Personality and Individual Differences 98 (2016) 107–113
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Parenting discrepancies in the aggregate parenting context and positive child outcomes in Chinese parent–child dyads Jerf W.K. Yeung Department of Applied Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong
a r t i c l e
i n f o
Article history: Received 27 January 2016 Received in revised form 18 March 2016 Accepted 19 March 2016 Available online xxxx Keywords: parent–child discrepant effects effective parenting positive child outcomes conditional nature
a b s t r a c t Although past research has corroborated the harmful effects of parent–child discrepancies in parenting on child development, they tended to either treat these discrepant effects as independent of the general and aggregate family context where both parents and children construct and share mutually, and/or seldom examined those positive child outcomes as the consequence. To ﬁll these gaps, the present study attempted to examine effects of parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting practices on multiple positive child outcomes concomitantly, while taking the aggregate nature of effective parenting into account. The sample consists of 223 Chinese parent– child dyads, in which parents were the main caregivers and the children were aged between 14 to 21 years old. Consistent with prior ﬁndings, parent–child discrepant effects were adversely related to the positive child outcomes, but these effects were found to be substantially moderated by the aggregate nature of the parenting. Implications of the ﬁndings and future research directions are also discussed. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction It has been increasingly noted the harmful effects of parent–child discrepant perceptions of the family on child development, for which recent research reported that discrepancies in parent–child perceptions of parenting practices had profound implications for children's psychosocial and behavioral development. In a recent study by De Los Reyes, Goodman, Kliewer, and Reid-Quinones (2010), they found that parent–child discrepancies in parental monitoring were predictive of children's delinquent behavior in the future. Juang, Syed, and Takagi (2007) also found that more parent–child discrepancies in parenting in terms of parental control were related to higher children's depressive symptoms. Other pertinent research revealed that parent–child discrepant perceptions of the family, including parenting behavior, had adverse effects on children's adjustment problems (Guion, Mrug, & Windle, 2009), anxiety (Ohannessian & De Los Reyes, 2014), and psychological health problems (Stuart & Jose, 2012). Nevertheless, the abovementioned research investigations predominantly stress the parent– child discrepant effects on the negative side of child development, such as psychological difﬁculties and behavioral problems. Little research efforts have been emphasized on how parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting may affect positive child outcomes. In fact, effective parenting, deﬁned as both high parental demandingness and parenting warmth (Burt, Simons, & Simons, 2006; Yeung & Chan, 2014), is crucial for children's positive development in long run (Burt et al., 2006; Lerner, Phelps, Forman, & Bowers, 2009; Yeung, 2015);
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thereby deserved more research attention especially when parent– child discrepancies toward this this parenting happened. As aforementioned, effective parenting may contribute to children's positive development and parent–child discrepancies in this parenting would contrarily bring about negative consequence for child growth. Nevertheless, prior research tended to examine these two parenting factors independent of each other, ignoring their co-existence in home (Beveridge & Berg, 2007; Ryan & Claessens, 2013). According to the family systems theory, family as a whole is a system of itself formulated by its members as subsystems, e.g. mother and son, and family is also a subsystem embedded in a larger societal and cultural context (Parﬁtt, Pike, & Ayers, 2014). From the perspective of the family systems theory, the major function of a family, mainly manifested in parenting behavior, is to socialize, cultivate and foster their offspring in a positive and prosocial way that may in turn contribute to society as a whole. If in a family the parent and child, as the subsystems within family, both perceive and experience the parenting provided and received are consistent in an effective way, positive growth of the child is warranted (Bell et al., 2007). However, if the effective parenting provided by the parent has been claimed more favorable than that reported by the child who received, discrepancies in effective parenting between the parent and child do occur. As a result, these discrepancies in effective parenting may occasion adverse inﬂuence on positive child growth. The thesis of the family systems theory mentioned above is resonant with the transactional perspective, which explicates that both the parent and child are active agents mutually constructing and sharing family dynamics and relationships (Beveridge & Berg, 2007), just like the whole-parts concept raised by the family systems theory, in which both general function and overall dynamics of the family system and
