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Should Parents Be Punished for Their Kids’ Bad Behavior? Chinese Draft Law Says Yes.

China family education parenting

China is introducing a new law to promote “scientific” family education in the country. Photo: d3sign via Getty Images

China is planning to introduce a law to punish parents if their young children exhibit “serious misconduct” or commit crimes.

According to an August draft of the family education promotion law, parents would be reprimanded or ordered to receive parenting training if their underage children misbehave.

“There are many reasons the youth display bad behaviors, and insufficient or inappropriate family education is a key cause,” Zang Tiewei, a spokesman for the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People’s Congress, China’s parliamentary body, was quoted as saying by the Beijing News.

The legislation is the latest effort in the Communist Party’s broader initiative to bring China’s younger generations onto what it deems a healthy development path that is free from holiday tutoring classes, gaming addictions, and chaotic celebrity fandoms.

A new draft of the law is being reviewed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress this week, Zang said on Monday. The latest draft has not been released, but the spokesman said it had been revised to include clauses on the legal obligations for parents to prevent their children from taking on excessive academic burdens or getting addicted to the internet.

Parents will be required to manage minors’ study, rest, and entertainment time in a reasonable way, he said, adding that the new law would help ease parents’ anxiety in bringing up their kids and equip them with “scientific” family education methods. The proposed law would also prevent violent abuse of children as an incorrect way of family education, Zang said.

Most countries have laws requiring parents to provide their children with proper care and education. A number of countries, including the United States and Canada, have parenting liability laws that hold parents or legal guardians financially responsible for intentional injuries or damage caused by their children.

But China’s upcoming family education law seeks to encourage parents to educate their children in more specific ways endorsed by the state.

The draft legislation says family education should promote traditional Chinese culture and the party’s revolutionary culture. Parents should tell minors to love the party, respect the elderly, and have a frugal lifestyle, in a way that “combines strictness and tenderness,” according to the draft.

The proposed law also requires local governments to write parenting handbooks and train family education instructors to tell people how to raise their children.

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