Tue, May 03, 2016 - Page 3 News List

‘Tiger’ parenting impairs learning

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS:Parental care and participation in education and a diverse learning environment is key to better childhood development, a professor said

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

A longitudinal study of child development by National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) found that the “tiger mother” approach to parenting and high parental expectations can negatively impact a child’s ability to learn and parent-child bonding, while other approaches can improve a child’s ability to learn.

Researchers on Thursday last week revealed the results of a three-year study that surveyed 456 infants and toddlers — aged between six months and four-and-a-half years — in New Taipei City to understand the relationship between family environment and child development.

Researchers said that children raised by parents with a higher education generally have larger vocabulary, a better memory and problem-solving abilities.

However, although early childhood development can be related to a parent’s education and socioeconomic status, children whose parents are more involved in their child’s education show higher levels of linguistic competence, NTNU Department of Human Development and Family Studies director Chang Chien-ju (張鑑如) said.

“Overtly strict and controlling parents and those who have high expectations of their children generally fail to build a high-quality family environment, while parents who are more tolerant of misbehavior and use positive parenting methods are more able to build a quality environment,” said Chang.

“A high-quality family learning environment is characterized by higher degrees of parental responsiveness, tolerance for child misbehavior and more learning stimuli and materials. That is to say, growing up in a wealthy family does not warrant better child development,” NTNU human development professor Chou Li-tuan (周麗端) said.

Parental care and participation in education and a diversified learning environment is key to better childhood development and learning, Chou said.

“Today’s parents are less in favor of strict parenting or expecting their children to attain higher levels than their parents. Parents who do not overpressure children can have better parent-child communication and offer a better learning environment,” she said.

Parents of children aged under two are more responsive, while parents of children aged between 25 months and 54 months have a lower tolerance for child misbehavior, according to the research.

Diversified learning environments and materials are especially important for children under two in terms of motor development.

The research was a pilot program for an eight-year research project — the National Longitudinal Study of Child Development and Care — which is scheduled to begin this year.

A database of child development can help the government formulate policies, but there has been no longitudinal study on the subject in Taiwan, and this project will be the first one, Chang said.

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