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Book about adults who still cling to their parents for guidance sparks debate on Chinese

  • Author:Selina
  • Source:chinatopwin
  • Release on:2017-03-13
Book about adults who still cling to their parents for guidance sparks debate on Chinese 
social media

One reason China has so many "big babies" is the traditional culture in which parents 
spoil their children, experts say.
"Why are you always relying on your parents? Can't you make your own decisions by 
yourself? These are some of the questions that Zhao Ming (pseudonym),27, often 
encountered before his recent breakup with his girlfriend.

Having worked in Beijing since he graduated from university two years ago, Zhao's has had 
three failed relationships. 

The reasons, according to his latest ex-girlfriend, are that he is "too childish" and "not 
husband material." He is used to the labels. Several of his friends call him "a big boy." 
However, recently, they started to use the new popular term "big baby."

The term "big baby" refers to an adult who still behaves like a child: young and immature. 
Immaturity is not uncommon among Chinese in the post-80s and 90s generation.  

The topic has become the center of attention on Chinese social media after famous Chinese 
psychologist Wu Zhihong's book Country of Big Babies was published recently. 

A new TV reality show called Chinese-styled Blind Date where parents help to choose dates 
for their adult children has also added fuel to the already heated online debate.

Zhao is a perfect son in his parents' eyes: kind, smart, hardworking and obedient. He talks to 
his mom almost every day, and every time he has a difficulty or a decision to make, he would 
discuss it with his parents. 

"He tells his parents everything. It made me feel uncomfortable and embarrassed," said Li's 
ex-girlfriend Emily Liu. "He doesn't have a mind of his own."

Zhao asks his parents for advice on what birthday gift to buy her and even discusses how to 
make up with Liu after a quarrel with them.

"It sometimes felt like I was dating his parents, not him," she said.

Liu also cannot stand that Zhao barely does housework. When the couple lived together, it's 
always Liu that washed his clothes, tidied up the apartment and cooked meals

Fed up with being his "babysitter," she finally left him. "Yes, he is sweet and kind, but what I 
need is a real man, not a big boy," Liu said. 

Zhao's life mirrors that of many young Chinese. Ma Zezhong, a psychologist and the 
executive director of the Beijing Association for Mental Health, said that compared with the 
post-60s and 70s generation, the younger generation tends to be less mentally and 
emotionally mature than their age would suggest. The primary factor stunting their 
development, she said, was a lack of individuality. 

According to Ma, the reason for this immaturity is complex, but family, education and social 
environment play a big role. As only children, many post-80s and 90s Chinese were spoiled 
or overly protected growing up, which is one of the factors that leads to their slow mental 

The way that parents treat their children is essential for their mental development. Liu Guo, a 
Chinese psychological consultant working in the US, agrees. She thinks it's also a cultural 

"Take myself as an example. I'm about 30 years old, and my mom who still lives in China often 
tells me what I should do and treats me like a child. In the US culture and a healthy family, my 
mom's behavior would've been considered as boundary crossing because I'm an adult and can 
make my own decisions," Guo explained.

She knows it is the way her mother shows love for her, but she finds it hard to accept. 

However, Ma stresses that that everyone has a little child inside them and big babies should 
not be completely ignored. He said it is important for people to acknowledge and accept their 
immaturity so that they can make changes and push themselves to grow up.

As to how to combat the arrested psychological development of China's young, Ma suggests 
that individuals socialize more to to enrich their life experience so that their personality and 
individuality can develop and improve themselves so that they can become more mature and 

"Think positive. Go out and join more social communities. Experience more and read more so 
that the kid inside will grow up."