Changes in parenting for Chinese new immigrant families and the implications for social service delivery systems

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Wang, Hong
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The purpose of the study was to explore the changes in parenting in Chinese new immigrant families in the new environment--Canada, and to make recommendations to improve social services for this population. The questions addressed in the study included: (1) How is the child/parent interaction in Chinese families affected by immigration? (2) What factors contribute to the changes in parenting for Chinese new immigrant families? And (3) What are their perceptions of social services in Winnipeg? Symbolic interactionism was used as a methodological framework because it focuses on the personal and social construction of meaning and the essential importance of interpretation in human experience. Based on the purpose of the research, a qualitative approach was adopted. The interviews showed that immigration brought about significant changes for Chinese new immigrant family life and in the parent/child relationship. Culture played an important role in child rearing practices and could be useful in explaining parental behaviors. For instance, the parents believed that punishment (including physical punishment) is the effective way to deal with a child who has misbehaved because punishment brought the feeling of shame to him. They felt that their ability to raise their children correctly has been threatened in the new environment. The families also thought that social service organizations should help new immigrants adapt to the new society by developing culturally appropriate social service systems. Some recommendations emerging from the study are that policy makers and practitioners increase their level of cultural skill and knowledge.