Parents' cruel remarks hurt kids

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 July, 2011, 12:00am


Many parents are not aware that scolding their children can have serious effects on their emotional development, a survey found.

Unicef Hong Kong's online radio programme Voice of Youth polled 438 parents and 503 students from Primary Five to Form Three recently.

More than 30 per cent of parents think it is acceptable to make fun of their children's shortcomings and yell at them when they make mistakes. Almost half think light corporal punishment is acceptable.

Irene Chan Man-tuen, chief executive of the Hong Kong Committee for Unicef, said parents are not aware that cruel comments, even if casually made, can give their children emotional problems.

Common comments the poll found: 'You are a failure', 'Where's your brain?' and 'Everyone is better than you. Raising a pig is better than raising you.'

Nicolia Lokhey Ng, 16, said her mother picks on anything she wants to, such as her academic results, her clothes and even her height.

'I know that some criticism is good for me, but most of the time it is just really hurtful and lowers my self-esteem,' she said.

Ashley So Cin-ming, 15, said parents should not focus on the results of their children but the whole learning experience.