Cultural differences and similarities in parenting infants and young children

Author: Jennifer E. Lansford

Author title: This article describes cultural similarities and differences in parenting with examples focused on infancy and early childhood around the world. Parenting behaviors can be the same or different across cultures, and a given behavior can serve the same or different functions. However, parenting behaviors that protect children from harm and promote their survival and growth are found in all cultures. Parenting programs developed in one culture can sometimes be used successfully in another, as long as appropriate adaptations are made. When practitioners work with immigrant or refugee parents, understanding parents’ beliefs and behaviors stemming from both their country of origin and country of destination is important, as is recognizing strengths that parents bring to their role. Gender dynamics and the roles of extended families are also important considerations when working with culturally diverse families.

Description writer: Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

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