Parenting and socialization of only children in urban china: An example of authoritative parenting

Huijing Lu, Lei Chang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


The authors report a semistructured interview of 328 urban Chinese parents regarding their parenting beliefs and practices with respect to their only children. Statistical analyses of the coded parental interviews and peer nomination data from the children show none of the traditional Chinese parenting or child behaviors that have been widely reported in the literature. The parenting of only children in urban China was predominantly authoritative rather than authoritarian. The parenting strategies and beliefs were child-centered, egalitarian, and warmth-oriented rather than control-oriented. Chinese parents encouraged prosocial assertiveness and discouraged behavioral constraint and modesty. The parenting of only children was also gender egalitarian in that there were few gender differences in child social behaviors and little gender differential parenting and socialization of these only children. Together with other recent studies, these findings and conclusions challenge the traditionalist view of Chinese parenting and beliefs and behaviors about child socialization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-343
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013


  • child socialization
  • only-child
  • parenting belief
  • urban China

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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