Who are ‘good’ friends? Chinese parents’ influences on children’s friend selection

Zhu, Y (2020) 'Who are ‘good’ friends? Chinese parents’ influences on children’s friend selection.' In: Frankel, S and McNamee, S, eds. Bringing children back into the family: relationality, connectedness and home. Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 27 . Emerald, Bingley, pp. 113-129. ISBN 9781838671976

Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/S1537-466120200000027008


Friendships, an important form of people’s everyday relationships with others, have been studied by many scholars from different disciplines. However, there is limited research on friendship in the context of childhood, particularly that of Chinese rural children. This chapter presents findings from an in-depth study on Chinese children’s understandings and experiences of friendships with peers in the context of a rural primary boarding school. Data for this research were collected through an intensive five-month study, using an ethnographic approach, in a rural primary boarding school (given the pseudonym ‘Central Primary School’) in the western area of China in 2016. This chapter discusses parents’ influences on children’s selection of friends, particularly their ‘good’ friends, and their understandings of the functions of making friends in the context of rural China. It unpacks parents’ interventions on children’s friendships by discussing the moralised hierarchical relationship between children and their parents – children are expected to show obedience to parents. Then, it argues that the Confucian-collectivist values construct a relationship between a child’s individual achievement and their family’s collective good, which makes friendship not only an individual issue but also a collective one too.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Keywords: friendship, parents, children, friend selection, Chinese schooling
Divisions: School of Education
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1108/S1537-466120200000027008
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2021 17:07
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:55
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/13792
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