Tiger Mother, Meet Wolf Dad

After Amy Chua’s “Tiger Mother” prompted a wave of debate on parenting when it hit Chinese bookshelves in January, a Hong Kong businessman hailing himself as the “wolf dad” has seen his own controversial manifesto on tough love become a bestseller since it was published this summer. From Xinhua News:

Xiao Baiyou, a father of four, claims to spend 90 percent of his time and energy on parenting. He rules with absolute authority at home, controlling nearly every aspect of his children’s lives — from cartoons, snacks, and pocket money to extracurricular activities and their friends.

“As kids, they have no judgment about what’s right and wrong, so I teach them,” according to his book that has become a bestseller since being published on June 1.

Even when the wolf father is away from the lair on business, his children must call him for permission to drink sodas. Those caught violating the wolf father’s rules can expect physical punishments, he writes.

A Global Times profile on Xiao last week detailed the disciplinary strategy he long-employed with his four children, three of which have already entered Peking University, and a belief in “stick parenting” that “would see Xiao imprisoned for child abuse in many countries”:

Xiao has his own rules and lengthy self-justifications. He summarized several principles of his punishments: He only beat hands and legs, a lengthy lesson always preceded the physical punishment to justify his beating, and whenever one child is punished, the other three were required to stand besides to witness their siblings’ pain. Any yelling out or tentative move away from the falling cane would only result in more punishment.

He stopped beating his children when they turned 12, as he believes that above that age, the kids’ personality and habits are pretty much formed, and further beating would only bring more harm than good.

Xiao had a price tag for each error a child made. A mistake in an exam meant five blows, and a stop-over at a classmate’s house after school 10 blows, as did talking back to your parents or telling a lie.

“I never felt soft-hearted when I was beating them. Just like the national law, the family rules can’t be easily broken by any kinds of excuse. But on top of that, I will make sure that they know I do this only for their own good,” said Xiao.

November 21, 2011 5:55 AM
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