40 per­cent of left-be­hind chil­dren see par­ents at most twice a year

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By JIANG CHENGLONG jiangchen­g­long@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

More than 40 per­cent of left-be­hind chil­dren in China meet their par­ents no more than twice a year, ac­cord­ing to a white book on the psy­cho­log­i­cal con­di­tions of left­be­hind chil­dren.

The white book was is­sued on Tues­day by On the Road to School, a Bei­jing-based NGO, and a re­search team from Bei­jing Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity. It was based on 11,126 valid ques­tion­naires from ru­ral chil­dren from Grades 3 to 8 in 17 provin­cial-level ar­eas na­tion­wide in the first half of the year.

Only 37 per­cent of sur­veyed chil­dren had both par­ents work­ing in their home­town. Twenty-seven per­cent had one par­ent work­ing out­side their home­town, while the re­main­ing 36 per­cent were con­sid­ered left­be­hind chil­dren who did not have ei­ther par­ent around as their guardian.

About 40 per­cent of left-be­hind chil­dren didn’t see their par­ents more than two times a year, the white book said, com­pared with nearly 45 per­cent in 2015.

“That’s still a big pro­por­tion,” said Li Yifei, a pro­fes­sor at Bei­jing Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity who led the re­search. “It’s es­ti­mated there are six mil­lion left-be­hind chil­dren in China and they need a lot of care.”

Ac­cord­ing to the white book, left-be­hind chil­dren tended to en­ter a re­bel­lious phase in Grade 5, one or two years ear­lier than chil­dren in stan­dard fam­i­lies.

“Chil­dren tend to study or imi­tate the be­hav­iors of peo­ple close to them, but they are mostly not fa­mil­iar with their par­ents,” Li said.

Liu Xinyu, chair­man of On the Road to School, said “the emo­tion gap be­tween the two gen­er­a­tions re­sult­ing from long-term sep­a­ra­tion can­not be eas­ily bridged.”

The re­port called for more com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween par­ents and left-be­hind chil­dren. Many of the par­ents work in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try in big cities, so some con­struc­tion com­pa­nies have also tried to con­trib­ute to im­prov­ing that com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Wu Guo­hui, a pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer at China Con­struc­tion Sec­ond En­gi­neer­ing Bu­reau, said, “Thou­sands of par­ents of left-be­hind chil­dren work in our com­pany and we plan to in­vite some of their chil­dren to wit­ness their work on site.”

Wu said he thought that would help chil­dren to un­der­stand their par­ents’ hard­ship and make them closer.

Sup­port from schools is also needed. “Chil­dren who lack parental com­pany are of­ten not con­fi­dent in han­dling things and get­ting on well with oth­ers,” Li said. “So, schools can pro­vide more plat­forms for them to prove and show them­selves.”


An aban­doned mine crater is now a key sec­tion of the newly opened Keke­tuo­hai geop­ark in the Xin­jiang Uygur au­tonomous re­gion.

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