Chinese “Parenting Expert” Boasts About Beating His Children

Move over Tiger Mom, the latest self-proclaimed Asian “parenting expert” is Wolf Dad. Chinese father Xiao Baiyou wrote a book originally titled Beat Them Into Peking University, where he boasts about beating his son and three daughters. The book, with the title later changed to So, Brothers and Sisters of Peking University, describes how Xiao “ruled” his family through a system of more than one thousand rules. The penalty for breaking any of those rules was a beating and, Xiao says “if it doesn’t leave a mark, it won’t make an impact” (source: NPR).

Break a Rule, Get a Beating

The things that were held up as “rules” in Baiyou’s range from the petty to the ridiculous. They include:

  • How to hold chopsticks
  • How to pick up food
  • How to hold a cup
  • What position to sleep in
  • How to cover yourself with a blanket
  • No air conditioner
  • No pocket money
  • No friends or social activities

If they broke the rules, it was always punished with a beating. NPR describes his approach:

He started beating them when they were 3 years old, and stopped at age 12.

“From 3 to 12, kids are mainly animals,” he says. “Their humanity and social nature still aren’t complete. So you have to use Pavlovian methods to educate them.”

Xiao’s method involved all of the children watching each punishment. Any transgression of the rules by a younger sibling would also earn a beating for the older siblings, for failing to be a good model. Despite the sometimes daily beatings, Xiao sees himself as the best dad in the world and repeatedly claims his unorthodox methods “have no shortcomings.”

In most countries, the regular beatings used by Xiao would be considered child abuse, but he told NPR that “in China, beating kids is part of their upbringing. It’s not violence. It’s not against the law.” He told China Daily that children can only be taught through brutal means.

Wolf Dad and Tiger Mom: Typical Asian Parenting?

In her post, The Sad Truth About the Tiger Mother, Care2 blogger Kristina Chew writes:

While many have criticized Chua for her ‘extreme parenting’ that involves insisting that her daughters practice musical instruments for hours even on vacation in foreign countries and threatening to give away their toys to the Salvation Army, the most troubling aspect of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is how it reinforces some very outdated, pernicious, and negative stereotypes about Asian Americans.

The Wolf Dad story will unfortunately probably do the same, despite the fact that there are all-American parents, even judges, beating their children too and all-American books like To Train Up a Child that promote child abuse.

Chinese Kids Fight Back
At this point, Xiao’s kids don’t seem to have much to say. His oldest son did tell NPR that he “loves and hates is father at the same time.” One of Chua’s daughters has a lot more to say, however. Amy Chua now has her own blog, new tiger in town, where she talks about her life now as an adult, but often looks back and comments on her upbringing.

But beyond their families, the strict authoritarian style of parenting is getting some tough competition. In The Complete Book of Combat with Mom, two Beijing 10-year olds detail hard and soft strategies for deflecting parental discipline. According to Ed Vantage, which published the images from the book, “the authors, Chen Leshui and Deng Xinyi, have a practical and devious solution for almost everything mothers have thrown at them.” The guide, which was written in ballpoint pen on notebook paper, was uploaded to the Internet by the Leshui’s father.

Hope for the Future?
Leshui’s book went viral on the Internet, while Xiao’s book has sold close to 120,000 copies. The abuse described by Xiao is horrific. His book shouldn’t be published and he should be punished for abusing his children. But perhaps there is hope for the next generation with children like Leshui taking the lead.

Related Stories
Texas Judge Caught Beating Daughter on Video
Beating Children In The Name of God
The Sad Truth About the Tiger Mother

Photo credit: jadis1958 on flickr


Janine H.
Janine H5 years ago

This is so terrible. Always when i hear about terrible things it makes med sad, and i cannot understand how someone could do something terrible - bully, threat, hurt, rape or kill a person or animal. When i was a child this also happened to me... and surviving this is more terrible than not (parents and other may think different, but a victim?), living with all this pain... living with guilty feelings... full with hate for the own self
No one can understand, because most people cannot imagine this, cannot imagine how much it change. Some of them think, that this would not be so terrible, because all would make some sexual experiences, and so it would not matter if there were some without own interest or wish. This cruel and superficial society makes me sick.

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

Kat Head
Katherine H6 years ago

This is child abuse. He needs to be brought to justice.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G6 years ago

Maybe he suffers from brain damage from the received beatings of his dear parents...

ida w.
Ida Nga Sze W6 years ago

some people called the chinese barbaric here. we still have the inprint traditions of looking after our parents and elders. living with them.

Janice S.
Janice S6 years ago

How absolutely horrible!!! Sounds like China needs to do some serious re-thinking about how they raise their children and about making some child abuse laws!! This man should be in prison not bragging about how he abused his children. They should sue him for the profits of the book and speak out or write about the abuse form their perspectives.

Christina B.
Christina B6 years ago

I think the saddest part of it all is that he is convinced he's done the right thing. That man will probably never acknowledge the harm he's done.

Claire M.
Claire M6 years ago

"Everything begins at home" is one of my favorite old sayings.

Children learn most by example, not by coercing them. That being said when a parent uses cruelty and force to teach, what they are teaching is that is how adults solve problems, by using force and cruelty. Also we can not expect those who do not understand what it feels like to have freedom to defend actual freedom in the future. Its more likely that such descendants will defend a banner that calls it self freedom and enforces slavery. The very same slavery that their parents gave them while they grew up.

Patricia McCaskill

He is fortunate that when his children (especially the boys) reached comparable height and body weight, that they didn't turn on him. He could have suddenly 'disappeared' one night. In my opinion, no loss.

This gives me hope, the 10 year olds whose book went viral. I do hope this will give others the strength to fight back against this kind of abuse and thinking.

@Joslynne D. A tad off topic but since you brought it up. You can't demonize the Chinese because they eat dogs and cats, we eat cows, rabbits, fish, sheep,chickens, horses.......I abhor the killing of other species for consumption, but one can't pick and choose because one feels certain species are cute and cuddly and ignore the suffering of others.

mari s.
Mari S6 years ago

I know this -- i would never beat children, in any form, be it physical, emotional, psychological, etc. Why? I don't know why. I do know this -- i'm not wired that way! Why would i inflict upon innocent and vulnerable children cruelty, pain, constant punishment, sadness, violence, depression, etc? It doesn't make sense. I feel sorry for everyone involved.

Clarissa W.
Clarissa W.6 years ago

joslynne D, how awful. one abusive man does not a 'barbaric' culture make. condemning all chinese people as 'not human' because of one sad and sick man is not accurate, nor is it just. how many americans beat their children? many of them, i'm sure- but you don't use that as a definitive judgement of american society, so why for the chinese?