February 8, 2010

CHINA: Parents in many countries becoming "children's slaves"

. BEIJING, China / The People's Daily / Life & Culture / February 8, 2010 Recently, a new phrase "children's slaves" has become popular among the post 80's generation. To live well or to give birth to a child? That is the question has perplexed many young parents in many countries. "Children's slaves" means parents spare no effort to raise their children all their life even losing their self-worth. Now being "children's slaves" has become a kind of panic disorder that is spreading among young parents in China. Being afraid of giving birth to children has become a social phenomenon. The phenomenon also exists in other countries. However, more foreign parents consider enjoying life with their children as the most important thing rather than investing in their children. Bearing children is becoming costly to a generation Mrs. Huang, who was born in the 1980s, has just given birth to a baby. At the mention of taking care of her 2-month baby, she said, "it's really not easy to raise a child." Huang has also found many ways to save money. For example, her baby's clothes and toys are all from her relatives' elder children. She uses cheaper diapers for her baby during the daytime. She added that now one child in China is raised by 6 adults so it wouldn't be too hard. To Huang, shopping for her child is the main cost. However, Sabina considered hiring a nurse for children is the most expensive part. 120 U.S. dollars per month for food, 50 U.S. dollars per month for clothes, 100 U.S. dollars per month for toys and books, 100 U.S. dollars per month for health care, 200 U.S. dollars per month for other daily necessities, 50 U.S. dollars for children's party, 100 U.S. dollars per month for swimming lessons and 300 U.S. dollars for hiring a nurse. Sabina also told the reporter that the normal salaries can afford the fees for raising children in America. The food and clothes are cheap, but the labor is expensive in the U.S. When entering into the education phase, it's harder for parents in many countries. 41 year old Stephen is now living in London. He has an 8-year-old daughter. He told the reporter that he paid more attention on his daughter rather than his career. Her 10,000 pound tuition fee makes Stephen feel under pressure. In other words, Stephen is a "children's slave". "Children's slaves" phenomenon has incurred many other social phenomenon The "18 independence" is a tradition in western countries. People would be puzzled as to why there are "Children's slaves" in western countries. In fact, the tradition is fading away gradually. A children's charity organization in Britain pointed out that middle class families in Britain are fostering the "spoiled generation". In America, delaying pregnancy is becoming a trend. Influenced by the financial crisis, many American families are afraid of giving birth to more children. Notion is the main problem It's obviously that the "children's slaves" phenomenon is not so serious in western countries when comparing to China. Zhou Ning, the dean of the Humanity College in Xiamen University, believes that the main cause of the phenomenon is the notion. Chinese culture considers family as the center. Although society has changed, the tradition of considering family as the center is still prominent. Considering children as the center of the family is the upgrading of the traditional notion. Secondly, financial care is always believed to be the main form of expressing love. While education in their personality, values and respect are ignored. Illustrative photo courtesy: mongabay/china Many conditions in European countries can prove Professor Zhou's view. As "developing by themselves" is adopted as the golden rule in education, children in Holland are regarded as the happiest children in Europe. Parents in Switzerland and Norway choose to cultivate their children's ability of independence as early as junior high. It's even the same in Japan. "Children's slaves" need help from society In fact, the phenomenon mainly occurs in cities. Most parents hope that their children can make their own dream come true. At the same time, with improving living standards, the foundation of consumption can not satisfy well-off families. The parents would like to invest more on their only child. Professor Zhou believes that the institutional guarantee is the most important part in solving the problem. Secondly, the old notion needs to be change. Young parents should learn to be parents and express their love. Once parents have adjusted their attitude and change the way they educate their children, their children will see benefits and parents can be relaxed. [rc] Lu Le, Ji Shuangcheng, Lin Xueyuan, Duan Congcong and Chen Yi contributed to the story Copyright by People's Daily / Global Times