This isn’t the first time the Chinese have been in the news for their strict parenting techniques. When Chinese-American Amy Chua came out with her book, “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, it was met with a lot of criticism.
Now it’s Xiao Baiyou’s turn. Also Chinese, the 47-year-old businessman recently published a book called “That’s Why They Go to Peking University”, about his fathering techniques. He believes that his practice of hitting his children with a rattan cane helped them get into top colleges. He has been nicknamed “Wolf Dad” after his brutal methods, and he is actually proud of the title. “Wolves look ferocious and brutal, yet they have great wisdom and are exceptionally tender to their cubs,” he said. His brutality, according to him, is only out of love.
Photo © China Daily
Xiao’s book talks about all the rules he had established in the house when his kids were growing up. There were rules for everything – no Coca Cola while surfing the internet, no pocket money, no air conditioning even in the summer, no extra curricular activities or socializing. In fact, his son and three daughters weren’t allowed to make friends until college. The worst of it all, they couldn’t even open the refrigerator door without permission. Punishment for breaking the rules was simple and straightforward – lashes with a rattan cane. His eldest son, Xiao Yao, 21, was the one who received the most beatings, while his sisters were forced to stand nearby and watch. The boy was expected to set an example for the younger ones.
Photo © Louisa Lim/NPR
We’re not sure as to what the kids have to say on the way they were raised, but Xiao himself reminisces about the time he was beaten thousands of times by his own mother. “Only when you are beaten frequently as a child can you learn discipline and etiquette. Bearing the pains helps strengthen your mind, build up your character and develop a strong will.” He goes on to mention that fathers should behave like army generals, but Chinese parents these days are too soft. Xiao believes children below the age of 18 are like animals and cannot tell the difference between right and wrong. Three of his kids now attend one of China’s most prestigious schools, the Peking University.
The businessman doesn’t plan to stop with his own offspring. He plans to extend his legacy to his grandchildren as well, and dreams of having a dozen grandsons with postdoctoral degrees. “As the only male in the Xiao family line, I feel obliged to cultivate a whole family of masters.” Of course, his methods have been received with mixed reactions in China. While the experts are divided, Liu Shibin, a 48-year-old taxi driver in Tianjin, says that these methods are way too extreme.
In response to all the criticism, Xiao has only one thing to say – that history will prove him right.