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A video of a mother slapping herself after she lost her temper with her infant went viral in China. Photo: Weibo

Emotional breakdown: sympathy for Chinese mother who furiously slaps herself in front of her baby after failing to put him to sleep

  • The public was sympathetic to the mother even though she admitted to slapping the baby out of frustration
  • Her plight brought to attention the pressures faced by many mothers in China

A mother of two children in China received sympathy online after breaking down and hitting herself in front of her baby, even though she also admitted to slapping the infant earlier.

In a video that went viral online, the woman, surnamed Cheng, from Guizhou province in southern China, began to slap herself because she could not put her child to sleep, according to Dianshi News.
Cheng said she returned home on May 25 after taking her oldest child to school and had walked in on her infant sleeping, so she carried him to bed.
“But he woke up and kept crying, so I yelled at him and hit him,” Cheng said.


How much does it cost to raise a child in China?

How much does it cost to raise a child in China?

Cheng then felt regret and remorse after losing her temper, so she slapped herself as punishment.

“I reflected after that,” Cheng said. “I will learn to control my emotions and change my parenting style.”

Instead of blaming the mother for her actions, many people sympathised with her after seeing the video.

“I feel so bad for the mother,” one person said. “Only those who have cared for a child understand the frustration.”

Another wrote: “The creation of a baby is the work of two people; how did raising a baby become the job of one person?”

Cheng is one of tens of thousands of mothers in mainland China who are experiencing a lack of support from their families and society while raising their children.

According to data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics in 2019, women aged 25 to 34 spent 1 hour and 55 minutes on child care every day, with men spending 29 minutes.

He woke up and kept crying, so I yelled at him and hit him.
A mother who went viral in China

A mother who complained about her husband’s lack of help in a parenting forum described her daily routine as follows:

“At 6am, I will be woken by the child lying beside me. At 8am, I prepare the child’s clothes, diapers and three meals for the day and leave for work. At 10am, I find a place to nurse. At noon, I rush home to feed the baby. At 6pm, I give him a bath and massage and change his clothes. At 7pm, I play with him and, at 8pm, I can finally take a breather after putting him to bed.”

Guo Ge, a lecturer at the Department of Sociology at the University of Science and Technology in Beijing, wrote in a 2018 study “a lack of social support for parenting and the shackles of gender stereotypes,” which emphasise that “men are breadwinners, and women are homemakers” has caused child-rearing issues in China.

Guo said China should provide more comprehensive social support for families experiencing childcare challenges.