They are called “bear kids” – unruly children whose parents do little to discipline them. The phrase has become popular in China and a newly viral video posted to social media by police helps explain why.
It shows a boy from the city of Chongqing peeing all over the control panel of an elevator.
The boy – who appears to be about 10 years-old – zips up his trousers as he prepares to walk out. That’s when he gets his comeuppance: the doors don’t open, the control panel begins to flicker, and the lift is plunged into darkness. His urinating has triggered an electrical fault.
The Ministry of Public Security posted the footage on its weibo earlier this month, with this warning to parents: “Please educate and take good care of your children!”
The boy was not harmed and the police say he was rescued quickly – though some argued online he should have been left to stew in the lift to reap the consequences of his actions.
Not surprisingly the incident has rekindled the debate on how best to bring up children in a rapidly changing country.
China is not the same society these children’s parents or grandparents grew up in, and ideas about education and discipline have shifted radically, just as the country’s environment and economic status has also transformed.
Some argue this means modern parents are often too liberal or overindulge their children.
“A child is the mirror of his family,” proclaimed one of the millions of netizens who viewed the video. “What if the child had hurt himself? What if he had hurt others? Parents need to educate their kids,” demanded another.
Sadly a similar case in Zhejiang over the summer saw a boy fall seven floors down a lift shaft as he tried to escape from an elevator short-circuited by his urinating. He only recently emerged from a coma.
In another less serious case from May 2016 two young boys destroyed an art work called Angel Wings at the Shanghai Museum of Glass. Shockingly the children were accompanied by their mothers who filmed the boys as they breached the security cordon and snapped one of the wings in half.
A few months later, a young boy in Ningbo shattered a giant model made of Lego that had taken the maker three days to construct.
In the last few years the People’s Daily has taken to publishing parenting tips to help with unruly kids.
“Put down your work, go to the child and let them know you are paying attention to their behaviour,” was one of its pieces of advice on how to combat fighting or snatching. “Ask them the reason for fighting and patiently listen to their thoughts. Tell the kids it is wrong to hit or rob from others, and ask them to say ‘please, thank you and sorry’,” it added.
Unfortunately the People’s Daily has given no guidance on getting boys to stop peeing in lifts.
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