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its subsystem members' different perceptions and experiences of the system may simultaneously affect development of its offspring in parallel (Bell et al., 2007; Beveridge & Berg, 2007). Thereby, when studying the inﬂuence of effective parenting on positive child outcomes, researchers not only need to investigate the effects of general and average effective parenting created by both the parent and child in aggregate, they also have to consider the individual differences of parent–child dyads in perceiving and experiencing this parenting simultaneously. As informed by the family systems theory and revealed by relevant prior family research (Bell & Bell, 2005; Diamond, Fagundes, & Cribbet, 2012; Yeung, 2015), a family has the main responsibility to rear their children in a positive way by effective parenting; it is hence of merit to investigate effects of aggregate effective parenting and parent–child discrepancies in this parenting on positive child outcomes concomitantly. In addition, it is postulated that, as referring to the whole-parts concepts of the family systems theory and mutuality and reciprocity thesis of the transactional perspective, aggregate effective parenting would play a moderation role in the parent–child discrepant effects on the child outcomes. Nevertheless, prior research usually treated parent– child discrepant effects of parenting independent of the aggregate parenting context in a collective view (Leung & Shek, 2014; Ohannessian, 2012; Stuart & Jose, 2012); hence overlooking the aggregate nature of the parenting where both the parent and child are mutually and reciprocally in construction of it. As such, it is problematic in both theory and reality for researchers to leave the inﬂuence of aggregate parenting out of the picture of parent–child discrepant effects on child outcomes (Burt et al., 2006; Yabiku, Axinn, & Thornton, 1999; Yeung & Chan, 2014). Taken together, the present study aims to investigate effects of parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting on positive child outcomes in terms of children's positive self-concept, self-control, and other perspective taking behavior, by taking the aggregate form of this parenting into account. To study children's positive self-concept, self-control, and other perspective taking behavior as positive outcomes are important as they all have persistent effects on children's well-being in long run and are also seminal cognitive and behavioral resources to contribute to societal beneﬁts in terms of reduced delinquency and crimes and increased altruism for young people (King & Furrow, 2004; Lerner et al., 2009). In sum, the hypotheses of this study are set as follows: H1. Higher parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting would occasion poorer positive child outcomes in terms of positive self-concept,
self-control, and other perspective taking behavior, even taking the aggregate form of this parenting into account. H2. Higher aggregate effective parenting would contribute to better positive child outcomes in terms of positive self-concept, self-control, and other perspective taking behavior, even taking parent–child discrepant effects of this parenting into account. H3. Parent–child discrepant effects on positive child outcomes would be moderated by aggregate effective parenting. Fig. 1 presents the theoretical relationships from parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting and the aggregate form of this parenting to the child outcomes, while adjusting for child age and gender. Pior research indicated that parent–child discrepant effects on child outcomes would vary with child age, in which children in midadolescence might show more pronounced disagreements and conﬂicts with their parents, and then these discords would gradually subside in late adolescence and young adulthood (Buu et al., 2009; Ohannessian, 2012). This “fading effect” tallies with the developmentalist perspective that mid-adolescence is the most turbulent period for youths to strive for autonomy and individuation (Bell & Bell, 2005; Yeung, 2015). For child gender, disagreements and conﬂicts happened in parent–child dyads would be more detrimental to female children than their male counterparts. This may involve gender socialization perspective, in which girls are socialized to be more connected and attached with the family, whereas boys are expected to be more independent and separate (Leung & Shek, 2014; Ohannessian, Lerner, Lerner, & von Eye, 1995). In sum, child age and gender were incorporated as covariates in the analyses to exclude their confounding effects. 2. Research methods 2.1. Sample The data for analyses in this study were collected from 223 Chinese parent–child dyads. The parent participants were the biological mothers or fathers of the child respondents. The child participants were aged between 14 and 21 years old, namely, in their middle and late adolescence as well as young adulthood. For families having more than one youth child within the target age range, the one who had just passed his/her birthday was selected. However, if there were more than one target child in the household eligible for the study, a twin for example, the elder one would be selected (Levy & Lemeshow, 2008). Participation
Fig. 1. The Theoretical Relationships Of The Parent–Child Solidarity Structural Model.
