Cultural Perspectives on Parenting in the Context of Globalization and Acculturation: Views from India and Canada
Parenting styles and practices are culturally shaped and hence vary across societies. In the present context of economic and cultural globalization and its corollary demands on families, parents in the contemporary Indian society are being compelled to reorient their socialization precepts and practices to reconcile the traditional and modern cultural values, especially during adolescence. The process is particularly challenging in the context of immigration and acculturation in a Western (Canadian) society. The dissonance of living between two different cultural belief and value systems and the balancing act that is required to blend ‘collectivist’-Asian/Indian and ‘individualist’-Western/Canadian elements create myriad dilemmas. Thus, both contexts require parents to adapt socialization goals and modes to create a “good fit” with the Indian cultural traditions, the persuasive global influences, and the pull of the culture of destination. How do parents from a ‘collectivist’ culture respond to social change influences within their own society as well as those experienced in a new culture? What are some of the challenges that parents confront in the process of acculturation and how do they meet the same? Using a qualitative approach, the paper addresses these questions through in depth interviews of 40 mothers from urban, educated families in Baroda-India and Ontario-Canada. The similarities and differences in the dilemmas experienced in the struggle to sustain core cultural values are highlighted to draw conclusions about the impact of social change and acculturation on parenting goals and expectations in the two cultural contexts.
Keywords: Parenting, Culture
Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies