Should We Be Worried About Children In Modelling?

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A video showing the mother of a popular three-year-old Chinese model kicking her daughter has raised concerns over China’s child modelling industry. According to China Daily, the mother allegedly kicked her daughter because she was “too tired to perform”. However, after this incident came to light, two other clips have emerged on social media, showing the same woman physically abusing her daughter. This incident, despite the said women issuing a public apology for her behaviour, has sparked a debate both in and outside China over treatment of child models. And India should be a part of this discussion too.


  • A video of a child model’s mother kicking her has surfaced in China. 
  • The mother kicked her daughter because she was allegedly “too tired to perform”.
  • Abuse at hands of parents is a distressing prospect. Which is why we all need to show more concern towards child models in our own country.
  • But when your own protector raises a hand on you, whom do you turn to for help?

A Chinese mother allegedly kicked her three-year-old model daughter because she was “too tired to perform”.

It is such a scary prospect, that a parent would turn to abuse her child, to get out a performance from her. Shouldn’t a three-year-old be taking rest if she is too tired to perform? Why is the child under such professional obligations, that too at such a tender age, that she must perform despite being exhausted? The reports also say that this little girl is a well-know child model. Will any viewer be convinced by her smile from the other side of the screen, if they get to know what she is being put through?

In our own country many products showcase child models in ad campaigns. We look at those sunny faces and broad smile and feel happy. We want to buy that ice cream which a cute little munchkin is eating.Or those tiny shorts or shoes that boy with a toothy smile is advertising. Our kids see these happy faces as their kin. They want the chocolates and crisps they eat. Or the toys they play with.

But after reading this story how sure can we be that those smiles are genuine?

But after reading this story how sure can we be that those smiles are genuine? That the energy we see on our small screen isn’t hiding exhaustion from overworking. Thus we must ask some very important questions. Are these children willingly into modelling? In case of young wards, how much say do their parents have in the amount of time they must spend working? Are these parents pushing their own ambitions and needs on their children? But above everything else, who stand between them and the ambitions of their parents?

For many parents, parenting is akin to ownership of a child. Where you take all the decisions for your ward, harsh or otherwise, convinced that you know what is best for them. Often such parents end up plastering their own desires and ambitions on their children, thinking that their children will earn them the glory they couldn’t. We have known of merciless parents who push their wards to study hard, to practices art forms like singing and dancing endlessly, so that they can win competitions etc. This is no different.

So at the end, doesn’t it say a lot about Asian style of parenting where wards have to carry parental expectations of success? It happens in China and it happens in India. It happens in fields like education and in modelling. So if we must take a lesson from this heartbreaking story, it is that the way we parent needs to change. No child deserves a kick from her own mother for feeling tired. Not for money, or for all the popularity fame can bring.

Picture Credits: IndiaTimes

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.