Parenting and Early Childhood Development in Hong Kong

  With Dr Freda Yanrong Wang, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Seminar 3 of Michaelmas Term's Sociology Seminar Series

Please join either in person or online. For in-person attendees, the talk will be preceded by a light lunch at 12.15pm.

Please email with any questions or to receive the Microsoft Teams link.


Early childhood development, as a strong predictor of subsequent educational attainment and socio-economic status in one’s adulthood, is greatly affected by macro sociocultural context and micro interactions between caregivers and children. One the one hand, nearly one-third of the population in Hong Kong was not locally born and the majority is Chinese mainland migrants. The comparisons on children's achievements between migrant and native families are paid long-term attention by scholars. On the other hand, outsourcing parenting to foreign domestic workers (FDWs) is a common practice in Hong Kong due to its high accessibility and affordability. Researchers and policy makers are concerned about the influence of FDWs on early childhood development (ECD), while it is still a controversial issue.

To examine the effect of parenting on children’s early development in Hong Kong, this study randomly selected children aged 2~5 and adopted structural equation models in the analysis. The results show that children in migrant families performed significantly better on problem solving domains than their counterparts in native families, and there was a mediation role of parenting self-efficacy between parental migration status and children’s problem-solving competence. In addition, FDW involvement is negatively related to parent-child interactions and children’s self-regulation, compliance, autonomy, affect, social communication and interaction competence, and parent-child interactions fully mediates the effect from FDW involvement on children’s social-emotional development. Nevertheless, the negative relationship between FDW involvement and parenting practices becomes weaker when family SES increases. 



Freda Yanrong Wang is an associate professor and doctoral supervisor at the School of Social Sciences in Huazhong University of Science and Technology(HUST). Currently, she is the director of the International Student Education Center, vice director of the Department of Social Work, vice director of the Social Work Research Center, and executive director of the center of Applied Social and Economic Research (CASER) in the School of Social Sciences.

Her current research topics are about parenting and child development, community cohesion, social stratification and mobility, health social work, statistical methods, intervention research, etc.