In recent years, the term “chicken baby” has become popular in China. Crazy parents, who obsessively want their children to become a super kid and ‘succeed’ in every field, push their kids to get ‘chicken blood injection’ as it enhances hyperactivity among them. The demand of ‘chicken blood treatment,’ is on rise in China which used to be a fad during the Cultural Revolution in 1960s. People would wait in line, bring their roosters, to receive fresh chicken blood, which they considered to be the ‘cure-all’ for many health problems, like baldness, infertility, cancer, etc. Media reports suggest that as a result of this, while some hire exclusive tutors and best sports coaches, others go to the extent of buying houses next to the best public schools in the city these days.
Of the many different styles of parenting that exist in China like “helicopter parenting” in the US, for instance, there is something called ‘chicken parenting’, which is getting very popular in the country. The concept of helicopter parenting is defined as “a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child”.
According to SupChina.com, much like the concept of helicopter parenting, chicken parenting is also an intensive parenting method, but on the steroid that uses ‘chicken blood’. The outlet mentions that in the last few years, the term ‘chicken baby’ has become quite popular in the country, especially in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, where there are many “obsessive middle-class Chinese parents”.
As per the report people who practise this form of parenting, just one school is not enough, good grades are not enough, since everyone else is also performing equally well. There is now an overload of expectations from kids. There has been a recent education reform in China, for which “a student’s physique, cultural and artistic skills, as well as international experiences” are also taken into consideration for school admissions.
It has been reported that chicken parents send kids to training institutions where they can learn English, Math, Chinese, or other subjects. And like their counterparts in the US, ‘chicken babies’ in China also take up sports, music, culture, and other such activities, and volunteer in the community; these count as bonus points during school entrance exams.
The SupChina.com report reveals that China’s childhood myopia rate is among the highest in the world. Its National Health Commission found 71 per cent of middle schoolers and 81 per cent of high schoolers are near-sighted. It has caused a new hype over ‘orthokeratology lenses’ – ‘OK lenses’ -which are “designed to be worn overnight, temporarily improving vision during the day”. These glasses are expensive ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 still they are popular among chicken parents.
Depression among Chinese teenagers is also on the rise. The 2019-20 National Mental Health Development Report found 25 per cent of Chinese adolescents suffered from depression and 7.4 per cent had severe depression, the outlet mentions. Much of the pressure that children are feeling comes from their parents, the report quoted the director of the department of psychiatry at Beijing children’s hospital.
More importantly, children are not allowed to become individuals. They can develop a sense of entitlement and become anxious when left on their own. Some observers view chicken parenting as just another example of involution, a term describing intense competition in China, and argue that parents should protect children from this relentless competition instead of living their unfulfilled dreams through them.