Saturday and Sunday programs in different subjects. (3) The influence of parenting style. ìThe literature indicated that adolescent competence, virtually however indexed, is higher among youngsters raised in authoritative homes ñ homes in which parents are responsive and demanding.î (Baumirnd, 1989) Researchers also hypothesize that parental authoritativeness contributes to childrenís psychological development, which in turn facilitates their school success. (Steingerg, Elmen, & Mounts, 1989) Thus, authoritative style (i.e., reflecting parental expectation for mature behavior and encouragement of open two-way communication between parents and children) can predict good academic achievement. However, America youngsters are more likely to benefit from authoritative parenting than Asian youngsters are. Most Asian parents use another authoritarian style, (i.e., reflecting unquestioning obedience to parents, or perhaps it can be called ìcontrolling,î or ìrestrictiveî) which is associated with poor school achievement in American samples where this style is used. But Asian children perform quite well in school. It shows that in Asian cultures the response to this style is different. Asians are the highest on the scale of authoritarian parenting style, but they had the highest grade-point averages. (Dornbusch, et al., 1987) Why canít Asian studentsí school achievement be explained in terms of the parenting styles we have studied? The concept of authoritative and authoritarian that we learned from Western societies are somewhat ethnocentric and do not capture important features of Chinese child rearing, especially in explaining school success. Chinese child-rearing practices involving the concept of ìtrainingî. This ìtrainingî concept has important features, beyond the authoritarian concept, that may explain Chinese school success and academic achievement. (Chao, 1994) In Asian cultures, parental obedience and strictness imply parental concern, caring, and involvement. For the Chinese, specifically, often the term ìchild trainingî has been used synonymously with ìchild rearing,î and Chinese parental control involves this notion of training. (Ho & Kang, 1984; Wu, 1985) The purpose of this authoritarian parental style in Asia is to try to keep the whole family running more smoothly, and fostering family harmony. Asian parents use the concept of training (i.e., educating or teaching) to educate children to have appropriate or expected behavior. In the family, Chinese parents pay special attention to training children to adhere to socially desirable and culturally approved behavior. One way to measure the success of this authoritarian parental style is the performance of children in school. The other concept beyond the Chinese authoritarian parental style is governing or ìto governî. It can mean ìto care forî or ìto loveî children. Therefore, the authoritarian style in Chinese culture includes different and important features: training (educating or teaching) and governing, which both involve concern and care for children. These concepts are very important in explaining the high academic achievement of Chinese adolescents. First, the training and governing that Chinese parents provide are motivated by their concern for children to be successful, particularly in school. Sometimes it involves driving children to perform better when childrenís self-motivation is not sufficient. Second, by the process of training, children are also given goals for school success, and expectations of proper behavior. It also promotes the parents and childrenís relationship. Third, the relationship may afford the type of support necessary for the children to achieve their parentsí goals and expectation although the parentsí standard is so strict and high.
Cultural divergences are the critical reasons for parents to have different thoughts about and attitudes toward adolescent academic achievement. There is an old proverb in Chinese: ìEverything is unworthy except studying.î This means that the most important thing in life is studying. This belief is so strong that it is rooted in every traditional Chinese family. All parents hope their children will get good grades since this is useful in getting a good job. They also give children beliefs about the relationship between education and life success, especially focussing on the negative consequences of doing poorly in school. The Chinese authoritarian parental style also contributes and reinforces this belief. This belief is held by most Asian adolescents, who believe that academic failure will have negative repercussions, so they are more engaged in their schooling. Another reason Asian adolescent students have high motivation in their schooling is that the low probability of entering high school and the university. The system is so different that Asian parents must use strict standards to force children to get good grades and have a greater probability of entering a higher level of the school. We also need to consider other factors that could influence adolescent academic achievement. First, we breakdown the factors into those which are external and internal to the adolescent. Factors external to the adolescent include environment, including home (parents), school, and cultural-specific influences. We has already talked about influences from home (parents) in the previous paragraph. Besides family, school is undoubtedly a major source of influence on adolescent academic achievement. The level of curriculum is one variable. Effective teacher behaviors like better classroom management skills; spending most of their class time on academic activities; and using more ìwhole groupî teaching, offering more opportunities for students to learn. Teachers believe that children of highly involved parents are achieving up to their ability and create more opportunity for them. (DíAilly, 1992) The amount of time students spend on homework is related to how well they perform. Peer support is an another obvious variable. Peers are the most potent influence on adolescentís day-to-day behavior in school (e.g., how much time they spend on homework, whether they enjoy coming to school each day, and how they behave in the classroom). (Steinberg, Dornbusch, & Brown, 1992) Culture-specific influences provide two possible explanations for Asian studentsí superiority: abacus training and the difference in number naming between English and Asian languages. Research evidence indicates that abacus learning has a positive effect on studentsí learning. In addition, the differences in numerical language characteristics are said to produce fundamental variations in the cognitive representation of numbers. (Miura & Okamoto, 1989) The difference in cognitive representation of numbers positively affects Asian childrenís understanding of place value and their subsequent mathematics performance. Asian children seem to benefit from the systematic number naming characteristics of their languages. Their number representations are more flexible that those of their American counterparts. Some of the external factors like parentsí influence become internalized and affect factors internal to the adolescent, for example, adolescent cognitive beliefs and thoughts. Asian adolescents believe that the road to success is through high academic achievement. They also have positive attitude about achievement. (Chen & Stevenson, 1995) The other internal factors are adolescent individual differences like study habits, diligence, aptitude, IQ, gender and anxiety. However, the issue of IQ is controversial. It appears premature to draw any conclusion about whether Asian studentsí academic achievement is due to higher intellectual abilities. In contrast, there is more evidence to support the belief that boys are better at mathematics, and girls are better at reading. (Lummis & Stevenson, 1990) Anxiety is another issue that perhaps causes psychological maladjustment which in turn can have an influence on adolescent academic achievement. We also offer some alternative viewpoints for examining parental influence on adolescent academic achievement. The first one is the transcontextual model. A lot of attention has been paid to parental involvement in schooling emerging as such a powerful predictor of academic achievement. The different levels of parental school involvement are expected to be related to school performance; a higher level of school involvement is associated with higher school performance. However, the influence of parentsí involvement in their adolescentsí schooling has transcontextual validity. (Bogenschneider, 1997) The greatest influences on parental involvement are (a) family resources and (b) family stability, which enable parents to maximize their effectiveness. It has nothing to do with the parentsí culture, class, education, gender, or family structure. This model seems to challenge many stereotypes. The second alternative viewpoint is the connection with Field dependence/independence, parental style, and academic achievement. What is Field dependence/independence? A dimension of perceptual style involves the extent to which the surrounding context (the field) affects a personís perceptual judgement. There are some relationships between Field dependence/independence and parenting style. Most Asian parents are more likely to stress the obedience of their children than American parents are. Children are expected to be obedient and cooperative in Asian families. This parenting style contributes to a field-dependent orientation. Field-dependents, are generally ìpeople oriented.î (Witkin & Goodenough, 1977) However, the study shows that field-independent people performed better than field-dependent ones in all of the subjects of academic achievement. (Tinajero & Paramo, 1997) If Asian people are field-dependent, why do they get better academic achievement? What is the source of this paradox? The concept of ìtrainingî and ìgoverningî beyond Asian authoritarian parenting style can perhaps explain the paradox.

