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The Rural-to-Urban Migrant Parents and their Accompanying or Left-behind Children in China

发布时间:2013-09-29 17:02:48  

InternationalSocietyfortheStudyofBehaviouralDevelopmentCOUNTRYFOCUSTheandRural-to-UrbanMigrantParents

Left-behindtheirAccompanyingChildreninChinaor

Bin-BinChen

TheChineseUniversityofHongKong,China

E-mail:bbchen@cuhk.edu.hk

Inkeepingwithworld-widetrends,psychologyinChinahasgrownrapidlyoverthepastthreedecades.Topromotepsychologicalscienceinvariousbranchesofpsychologyandrelevantfieldsthatexplorebasicmechanismsofthehumanmindandbehavior,Chinesepsychologistshavepursuedresearchinbothtraditionalspheres,andinnewscientificareassuchasexperimentalpsychology(e.g.,K.Zhouetal.,2010inProceedingsoftheNationalAcademyofSciences),socialpsychology(e.g.,Hongetal.,2003inJournalofPersonalityandSocialPsychologyandZhouetal.,2008inPsychologicalScience)andneuroscience(e.g.,Xueetal.,2010inScience),aswellasdevelopmentalpsychology(e.g.,Chang,2003;X.Chen,Wang,&Cao,2011bothinChildDevelopment),andhavethusgainedprominenceontheworldacademicstage.

Inadditiontothecontinuingpursuitofuniversal

constructsforunderstandingmentalphenomena,psychol-ogyinChinaalsostandsasanexampleofadisciplinethatespeciallyemphasizesindigenization,thatis,thepsychol-ogyandbehaviorsshouldbeexaminedandinterpretedintheparticularculturalcontextswithinChina(Blowers,2010;Hwang&Han,2010).Theculturalvaluesandnormsmayprovideguidancefortheinterpretationandevaluationofbehaviors,whichinturnmayaffectthefunctionalmeaningsofthebehaviorsintheparticularsocialgroup,includingthedevelopmentofindividuals(B.-B.Chen&Chang,2012;X.Chen,2012;X.Chen&French,2008).

Inthissectionofcountryfocus,Iintroducethecurrent

Chineseresearchonparentingandparent-childrelation-shipswithspecialreferencetothebackgroundsofsocialchangesinChina.

Inthepastthreedecades,mostChinesecities

haveimplementedanopen-doorpolicy,andthemarket-orientedeconomysystemshavebeenlargelylimitedtotheseurbanareas.Giventhisunbalancedsocialandeconomicdevelopment,therearesubstantialdifferencesbetweenurbanandruralareaswithinChina.Parentalbehaviorspresentatypicalexample.Ingeneral,familiesinruralChinahavelivedmostlyagriculturallives(B.-B.Chen,inpress);thereforetheymaytendtomaintaintraditionalparentalstylesandpracticesinchildrearing(e.g.,‘‘strictfathers,kindmothers’’;seeChao&Tseng,2002forareview).Incontrast,familiesinurbanChinahavebeeninfluencedbyWesternindividualisticvalues;therefore,familyliveshaveexperiencedextraordinarychanges(Chang,Chen,&Ji,2011;X.Chen,Cen,Li,&He,2005).38Thereisaratherextensiveliteraturethatelucidatestheseurban-ruraldifferences(e.g.,X.Chen,Bian,Xin,Wang,&Silbereisen,2010;Zhang&Fuligni,2006).Sincetheearly1990s,theChinesegovernmenthasgraduallyrelaxedtherestrictiononpopulationmovementandallowedcitiestoabsorbsurplusrurallaborinordertobenefiturbandevelopment(P.Li,2003;Q.Li,2000).Eventhoughthehouseholdregistrationsystem(hukouinChinese)hasnotbeenadequatelyreformed,makingitdifficultfortheruralmigrantpeopletoaccessgovernmentsocialwelfareandservices(e.g.,educationandmedicalcare)inthecity,internalmigrationinmainlandChinahasbecomepredominantlyarural-to-urbanpopulationflow.Asaresult,twosignificantnewgroupshaveemergedincontemporaryChina:onepopulationismigrant-workerparentswhoareaccompaniedbytheirchildreninurbanareas;anotherismigrant-workparentswholeavetheirchildrenbehindinruralareas.ForChinesedevelopmentalpsychologists,theissuesfacingthesetwotypesoffamiliesarenew(Q.Wang&Chang,2010).Theparentingpracticesofthesetwogroupshaveafundamentaleffectonthepositive/negativepsychologicaldevelopmentoftheirchildren(B.-B.Chen,inpress).Inthefollowingreport,Ireviewcurrentworkonmigrantparents’parentingandtheirchildren’ssocialization.TheMigrantParentsandtheirAccompanyingChildreninUrbanAreasAnarrayofcomparativestudieshasshownthatmigrantparentsaccompaniedbychildrentendedtohavepoorparentingskillsandprovidedanunfavorablefamilysocialenvironment.Forexample,migrantchildrenperceivedlowerpaternalwarmth-affectionbuthigherpaternalpunishmentandharshnessthanurbanchildrendid,andmigrantchildrenperceivedlowermaternalwarmth-affectionbuthighermaternalrejectionandneglectthandidurbanchildren(Zeng,2009).Thisseemstoshowthatmigrantparentsaccompaniedbychildrenareperceivedtoshowlesspositiveparentingbehaviorsbutmorenega-tiveparentingbehaviorsthanurbanparents.Severalfactorsmayaccountfortheparentingdifferencesbetweenmigrantandurbanparents.First,migrantparentshavearelativelylowereducationallevelthanurbanparents.Researchhasshownthateducationallevelispositivelyrelatedtoparen-talwarmthandacceptanceandparent-childcommunica-tionbutnegativelyrelatedtoparentaldemandingandpunishment(Deng&Xu,2006).Second,thepoorparentingskillsmaybepartlyattributedtomigrantparents’stressfullifestyleandlongworkinghourswhiletryingtomakeendsmeetintheurbanarea(X.Lietal.,2010).Mostofthemtakethephysicallydemanding,time-overloadedbutlow-paidjobsthatlocalresidentsdisdain.Theyareperceivedaslivingamarginalizedlife(Wong,Li,&He,2007).Third,the?

