Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chinese Parenting 101

When many young couples here have kids, they leave the babies with their grandparents and go off to work.

It's only in the evenings and weekends do these parents spend time with their children, but their definition of quality time is different than most western families.

It's almost like the child is a toy or a pet that they quasi look after, but don't actively parent their son or daughter. It's their parents that have to do that. And as they are doting on their only grandchild, it's not surprising many of them spoil these little emperors and empresses.

And it's not just spoiling with material things, but carrying them when they are definitely old enough to walk on their own, carrying their school bags for them, and feeding them sweets.

At the same time the parents don't do much to engage with their own kids.

I've seen many parents take their kids to the indoor swimming pool where I go for a workout.

Granted these parents are of a certain economic status, several of the moms and dads just sit there or lie on the lawn chair by the pool and nap, read a book, or watch their kids who are playing in the pool. But while the kids are OK with playing on their own, you can tell they would rather play with their parents, badgering them or wanting to communicate with them.

How is this quality time spent with the kids?

In an article I read recently, a Chinese-American named Lisa Chiang helped set up Kidtown in Shanghai. It's an indoor playground for kids with lots of toys, books, a ball room and cars to ride in.

She said, "Chinese parents see play as a waste of time."

Her business partner Emy Machida added, "We want them to understand kids can learn the most from play. It's a very new concept in Asia."

Sounds like it.

Why do these people have kids if they are going to practically ignore them, or not even show an interest in engaging with them?

If you don't build a strong relationship with them when they're young, these kids will have even less to talk about with their parents when they get older.

And how is that a harmonious society?

1 comment:

ks said...

in the west people admire the chinese way having 1st and 3rd generation communication. it is through this that family traditions are maintained. the one child policy needs to be re-evaluated.