Fit in but stand out: A qualitative study of parents’ and teachers’ perspectives on socioemotional competence of children

Elena Kwong, Chun Bun Lam, Xiaomin Li, Kevin Kien Hoa Chung, Ryan Yat Ming Cheung, Man Cynthia Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the conceptualization of children's socioemotional competence among parents and teachers of preschool children in Hong Kong, China. Focus groups were conducted with 16 parents and 18 teachers from three preschools. Thematic content analysis revealed that, reflecting the cultural as well as contextual characteristics of Hong Kong, parents and teachers expected socioemotionally competent children to master skills in emotion understanding, emotion expressivity, emotion regulation, relationship building, conflict management, and inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility. There was diversity within parents’ and teachers’ interpretations of the characteristics of emotionally regulated and socially skilled children. Findings highlighted the ecosystemic nature of societal ideas about children's developmental competence, demonstrated the utility of qualitative research in exploring these ideas in culturally sensitive manners, and called for the mobilization of parents and teachers as research-informed scaffolders of holistic development of children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-287
Number of pages13
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Child socioemotional competence
  • Focus groups
  • Parental beliefs
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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