Vietnamese parents’ attitudes towards western parenting behaviors and interventions
Tran, Nam Thanh
Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) interventions have been found effective in reducing child behavior problems. However, most relevant research has been conducted in Western, English-speaking countries that may differ along significant cultural dimensions from the countries in which the majority of the world’s population resides. Thus, the acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness of BTP interventions for the majority of the world’s population is unclear. The present study focused on assessing: (a) the strategies that Vietnamese parents report that they would use in response to various child misbehaviors and positive behaviors, (b) BPT-related beliefs about reward and punishment, (c) from whom parents would seek help for child behavior problems; and (d) parents’ beliefs about the acceptability, perceived feasibility, and anticipated effectiveness of BPT techniques. A sample of 303 parents with a child enrolled in the fourth or fifth grade from five public elementary schools in Vietnam (3 in Danang City and 2 in Hanoi) participated in the study. Overall, results indicated that Vietnamese parents reported using more appropriate than inappropriate responses (based on Western conceptualizations) toward less serious behaviors (whining, not doing homework), and more inappropriate than appropriate responses (again, based on Western conceptualizations) towards more serious behavior (fighting, stealing). Overall, parents reported little use of harsh responses (e.g., tying the child up in a chair) although their use was greater than zero. Parents reported more appropriate than inappropriate responses to positive child behavior, and more endorsement of appropriate than inappropriate beliefs. Vietnamese parents were significantly most like to seek help from school personnel (a teacher or school principal) and were significantly least likely to seek help from a psychologist for child behavior problems. The results suggest that less modification of BPT than anticipated may be necessary for Vietnamese parents, although clinicians may need to be careful to avoid direct negative statements about use of physical punishment techniques, at least initially, in order to avoid alienating the parents. Areas for future research include assessing attitudes of parents of children with significant behavior problems, and assessment of effects of a broad range of culturally relevant variables such as self-construals.
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