Asystematic study of the linkages between gender issues and parenting is made among Chinese families. This study examines sex differences in parenting attributes across fathers and mothers and towards sons and daughters, and compares the contributions of fathers and mothers to the prediction of academic performance across boys and girls. Four parenting attributes are included: nurturance, psychological control, parental involvement in education, and parental academic efficacy. Data were collected from 461 Chinese father-mother-child triads of children studying Grade 3 to 5 in Hong Kong. Findings of this study, based on multivariate analysis of variance, showed that parental roles followed traditional Chinese cultural expectations. Compared to the fathers, Chinese mothers of school-age children in Hong Kong were more loving and caring, more involved in children's education, and more efficacious in promoting children's academic performance. Results of hierarchical regression analysis examining the role of child's sex as a moderator showed cross-sex influence in parental contribution to academic performance with respect to parental psychological control and academic efficacy. Specifically, boys benefited more from maternal efficacy than girls did and they were also more hampered by mothers with high psychological control, while girls' academic performance was more enhanced by paternal academic efficacy than boys. A gender-balance approach that highlights the significance of gender in moderating parental contributions to academic performance was thus supported. Future research should continue to focus on psychological control and domain-specific parental attributes as potential sources of gender-linked parent-child associations. Investigations should also explore other cognitive and noncognitive domains of child outcome, different child age groups, as well as Chinese populations in various geographical regions.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Academic performance
- Fathers' and mothers' contributions
- Hong Kong
- School-age children