Chinese parents are always watching

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-4-24 18:43:01

A grandmother records a violin teacher's performance so that her grandson can follow his example and practice at home. Photo: Courtesy of Jin Siliu


A father keeps an eye on his son from outside a classroom. Photo: Courtesy of Jin Siliu


A mother accompanies her sick daughter in a hospital while she does her homework. Photo: Courtesy of Jin Siliu

Many parents stand in the back of a first-grade classroom on the first day of school. They won't leave until the teacher asks them. Photo: Courtesy of Jin Siliu

An elderly lady wipes the sweat off her grandson's face as he warms up for a dance. Photo: Courtesy of Jin Siliu

In China, it's common to see children attending extracurricular classes, playing instruments, or simply doing their homework with their parents by their side, looking over them. 

Many Chinese parents spend all their energy and money on their children, sacrificing their own career and hobbies, all in the hope their children can have a good future.

Some parents accompany their children long after they've become adults. Media have widely reported that for nearly 10 years, Chinese parents have been planting vegetables in a deserted field near Yale University in their free time. When their children went abroad to study, their parents went with them, rented houses nearby the university and did housework for their children.

Feng Yan is one of these parents. On Saturdays, she has to get up at 6:30 am to prepare breakfast for her son. Then she wakes him up, so he won't be late for his extracurricular classes at 8 am.

Her son is a sophomore in high school and is facing the gaokao (college entrance exam) in a year.

When her son entered high school, Feng rented a house nearby to take better care of him and make it easier for him to focus on his studies. She said about 60 percent of students' parents rent apartments next to the high school.

Feng started planning her son's "academic career" a long time ago. When he was in elementary school, she took him to all sorts of math and English training classes on the weekends. In the evenings, she made her son practice violin and drawing.

She quit her job five years ago, when her son was in middle school, and started devoting her whole life to taking care of him.

"I feel very tired accompanying my son every day, but I've got no choice," Feng said. 

Some children have expressed anxiety over their parents' full-time supervision. A third-grade student told the Tianjin Daily, "My mother is more familiar with my textbooks than me ... if I did poorly on my exams, I think she'll be the most depressed person."

Education experts say constantly accompanying children can have negative effects. It's easy for the children to grow overly reliant on their parents. Besides, it's difficult for them to achieve their full potential when facing this amount of pressure.

Global Times
Newspaper headline: Helicopter parents

Posted in: In-Depth

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