Chinese kids left behind by migrant parents suffer psychologically

April 13th, 2011 - 12:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, April 13 (IANS) Children left behind in their hometowns by their migrant worker parents suffer from serious psychological problems during their adolescence, experts have said.

A survey conducted by the Wuhan Mental Health Centre in China polled 1,200 children, who ranged in ages from 6 to 14 and whose parents were migrant workers.

The results showed that about 14 percent of them suffer from psychological disorders during their adolescence, according to China Daily.

The survey begun in October 2009 interviewed 11,000 participants, including the children.

Zhong Baoliang, the leading expert for the survey, said about 170 of the children polled had experienced hardships while they had been away from their parents and had spent their teenage years with their grandparents or other relatives.

They now suffer from learning disabilities, depression and social phobia.

Liu Jitong, professor of public health at Peking University, said such children often suffer psychological disorders because they are deprived of the most basic and important necessity of childhood - parental love.

Liu said their troubles may develop into worse conditions - such as personality disorders.

Liu said steps should be taken to help migrant couples find homes where they can live together with their children.

Sang Biao, a psychology professor at East China Normal University in Shanghai, also said the unattended children of migrant workers, when compared to children raised by parents, are often found to be more susceptible to psychological troubles like depression and learning disabilities.

Such children need family members beside their parents to provide guidance on social norms and decent behaviour.

Schools and communities - places where children feel comfortable - can help by placing them among others of similar ages.

In a recently released book on psychological disorders among Chinese youth, Sun Yunxiao, a famous educator, placed much blame on poor parenting, the China Youth Daily said.

Sun said children often develop mental troubles because their parents at times are insensitive to their needs and interests and demand too much of them.

There are now over 58 million children who have been left behind by migrant parents in rural China, according to statistics from the All China Women’s Federation.

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