References
Baumrind, D. (1989). Rearing competent children. In W. Damon (Ed.), Child development today and tomorrow (pp.349-378). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Bogenschneider, K. (1997). Parental involvement in adolescent schooling: A proximal process with transcontextual validity. Journal of Marriage and Family, 59, 718-733.
Chao, R. K. (1994). Beyond parental control and authoritarian parenting style: understanding Chinese parenting through the cultural notion of training. Child Development, 65, 1111-1119.
Chen, C., & Stevenson, H. W. (1995). Motivation and mathematics achievement: A comparative study of Asian-American, Caucasian-American, and East Asian high school students. Child Development, 66, 1215-1234.
Crystal, D. S., & Stevenson, H. W. (1991). Mothersí perceptions of childrenís problems with mathematics: a cross-national comparison. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 372-376.
DíAilly, H. H. (1992). Asian mathematics superiority: A search for explanation. Educational Psychologist, 27, 243-261.
Dornbusch, S., Ritter, P., Leiderman, P., Roberts, D., & Fraleigh, M. (1987). The relation of parental style to adolescent school performance. Child Development, 58, 1244-1257.
Ho, D. Y. F., & Kang, T. K. (1984). Intergenerational comparisons of child-rearing attitudes and practice in Hong Kong. Developmental Psychology, 20(6), 1004-1016.
Lummis, M., & Stevenson, H. W. (1990). Gender differences in beliefs and achievement: A cross-cultural study, Developmental Psychology, 26, 254-263.
Miura, I. T., & Okamoto, Y. (1989). Comparisons of U.S. and Japanese first gradersí cognitive representation of number and understanding of place value. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 109-113.
Steinberg, L., Elmen, J., & Mount, N. (1989). Authoritative parenting, psychosocial maturity, and academic success among adolescents. Child Development, 60, 1424-1436.
Steinberg, L., Dornbusch, S. M., & Brown, B. B. (1992). Ethnic differences in adolescent achievement: An ecological perspective. American Psychologist, 47, 723-729.
Stevenson, H. W. (1993). Why Asian students still outdistance Americas. Educational Leadership, 50, 63-65.
Stevenson, H. W., Chen, C., & Lee, S.-Y. (1993). Mathematics achievement of Chinese, Japanese, and American children: ten years later. Science, 259, 53-58.
Tinajero, D. C., & Paramo, M. F. (1997). Field dependence-independence and academic achievement: a re-examination of their relationship. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 67, 199-212.
Weiner, B. (1986). An attributional theory of motivation and emotion. New York: Springer-Verlag, ñ 338, 343.
Witkin, H. A., & Goodenough, D. R. (1977). Field dependence and interpersonal behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 84, 661-689.
Wu, D. (1985). Child training in Chinese culture. In W. S. Tseng & D. Wu (Eds.), Chinese culture and mental health (pp.113-134). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.

