This study examines how ten young adults in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, China, perceived how their parents helped them with homework during their childhood and adolescence. Between 2011 and 2012, we interviewed five men and five women from Dalian who had first been recruited in 1999 from a college prep high school, a vocational high school, and a junior high school as part of a longitudinal study of Chinese singleton children. In this sample, most parents had not finished high school but expected their children to finish college. Parents' lack of ability to directly assist their children in their schoolwork at home (and thus promote their children's skills) was compensated for by involvement strategies that often tapped into their children's motivation. Our study illustrated how several strategies that have not been reported in the Western scholarship on parental involvement (i.e., reasoning about the importance of education, watching children study, and offering food, criticizing, and blaming) can map onto the skill and motivation development model Western researchers have developed, while highlighting the previously understudied salience of these particular strategies, especially for parents who do not have enough education to teach the skills their children need for upward mobility.
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