Family Perspectives


Maternal warmth, or the expression of affection to a child by their mother both physically and emotionally, can play a critical role in encouraging healthy social development among reticent children, meaning children who are less likely to be social with their peers. However, recent research is beginning to recognize that this maternal warmth, which was typically defined as an open expression of affection, may look differently in other cultures. For example, Chinese parenting is generally rooted in Confucian values, which emphasizes group orientation and collectivism, compared to European American societies that typically promote self-expression and individualism. While cultural contexts may influence the form maternal warmth takes, this literature review discusses beneficial forms of integrated, bicultural parenting among Chinese immigrant mothers raising their reticent children within a Western context as they prepare their children to socially adapt to their new environment in the United States.