CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — According to a new study, American, but not Chinese, children's sense of responsibility to their parents tends to decline in the seventh and eighth grades, a trend that coincides with declines in their academic performance.
The study, in the journal Child Development, found no difference between American and Chinese students' feelings of responsibility to their parents at the beginning of the seventh grade. The American children's sense of obligation to their parents and desire to please them by doing well in school declined over the next two years, however, while the Chinese students generally maintained their feelings of obligation and increased their motivation to please their parents with their academic achievements.
It would be interesting to compare children in Mennonite, Amish, and other more socially or physically isolated communities in America and other Western countries. Does isolation from some elements of American culture prevent this change attitudes?
Would isolation from American culture enable kids to do better in school? Is American culture poisonous to young minds?
"These different trends are notable because when children were able to maintain a sense of responsibility to their parents, they were not only more motivated and engaged in school, but also earned better grades over time," said University of Illinois psychology professor Eva Pomerantz, who led the study. "Chinese children's maintenance of a sense of responsibility to their parents may protect them against the decline so common among American middle schoolers in their engagement and achievement in school."
A comparison with successive generations of Chinese immigrant kids would be useful as well.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2011 October 01 04:29 PM Culture Compared|