Hans and Sybil Eysenck
1st Annual Scholarship (April 2000)
made to Dr. Tatiana Dumitrascu from Romania
on the subject of Socialization of children in a multicultural society: parental attitude, beliefs, expectations and reality
Report Abstract (430 words):
200 Romanian, Hungarian, German, and Gypsy, preponderantly middle-income, parents of 9-11 year old children, all from Timisoara (Romania), were interviewed regarding goals, practices and difficulties of child-rearing. Their beliefs were compared with the American parents' beliefs. Parents' education level was considered.
Results: The most important goal for all parents involved in the study was "providing consistency and a loving, secure environment" for their children. A cross-cultural difference in American-European parental child-rearing views were the importance of maintaining their family values as against the building of their child's individuality. European parents appreciated the goal "instilling family values" as more important than American parents who, by contrast, thought that a more important goal in a child-rearing goals' hierarchy was "building the child's self-esteem". That difference can be a reflection of the general collectivist (Romanian) or individualistic (American) societal orientation.
A cross-cultural difference between Romanian, Hungarian, German, and Gypsy parents' views was that Romanian and Gypsy child-rearing beliefs corresponded mostly to the collectivist society type, but Hungarian and German child-rearing beliefs were appropriate for the individualistic society type.
16 types of child-rearing practices (strategies) were identified. The most used strategies were those based on verbal methods: explanation, instruction and demonstration. There was also some coherence between child-rearing goals and child-rearing practices. A cross-cultural analysis revealed that there were more similarities than differences between Romanian, Hungarian, and German parents' reported practices. Less educated parents more often preferred using the "control" strategy, but better educated parents appreciated the strategies that supported the child's independence.
6 types of child-rearing difficulties were identified. Most often mentioned categories of difficulties were "child's personality features", inappropriate "social ambience", and "lack of time". Cross-cultural analysis of the reported difficulties revealed only few differences. For example, one of the differences was that Hungarian and German parents stressed more often than Romanian parents an inappropriate social ambience as a child-rearing difficulty. Less educated parents more often associated their problems of child-rearing with financial problems, and better educated parents more often perceived societal ambience as the initial source of the child-rearing problems.
Parents and teachers were asked to evaluate their children's school performance and level of social adaptation. Results revealed that children's school performance was better if they were monolingual (Romanian); completed a kindergarten' s education; their parents were Romanians, Orthodox, with college/professional educational degree and were employed at skilled/professional level. Children' s school adaptation was better if they were the only children in their families; monolingual (Romanian), and completed a
kindergarten's education; their parents were Romanians, Orthodox, with at least high/technical school degree, worked (were not unemployed), and had only 1-2 children.