Parental influence on mainland Chinese children’s career aspirations: child and parental perspectives

  • Jianwei LiuEmail author
  • Mary McMahon
  • Mark Watson


Career aspirations developed in childhood may impact on future career development in adolescence and adulthood. Family is an important context in which children develop their career aspirations. This study examined how parents influence children’s career aspirations in mainland China from both the parents’ and children’s perspectives. Eight fifth-grade Chinese children and their biological parents participated in a qualitative study that employed interpretative phenomenological analysis. Three superordinate themes were identified: responding positively to children’s interests, emphasising education, and conveying career values. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.


Childhood Career aspirations Parents 


L’influence parentale sur les aspirations de carrière des enfants en Chine continentale: perspectives des enfants et des parents. Les aspirations de carrière développées durant l’enfance peuvent influencer le développement de carrière futur à l’adolescence et à l’âge adulte. La famille représente un contexte important dans lequel les enfants développent leurs aspirations de carrière. Cette étude a investigué la manière dont les parents influencent les aspirations de carrière des enfants en Chine continentale, en examinant les perspectives des enfants et des parents. Huit enfants Chinois de cinquième année et leurs parents biologiques ont participé à une étude qualitative utilisant l’Analyse Phénoménologique Interprétative (API). Trois thèmes principaux ont été identifiés : répondre positivement aux intérêts des enfants, mettre l’accent sur la formation, et transmettre des valeurs professionnelles. Les implications pour la pratique et les recherches futures sont discutées.


Der elterliche Einfluss auf den Berufswunsch von Kindern in China: Eine Kinder-Eltern Perspektive. Berufswünsche, welche in der Kindheit entwickelt wurden, können sich auf die berufliche Entwicklung im Jugend- und Erwachsenenalter auswirken. Die Familie ist ein wichtiger Kontextfaktor zur Entwicklung von Berufswünschen der Kinder. Diese Studie untersucht anhand einer Stichprobe aus China und anhand einer Eltern-Kind Perspektive, wie Eltern die Berufswünsche ihrer Kinder beeinflussen. Acht fünfte Klassen von chinesischen Kindern und ihre biologischen Eltern nahmen an einer qualitativen Studie teil, welche eine Interpretative Phänomenologische Analyse (IPA) verwendete. Drei übergeordneten Themen wurden identifiziert: positive Reaktionen auf die Interessen von Kindern, Hervorhebung von Ausbildung und Vermittlung von beruflichen Werten. Implikationen für die Praxis und die zukünftige Forschung werden diskutiert.


Influencia parental sobre las aspiraciones en relación a estudios superiores de los niños y niñas de China Continental: Perspectivas infantiles y parentales. Las aspiraciones a estudios superiores desarrolladas en la infancia pueden tener un impacto en el futuro desarrollo académico del adolescente y el adulto. La familia constituye un contexto importante en el cual los niños y niñas desarrollan sus aspiraciones académicas y profesionales. El presente estudio examinó cómo los progenitores influencian ese desarrollo en China Continental, desde ambas perspectivas: las de los progenitores y las de los niños y niñas. Ocho niños chinos de quinto grado y sus padres (Padres y madres) biológicos participaron en un estudio cualitativo en el que se utilizó el Análisis Fenomenológico Interpretativo (AFI). Se identificaron tres temas de orden superior: responder positivamente a los intereses de los niños, poner énfasis en la educación y expresar o transmitir los valores profesionales. Se discuten las implicaciones para la investigación y la práctica en un futuro.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa

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