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in the study was voluntary, and the parent–child participants received no incentive at all. The participating parent–child dyads were a community sample and recruited with the help of forty three local churches situating in distinct localities in Hong Kong.1 For increasing the participants' diversity, open recruitment was held, in which information regarding the purpose and contents of the current study were publicized to invite potential families. Initially, there were 284 parent–child dyads who agreed to participate in the study and ﬁnally only 223 parent–child dyads returned their consents to take part in the study and ﬁlled the questionnaires, with a response rate of 78.52%. Therefore, complete data from these 223 parent–child dyads were used for analyses in the study.
2.2.3. Self-control The 7-item Good Self-Control Scale (GSCS) was used to measure children's self-regulating and persisting behaviors (Wills, Gibbons, Gerrard, Murry, & Brody, 2003). It showed good internal consistency in prior research (Wills et al., 2003). The same back-translation procedure was used to translate measure items to Chinese. An example item is “I stick what I'm doing until I'm ﬁnished with it”. The measure is rated in a 5-point Likert-type scale from “strongly unlike me” (1) to “strongly like me” (5). Based on the conﬁrmatory factor analysis of structural equation modeling, the composite reliability of children's self-control was .765, and the model ﬁt is GFI = .973, CFI = .966, and RMSEA = .064.
2.2. Measures 2.2.1. Effective parenting The 10-item Authoritative Parenting subscale of the parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ) (Buri, 1991) was adopted to measure effective parenting practices (Ang, 2006). Example item has “My mother tells me how we should act and explains to us the reasons why”. The original scale is designed for children. In view of the superiority of multi-informant approach to reduce method variance and response bias, a parent-version was constructed by rephrasing the items without altering the meaning. An example of the modiﬁed items is “I tell my children how they should act and explain to them the reasons why”. Modiﬁcation of a measure for the speciﬁc needs of a study has been commonly conducted in prior researches (Burt et al., 2006; King & Furrow, 2004). Prior research has shown good factorial structure and internal reliability of PAQ (Ang, 2006). The 10-item Authoritative Parenting subscale of PAQ was translated to Chinese and then back translated to English by a team of two researchers with assistance from a graduate student majoring linguistics to ensure accuracy of the meaning. Recent research has shown good internal reliability and factorial structure of this translated version of the measure (Yeung & Chan, 2014; Yeung, Cheung, Kwok, & Leung, in press). Responses to the scale are rated in a 5-point Likert-type scale from “strongly disagree” (1) to “strongly agree” (5). Based on the conﬁrmatory factor analysis of structural equation modeling, the composite reliability of the effective parenting measure was .885 for parents and .890 for children. Model ﬁt for parents was GFI = 55.540, CFI = .957, and RMSEA = .058, and for children was GFI = .957, CFI = .982, and RMSEA = .052. 2.2.2. Child self-concept The 6-item Child's Positive Self-image Scale was adopted to evaluate positive self-concept for the target children (Regnerus & Elder, 2003). The measure was used to assess the ‘positive self’ in a representative adolescent sample and good reliability was shown (Regnerus & Elder, 2003). The measure was translated from English to Chinese and translated back to English by the aforementioned back-translation procedure. Recent research has shown good factorial structure and internal reliability in Chinese youth (Yeung et al., in press). An example item is “You have a lot good qualities”, which is rated before a statement “How much do you feel that…” for every item. The measure is rated on a 5-point Likert-type scale from “strongly disagree” (1) to “strongly agree” (5). Based on the conﬁrmatory factor analysis of structural equation modeling, the composite reliability of self-esteem was .849, with a model ﬁt, CFI = .989, CFI = .998, and RMSEA = .032. 1 In Hong Kong, geographical area is divided into three main regions, namely Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. As due to the total voluntary basis of participation and consideration of enhancing representativeness of the sample, we had tried best to invite local churches (data collection units) locating in different geographical places to participate in the study. Consequently, there were 16 data collection units locating in Hong Kong Island, 13 units in Kowloon, and 14 units in the New Territories, a total of 43 data collection units, that agreed to help recruitment potential parent–child dyads. As a result, 87 and 65 parent–child dyads came from Hong Kong Island and Kowloon respectively, and the remaining 71 pairs were from New Territories.