Figure1.Arural-to-urbanmigrantfamily.

Photosource:http://www.mzsites.com

primarysocializationandchildrearingfocusintraditional

Chinesesocietiesistoeducatechildrentolearnthesocial

behaviorsandskillsthatareconducivetofamilycohesion

andobediencetoauthority(Tamis-LeMondaetal.,2008).

Therefore,strictandhigh-poweredparentalpractices

emphasizingpunishmentanddisciplineareoftenusedby

Chineseparents(Chang,Schwartz,Dodge,&McBride-

Chang,2003;Chao&Tseng,2002;Nelson,Hart,Yang,

Olsen,&Jin,2006).Parentswhomigratefromruralto

urbanareastendtomaintaintraditionalparentalpractices

withoutwarmth,affectionorcommunicationsbetween

childandparents(Zeng,2009).

However,parentalpracticemaycontributetothesocial

developmentofmigrantchildren(B.-B.Chen,inpress).

Findingsprovidedcompellingevidencethatfamily

intimatefunctionhadnegativeeffectsoninternalizing

problemsformigrantchildren(X.Li,Zou,Jin,&Ke,2008;

Wei,2011).Inaddition,parentalsupportmighthelp

migrantchildrentosucceedinadaptationtourbanlife

(Y.Liu,Fang,Cai,Wu,&Zhang,2009),andtheirperceived

secureattachmentandintimacywithparentsmightlead

themtohaveahigherlevelofself-identity(Hou,Zou,&

Li,2009;W.Wang,Luo,&Gao,2011).Ontheotherhand,

poorparentingqualitymayhaveanegativeeffecton

children’ssocialbehaviors.Researchhasindicatedthatthe

poorparent-childrelationshipshadinfluencesonmigrant

children’ssmokingbehaviors(G.Chen,2010)andgeneral

behavioralproblems(Cheng,Gao,Ou,Liu,&Wang,2007).

TheMigrantParentsandtheirLeft-behind

ChildreninRuralAreas

Comparedwiththeirmigrant(accompanying)counter-

parts,theleft-behindchildren,whentheyareveryyoung,

areseparatedfromtheirmigrant-workerparents,andmost

ofthemlivewithsubstitutecaregiverssuchasgrandpar-

entsintheirruralcommunities.AccordingtoBowlby’s

(1969)attachmenttheory,parents’caregivingdeprivation

mayhaveaversivelong-termconsequencesonchildren’s

socio-emotionaldevelopment.Researchtodatesuggests

thatleft-behindchildrenmaybedisadvantagedin

psychosocialadjustment.Forexample,arecentstudy

(Z.Liu,Li,&Ge,2009)showedthatleft-behindchildren

whowereseparatedfromparentsatayoungeragehad2012BULLETINNumber2SerialNo.62Figure2.Aleft-behindgirlwithhergrandmother.Photosource:http://www.gmw.cnmoresymptomsofanxietyanddepressionthanthosechil-drenwhowereolderwhentheirparentsleft.Thiseffectwasespeciallypronouncedforchildrenwhowereseparatedfromtheirmothersorfrombothparents(Z.Liuetal.,2009).InanotherstudybasedonthesampleintheHunanProvinceofChina,researchers(Wen&Lin,2012)foundthatleft-behindchildrenhadlowerscoresinhealthbehaviorandschoolengagementthanruralchildrenofnonmigrantfamilies.Thesephysicalandpsychologicalmaladjust-mentsamongleft-behindchildrenmightbepartlyduetoalackoffamilysocialization(e.g.,familysocialcohesion,support,andmonitoring).Arecentpreliminarystudycomparingdifferenttypesofruralchildrenshowedthatleft-behindchildrenhadmoresocialadaptationproblemsthanmigrantchildren,especiallyamonggirlsandprimaryschoolchildren(Fan,Fang,Liu,&Liu,2009).ConclusionsWiththerapidlygrowingnumberofrural-to-urbanparentswhomigratetocitiesinsearchofemploymentopportuni-ties,theresultingparentingissueshavebecomeagrowingsocialprobleminChina.Children’ssocializationinthetwonewlyemerginggroups(childrenwhoareleftbehindandthosewhoaccompanytheirmigrantparents)islargelyunderstudied.Toenhanceourunderstandingofmigrantandleft-behindchildren’ssocialdevelopmentinChinaandhelpthesechildrentodevelopinapositiveway,furtherempiricalexplorationofprotectiveandriskfactorsinmultipledomainsofsocialadjustmentisneeded.ReferencesBlowers,G.H.(2010).ThecontinuingprospectsforaChinesepsychology.InM.H.Bond(Ed.),TheOxfordhandbookofChinesepsychology(pp.5-18).NewYork:OxfordUniversityPress.Bowlby,J.(1969).Attachmentandloss.Vol.1.Attachment.NewYork:BasicBooks.Chang,L.(2003).Variableeffectsofchildren’saggression,socialwithdrawal,andprosocialleadershipasfunctionsofteacherbeliefsandbehaviors.ChildDevelopment,74,535-548.

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