Motivation, Responsibility and Anxiety: Parenting Dispositions of Chinese Mothers

Karen Guo
page. 1~19 / 2016 Vol.10 No.1


One of the key principles in the ideology which underpins education is the value of children’s familyexperience. Central to this idea is the view of parents as important. Parenting has become a vitaldimension in contemporary education. Parenting discourses traditionally focus on such concepts asparenting style, approach, attitude or practice. The main consideration behind these concepts is whatparents appear to be doing at a single point of time, referring to parenting per se. This paper takes on thenotion of disposition in order to understand urban Chinese mothers’ habitual and characteristic ways ofchild rearing. It presents evidence to show that a group of Chinese mothers had parenting dispositions ofmotivation, responsibility and anxiety. Data came from a series of conversations between 50 Chinesemothers of preschool children and five early childhood teachers through a synchronous online text chat.In the process of consulting the early childhood teachers, the parents expressed many concerns,questions and views of childrearing and early childhood education, thereby providing evidence abouttheir thinking and behaviour. Drawing on the concept of ‘disposition’, the study provides insights intothe common thinking threads that characterized Chinese parenting and the ways those threads werewoven into their disposed approaches to child rearing and early education.

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