2.2.4. Other perspective taking behavior The 7-item Consideration of Others (CO) subscale of Weinberger Adjustment Inventory (WAI) was adopted to measure other perspective taking behavior among child participants (Weinberger & Schwartz, 1990). The CO measure has demonstrated well adequate reliability in prior research (Steiner et al., 2007). The same back-translation procedure was used to translate measure items to Chinese. Good factorial structure and internal reliability were obtained in recent research with Chinese youth (Yeung et al., in press). An example item is “I try very hard not to hurt other people's feelings”. The measure is rated in a 5-point Likert-type scale from “strongly unlike me” (1) to “strongly like me” (5). Based on the conﬁrmatory factor analysis of structural equation modeling, the composite reliability of perspective taking was .866, and the model ﬁt was GFI = .979, CFI = .990, and RMSEA = .056.
2.2.5. Child age and gender Child age was initially the count of exact years lived by the child. Due to disproportional age distribution in the current sample of youth children, for example, only 21 child participants aged 17 years and 18 child participants aged 20 years, hence, the children were grouped into three age categories, 1 = middle adolescence (aged 14–15), 2 = late adolescence (aged 16–17), and 3 = young adulthood (aged 18–21) (Beveridge & Berg, 2007; Steiner et al., 2007; Yeung, 2015). For child gender, it is a categorical variable, in which male children = 1 and females = 2.
2.3. Analytical techniques For testing the effects of parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting on the three positive child outcomes at the aggregate context of the parenting while adjusting for child age and gender, parent–child solidarity structural modeling was applied. The advantages of this modeling are its simultaneously considering the inﬂuences of parent– child discrepant and aggregate parenting effects on the child outcomes as well as their covariances (Hoyle, 2011; Kenny & Ledermann, 2010). In the analyses, the parent–child discrepant scores in effective parenting were the children's centered-mean scores subtracted from that of the parents' centered-mean scores and aggregate effective parenting scores were simply the composite of parents' and children's ratings in this parenting (Kline, 2012). All the predictor variables were converted to z scores before analyses to prevent systematic biases and problems of multicollinearity (De Los Reyes & Kazdin, 2004). Ordinary least square regression was followed to test the moderating effects of aggregate parenting on the relationships between parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting and the child outcomes by creating an interaction term of parent–child discrepancies x aggregate parenting. All analyses were conducted by AMOS 22.0 and SPSS 23, the former was used to conduct SEM procedures and the latter was for OLS regression analysis.
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3. Results For the 223 parent–child dyads, 80.7% (180) of the parent participants were mothers who were the main caregivers for the child participants. The mean age of child participants was 16.7 years old (SD = 2.16) and 55.6% were males (n = 124). Simple general linear modeling was used to compare the difference between parents' and children's ratings of effective parenting. Results showed that parents signiﬁcantly rated effective parenting higher than their offspring, F(1, 222) = 113.637, p = .001, in which the mean of parents was 4.08 and the mean of children was 3.58 in a 5-point scale. Nevertheless, the effect size is in-between small and moderate for the difference, η2p = .339, p = .001. The parent–child solidarity structural model showed an excellent model-data ﬁt, X 2 = 5.870, df = 5, p = .319, X 2 /df = 1.174, GFI = .993, CFI = .996, RMSEA = .028 (Fig. 2). Results showed that parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting was signiﬁcantly and adversely predictive of the three positive child outcomes, in which β = −.208 for positive self-concept, β = −.228 for self-control and β = −.224 for other perspective taking behavior. On the other hand, aggregate parenting was signiﬁcantly and positively related to the child outcomes, in which β = .223 for positive self-concept, β = .292 for self-control and β = .263 for other perspective taking behavior. For testing whether parent–child discrepant effects were moderated by aggregate effective parenting context, a constrained solidarity model was applied, in which the paths