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Children's Day or kidults' fiesta?

By Li Jing (CNTV)    10:00, June 01, 2017

(Photo/CGTN)

June 1 marks International Children’s Day, which is not merely an annual celebration for kids, but is also celebrated by a sizeable number of adults. Many netizens on social media have expressed willingness to join in Children’s Day celebrations, asking their close friends and family members for gifts! Some companies even give their employees a day off on this special occasion.

(Photo/CGTN)

A word that is repeated constantly on popular stickers on online social platforms in China is “baobao” in Chinese, which literally means “baby” in English. Here “baby” does not refer to a real infant, but rather a commonly-used online meme which burst into the scene in 2015. It’s regarded as a first-person pronoun to jokingly emphasize one as young and cute.

Netizens have different reasons to use the stickers. Some use them for fun, while some adults claim to use “baobao” to reduce their mental age, providing them a chance to recapture their childhood.

For those who tend to use such stickers to showcase their youth and cuteness, “kidult” is the most appropriate word to describe. The blended noun of “kid” and “adult” first appeared in the 1960s, describing an adult with puerile tastes.

(Photo/CGTN)

Currently, there is another explanation regarding “kidults”. These young adults rely on their parents to put a roof over their heads. The kidults’ parents take over their children’s responsibilities such as helping with housework and financially supporting their lives.

The stickers can reflect some demands deep inside one’s heart. Here, we uncover three different mental explanations for those who carry out childish acts.

Puerilism

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As a symptom of mental disorder, puerilism depicts immature or childlike behaviors by an adult without self-awareness.

Dutch historian Johan Huizinga defined the behavior as the attitude of a batch of people whose actions are more immature than the state of their current intellectual and critical faculties. Instead of mentally becoming an adult, the individual adopts the conduct of an adolescent.

Peter Pan syndrome

(Photo/CGTN)

Peter Pan, a character created by Scottish novelist J. M. Barrie, is a free spirited and mischievous young boy who stays in his childhood eternally.

In 1983, American psychologist Dan Kiley in his book, first described “Peter Pan syndrome” as a group of people who yearn for playing the role of a child permanently instead of mentally growing.

Psychology professor Tang Yonglong with the Southwest University of China said people who suffer from the syndrome act childish to avoid their social responsibilities.

Classified as dependent personality disorder, the syndrome so far has not been officially recognized as a specific mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.

Regression

(Photo/CGTN)

Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, claimed that regression is a psychological defense mechanism leading to a temporary or long-term reversion of the ego to an earlier stage of one’s life. Once the mental defense mechanism is activated, people handle unacceptable difficulties in a more self-recognition adaptive way intended to reduce their anxiety.

A contemporary, short-term regression can be considered as normal mental regulation. However, regression can be deemed as a psychological problem as long as people constantly use immature ways to cope with harsh circumstances, or utilizing their childish acts to arouse others’ sympathy.

Do you claim yourself to be a “baobao”? Will you ask for a Children’s Day’s gift even though you’re an adult? Share your thoughts with us below!

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hu Ximeng, Bianji)

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