China’s “Wolf Dad”

The latest sensation in the Chinese media is a father, dubbed the “Wolf Dad,” who claims that his parenting methods, which are centered around regular beatings, are solely responsible for his children being admitted to the very competitive Beijing University. His son, however, seems to disagree, saying, somewhat obliquely, that, “There may be some distance from the best results.” NPR’s Louisa Lim interviewed Wolf Dad Xiao Baiyou and his family:

Xiao, 47, describes himself as the emperor of his family. As such, he’s laid down an extraordinary system of rules for his children.

“I have more than a thousand rules: specific detailed rules about how to hold your chopsticks and your bowl, how to pick up food, how to hold a cup, how to sleep, how to cover yourself with a quilt,” Xiao says. “If you don’t follow the rules, then I must beat you.”

For each violation of the rules, such as sleeping in the wrong position, the penalty is to be hit with a feather duster on the legs or the palm of the hand. If it doesn’t leave a mark, then it won’t make an impact, Xiao says.

Lim also interviews a 10-year-old who wrote a manual guiding children in strategies to combat authoritarian parents:

“Move No. 4 is useful. You run to Mom and throw yourself on her,” says Chen Leshui, who wrote the book. “Lots of kids say they use this because it makes Mom’s heart go soft, and it makes her cry.”

Leshui says she wrote the book with her friend Deng Xinyi after a particularly humiliating incident.

“Once, when I didn’t do so well in an exam, a friend came over to play, and my mom picked up my exam paper and said, ‘Your friends will all laugh at you,’ ” Leshui says. “My friend and I went to hide in my room and drew these pictures on pieces of paper.”


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