Six years ago, I received an email from a Chinese woman named Hongyan Li. “I enjoyed your book on Kids’Skills,” she wrote. “Parents and teachers here are in desperate need of better tools than corporal punishment, which is legal and commonly used with children. Can we meet next time I’m in Finland?”
She’d worked as a telecommunications engineer for many years in Finland, where I live. When she returned to China in 2008, she decided to change career tracks and trained as a coach. This training, which gave her some psychology building blocks, combined with her exposure to the Finnish education system, had made her painfully aware of the problems with Chinese education: the severe competition, anxious parents, overstressed children, outdated teaching models, and use of scolding and even public humiliation as methods of discipline. She felt she needed to do something about it.
I’ve since collaborated with her to teach Chinese teachers and parents Kids’Skills, a solution-focused and child-friendly approach to helping children overcome emotional and behavioral problems. Now, I visit China twice a year, and we have local trainers in most of China’s provinces. Hundreds of people are helping children and families use this solutions-focused approach. Liu Haiying, a freelance counselor from the city of Hangzhou, is one of them. This is her story of how she applied it in her work.