WWW site HYPERLINK http://education.indiana.edu/cas/adol/adol.html http://education.indiana.edu/cas/adol/adol.html
ADOL: Adolescence Directory On-Line
Adolescence Directory On-Line (ADOL) is an electronic guile to information on adolescent issues. It is a service of Center for Adolescent Studies at Indiana University. Educators, counselors, parents, researchers, health practitioners, and teens can use ADOL to find Web resources for these topics:
Whatís news? See some of our favorite new additions to ADOL.
Conflict and Violence: Resources about violence prevention and peer mediation.
Mental Health Issues: ADHD, eating disorder, depression, adolescent development, and other issues related to the psychological well-being of teens.
Health Issues: Alcohol and other drugs, obesity, AIDS, sexuality, acne, and other health related concerns.
Counselor Resources: Resources to help counselor find information fast. Includes info on professional organizations and links to other resources.
Teens only: Teen zines, help with homework, sports info, penpals, and games. A teen haven.
Welcome: Learn more about how this site got started.

HYPERLINK http://www.umich.edu/(newsinfo/Releases/1998/Feb98/r021198.html http://www.umich.edu/(newsinfo/Releases/1998/Feb98/r021198.html
The University of Michigan: News and Information Services/ News release
Sources of Asian academic achievement found by researcher
PHILADELPHIA---Which is the most important factor influencing student performance in mathematics: A good teacher? Innate intelligence? Home environment? Studying hard?
They are all important, of course. But differences in how Asians and Americans answer help to explain the U.S. disadvantage in math and science achievement, according to a University of Michigan researcher. Over half the Chinese and Japanese interviewed said studying hard was the most important factor. The majority of Americans, on the other hand, said the ticket to success was a good teacher.
The second major differences is what Stevenson regards as an inexplicably high level of satisfaction with their childrenís education that robs U.S. parents and children alike of the motivation to do better. ìIn short,î conclude Stevenson, ìthe East Asian students assumed responsibility for their own progress while the North American students let others take responsibility for their performance.î HYPERLINK http://eric-web.tc.columbia.edu/abstracts/ed273219.html http://eric-web.tc.columbia.edu/abstracts/ed273219.html
The Academic Socialization of Successful Asian-American College Students
The family backgrounds of successful Asian students were examined to generate testable hypothesis about the socialization of exemplary school achievement of these students. The more uniform factor in the home environment was a positive feedback loop between strong family feelings and parent emphasis on education.

HYPERLINK http://www.state.sc.us/cgi-bin/bytopic http://www.state.sc.us/cgi-bin/bytopic
[Family] [Economic Status] [Health] [Readiness & Early School Performance] [School Achievement] [Adolescent Risk Behaviors] [Summary]
Facing the Scope of Problems: The data on families, economic status, health, readiness, school achievement, and adolescent risk behaviors provide a troublesome picture of the condition of children in South California.

