Date
22 October 2017
In Hong Kong, many parents have to work obsessively, often resulting in troubled relationships with family members. Photo: HKEJ
In Hong Kong, many parents have to work obsessively, often resulting in troubled relationships with family members. Photo: HKEJ

What we can learn from this Hong Kong middle-class family

Ka-yee, who is an only child, is an emotional girl lacking motivation to learn in her final year of primary education.

She only has a few friends and classmates find her too radical.

The 12-year-old often complains about lacking care and attention and her class teacher agrees.

Ka-yee is actually quite talented but she has lost her drive to work hard.

Many teachers try to meet her parents but they are always busy and absent from school events, making teacher-parent cooperation impossible.

Ka-yee’s parents face a lot of problems at work that they are forced to give up helping their daughter with her homework and correcting her behavior.

While her father is an engineer with a good income, he has to work overtime and do frequent business trips to the mainland.

He has been estranged from his daughter since Ka-yee was very young.

On the other hand, Ka-yee’s mother is a frontline staff of a top Hong Kong bank. Thanks to her hectic work and an uncertain economy, she tends to work obsessively in order to keep her job.

She has thought of quitting but dismissed the idea as the family depends on her staff discount for the mortgage.

The parents are not expected at school events. They’re aware of their little girl’s disappointment and the reasons for her rebellious behavior but they have not done anything about them.

They’re unlikely to be an isolated case. Many middle-class families are similarly struggling.

That’s why many parents go to every length to push their children to extremes for success. They can’t imagine that their children would be following in their footsteps and living a challenging life.

While children are the focus of society, let us not forget that parents also suffer from the system and they are also in need of support.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 1.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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DY/AC/RA

FHKAM (Psychiatry)

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