from aggregate parenting to the three child outcomes were imposed to be zero. The constrained model obtained an explicit poor data-model ﬁt, X2 = 33.236, df = 8, p = .00, X2/df = 4.155, GFI = .961, CFI = .870, RMSEA = .119. Chisquare change suggests rejection of the constrained model in favor of the original solidarity model, ΔX2 = 27.366, Δdf = 3, p = .01, connoting the non-independence of parent–child discrepant effects on the child outcomes. OLS regression was used to ﬁgure out the moderating effects of aggregate parenting. The three positive child outcomes were regressed on the interaction term of parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting by aggregate parenting after controlling for child age, sex, aggregate effective parenting, and parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting. Results showed that the interaction term was signiﬁcantly predictive of child self-concept, β = −.428, and other perspective taking behavior, β = −.310 (Table 1), further supporting the moderating
result obtained from the constrained solidarity model. However, the interaction term did not signiﬁcantly predict child self-control. Followed by, aggregate parenting was divided into the high, moderate and low aggregate levels by 1 SD higher and lower than the mean of aggregate effective parenting with the aim to see whether different parent–child effects are contingent on the three aggregate parenting contexts respectively. Although child self-control was not signiﬁcantly predicted by the interaction term, it was also incorporated in the analysis as the main purpose of this study is to examine possible conditionality of parent– child discrepant effects on the child outcomes at different aggregate effective parenting contexts. The three child outcomes were then regressed on parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting at these three aggregate parenting contexts separately. Table 2 shows that effects of parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting were only signiﬁcantly at the moderate parenting context; and no parent–child discrepant impacts were observed at both the high and low aggregate parenting contexts. The parent–child discrepant effect at the moderate aggregate parenting context for child self-concept was β = −.368, for child self-control was β = −.351, and for child other perspective taking was β = −.342 respectively. Because use of SD to categorize aggregate parenting contexts would easily generate unequal distribution of dyadic cases in each aggregate parenting context (N = 27 in the low context; N = 32 in the high context; and N = 164 in moderate context), which would occasion the artifact of the regression insigniﬁcance. For this, I re-categorized the three aggregate parenting contexts by tertiles. The ﬁrst one third of parent– child dyads (≤ 33.33%) with lowest mean scores were classiﬁed to the low aggregate parenting context, the upper one third of parent–child dyads (≥ 66.66%) with the highest mean scores were classiﬁed to the high aggregate parenting context, and the median one third of the parent–child dyads were grouped in the moderate aggregate parenting context. This new categorization method evenly generates 75, 71 and 77 parent–child dyads in the low, moderate and high aggregate parenting contexts. The same regression procedure was conducted again. The same results emerged, in which only the adverse effects of parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting on the three positive child outcomes appeared signiﬁcant at the moderate aggregate parenting context only. As shown in Table 2, the parent–child discrepant effect at the moderate aggregate parenting context for child self-concept was β = −.473, for child self-control was β = −.448, and for children's other perspective taking behavior was −.361, ps b .01.
Fig. 2. Standardized path coefﬁcients of the parent–child solidarity structural model.
J.W.K. Yeung / Personality and Individual Differences 98 (2016) 107–113
Table 1 The Interaction Effects of Parent–Child Discrepancies in Effective Parenting by Aggregate Parenting on Child Self-Concept, Self-Control and Other Perspective Taking Behavior. Self-Concept
1 2 3
Child Age Child Sex Aggregate Effective Parenting Parent–Child Discrepancies in Effective Parenting Parent–Child Discrepancies X Aggregate Parenting
4 5 F(df1, df2) R2
Other Perspective Taking
.031 −.006 .323
.499 −.089 4.421**
.012 .014 .294
.195 .225 4.037**
.068 .026 .364
1.104 .428 5.105**
7.891(5, 217)** .153
8.030(5, 217)** .156
10.504 (5, 217)** .195
*p b .05; **p b .01.
