Constituting Rights as Needs: Psychology and the Rise of Middle-Class Childhood

Orna Naftali*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


“Are children persons (ren) or objects (wu)?” inquires the author of an essay entitled “Avoiding Erroneous Views of the Child in Family Education” (“Zai jiating jiaoyu zhong quzou ertong guan de wuqu”). The question might seem peculiar, but the writer, who is also the former Deputy Head of the Wuhan Education Research Institute in China, is not being rhetorical. In fact, he observes, many contemporary Chinese parents are not entirely sure of the answer. Deploring the commonplace tendency “to treat children as the showcase of the family” while pressuring them to devote a majority of their time to academic work and skill-enhancement activities, the author pleads with caregivers to “advance with the times” and to recognize that children are “not small-sized adults,” but persons with “unique emotional needs which vary according to their age” (Wang Peng, 2002: 104; emphasis added).

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationStudies in Childhood and Youth
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameStudies in Childhood and Youth
ISSN (Print)2731-6467
ISSN (Electronic)2731-6475

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Orna Naftali.


  • China Daily
  • Chinese Child
  • Chinese Parent
  • Cultural Revolution
  • Parent School


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