Is Parental Control Beneficial or Harmful to the Development of Young Children in Hong Kong?

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The role of parental behavioural control in influencing developmental outcomes of children and adolescents has been inconsistently delineated in the literature. The present study aims to examine the relationships among parental behavioural control, academic self-efficacy, anxieties and academic achievement of young Chinese children in Hong Kong, paying particular attention to understanding the role of academic self-efficacy and anxieties in influencing the relationship between parental behavioural control and children’s academic achievement. Two hundred and thirty-five parents of junior elementary school students completed a battery of standardised questionnaires. Results interestingly documented an inconsistent mediation effect for both academic self-efficacy and social anxiety. In essence, parental control indeed had a significant positive influence on academic achievement among Chinese junior primary school students in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, parental behavioural control at the same time decreased academic self-efficacy and induced social anxiety feelings, which in turn led to a lower level of academic achievement. Given that a greater parental behavioural control is inherently culturally accepted in Chinese communities, such findings shed light on that enhancing academic self-efficacy and reducing social anxiety are potential mechanisms through which parents could facilitate growth and development in their children. The results could also lessen the “guilt and blame” that are unnecessarily placed on some Chinese parents.




Wong, D. F. K., Zhuang, X. Y., & Ng, T. K. (2019). Is Parental Control Beneficial or Harmful to the Development of Young Children in Hong Kong? Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28(3), 831–838.

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