Chinese "Eagle Dad" sparks debate on child rearing

Featured - September 1st, 2012
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A home video of a 4-year old boy running only in his underwear and shoes in the snow shed fresh light on Chinese parenting.

The video showing a crying, shivering He Yide, known as Duoduo, went viral on the Internet and caused an uproar. His father He Liesheng was critcized for ‘disciplining’ his child in that way. He told AFP that he was “training his son to be strong and manly”. He orders his son to do push ups and lie down on the snow. Many times, the little boy asked his father to hug him because he was cold. He also forced his son to sail a dingy on his own, saying that the “rough sea and natural elements will strengthen his son”.

The man is known as “Eagle Dad” and wears it like a badge, saying that eagles push young eagles off the cliff so they know how to fly on their own.

But the tough love was met by criticism and renewed debates whether this kind of child rearing is considered abusive. Director of Against Child Abuse in Hong Kong Jessica Ho said He’s disciplinary actions were “not appropriate”. Anita Chan, a Hong Kong-based child expert, said that strict parenting could damage the child’s personality when he grows up.

Chinese parents have become the forerunners of “extreme parenting”. Chinese American Amy Chua was known as “Tiger Mother” for laying strict rules in order to raise “perfect” daughters. Diao Baiyou, or “Wolf Dad” beats his children so they can get in Peking University, China’s top school. Xiao said: “In China, beating kids is part of their upbringing. It’s not violence. It’s not against the law”.