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  • Editorial Comments
  • Donald Swenson

You have before you the second set of articles to be published in 2019 that focus on parenting, family systems, and care of the elderly. We invite you to read and digest some of the state of the art research in comparative family scholarship. The cross cultural variation of these papers is impressive. Authors conducted their research in Japan, China, Australia, Turkey, the Philippines and New Zealand.

As was in the last issue, the most common theme for this issue also is parenting. Subsequent to these are two non-related articles, family systems and carework.


Kana Fuse takes us to Japan for her study of parenting of first born children. Using the Longitudinal Survey of Newborns in the 21st Century, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of children born in 2001 in Japan, the author investigated what affected parity progression (the proportion of women with a certain number of children who go on to have another child or children). More specifically, Fuse asked the question if daughter preference (which is common in Japan) and parenting difficulty had implications for having future children.

The author discovered mixed results in finding that, contrary to the thesis of daughter preference affecting parity progression, it did not influence the decision to have more children. However, Fuse did find empirical evidence for the thesis that if parents did have difficulty in parenting their first born, they were less likely to have additional children.

We stay in the East where Guiqing An, Jingying Wang, and Yang Yang investigated how Chinese parents effected their children's math and science (STEM) achievements. They structure their research paper according to parental involvement in their children's education and if SES and gender made a difference. The authors used a sophisticated data set called Database of Investigation of Curriculum and Instruction in China to address their interests. Parental involvement consisted of assistance with homework, family communication (including emotional communication), activity inside and outside of school, communication with the school, parental expectations and shadow tutorials. Average test scores of the STEM subjects was used as the dependent variable.

The results are complex so I encourage the reader to take time to read them. This complexity is due to differences in SES areas, gender of the child, parental involvement and each of the subjects of STEM consisting of Geography, Physics, Math, and Biology. They conclude well by writing, "This further expands the study of the impact parental involvement has on students' academic achievement to consider that both differences in SES class and subjects would influence the effect of parental involvement on students' academic achievements."

The third article on parenting is set in Melbourne, Australia. In this urban environment, immigrant mothers from Bangladesh face major problems as they [End Page 113] endeavor to stir between an adaptation to a new and foreign culture while trying hard to retain the best of their culture of origin. Not only do they need to adapt to a new culture, but they also need to find new ways to maintain their Muslim (and Hindu) faith while being actively involved in the secular culture of Australia.

Sadia Afrin, Richard D. Chenhall, and Cathy Vaughan gathered data from women who had teen-age daughters through advertisements in Bangladeshi grocery stores as well as through personal and professional connections of the principal investigator. The final sample resulted in eight participants. All had grown up in middle/upper middle class families who were well educated and religiously observant.

After thematic analysis was done, two major themes and two sub-themes emerged. The two major themes were the perceived benefits of raising daughters in Australia and mothers' anxieties about raising teen-age daughters. The sub-themes consisted of Bangladeshi versus Australian culture and, secondly, the risk of shame that came from a loss of family reputation and honour. A combined theme, with elements from the above, was the "promotion of mistrust." This is a very interesting theme that I had not heard of. It is a strategy, used by the mothers of teen-age girls, to instill in their daughters caution and fear of the socio-culture of Australia which may tempt them to act out in...


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