The Concept of Guan in the Chinese Parent-Child Relationship

  • Ming-Yeh WuEmail author
Part of the Quality of Life in Asia book series (QLAS, volume 2)


In Chinese, parental control is called guan, which is equivalent to the notion of “training” and connotes “to care for,” “to love,” and “to govern” (Chao RK, Child Dev 65:1111–1119, 1994)). This chapter investigates indigenous strategies of parental control in Chinese families and examines how parental control, measured as guan behaviors, affects adolescent academic success and the quality of relationships between adolescents and their parents. Overall, it arrives at three conclusions. First, there are two main ways of exercising parental control over adolescent children in Chinese families: parental accommodation and parental governance. Second, there are four patterns of guan: hands-off, affectionate, restrictive, and intensive, which correspond to the expression of “blending of voices.” Finally, the intensive style is comparable to the “authoritative” style, which is defined as typical in Chinese families, but its impact on parent-child relationships is somewhat ambivalent. Given cultural similarities between them, these findings may provide useful reference for understanding parental behaviors and parenting styles of other East Asian societies.


Parental Behavior Parenting Style Chinese Family Filial Piety Educational Expectation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologySoochow UniversityTaipeiTaiwan, ROC

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