Selfish, Narcissistic Children

December 1, 2010

A friend forwarded a link to me of Dr. Mark J. Perry’s China’s Single-Child Adults Too Selfish for Marriage?

It appears that the question mark indicates Dr. Perry is asking a question of his virtual audience. Here’s my answer.

Dr. Perry sites an NPR All Things Considered report by Louisa Lim’s Lightning Divorces Strike China’s ME Generation.

Lim says Beijing has the highest divorce rate nationwide, with 39 percent of all marriages ending in a split.

One Beijing woman, Cheng, tells Lim of her six-month marriage that ended as fast as it started. She blamed the divorce on belonging to the generation of spoiled singletons, known as the post-1980s generation.

One answer may explain the change in China’s divorce rate is that eight years ago, a married couple needed permission from their work unit to divorce. Today, couples have the freedom to divorce without asking.

However, Dr. Perry, a professor of economics and finance in the US, seems to think that the upsurge in China’s divorce rate is because of the selfish and narcissistic generation of spoiled one-child children in China.

My question is how does China’s one-child generation compare to the US’s self-esteem generations?

A study by the Pew Research Center, in association with Time magazine says that 44% of Americans age 18 to 29 say marriage is obsolete. Forty-one percent of the next age group (30 to 49) says the same thing. Source: Washington Post

This pretty much covers America’s self-esteem generations since that method of child rearing began in the late 1960s.

Data from a US Census report says about 50% of first marriages in the US for men under age 45 may end in divorce.

In fact, China National News reports that one in five marriages in China ends in divorce — that’s 20%.

The interesting fact is that there has always been exemptions in China’s one-child policy, and the rules are changing all the time.

China’s 56 minorities, which adds up to more than one hundred million people, have no restrictions to the number of children a family may have and many rural Chinese may have two children due to the need for more hands on the farm.

Recently, due to changes in demographics, married couples in Shanghai that grew up as one-child, may have two children, and anyone in China may have more if he or she can afford to pay the fine, which means many of China’s rich and famous have started a trend by having an average of three.

It appears that China may easily reverse any damage the one-child policy may have caused in much of urban China, but the US seems stuck in “self-esteem” mode no matter what research shows us about the trend to grow up as a selfish narcissist when raised this way.

In 2001, the New York Times reported there were three withering studies of self-esteem released in the United States, all of which had the same central message: people with high self-esteem pose a greater threat to those around them than people with low self-esteem and feeling bad about yourself is not the cause of our country’s biggest, most expensive social problems.

Discover how some Avoid China’s “one-child” Policy


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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