4. Discussion Extend from previous family research that parent–child discrepant effects of parenting may occasion children's mental health problems and behavioral symptoms, the present study found that parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting is also detrimental to children's positive development in terms of positive self-concept, self-control and other perspective taking behavior. Apparently, results obtained from the parent–child solidarity model attested that parent–child discrepant effects did compromise multiple positive child outcomes concomitantly. In fact, the covariances between the three child outcomes denotes their nature of interdependence (Hoyle, 2011; Kline, 2012). What is common for the parent–child discrepant effects on children's positive outcomes found in the present study and children's negative outcomes observed in previous research is its deleterious nature. This harmful nature of parent–child discrepant effects can be explicated by the cognitive dissonance theory, in which when the child's perception of parenting is inconsistent with his/her parent, discomforting feelings and conﬂicting attitudes may occur in the child's cognition, which may in turn propel him/her to alter his/her overarchingly held beliefs, values, self-image, psychological states and behaviors for cognitive consistency (JohnsonLaird, 2012). This maladaptive alteration process for cognitive consistency may not only result in poor positive growth, such as reduced self-concept, self-control and considerate capacity (Meltzoff, 2012), but also may occasion more psychological difﬁculties and externalizing behavioral symptoms (Blair, 1995). On the other hand, aggregate effective parenting maintained robust signiﬁcant impacts on children's positive outcomes, even adjusting for the parent–child discrepant effects. This expounds the importance of general and aggregate parenting context in relation to child development. Apparently, parenting behavior is a main component of family
socialization profoundly inﬂuential of children's well-being and achievements in long run (Bell & Bell, 2005; Buu et al., 2009). Hence, when studying effects of parent–child discrepancies in parenting or other family dynamics, researchers should not disavow the overarching effects of that parenting or the family dynamics under concern in aggregate nature. As informed by the family systems theory and transactional perspective mentioned before, every family interaction, including parenting, within the family realm is whole-parts relationships, which involve mutuality and reciprocity between the parent and child during the process of acting, receiving, sharing and responding (Parﬁtt et al., 2014). In addition, every member in the family, including the children, is a unique party that has his/her own mindset, personality and perceptivity, which would be sources of engendering discrepant perceptions of the family, including parenting (Diamond et al., 2012). As such, these individual differences in understanding the family, such as parent–child discrepancies in parenting in the current study, should be considered when studying the aggregate inﬂuence of parenting or other family dynamics on child development. For the moderating function of aggregate parenting context found in parent–child discrepant effects, it has to acknowledge the robustness and potency of contextual parenting inﬂuence in sway of parent–child discrepant effects on child development. In this study, aggregate parenting context can be understandable as a structural factor and parent– child discrepancies in effective parenting is viewed as a product of individual differences (Bell & Bell, 2005; Yabiku et al., 1999). In fact, recent advance in social science research espouses the importance of incorporating contextual factors when investigating individual-level characteristics (Li et al., 2016; Wang, Liu, Ren, Lv, & Li, 2015). This is resonant with the ecological model, in which individuals are all embedded in a higherorder structure, such as family, which is persistently and overarchingly inﬂuential on people's development and growth (Wang et al., 2015).
Table 2 Regression of child self-concept, self-control, and other perspective taking behavior on parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting at the low, moderate and high aggregate effective parenting contexts classiﬁed by SD and Tertile1.
Aggregate Parenting Contexts
By SD (N = 27) By Tertile (N = 77) By SD (N = 164) By Tertile (N = 71) By SD (N = 32) By Tertile (N = 77)
Other Perspective Taking p-value
Note. 1All regression analyses are adjusted for child age and gender. Signiﬁcant ﬁgures are in bold.
