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  • Editor Comments
  • Donald Swenson

Several authors of this issue independently focused on an important feature in family sociology, parenting and the socialization of children. They provide us with important information relating to: parent-child relationship quality, parental intervention strategies, adoption, and the vitality of family context in athletic success. Authors of two articles are standalone studies: one on the gender division of labor and a second, of interest to statisticians and methodologists, the question of using instruments cross-culturally and the problems that ensue.

At the heart of the Hwang, Ko, and Kim study is the issue of adult children supporting their aging parents. The term used is filial obligation that has two components: instrumental support and emotional support. There is evidence that in the United States and South Korea adult children have an obligation to care for, support, and provide financial resources to their parents as they age. These researchers drew a sample of college age students from private universities in the United States and in South Korea. Previous literature had posited that parents and children with good relationships tend to frequently exchange advice, inspiration, monetary presents, and practical aid. These scholars add to our knowledge of this phenomenon by investigating the differences between American and South Korean students in regard to filial obligation. They discovered that their analysis showed that Korean college students reported significantly higher instrumental support of filial obligation than American college students. Hwang, Ko, and Kim also found that emotional support of filial obligation was not significantly different between American and Korean college students. Their question of including gender differences had mixed results. The authors elaborate in this mixed finding.

Jenny Vaydich and Louise Keown, in their article, address issues of immigration of Korean peoples to New Zealand and the problems and opportunities parents face in their parenting. These authors cite research that is limited regarding Korean immigrant parents' perceptions of parenting challenges and difficulties they face in their host country. Thus the need for their research to be made known that has practical implications for the newly arrived Koreans who have dependent children. From a sample of twelve parents, they asked questions of them such as: the extent to which they found parenting to be rewarding, demanding, stressful, fulfilling and depressing; if they sought professional help if their children exhibited social, emotional or behavioral problems; questions about parenting programs; questions about parenting program preferences asked parents to rate how likely they would be to access a program, how useful they would find different program delivery methods; why or why not would they use these programs; and to assess perceived barriers to participation. Their results indicated that most of the parents rated their parenting as rewarding and fulfilling. A minority of parents had utilized professional services (e.g., medical doctors, teachers or counselors) for social, emotional, or behavioral issues their children experienced but others said they would be open to seek intervention. In the qualitative analysis of the focus groups, five themes emerged: requests for [End Page 259] parenting information, cultural conflict, schooling issues, primary sources of support for Korean parents, and advertising and delivering parenting programs. The researchers garnished information of the needs of these Korean parents in adapting to a new culture. They conclude that it is important immigrant family needs are identified and to offer intervention ifrequired.

On the topic of Asian families in a new host nation, Kathleen Ja Sook Bergquist and Irang Kim show interest in the adoption ofAsian children in the United States. They do ask the question if race/ethnicity matters in the decision of predominately Chinese American couples in their adoption of children from China. Previous researchers have sought to understand the racial-ethnic socialization strategies parents' use and whether they mediate or buffer the impact of racism and other structural inequalities. These authors explore racial-ethnic socialization as it pertains to "in-group" relationships within Asian American ethnic groups that may be salient to Asian parents who adopt other-ethnic Asian children. Quantitative data from a non-random sample of sixty-nine families provided the authors with necessary information of their topic of interest. Participants were asked reasons for deciding to adopt by answering no more...


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pp. 259-261
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