Nearly 80 per cent of Hong Kong children do not know how to dress themselves, and about 60 per cent of them do not know how to take a bath on their own, according to a survey released on Children's Day yesterday.
The survey also found that 62 per cent of the city's children aged between four and 12 did not help out with household chores at home, and 67 per cent did not tidy up their own toys and belongings after use.
But a majority of the 500 parents polled in the study felt that this did not pose a problem.
They said servants should be responsible for the household chores, that housework was "dangerous" and that their children should focus on studying instead.
Child and educational psychologist Gemini Cheung Ming-lai said that parents who spoilt their children would end up creating a society of "princes and princesses".
"Doing housework can enhance children's organisation ability, independence and self-confidence," she said.
"If parents place excessive emphasis on children's academic achievements … this could lead to the problem of many people in Hong Kong having 'high knowledge but low capacity' - that is, people who lack the basic ability to take care of themselves."
Among parents who wanted their children to get involved in some housework, the most popular methods they used to encourage them to do so was to offer them monetary incentives or gifts.
But Cheung said that rather than resorting to bribery, parents should "teach children to have the motivation to help others and take care of themselves".
The study was sponsored by Tai Po Mega Mall, a Sun Hung Kai property, with the poll conducted in the mall last month.
"There has been a lot of talk recently about whether Hong Kong children are spoilt … We wanted to do an investigation to see if it was true," said Bonald Chan Shuk-hang, Sun Hung Kai Properties' senior promotion manager.