Parenting Styles in Different Cultures

Parenting style is one of the primary factors that have an impact on one’s future. On a global scale, it shapes the nation and allows one to distinguish adolescents from different countries and the issues they face in life. Hence, parenting style is a parameter that is not an individual indicator but rather a reflection of the traditions of a specific country. Moreover, it is transmitted to the children brought up abroad by immigrant parents, and in this case, they do not differ from their peers staying in the country of origin (Shen et al., 2018). To understand the specificities of parents’ behavior that influence their children, it is vital to consider them in the context of selected countries and regions.

The most known parenting style in the world is the approach of Chinese adults, and its separateness is defined by the presence of a strong national culture. Parents in China are primarily authoritarian, but this behavior pattern is not the only model widespread in the country. The researchers distinguish various subtypes, which are authoritative, authoritarian, average-level undifferentiated, and strict-affectionate parenting styles (Zhang et al., 2017). Hence, the perception of Chinese parents as the people who bring up their children solely in authoritarian ways is not entirely accurate. The problems of adolescents in China are directly connected to the sub-type of parenting styles in their families. They include maladjustment with authoritarian mothers and lower academic achievements with strict-affectionate parents (Zhang et al., 2017). In this way, the behavioral patterns of adults have an impact on the future of their children.

In the view of popular culture, Chinese parenting, along with that of many of its neighboring Eastern Asian countries, such as Korea and Japan, is aimed at maximizing the child’s competencies, possibly at the expense of their autonomy. Zhang et al. (2017) note that this perception has also appeared in scholarly research through theories of tiger and training parenting. Both emphasize values such as academic achievement, which is measured through the child’s performance at school. However, training parenting is characterized by parental devotion and interpersonal harmony, while tiger parenting relies on stringent control of the child’s activities at most or all times. These approaches may be effective at achieving their primary objectives of producing adults that hold cultural values in high regard, yielding positive results if these values are aligned with success. However, they may also ignore factors such as the child’s mental well-being and interfere with their development by denying them the freedom they may need to grow.

Indian adults provide another example of parenting styles deriving from a country’s traditions. Their authoritarian attitudes are defined by the notion of interdependence in contrast to independence in European countries and the United States. In Indian families, shared goals and the focus on people is a priority, and this situation leads to neglect for one’s personal development (Sahithya et al., 2019). It is typical for most Asian countries and implies a certain degree of inability to adjust to new circumstances in life among adolescents. In this case, the acceptance of parents’ control over their lives and obedience are the key factors that cause the problems mentioned above (Sahithya et al., 2019). However, the shift from authoritarian to authoritative parenting style in present-day India is apparent, and it allows comparing it to the Chinese ways.

India can be used as a point of reference in comparison with China, as the country prominently uses authoritative and authoritarian parenting styles. Sahithya et al. (2019) find that the former led to superior outcomes in children compared to the latter as well as the neglectful parenting style. The difference between the authoritative and authoritarian approaches is in the treatment of the child in terms of responsiveness and autonomy. Both types of parents will have high expectations for their children and make them known, but authoritative ones are more responsive and provide their offspring with increased autonomy. The finding may be taken as an indication that in a general context, authoritative parenting is superior to the authoritarian style. However, additional research is necessary to verify whether the idea can be generalized to any setting.

Neglectful parenting styles are also worth mentioning, as they often take place in less authoritarian countries such as India and those in the West. In neglectful parenting, there are few to no expectations for the child, the responsiveness is low, and the child has high autonomy. As a result, though children can develop independently, their parents do not support them adequately or motivate them to pursue success over self-satisfaction. The findings of Sahithya et al. (2019) indicate that the approach does not lead to higher rates of positive outcomes in children compared to the authoritative method. This result is consistent with the theory, which finds few reasons for children to succeed in a neglectful environment. As such, the approach is likely adopted by parents with low competencies or motivation.

As can be seen from parents’ attitudes in China and India, the tendency to use the authoritarian parenting style is still prevalent in these countries. Moreover, this situation is reflected not only in the way people bring up their children at home but also in their behavior while living abroad. The researchers claim that there is an apparent difference between Asian American and European American adolescents in terms of the attitude of their parents (Shen et al., 2018). The consideration of such ability as self-regulation of these population groups proved higher skills in European American adults compared to their Asian peers (Shen et al., 2018). Therefore, the authoritarian parenting style implies specific psychological complications for adolescents.

The study further reinforces the assertion that culture is not limited to using one approach to parenting. Moreover, a parent will likely use one or more styles at once, not conforming to the framework and forming a unique approach that can, nevertheless, be characterized as some mixture of the recognized styles. Shen et al. (2018) remark that, while European American parents’ uses of authoritative and authoritarian parenting correlated with each other, the two were independent for Asian American parents. They theorize that the two methods stem from the same foundation in the first group but different ones in the latter. As a result, European American parents would demonstrate the same traits regardless of the approach they used, while Asian Americans would display conflicting characteristics at different times.

