Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 831–838 | Cite as

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

  • Daniel Fu Keung WongEmail author
  • Xiao Yu Zhuang
  • Ting Kin Ng
Original Paper


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.


Parental behavioural control Academic outcome Young primary school students Childhood anxiety Academic self-efficacy 


Author Contributions

D.F.K.W. designed and executed the study and wrote the paper. X.Y.Z. analyzed the data and collaborated with the writing of the paper. T.K.N. collaborated in the data analysis and offered suggestions in revising the paper.


The study was funded by Social Welfare Department Fund of Hong Kong.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Ethical approval has been granted by Review Committee of the City University of Hong Kong.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Work and Social AdministrationThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong

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