Whether based on surveys or obedience, a phenomenon is increasingly difficult to avoid: In Chinese families, the relationship between young children and their parents is becoming increasingly awkward.
As a post-90s generation, many of my peers around me have a bad relationship with their parents. Either swords are stretched out and frequent quarrels, or they are too cold to be in the same room.
The “Chinese-style deterioration” of parent-child relationship is not a day or two. In the current era, parents and children often look like two species, loving each other and killing each other, deducing too many sad and happy stories that we are already familiar with.
A few years ago Douban had a group called “Parents Are Harmful.” More than 100,000 members were mainly born in the 1980s, and the accusations against their parents were violent. Time has passed, and now the group is no longer there, but similar problems continue to the post-90s.
However, in the “deteriorating” parent-child relationship, compared with the general accusations of “rebellious” and “filial piety” of children 10 years ago, the focus of today is mostly on parents.
Short and eternally popular among parents, because the fireworks life naturally spreads the world. And this feeds many public accounts.
Psychological public accounts talk about parent-child relationships. The most popular are teaching parents to be a person series, and those who repost such articles are not surprisingly also parents or even children.
By comparison, children are much more indifferent. On social media, it is rare for children to pay attention to reposting topics related to their parents, and it is not strange to block parents in a circle of friends; when a spouse chooses a spouse, if the parents are near enemies and anxious, the child often avoids and copes.
In short, in parent-child relationships, parents are always agitated and more eager to express emotions and act.
The change observed by a counselor who focuses on parent-child relationships is that, in the past, children cared about their relationship with their parents, but now, it is parents who care about their relationship with their children.
The basis of this change is that if in the past, children in multi-child homes cared about their parents’ needs for resource and emotional attention, then today’s affluent families are more likely to have only children in socio-economic activities. The physical and emotional restraints of the past are no longer of much use.
To understand in terms of power relations, it is clear that the focus of parent-child relations has shifted. Because in a relationship, the more sensitive and more frequently responding is often the psychologically weaker side, the parent’s “seeking attention” gesture gives the child an invisible power and shakes the traditional parent-child relationship.
The focus is on the child, and the emotions, energy, and needs from parents and the environment are also flowing to the child. In the current accelerated social process in China, of course, it is flowing to the child with acceleration.
Its consequences are manifested in two points: anxiety upside down and identity dislocation.
In the conventional parent-child relationship, a child with “a small head full of great doubts” is the one who is easy to perceive insecurity. As the more experienced and more cognizant parent, the parent often wants to accept and Answer the child’s insecurity and anxiety. But now, instead, the child has become an outlet for receiving parental anxiety. Parents’ dissatisfaction with themselves, but anxiety for craving for social resources, has been packaged into expectations of children and transmitted to children.
Children can’t answer their parents’ anxiety, they can only (requested) respond in a child’s way: carry their parents’ expectations, and return their parents’ efforts.
Specifically in life, according to the wishes of parents, study well and go to a prestigious school during the student days, and enter a “good unit” after graduation, and talk about marriage at the age of marriage. As for whether the prestigious school should be tested by Tsinghua University or the Chinese University of Science and Technology, whether it is to work as a civil servant or enter a state-owned enterprise, whether marriage is more expensive or good-looking, it is based on the parents’ life experience and the values formed by it, but they all point in one direction: Add value to family and own social resources.
In these problems, most of them are the parents’ anxiety, whether the child is present, and whether the child has the ability and need to be present, regardless of it. Objectively, it has produced a new consequence: identity misplacement. Quoting the opinion of psychological counselor Zeng Qifeng, in family relationships, whoever uses more intelligence is the parent, and who uses more emotions is the child. By this standard, families with misaligned identity are everywhere.
It is still understood from the relationship of power. Traditionally, of course, parents are the performers of power, and children are the party of obedience. Parents use the function of emotions to release a signal. For example, if parents are dissatisfied or angry, children will naturally obey. This is a rigid obedience relationship.
But where emotions do not work, but intelligence works, another form of power use is applicable, that is, soft persuasion begins to replace hard obedience, and once this conversion occurs, it means that the relationship has begun to rationalize.
What is the rationalization of parent-child relationship? Generally speaking, it can be understood from two aspects, one is the disenchantment of human values, and the other is the re-regulation of the rules of the private sphere.
To put it simply, in pre-modern times, the value standard of parent-child relationship was defined by “father as son”, the parent’s order is the law and enjoys considerable authority, and this authority is protected in a stable private sphere It is difficult to be easily challenged.
However, in the process of rapid Chinese-style modernization (and the “Cultural Revolution” that must be mentioned), the human value foundation of the private sector has been almost destroyed, and kinship has also been distorted in the public domain. It has been restored, but the human-ethnic relationship has been greatly damaged. In addition to the impact of the mobile society, the authority and sacredness of parents have long been wiped out.
This provides a big background for the psychological changes of the child’s role.
In the past, children care about their relationship with their parents, but now, it is parents who care about their relationship with their children.
The effect of psychological equality is significant. Now even if the children do not have enough independent economic ability, they can at least use some discourse power and still have a psychological advantage. This is a balance of the traditional one-sided parent-child relationship.
On the other hand, while the value of human relations is not enough to provide sufficient support for the authority of parents, the private sphere is regulated by the public sphere constructed by jurisprudence and market principles. The consciousness of equality of rights and dignity and equality have entered together. Parent-child relationship.
The above is the basic process of rationalizing the parent-child relationship, and it is also the context of great changes. It is objective in itself, but it is accompanied by too many “conflicting consequences.”
Because China’s changes are too fast, too many social issues that both parties cannot afford are squeezed into the parent-child relationship, and parents cannot emotionally empathize with their children. This is reflected in the post-80s and post-90s. For a marriage. This was the case with a post-90s friend who was around, because she was frequently introduced to blind dates and resisted blind dates, and she had not spoken to her father for two months. Earlier, she had experienced a long tug-of-war between her and her parents. As a result, her parents were furious, crying, and used various methods.
The two sides were deadlocked, couldn’t hear each other, and couldn’t really communicate. Because parents and children use two sets of languages and two sets of values, one side is a firm believer in “good for you” rudeness, and the other is a refusal to “don’t control me”, and between these two sets of values But there is no bridge for empathy.
The ability to empathize needs to be nurtured in an environment full of emotions. People who grow up in a generally deprived environment can only lack the ability to take care of their food and clothing, and it is almost impossible to take care of their spirits and emotions. When it comes to parents, they want to give love, but don’t know how.
Disparate values, combined with a lack of empathy, are basically the most important factors in various deteriorating parent-child relationships.
And after this topic has been discussed for so long, finally with the intervention of various psychology, the observation at the beginning of the article appeared: social discussion began to shift the focus of analysis to the family and parents, “why does the family hurt people” It’s not your child “beyond the native family”, this is a change in consciousness. Think about it, more than ten years ago, the focus of analysis was on rebellious children.
In a parent-child relationship that is objectively rationalized but still subjectively unsatisfactory, children will be aggressive to their parents. This aggressiveness is manifested in the form of “adolescent rebellion” at a young age, and then becomes older. If it hasn’t changed, it will be called “unfilial piety”, but nowadays, “rebellious” and “unfilial piety” have carried away too many pots.