How China’s children are being cared by their grandparents.
One of the major differences between individualistic and collectivistic cultures is the importance of the nuclear family versus the extended family. Individualistic cultures stress self-reliance the rights of individuals to make their own decisions and the right to a private life. In contrast collectivistic cultures emphasize an extended family structure in which loyalty is demanded and interdependence is cultivated as well as enforced.
China being one of the most collectivistic societies in the world has a strong extended family tradition where grandparents enjoy a powerful and influential position within the clan. As China’s economy improves and women enter the workforce at a greater rate grandparents have taken on an additional role of custodians and caregivers to their grandchildren. Sometimes these roles have extended beyond normal childminding activities during working hours to fulltime adoption or childrearing.
But this trend goes beyond the mere fact that there are more two-career couples than ever before. Other factors that play a role in this Chinese grandparent and grandchild phenomenon is the ever increasing migration to large urban hubs from rural and small town communities. For the most part when parents leave their homes in search of brighter horizons in major metropolitan cities such as Beijing Shanghai Tianjin Guangzhou Shenzhen and Dongguan their children stay behind under the care of their grandparents. These are the children that are now commonly referred to as the “left-behind children”.
Unfortunately these left-behind children are living in poverty receiving poor education and oftentimes forced to go to work at an early age. Surveys conducted by the government show that nearly 50 percent of children left behind suffer from injuries which include slashing burns attacked by animals and by falling. This being far higher than children living with their parents. These children represent 61 percent of new admitted patients in child hospitals and 55.2% of child sexual abuse in China. (Beijing Normal University Scientific Communication and Education Research Center. pp1–3)
Other survey’s point to the fact that 40 percent of young parents are dissatisfied with grandparent childrearing methods. However they continue to leave their children in the grandparents care. (CNN TravelR02;—R02;Shirley Chen -2011)
Complicating matters worse is the fact that Chinese society is organized in a top-down authority structure. Government as well as corporate decisions originate at the top of the organization and family structures are no different. It is no secret that grandparents control their children even after they have grown and have children of their own. In Western cultures where nuclear families have a great deal more autonomy the older members of the clan would have given up power the moment their children move out of their homes. Especially once they marry and have children of their own. A strong argument can be made that this approach would produce better educational mental health and maturity outcomes for the children.
Unfortunately changing this social phenomenon would not be easy. Cultures don’t change overnight. Wages would have to rise substantially in order for parents to be able to afford nannies or au pairs. White and blue collar workers alike would have to acquire more rights and perhaps even more power in the work place forcing companies to stop demanding extremely long hours from their employees. Ultimately Chinese culture would have to move away from an extended family structure into a one where the nuclear family has more autonomy. This perhaps would be the greater challenge.
This is how all the "villager" attitudes are being passed on to the next generation like spitting urinating/defecating in public traditional medicine superstitions etc. It's a fascinating mix of very traditional parentage vs. kids born with smart phones in their hands
Cell phones in hand and pissing/shitting on the street are not mutually exclusive.
Oh... I have seen that happen more than enough in the tier 0.5+888 i live in.
I just meant that there's a new generation growing up in a quickly modernizing china but bc they're raised by grandparents the old nongmin habits aren't dying off anytime soon
I hate when people dedicate in public especially when it's some shitty KTV song.
Chinese grandparents are the bane of my existence. When I was teaching they would show up unannounced just to stare at their grandchild hide in the bushes to make sure their child was safe (from playing and falling down) or barge into my classroom to fuck with the thermostat. "It's too cold-my child is sick". Your child is sick because he/she is a kid who you don't make wash his/her hands after using the bathroom or before feeding. Then you try to explain to them how viruses and bacteria work and all the intricacies of the human body and microbiology and they just look confused and say 'It's too cold drink more hot water' (in summertime). Now as a parent they like to offer unsolicited advice about stupid shit. "Your baby is crying"-Yeah I know. "She is playing with the stroller"-SO? She's strapped in and we are out for a walk she can entertain herself by pulling on the hood. It won't break. "Her sock is halfway off"-Ma'am we are in the middle of a busy road I am not going to stop in front of all of these cars and ebikes who don't give a fuck just to adjust a sock that you say is half off but I think is fine. "Oh I know because I am a grandmother". I doubt you raised your own kid by yourself back in the day. Also your grandchild who you are such an expert on can't feed him/herself or even poop on his/her own. AND for the record it's not a Western way of child-rearing it's the responsible way of child-rearing.
Don't feed the baby ___________ but put little precious on a scooter with no helmet and drive at 50 km against traffic and through red lights to the hotpot restaurant where they can run freely unattended with waiters carrying scalding pots of oily soup.
or let your kid push their stroller into the middle of a busy street just cuz.
This is one of the biggest issues in China right now parents pushing their children to get married and have a kid so they can raise it. Then the parents go off to work and let the grandparents raise the child.
The world has changed very fast and I don't think most of these grandparents are in a position to raise a child to succeed in the 21st century considering what life was most likely like for these grandparents as they grew up. It's fascinating but also pretty scary.
I would not let a set of local grandparents raise a child I had that's for sure.
My wife's family tried this on her. As soon as we were married they asked when grandbaby was coming of course and when my wife said 'both of us work 60 hour weeks no way we can raise a child right now' they said 'no problem we will raise it!' Then my wife laughed at them and said no thanks.
So what'd you guys end up doing?
We moved to Canada last year and had our child here with a nice big Pacific between us and her famil
waiting like normal people until one of them had time or decided to settle....
So despite all the criticism there's not a lot of good options here. Economic reality means that it is the way it is
Why don't parents just sent their kids to daycare instead of using grandparents? The kids can learn social skills and other skills in a set program instead of just being babysat by grandpa and grandma. If the mom isn't working then she should be taking care of her kids at home so grandparents aren't needed there. If mom is working then they can afford daycare so grandparents aren't needed.
Daycare is expensive yet grandparents are free. I'd personally prefer my parents to strangers.
Retired grandparents are bored so babies helps them enjoy themselves.
Many grandparents didn't get a chance to raise their own kids since their parents did. In the future those working parents will be grandparents raising their own grand babies.
It is extremely difficult to live on a single income in china so only a fraction of people could afford to do this.
The babies get a ton of social interaction since grandparents all meet up at the local parks.
even for rich people grandparents will raise the kids up to 2. For some reason they believe this is the cutoff age for when a child can go to pre-school.
Don't ask me why but that's how it is when my daughter started going to school at 18 mo's and she was the youngest by far. Something to do with the healthy.