Whether specific patterns of parenting are similarly associated with child peer group behavior in diverse cultural contexts has been a fascinating topic of inquiry. From classic anthropological studies dating back to the early twentieth century to the current interest in cross-cultural studies, knowledge concerning the question of universality and cultural variation in parenting linkages to childhood adjustment has expanded at an unprecedented rate (e.g., Harkness & Super, 2002). As the general field of parenting research has uncovered distinctions in parenting styles and practices (e.g., Darling & Steinberg, 1993; Hart, Newell, & Olsen, 2003), these concepts have increasingly been applied to other cultures as well. Furthermore, the study of peer relationships has also increased in complexity. For example, descriptions of social behavior have evolved to represent significant subtypes of childhood aggression (e.g., physical and relational) and peer withdrawal (e.g., reticence, solitary–passive, solitary–active).
In this chapter, we highlight cultural commonalities and variations in parenting and certain child peer group behaviors that have emerged from recent studies conducted in a number of cultures around the world. For example, our own collaborative work represents cultures of Adelaide, Australia; Beijing, China; Voronezh, Russia; as well as Provo, Utah, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (United States). As a whole, these research endeavors uniquely contribute to cross-cultural developmental science. More often than not, a relatively coherent picture regarding parenting and child outcomes is emerging from numerous cultural studies.
The structure of this chapter is as follows.