China / Society

Hospital simulates two-child family for single children

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-03-18 19:02
CHENGDU -- A Chinese hospital has launched psychological counseling that simulates a two-child family to help kids raised as single children prepare for unexpected siblings.

Children are given a doll to act as a younger sibling then asked to react and express their feelings in scenes like fighting with the "baby" or the mother attentively taking care of "him" or "her," before doctors intervene to give advice to the children and their parents.

Chengdu Women and Children's Central Hospital, in capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, initiated the "two-child family simulation" counseling service earlier this month, the first of its kind in China, said Wang Yuqiong, a psychologist with the hospital.

The service was created after the hospital received requests from dozens of anxious patients, including children and parents, in connection with having a second child in the family this year, when China ended the one-child policy after 30 years, allowing all families to have two children.

The hospital has seen 20 families since the service began being offered twice a week beginning in March.

Fear of losing their parents' love is widespread among kids who have been showered with attention as only children. In an extreme case, a mother in east China's Jiangsu Province had to end her pregnancy following her 13-year-old daughter's suicide attempt as a threat last year.

Wang said parents planning to have another child can turn to their new service taking their child to avoid possible psychological problems in the future.

"The first child's long-term anxiety may lead to psychological crisis if not properly handled," Wang said.

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