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Raising Happy Children Who Succeed in School: Lessons From China and the United States


  • Eva M. Pomerantz and Yang Qu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL; Florrie Fei-Yin Ng, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Cecilia Sin-Sze Cheung, University of California at Riverside, Riverside, CA.
  • The writing of this paper was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant BCS-1023170. We are grateful for the insights of Qian Wang and members of the University of Illinois Center for Parent-Child Studies.


Chinese children outperform their American counterparts in the academic arena. Although many aspects of Chinese and American children's environments likely contribute to this achievement gap, a key aspect may be learning-related parenting (e.g., assisting children with homework and responding to children's performance). In this article, we review differences in Chinese and American learning-related parenting, with attention to the trade-offs of each culture's style for children's academic and emotional functioning. We consider an integrated style of parenting combining the strengths of the Chinese and American styles to facilitate children's academic and emotional functioning.