Confucian heritage culture holds that a good education is the path to upward social mobility as well as the road to realizing an individual’s fullest potential in life. In both China and Chinese diasporic communities around the world, education is of utmost importance and is central to childrearing in the family. In this paper, we address one of the most serious resettlement issues that new Chinese immigrants face—children’s education. We examine how receiving contexts matter for parenting, what immigrant parents do to promote their children’s education, and what enables parenting strategies to yield expected outcomes. Our analysis is based mainly on data collected from face-to-face interviews and participant observations in Chinese immigrant communities in Los Angeles and New York in the United States and in Singapore. We find that, despite different contexts of reception, new Chinese immigrant parents hold similar views and expectations on children’s education, are equally concerned about achievement outcomes, and tend to adopt overbearing parenting strategies. We also find that, while the Chinese way of parenting is severely contested in the processes of migration and adaptation, the success in promoting children’s educational excellence involves not only the right set of culturally specific strategies but also tangible support from host-society institutions and familial and ethnic social networks. We discuss implications and unintended consequences of overbearing parenting.
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