Parents percieved stress and multicultural parenting in cross-national families
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As a result of globalization, the number of cross-national couples in the United States is on the rise. However, a primary conclusion of the past research on such marriages has been subsumed under general intermarriages. The results of these studies focused on the challenges confronted by couples in potential conflicts caused by their disparate cultural backgrounds. Place of residence, language issues, societal stereotypes, extended families, and cultural complexity were identified in most qualitative studies as stressors most likely to contribute to a greater levels of parenting stress. A relatively small proportion of the literature in this area has focused on childrearing which was recognized as a flashpoint for more conflicts in these marriages. Thus, this study sought to distinguish cross-national families from general intermarriages and compare the level of parenting stress between cross-national and traditional families. Further, demographic factors as well as the unique stressors were examined in relation to parenting stress in order to identify significant predictors. Finally, this study attempted to better understand the roles played by the unique stressors on childrearing in cross-national families. Utilizing a mixed methodology, this study adopted the Parental Stress Scale (PSS), Family Support Scale (FSS), self-developed short-answer questionnaires and interviews. A purposeful sampling was used to recruit 159 parents from both cross-national (82) and traditional (77) families in Western New York area. Quantitative results suggested no statistically significant difference in parenting stress between family types. However, the number of children and cultural influences were found significantly related to parenting stress in cross-national families. Results from qualitative data provided an insight into the impact of the unique stressors on parenting values, beliefs, practices and parent-child relationships among cross-national couples. Moreover, the data overturned the negative image of cross-national couples and multicultural parenting in the past research. Finally, it discussed the opportunities and challenges of being culturally disparate in childrearing. This study called for the needs of multicultural education in the U.S. School.