A soldier father in east China was left disappointed when his own son couldn’t recognise him after he came home from a 10-month deployment.
Officer Kang of the People’s Liberation Army recently returned home for the Chinese New Year holidays and planned to give his son a big surprise.
However, the boy, aged around four, started crying and running away as soon as the ‘strange man’ approached him on the street outside his home in Binzhou, Shandong province.
The Heart-breaking footage filmed by the mother shows the boy running away from his father and saying to his mother: ‘You’re lying, you’re lying, he’s not my daddy.’
‘It’s your daddy! Look, it is your daddy!’ the mother can be heard saying to her son, her voice breaking up.
Another clip shows the boy walking past his father without a word.
‘We actually wanted to record the moment my son and my husband reunited,’ Mrs Kang told Beijing News. ‘We never expected him to not recongise his own father.’
She added that 10 months was probably too long for the child to be separated from his father.
Despite constantly talking to his dad via FaceTime and looking at his photos, the boy still couldn’t recognise his own father when he stood in front of him.
‘Maybe he looked different in real life than in his photos. And that probably scared the him,’ the mother said.
Eventually, the mother had to Facetime her husband in the middle of the street to ‘prove’ that the man in front of them was no stranger.
‘He finally recognised him in the end,’ she said.
‘He eventually gave his father a big hug in the elevator. We were all crying,’ she added.
Many net users were brought to tears by the heart-breaking homecoming.
‘I can’t imagine what the father was going through at that moment,’ one user commented on Chinese microblogging site Weibo.
It’s very difficult for a boy to grow up without his father by his side,’ another said.
‘A big salute to our soldiers for serving our country!’ one comment read.
Experts say that a parent leaving for military service could greatly disrupt a child’s development, especially at a young age.
‘Kids often experience more anxiety,’ said Dr Michael Faran, a psychiatrist, retired colonel and chief of the Child, Adolescent and Family Behavioral Health Office at Army Medical Command.
Some studies suggest about 30 per cent of children will have difficulties as a result of deployment, according to a report in the US Army publication.
‘There’s an increase in depression and anxiety. There can be a decrease in academic performance. In some adolescents, there’s an increase in use of drugs and alcohol. And there has been more gang activity reported in some teens,’ Dr Faran noted.