One of the key principles in the ideology which underpins education is the value of children’s family
experience. Central to this idea is the view of parents as important. Parenting has become a vital
dimension in contemporary education. Parenting discourses traditionally focus on such concepts as
parenting style, approach, attitude or practice. The main consideration behind these concepts is what
parents appear to be doing at a single point of time, referring to parenting per se. This paper takes on the
notion of disposition in order to understand urban Chinese mothers’ habitual and characteristic ways of
child rearing. It presents evidence to show that a group of Chinese mothers had parenting dispositions of
motivation, responsibility and anxiety. Data came from a series of conversations between 50 Chinese
mothers of preschool children and five early childhood teachers through a synchronous online text chat.
In the process of consulting the early childhood teachers, the parents expressed many concerns,
questions and views of childrearing and early childhood education, thereby providing evidence about
their thinking and behaviour. Drawing on the concept of ‘disposition’, the study provides insights into
the common thinking threads that characterized Chinese parenting and the ways those threads were
woven into their disposed approaches to child rearing and early education.