China’s second generation of spoilt brats
China’s ‘“little emperors”, the adored children born under the country’s one-child policy with a reputation of being pampered and spoiled, are entering parenthood and have been accused of raising a generation of brats.
Chinese media this week ran reports in which men and women born in one-child families after 1980, known as “first generation only child”, were accused of producing selfish children with personality problems.
“Now that they have entered their 30s, many of them have already married and most have chosen to have one child. These children are called “second generation only child”,” the People’s Daily reported.
“Second generation only child’ have inherited many problems that plagued their parents, such as being apathetic, selfish, or unable to cooperate with other people. When they grow up, they may cause much more serious social problems than ‘first generation only child’.”
Zhou Xiaozheng, a Renmin University sociology professor, said the first generation of children had not learned “a sense of brotherhood”.
“When it comes to the next generation, the situation becomes even worse as this second generation does not have any brothers, sisters, uncles, or aunts, resulting in more severe problems in their personality,” Zhou told the report.
In Beijing News, psychologist Fang Xigda said: “Some parents who grew up in one-child families do nothing but spoil their children with material comforts. As a result, the ‘second generation only child’ becomes self-centred, fragile and tends to be asocial.”
Examples of pampered second-generation children included six-year-old Zhu Xuan, whose parents and grandmother decided to move house so the young girl could attend one of Beijing’s best primary schools, and seven-month-old Mo Mo, whose baby carriage cost 4,000 yuan ($659) – more than the average monthly wage – and who drinks milk imported from Australia (a wise idea when you consider that melamine continues to be found in local dairy products).
However, child psychologist Sun Ruixue said many post-80s generation adults had a strict childhood and this could mean they have a different approach to parenting.
“This generation [post-80s] is ambitious and independent and since most of them have a higher educational background, they will allow their children to have more freedom,” she said in an earlier interview with China Daily.
Mother Chen Tangtang, 25, said she grew up with the pressure of “being better and smarter than her peers” and wanted her one-year-old daughter to have a more relaxed childhood.
“I just want her to learn what she is supposed to in line with her intelligence. I won’t push her too hard with advanced education,” she told the newspaper.
In a recent China Youth Daily survey of 10,613 people, of which 96 percent of respondents said they were born in the 80s, 58 percent said post-80s parents were responsible and caring.
About 40 percent believed it inappropriate to make generalizations about a generation’s parenting skills and 2.8 percent said they lacked confidence in the parenting skills of their peers. About 44 percent said they would not to spoil their child.
Under the one-child policy, many rural couples are allowed to have a second child if the first child is a girl and ethnic minority couples are permitted to have two or more children. Parents who both grew up in only-child families are allowed to have two children. The government said the policy has prevented about 400 million births.
In Beijing, ineligible couples that have another child must pay a fine of 240,000 yuan ($39,000). Rich couples often circumvent this by having their babies in Hong Kong, where the policy does not apply.
Earlier this month, Zhao Baige, deputy director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission of China said the policy would not be changed during the 12th Five Year Plan (2011-15). It has been speculated that it would be relaxed because of an aging population and a foreseeable shortage in labor.
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