Parenting culture(s): Ideal-parent beliefs across 37 countries

Gao-xian Lin*, Moïra Mikolajczak, Heidi Keller, Ege Akgun, Gizem Arikan, Kaisa Aunola, Elizabeth Barham, Eliane Besson, M. Annelise Blanchard, Emilie Boujut, Maria Elena Brianda, Anna Brytek-matera, Filipa César, Bin-bin Chen, Géraldine Dorard, Luciana Carla Dos Santos Elias, Sandra Dunsmuir, Natalia Egorova, Maria Josefina Escobar, Nicolas FavezAnne Marie Fontaine, Heather Foran, Kaichiro Furutani, Myrna Gannagé, Maria Gaspar, Lucie Godbout, Amit Goldenberg, James J. Gross, Maria Ancuta Gurza, Ogma Hatta, Alexandre Heeren, Mai Helmy, Mai-trang Huynh, Emérence Kaneza, Taishi Kawamoto, Nassima Kellou, Bassantéa Lodegaèna Kpassagou, Ljiljana Lazarevic, Sarah Le Vigouroux, Astrid Lebert-charron, Vanessa Leme, Carolyn Maccann, Denisse Manrique-millones, Oussama Medjahdi, Rosa Bertha Millones Rivalles, María Isabel Miranda Orrego, Marina Miscioscia, Seyyedeh Fatemeh Mousavi, Badra Moutassem-mimouni, Hugh Murphy, Alexis Ndayizigiye, Tenkue Josué Ngnombouowo, Sally Olderbak, Sophie Ornawka, Daniela Oyarce Cádiz, Pablo A. Pérez-díaz, Konstantinos Petrides, Alena Prikhidko, Fernando Salinas-quiroz, Maria-pia Santelices, Charlotte Schrooyen, Paola Silva, Alessandra Simonelli, Matilda Sorkkila, Elena Stănculescu, Elena Starchenkova, Dorota Szczygieł, Javier Tapia, Melissa Tremblay, Thi Minh Thuy Tri, A. Meltem Üstündağ-budak, Maday Valdés Pacheco, Hedwig Van Bakel, Lesley Verhofstadt, Jaqueline Wendland, Saengduean Yotanyamaneewong, Isabelle Roskam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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What is it to be “an ideal parent”? Does the answer differ across countries and social classes? To answer these questions in a way that minimizes bias and ethnocentrism, we used open-ended questions to explore ideal-parent beliefs among 8,357 mothers and 3,517 fathers from 37 countries. Leximancer Semantic Network Analysis was utilized to first determine parenting culture zones (i.e., countries with shared ideal-parent beliefs) and then extract the predominant themes and concepts in each culture zone. The results yielded specific types of ideal-parent beliefs in five parenting culture zones: being “responsible and children/family-focused” for Asian parents, being “responsible and proper demeanor-focused” for African parents, and being “loving and responsible” for Hispanic-Italian parents. Although the most important themes and concepts were the same in the final two zones—being “loving and patient,” there were subtle differences: English-speaking, European Union, and Russian parents emphasized “being caring,” while French-speaking parents valued “listening” or being “present.” Ideal-parent beliefs also differed by education levels within culture zones, but no general pattern was discerned across culture zones. These findings suggest that the country in which parents were born cannot fully explain their differences in ideal-parent beliefs and that differences arising from social class or education level cannot be dismissed. Future research should consider how these differences affect the validity of the measurements in question and how they can be incorporated into parenting intervention research within and across cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-24
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • SELF
  • automated content analysis
  • parental beliefs
  • positive parenting
  • qualitative and quantitative methods
  • semantic network analysis


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