Children become what their parents make them to be

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/6 20:28:39

The parent-child relationship and children's education have always been hot topics in China. Almost all parents try their best to earn their kids a decent life and provide as much as they can.

Recently, a post about a Chinese family's world tour was widely circulated on WeChat. A young couple quit their jobs and for four months visited world-renowned tourist attractions with their son. The couple just wanted that their child develop his own personality and spend more time with his parents, all to enjoy a different childhood.

The post sparked a heated online debate. Many parents praised the couple's decision to take their child abroad to experience the fascinating world. Some parents regretted that they could not spend much time with their kids due to a busy work schedule.

After reading the article, I had mixed feelings and wanted to establish a family and raise a child. Spending time with your beloved and your adorable kid would be the most joyful thing in the world, I thought.

However, the fast pace of city life and parents' fear of their children lagging other kids have driven anxious parents to be busy juggling work and other responsibilities to offer what they consider the best material and educational resources for their children.

For example, parents send their school-aged children to various extra-curricular classes that teach academics and offer specialty training at a high price. An increasing number of Chinese parents are sending their children abroad for education during the summer and winter holidays. It is understandable that parents invest a large sum of money to show their love for children and hope they will stand out among their peers.

But what about spending time with parents? A survey report released by the Shanghai Scientific Parenting Base in May found that because of busy fathers, most Shanghai children only spend 2.23 hours per weekday and 6.68 hours per day at weekends with their dads. Mothers accompany their children for 3.07 hours per weekday and 10.53 hours per day at weekends, causing a gender-imbalance in upbringing and hence posing a challenge to children's mental and psychological development.

Even if parents have free time to keep their children company, some are found with their heads buried in mobile phones. Parents' addiction to phones will cause a disconnect with children, leading to a loss of opportunity to build an intimate parent-child bond and hence an adverse influence on children's upbringing.

Early childhood development begins at home. Parents are considered to be the best teachers for kids as they help children build personality and develop value systems. Their words and deeds profoundly affect children's growth and function as a beacon for their future, especially when they are bewildered and frustrated.

Rather than offering children a house in an elite school district or numerous training classes, parents' quality and dedicated companionship and upbringing, which can be done in everyday life, bring great benefit to the family.

For instance, make family time a regular and special part of your routine, find a shared hobby to engage in with your children and have relaxed, side-by-side conversations. These contribute to a positive parent-child relationship, helping make children independent and curious, improve self-esteem and decision-making skills.

"Traveling all over the world helps you adapt to various environments, so you can calmly deal with obstacles in the future; widens your horizon, so you can walk on your own journey with inclusiveness and curiosity; enables you to appreciate the multiple aspects of life, so you understand the perception of life varies from person to person," the couple said to their kid at the end of the post. They are truly capable parents.

Cui Bowen, a post-graduate student in translation studies at Beijing Language and Culture University

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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