Thesis Title

Understanding Parenting Styles, Parenting Satisfaction, and Bird's Nest Drawings of Chinese Immigrant and Euro-American Mothers

Graduation Date

Fall 2012

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


John Lemmon, PhD

First Reader

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC


As the United States continues to be woven into an increasingly intricate fabric of people, understanding similarities and differences between and within cultures has become necessary in the therapeutic professions. This mixed method study was designed to expand the understanding of two cultural world views, and how they may influence maternal parenting style and parenting satisfaction. Fifteen Chinese Immigrant mothers and fifteen European American mothers, residing in Northern California, were asked to complete the Parent’s Report (PR) and the Kansas Parental Satisfaction Scale (KPS), and draw a “bird’s nest and a family of birds” (BND). The data was collected and analyzed for correlations and differences. As predicted, Chinese Immigrant and European American mothers were found to be significantly different in parenting styles as measured by the PR. On the variable of parent satisfaction, Chinese Immigrant mothers’ scores were found to be significantly lower than the scores of European American mothers as measured by the KPS. A t-test was performed to examine the scores between the KPS and the PR. The results indicated that as mothers’ actual styles more closely met their ideal styles, parent satisfaction scores increased. Each participant completed the BND to be analyzed for this study. Raters found more nests drawn from a bird’s eye view, with voids, and without trees among the Chinese group of mothers. This data suggests that either differences of cultural origin or differences in immigrant or non­immigrant status may affect how one views their perspective of home and family.