Relations between Chinese mothers' parenting practices and social withdrawal in early childhood


Chinese parenting, ntrusive parenting, modest behaviour, parenting practices, social withdrawal, withdrawn subtypes


Researchers have identified specific parenting practices used by parents of preschoolers in mainland China (e.g., physical coercion, overprotection, shaming, directiveness, encouragement of modesty). Some of the intrusive practices have been linked to social withdrawal in western societies (e.g., United States, Canada). It seemed important to examine these associations in China because recent research suggests that young Chinese children who exhibit wariness in peer settings may be at risk for negative outcomes such as peer rejection. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relation between Chinese parenting practices and preschoolers' social withdrawal. Mothers of preschool-age children from mainland China (N = 446) completed self-report parenting questionnaires. Teachers rated children's reticent, solitary-passive, solitary-active, and modest behaviors. Results showed that (a) maternal directiveness was positively associated with reticent behavior in girls and negatively associated with solitary-passive behavior in boys, (b) maternal overprotection, for girls, was positively related to both reticent behavior and solitary-passive behavior, and negatively related to modest behavior, (c) coercion was positively associated with solitary-active and reticent behavior in girls, and (d) shaming was positively related to all forms of withdrawn behaviors in boys and girls, as well as positively related to modest behavior in boys.

Original Publication Citation

Nelson, L.J., Hart, C.H., *Wu, B., & Olsen, S.F. (2006). Relations between Chinese mothers’ parenting practices and social withdrawal in early childhood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 30, 261-271.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


International Journal of Behavioral Development




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor