The Ugly Side of Parenting in China

Local boy

I try to be patient, I try not to hate China, I actually really do enjoy my life in Guangzhou, but there is something about Chinese way of child rearing that I just can’t accept. As I’m slowly getting closer and closer to 30’s, having a family of my own isn’t that far away in the future anymore. Being in a multicultural relationship, parenting is one huge topic you need to consider before it’s too late.

Of course there are as many parenting styles in China as there are parents, and child rearing is easy when you don’t have your own kids, but for some reason I have recently witnessed so many dangerous child rearing ways, that I need to get it off my chest.

Just one hour ago I was having dinner with my boyfriend and his friends, one of them showed a video of his small child after drinking alcohol. He was laughing how funny his son looked while drunk! I wanted to yell at him for being so irresponsible, but I was too shy and shocked to say anything. Now I feel like a really bad person for not saying anything. How could someone put their kids in such a danger?

Then there is violence, usually hitting your children. We were talking about this once at class and our teacher, a woman, admitted that she sometimes hit her child when they didn’t obey. That time I spoke my mind and said it wasn’t a funny topic to talk at all, not something to joke about. I don’t accept domestic violence of any sort, but still hitting kids seems to be very common in China

I know parents that don’t hit their kids, but they threaten to hit them on daily basis. “If you don’t listen to me, I will hit you”, “If you don’t eat your food, your dad will hit you”. I think a parent should live up to what they say and threaten by violence isn’t an option. I’m sure parenting isn’t easy, it’s perhaps the hardest work out there, but you still can’t go to violence when you fail to educate your children.

There is also a sad side to parenting in China, when older brothers and sister has to take care of the younger ones when parents are at work. I know a boy about 8 years old who often takes care of his 6 months old little sister. He carries her, makes her laugh and is just being an amazing older brother. But I couldn’t imagine leaving my baby for a kid that young to take care of. In know that I’m lucky to have the option not to do so.

One small girl, about 6 years old, is a part of my boyfriend’s family. She is such a cute little monster! So beautiful, but she can destroy anything she sees. She might break things or even hit people. She scares the cats when she comes to visit and everyone is laughing. For my eyes she just seems a little spoiled, in need of more boundaries.

These are just some example I’ve come across during these past few weeks. If life have been easy in China until now, it surely isn’t going to be easy later on if we have our own family. My boyfriend shares most of my views, but I’m worried how the older generation will treat and take care of our children. I don’t want them to be spoiled either.