J.W.K. Yeung / Personality and Individual Differences 98 (2016) 107–113
Put this concept in the present study, it is through the process of mutuality, reciprocity and sharing, parent–child discrepant effects are being moderated by the aggregate form of parenting. Nevertheless, although parent–child discrepant effects on positive child outcomes are contingent on the aggregate parenting, the adverse effects of parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting seem only to do harm on positive child development in families with moderate aggregate parenting. These harmful parent–child discrepant effects are signiﬁcant on two of the three positive child outcomes, except for child self-control. The explanations for these moderating effects may involve the ceiling and ﬂoor effect thesis in combination with cognitive dissonance theory (Johnson-Laird, 2012). In moderate aggregate effective parenting context, the dissonant expectations about what “desirable” parenting is between the parent and child would be more conspicuous when compared to parent–child dyads in high and low aggregate parenting contexts. This is because in low aggregate parenting context, where indicative of families with less well adjustment, “excessive” expectation regarding desirable parenting is gloomy and dim, especially in the side of children (Li et al., 2016; Yeung, 2015). Recent studies reported that children in poor functioning and problematic families would harbor less hope about their family relations and life as well as their own future (Ryan & Claessens, 2013; Yeung & Chan, 2010). Thereby, parent–child discrepancies in family dynamics and relationships, including parenting, may do less “harm” on children in families of already poor functioning and maladjustment. In fact, children in these families may in reality need to combat with many other “hard” life challenges in multifarious forms (Shek & Lin, 2014). They hence may put a less weight on the perceptual discrepancies regarding family dynamics and relationships as opposite to other hard realities, such as living, work, schooling, and other basic needs. In other side, parent–child discrepant effects on the child outcomes were found insigniﬁcant in high aggregate parenting context. It is believed that families with high aggregate parenting context are generally indicative of a better adjustment. As such, discrepant expectation between the parent and the child in these families would be minimal. In fact, children in these families would realize their better-off when comparing to children in other family contexts (Shek & Lin, 2014). Therefore, parent–child discrepant effects may not be as conspicuous as relative to those parent–child dyads in moderate aggregate parenting context. Taken together, the ceiling effect thesis may help to explicate the insigniﬁcant parent–child discrepant effects in families with high aggregate parenting context; whereas the ﬂoor effect thesis could answer the insigniﬁcant parent–child discrepant effects in the low aggregate parenting context. Nevertheless, the present study found that child self-control was not moderated by aggregate parenting. The query of this peculiar insigniﬁcant result is possibly hinged on the behavioral nature of self-control. This is because child outcomes with behavioral nature would be more inﬂuential by outside structural factors, such as aggregate parenting than individual differences, such as parent–child discrepancies in parenting (Diamond et al., 2012; Ryan & Claessens, 2013). In fact, much recent research has supported the power of social control, e.g. aggregate parenting, in regulating self-control than individual factors, such as personality and emotions (Burt et al., 2006; Diamond et al., 2012; Wang et al., 2015). Another possibility may be related to the child sample used in this study. As this study recruited a convenient sample via local churches where are regarded as a place for those “good-mannered” or “less problematic” people to gather. Hence, children in church settings generally “behave well” and commonly have better self-control, which would compromise the interaction effect and parent–child discrepant effect on this child outcome. However, the aforementioned explanations are just tentative, more research is needed in the future for clarity. Albeit the potential contributions come from this study, certain limitations should be noted. First of all, the cross-sectional design makes the study difﬁcult in causality for the relationships. Future study should use longitudinal data with prospective design to reﬂect the transitional
processes and temporal changes of the relationships. In addition, the present study only investigated the direct effects of parent–child discrepancies in effective parenting and this parenting in an aggregate form on positive child outcomes. However, those possible cognitive and psychosocial mediators, such as psychosocial maturity, value orientation, and emotional predisposition (Burt et al., 2006; Stuart & Jose, 2012; Yeung & Chan, 2014), have not yet been incorporated in the analyses. Hence, incorporation of these mediators in future study would enhance our understanding of the parent–child discrepant effects on positive child outcomes more dynamically. Third, the parent–child dyads were mainly drawn from local churches, which may restrict the sample variance as families in religious context have long been regarded as “less problematic and better adjusted” (Regnerus & Elder, 2003; Yeung & Chan, 2014). Therefore, parent–child dyads with more diverse backgrounds should be recruited to reﬂect a wider variance of parenting practices and children's developmental outcomes. What is more, future research should include other family socialization factors, such as parent–child communication styles and family relationships. If these limitations are addressed, by the time a more comprehensive and dynamic picture for the effects of parent–child discrepancies in parenting and its aggregate form on child outcomes will be attained.
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