HYPERLINK http://olympia.ges.uci.edu/ed124/resources/ http://olympia.ges.uci.edu/ed124/resources/ This site collects a lot of resources in different topics including Asian-American, Cultural Diversity, Cultural Group, Cultural Models, Cultural Stereotypes, Cultural Tourism, Curriculum and Instruction, Ethnicity and Adolescent Achievement, Ethnicity, Ethnic Group, Family and Schools.

HYPERLINK http://www.cyfc.umn.edu/Work/abstracts.html http://www.cyfc.umn.edu/Work/abstracts.html
University of Minnesota
The Children, Youth and Family Consortiumís Electronic Clearinghouse (CEC)
The Children, Youth and Family Consortiumís Electronic Clearinghouse (CEC) is an electronic bridge to information and resources on children, youth and families. Information about issues related to the health, education and well-being of children, youth and families can be accessed via CEC. This site features articles and research material useful for informing everything from practical parenting to formulating policies, and designing and implementing programs.
The clearinghouse was created in 1992 by the Consortium and the Cooperative Extension System. It was one of the first electronic liberties designs to share information available via CEC is contributed by many individual and organization, including the University of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

HYPERLINK http://www.brightfutures.org/adolescence/admaob.htm http://www.brightfutures.org/adolescence/admaob.htm
Middle Adolescence: Observation of Parent-Adolescent Interaction
This site talks about the interaction between parents and adolescents. In the joint interview, does the parent allow the adolescent to answer some of the questions? Is the parent supportive of the adolescent? Does the adolescentís attitude change when the parent is not in the room? How does the parent react to being asked to wait outside? Is the parent able to discuss sensitive topics?

Handout
The differences in parental influence on adolescent academic achievement in
American and Asian societies (Taiwan, China, & Japan)
What is achievement (achievement motivation)?
People develop the competent self, or individuals have a motivation to succeed, to be good at something, to be independent and competitive, and to do well at whatever they may attempt.
Weinerís attribution theory of achievement (Weiner, 1986)
Locus (source) of control: internal vs. external
Stability: stable (lasting factors) vs. unstable (temporary factors)
Controllability: controllable vs. uncontrollable
Example: Attributions that might be made by teacher and student after studentís low academic performance in a classroom test
A myth or a fact: Why do Asian adolescent students still outdistance American students on academic achievement?
Parental expectations and perceptions
American parents evaluate their childrenís mathematical skills less critically and have lower standards of mathematics achievement for their children than do Asian parents.
(American parents: loose criteria, low expectation, unclear evaluation(it is difficult to establish standards and they will accept low standards.
(Asian parents: strict criteria, high expectation(high standard.
Despite the emerging awareness that American adolescents are not competitive with their peers in Asian countries, American parents, teachers, and students have markedly lower standards for academic achievement than do their counterparts in Asia.
Parental assistance and involvement
Assistance that occurs within the family: direct assistance includes such supportive activities as monitoring homework, working with children on drillbooks, and giving unspecified active assistance, as indicated by statements like ìIíll help youî or ìIíll explain it to you.î
( Asian parents (40%) > American parents (9%)
Outside assistance: this includes hiring a tutor, buying extra materials, enrichment classes, and special after-school or Saturday and Sunday programs in different subjects.
( Asian parents (64%) > American parents (29%)
Parental style
Authoritative style (i.e., reflecting parental expectation for mature behavior and encouragement of open two-way communications between parents and children.) ìThe literature indicated that adolescent competence, virtually however indexed, is higher among youngsters raised in authoritative homes ñ homes in which parents are responsive and demanding.î (Baumirnd, 1989) Researchers also hypothesize that parental authoritativeness contributes to childrenís psychological development, which in turn facilitates their school success. (Steingerg, Elmen, & Mounts, 1989)
( Authoritative style(good academic achievement (according to Baumirndís studies of American schooling.) However, America adolescents are more likely to benefit from authoritative parenting to get good academic achievement than Asian adolescent is.
Authoritarian style (i.e., reflecting unquestioning obedience to parents, or perhaps it can be called ìcontrolling,î or ìrestrictive.î)
This style of parenting has been found to be predictive of poor school achievement among Americans, and yet Asians who are most likely to be raised by authoritarian parents perform quite well in school.
( Authoritarian style(poor academic achievement (according to Baumirndís studies of American schooling.) Asians are the highest on authoritarian parenting style, and yet they get the highest grade-point averages. This response so different from that of American adolescents, is probably culturally based.
Why???? Why canít the academic achievement of Asian students in schools be explained in terms of the parenting styles we have studied?
Answer: The concepts of authoritative and authoritarian that have been developed in Western societies are somewhat ethnocentric and do not capture important features of Chinese child rearing; these concepts especially fail to explain school success. Chinese child-rearing practices involve the concept of ìtrainingî. This ìtrainingî concept has important feature, beyond the authoritarian concept, that may explain Chinese school success and academic achievement.
What causes parents to have different thoughts about and attitudes toward adolescent academic achievement?
Cultural divergence
There is an old proverb in Chinese society: ìeverything is unworthy except studying.î It means the most important thing in life is studying. This belief is so strong that it is rooted in every traditional Chinese family. All parents hope their children will get good grades since this is useful in getting a good job. They also give children beliefs about the relationship between education and life success, especially focussing on the negative consequences of doing poorly in school. This belief is held by most Asian adolescents, who believe that academic failure will have negative repercussions, so they are more engaged in their schooling. 2. Differences in entering senior high school and university or college
(American system: application
(Asian system: united examination (tracking system)
Other factors Factors external to the adolescent: environment
Influences from home (parents) and becomes internalized Attitudes to adolescent Rating Satisfaction
Expectation
Assistance
Parenting style
American parents
Higher
More satisfied
Less
Less
Authoritative

