Chinese students inhabit lonely high-pressure world

11:30, October 24, 2010      

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Students at China's primary and middle schools are under immense pressure and their parents are not offering them the support they need, according to a new survey.

The study, which was released on Friday by Beijing's Zhixin Jiejie (Confidant Sister) magazine, said more than 50 percent of primary and middle school students in China have nothing to talk to their parents about except school records.

Almost 89 percent of parents polled agreed, saying they were only interested in their children's record at school.

Pang Shutao, head of the Qingdao Mental Health Center, said Chinese parents tend to demand too much from their children in academic performance.

He said more than 60 percent of the psychological problems affecting Chinese children were related to their parents.

"The excessive study burden and parents' overemphasis on school records have contributed to the domination of study-related issues for the students," said Li Yuan, the author of the survey.

"Study has become their entire lives, deciding their happiness and pain."

The survey found that 31.75 percent of primary and middle school students had no one to talk to about their feelings.

The survey was conducted among 20,870 students in 10 provinces between August and October.

It said 66 percent of primary students and 82 percent of middle school students said they could not speak about their feelings to their parents.

Some 14 percent of the students said they were accustomed to keeping their inner thoughts bottled up and would rather not open up to others.

But 58 percent of middle school students and 43 percent of primary school students were able to find a shoulder to cry on - if only among their classmates and friends.

Another 5.6 percent of those polled said they talked about such things to people on the Internet.

"Children will not always be able to depend on their parents, they will grow up and have their own secrets, but parents can try to be more understanding and avoid an oversimplified way of thinking about education," said Wang Yi, a psychologist from Beijing Huilongguan Hospital.

"Otherwise, they are turning their children away when they need help most."

About 18 percent of students who took part in the survey said they do not talk about things they do wrong for fear of being criticized.

And 47 percent said they wish their parents could understand their feelings.

"Once, I got the worst test result in my class, I went home, very sad, and I told my mother and she just rebuked me even more," said 9-year-old Jiang Ziru, on Zhixin Jiejie's website.

"She simply doesn't understand my pain."

Tian Hong, a parent in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, said parents are victims too because they have no choice other than to force their children to study.

"If I did not force him to learn more now, he would be left far behind the others and hate me when he grows up," she said.

Source: China Daily


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