Struggling to Raise Children: Globalization, Parental Anxieties and Unequal Childhood

by Pei-Chia Lan

When did parenting become so difficult? Raising a child has always been a challenge, but in the face of a precarious globalized future, widening class inequality, various systematic forces and social boundaries, it is no wonder the parents of today feel anxious and uneasy. Facing an increasingly insecure and uncertain future, contemporary Taiwanese parents are adopting different education styles and parenting strategies to try and protect the well-being of the next generation. But are these strategies working, or creating more anxieties instead?

Using parental anxiety as a mirror, this book reflects on the risks and challenges Taiwan faces in the context of globalization. The somewhat stagnant local economy and wages, the rising competition with global capitalism, the unpredictable industrial changes, as well as the widening gap between socioeconomic classes all contribute to childhood inequalities for many children. 

Distinguished sociology professor at the National Taiwan University Pei-Chia Lan observed and researched social inequality by conducting in-depth interviews with nearly 60 families and in-person observations at schools from urban cities to countryside towns, carefully sketching out the difference between the middle class and the working class. Her analysis of the different parenting models in Taiwan today asks why parents make the choices they do and examines the impacts these choices have on the family and the children; a critical field report on understanding the current state of education in Taiwan.

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