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Worried parents keep an eye on their kids
( 2003-09-29 10:22) (china.org.cn)

Today with more and more Chinese students attending schools away from home, parents are sometimes so concerned that they even give up their jobs to follow their children and keep them company.

The accompanied students range from pupils to doctoral students.

The reasons for parents choosing to keep their children company are many. Some are afraid that their children might pick up bad habits and could not take care of themselves away from home; some just put too high expectations on their children and feel better if they know that their children are secure.

A Beijing guy, 18, was admitted to a top university in Shanghai about 1,200 kilometers south of Beijing. Before he left for the "remote" southern city, his mother bought him an expensive laptop, a Nokia handset, a Casio watch, American made clothes and shoes ˇ­and booked two air tickets to Shanghai for herself and son. She decided to stay with her son in Shanghai after they arrived there and even rented a doubled-room house in the neighborhood of her son's university with the help of friends in Shanghai.

When asked about why she wanted to keep her son company in Shanghai, the mother said, "My son has graduated from a municipal key middle school. He once ranked second in his grade when he was in Grade 1, junior stage but his scores dropped sharply the next year. Later I kept an eye on him for a period and found out that he spent all his spare time in an underground game bar. From then on I have followed his footsteps until he has now been accepted into a university. "

A young woman college student from southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region now studies at a university in Nanning, the capital city of the region. Last semester, she indulged in Web surfing and fell in love with an attendant at an Internet caf¨¦ and finally failed her exams for five courses at the end of the semester. Her family in Yulin, another city in Guangxi, heard about the story and in no time her father closed down his noodle caf¨¦, the family's major income resource, and rushed to Nanning.

Now the father lodges in a relative's house in Nanning. Everyday he "patrols" the 31 Internet Caf¨¦s in the vicinity of his daughter's university and doesn't finish his tour until he makes sure she is at her class.

"I'll stay here till the end of this semester to watch her completely break off her relationship with the guy," he vowed.

The flow of accompanying parents is bi-directional: from cities to the countryside and vice versa.

In recent years an increasing number of farmers on the outskirt of Beijing, who are gradually shaking off poverty, rent houses in the city's urban areas to keep their children company after they transfer them to urban schools. The farmers' aim is to prepare their children for enrollment in top universities and finding good jobs in the future.

On the other hand, it's by no means rare that urban parents send children to schools at suburban districts and counties whose exam preparation education is not necessarily inferior to their urban counterparts. It's reported that in a suburban county of China's southwestern metropolis Chengdu City in Sichuan Province there is an "Accompanying Parents' Street" between two provincial-level key middle schools where demand for renting houses always exceeds supply.

But children don't seem to feel grateful to their parents as they are supposed to for such painstaking accompanying effort.

The Beijing guy attending a Shanghai university said that he applied to a non-Beijing university just to escape the umbrella of his family and to enjoy a carefree college life but didn't expect that his mother insisted on keeping him company to Shanghai and that she even had a plan to buy a residence there.

"I might not be free forever. It's really horrible!" he said.

The woman college student from Guangxi said she understands her father's thinking but cannot accept his interference with her date.

It's reported that a junior middle school student committed suicide in protest against her parents' interference.

Qiu Zeqi, a sociology professor from Peking University, said that Chinese society has undergone radical transformations since the country began to reform and open up in 1978 and today a number of Chinese have spare money and time, which allows them to accompany their children to study.

But most of the parents have failed to foster their children's capabilities of self-dependence and discipline. They just pay too much attention to things that are actually the schools' responsibilities, for instance, academic achievements, he said.

Parent companions should know that their accompanying their children can only exacerbate their children's mental growth, interfering with their study and learning to take care of themselves and retarding the maturation of their personalities, Qiu said.

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