The consideration of other European countries provides similar results related to the impact of the parent’s attitude towards their children. The study comparing France, Russia, and Romania proved the interdependence of the authoritarian parenting style and the high level of depressive symptoms among adolescents (Gherasim et al., 2017). Thus, for example, in France, the situation appeared to be worse than in Russia and Romania in terms of depression and other similar conditions among children with the prevalence of the authoritarian approach (Gherasim et al., 2017). Alternatively, the indicators of life satisfaction among Russian and Romanian adolescents were higher than the ones of French participants (Gherasim et al., 2017). This outcome adds to other scholars’ conclusions on the impact of these two approaches on emerging adults.

The finding suggests that the authoritative style may not necessarily be superior to the authoritarian approach in all circumstances. France is a highly developed Western nation, which provides children born there with advantages compared to their Russian and Romanian peers. However, even though it allows for more freedom and responsiveness to children with its higher usage of the authoritarian style as opposed to its authoritative counterpart, the emotional outcomes of children there are worse. There may be confounding factors that are skewing the sample or affecting the well-being of children in these nations. As Gherasim et al. (2017) note, “the strengths of the associations between parenting style and both children’s life satisfaction and depressive symptoms, however, did not differ based on children’s cultural context” (p. 1013). However, the result lends further credence to the objection that extensive research is necessary before any parenting approach can be declared universally superior.

The parenting style of White Americans, in turn, is different from the one of the parents of U.S.-born Asian and foreign-born Asian adolescents. It implies the varying impact on their behavior and psychological state as a whole. The parents of White American children tend to be more authoritative and show support and acceptance in contrast to Asian parents who are authoritarian regardless of their place of living (Hong et al., 2020). Thus, the scholars describe Asian Americans as people with a lack of psychological well-being resulting from the absence of warmth and a higher degree of control in their families (Hong et al., 2020). The outcome of this study highlights the tendencies in parenting styles of different cultures and indicates greater problems among children with authoritarian parents.

One such problem is that, in their desire to enable the child to be autonomous, authoritative parents may fail to notice and prevent adverse developments in their growth. Hong et al. (2020) note that in White American households, authoritative parenting was associated with the perpetration of bullying, though maternal non-involvement was also a substantial factor. Due to the school system’s widespread failure to address the problem, it falls to the parents to teach their children not to bully others. However, possibly due to an inadequate involvement in the environment where it takes place, parents fail to notice the issue or address it. With that said, the other factor should not be understated, as mothers are often responsible for teaching their children empathy. Without their involvement, parenting may become too reliant on superficial punishments rather than the teaching of an underlying lesson, failing to address the problem.

Asian Americans may have a different problem that is associated with their cultural factors, such as the usage of the authoritative style and the central role of the mother in the child’s upbringing. Per Hong et al. (2020), Asians who are born in the U.S. are more likely to become victims of bullying if the father is not involved in their growth and to become bullies when authoritarian parenting was applied. Without their fathers, children may struggle to learn to resist pressure, particularly with a strict and demanding mother that contributes to it. Moreover, if the parents strictly control the child’s activities and emotions, they may struggle with learning emotional control. As a result, they would take out their negative feelings on others, which would lead to bullying in many cases. These examples show that any parenting style can lead to positive and negative outcomes, depending on the circumstances.

Parenting styles vary depending on the country of origin since they reflect the cultural specificities of people. The traditional views of Asian people, for example, in India and China, lead to the prevalence of the authoritarian approach to bringing up children. It implies certain complications related to their socialization and psychological well-being. In terms of life satisfaction, the authoritative parenting style seems to be more favorable. It can be seen from the experience of White American and European adolescents. However, despite the general trend to distinguish Asian and Western approaches to parenting, they vary within regions and require further examination.


Gherasim, L. R., Brumariu, L. E., & Alim, C. L. (2017). Parenting style and children’s life satisfaction and depressive symptoms: Preliminary findings from Romania, France, and Russia. Journal of Happiness Studies, 18(4), 1013-1028. Web.

Hong, J. S., Kim, D. H., deLara, E. W., Wei, H. S., Prisner, A., & Alexander, N. B. (2020). Parenting style and bullying and victimization: Comparing foreign-born Asian, US-born Asian, and White American adolescents. Journal of Family Violence, 1-13.

Sahithya, B. R., Manohari, S. M., & Vijaya, R. (2019). Parenting styles and its impact on children–A cross-cultural review with a focus on India. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 22(4), 357-383. Web.

Shen, J. J., Cheah, C. S., & Yu, J. (2018). Asian American and European American emerging adults’ perceived parenting styles and self-regulation ability. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 9(2), 140.

Zhang, W., Wei, X., Ji, L., Chen, L., & Deater-Deckard, K. (2017). Reconsidering parenting in Chinese culture: Subtypes, stability, and change of maternal parenting style during early adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46(5), 1117-1136.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Parenting Styles in Different Cultures." February 7, 2022.

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PsychologyWriting. "Parenting Styles in Different Cultures." February 7, 2022.