Asian parents
Lower
Less satisfied
Higher
More
Authoritarian including the concept of ìtrainingî Influences from school
Curriculum
Teacher behaviors and student opportunities to learn
Time spent on mathematics instruction
Mathematics classroom teaching
Teachers believe that children of highly involved parents are achieving up to their ability and create more opportunity for them
Amount of homework
Peer support
Peer are the most potent influence on day-to-day behaviors in school
Culture-Specific influences
Abacus training
Abacus learning has a positive effect on childrenís learning
Number naming in Asian Languages
The differences in numerical language characteristics are said to produce fundamental variations in the cognitive representation of numbers (Miura & Okamoto, 1989)
The difference in cognitive representation of numbers positively affects Asian childrenís understanding of place value and their subsequent mathematics performance
Asian children seem to benefit from the systematic number naming characteristics of their languages
Their number representations are more flexible that those of their American counterparts
Factors internal to the adolescent themselves
Gender: male vs. female
Aptitude: IQ
Cognition
Adolescent beliefs and thought: Asian adolescents believe that the road to success is through high academic achievement
Attitude: positive vs. negative attitude toward school, toward homework
Individual differences: diligence, study habits
Anxiety: psychological maladjustment
Alternative viewpoints
Transcontextual model in parental involvement in adolescent schooling
A lot of attention has been paid on parental involvement in schooling emerged as such a powerful predictor of academic achievement. The different levels of the parental school involvement are expected to be related to school performance; higher level of school involvement associated with a higher school performance. However, ìthe influence of parentsí involvement in their adolescentsí schooling has transcontextual validity.î (Bogenschneider, 1997) The greatest influence of parental involvement is based on (a) family resources and (b) family stability, which enable parents to maximize their effectiveness. It has nothing to do with the parentsí culture, class, education, gender, or family structure.
Field dependence ñ independence and academic achievement
What is Field dependence ñ independence?
A dimension of perceptual style involves the extent to which the surrounding context (the field) affects a personís perceptual judgement.
The relationship between Field dependence-independence and parenting style:
Most Asian parents are more likely to stress obedience of their children than American parents are. Children are expected to be obedient and cooperative in Asian families. This parenting style contributes to a field-dependent orientation. Field-dependents, are generally ìpeople oriented.î (Witkin & Goodenough, 1977)
The relationship between Field dependence-independence and academic achievement
The study shows that field-independent people performed better than field-dependent ones in all of the subjects of academic achievement.
What is the source of this paradox?
The concept of ìtrainingî can perhaps explain the paradox.

Questions
Do you think mothers always involve more than fathers in adolescent academic achievement or you feel parental influence is equal?
How do you apply parental influence to three dimension of Weinerís attribution theory?
Is achievement equal to academic achievement? Most articlesí points always focus on academic achievement or mathematics achievement. How do you think about this phenomenon?
When adolescents become parents, will they treat their children in the same way that their parents treat them?
Do you agree or disagree the alternative viewpoints?
Transcontextual model in parental involvement in adolescent schooling
Field dependence ñ independence and academic achievement

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