Parent-child interactions are influenced by cultural expectations, beliefs, and values. Chinese parenting is shaped by Confucian principles. Chinese children tend to be more academically successful but less creative than American children. Yet, little is known about how actual parent-child interactions might contribute to this finding. We conducted three case studies using a social constructivist approach to parenting to explore how parent-child interactions in early childhood education might influence children’s academics and creativity. We studied 11 participants from three families: Chinese, interracial (Chinese mother and American father), and American. Through interviews, observations, and artifacts, we found that parenting decisions are influenced by parents’ cultural climates. Chinese parents trained children to learn for academic achievement; American parents encouraged children to pursue their own interests; and inter-racial parents did some of both.
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