Parenting beliefs and practices as precursors to academic outcomes in Chinese children

Lixin Ren, Mengdi Chen*, Bi Ying Hu, Jin Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Due to the rapid sociocultural changes in China, Chinese parents' childrearing beliefs and practices have undergone dramatic transformations. Against this context, this study examined whether Chinese parents' endorsement of progressive and traditional childrearing beliefs would predict children's academic achievement, as well as whether parenting practices would mediate this association. This study utilized a longitudinal design and followed 206 Chinese families for 2 years from the end of preschool to Grade 2. Parents showed greater endorsement of progressive than traditional childrearing beliefs, as well as higher use of authoritative than authoritarian parenting practices. Parents' childrearing beliefs in preschool predicted children's math achievement in Grade 2 via authoritative parenting. However, parenting beliefs were unrelated to authoritarian parenting, and authoritarian parenting did not predict any of the child academic outcomes in Grade 2. The findings suggest Chinese parents' orientations toward progressive parenting beliefs and authoritative parenting practices. They also highlight the utility of parenting beliefs in explaining disparities in early academic achievement. The nonsignificant findings pertinent to authoritarian parenting call for re-examination of the cultural meaning and effects of authoritarian parenting in Chinese society.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFamily Process
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • academic achievement
  • Chinese childrearing
  • parenting beliefs
  • parenting practices


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