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2011/11/16 / Horace

After the Tiger Mother comes the “Wolf Father”

After the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua, comes the “Wolf Father” Xiao Baiyou (萧百佑).

Wolf Father

China Hush reports a man named Xiao Baiyou who sets strict restrictions on his children and will beat them if they fail to meet his standards. Although controversial and violent, Xiao’s parenting seems to be very successful. 3 of his 4 children have been admitted by Peking University, one of the most prestigious university in China. Many parents have sent their own children to Xiao so that he could teach them during the winter and summer vacations.

Xiao says,

Beating children is not that simple. My experience tells me it is not easy to do it scientifically and artistically. How to do it scientifically? I think there must be clear home rules and punishment measures. The kids have to know what is right, what is wrong, or whether they are repeating the same mistakes, where is the wrong part, how many whips to it, and no resistance during when receiving the punishment. And when the punishment’s over, they have to express their resolution to be good next time.

According to China Hush, Xiao believes

 All children have three natures: animality, humanity, and sociality. Before the age of 12, the animality in children plays a more important role therefore only corporal punishment can teach them what’s right and what’s wrong. “So I mainly adopt “beating” in their upbringing before 12 years old, after that their humanity is basically in form, I won’t beat them anymore and instead adopt lecturing.”


It is of great honor to have a child admitted by Peking University in China, however, Chinese media seem to have a negative attitude towards the Wolf Father’s parenting.

An editorial on Beijing News doubts whether being admitted by Peking University is really something worthwhile to show-off.

2 of them have Hong Kong ID, and the other  has acquired American citizenship. They got their Chinese education in China but took part in the College Entrance Examination as people from overseas. Anyone with a little bit knowledge about education knows that their being admitted into Peking University is of little value compared to other ordinary mainland students.

China Youth Daily doubts whether it is enough to prove one’s success just with an admission of a famous university.

Does having a child admitted by Peking University mean successful education? If so, it will be a tragedy of our education. Even from the narrowest bettermentics perspective, many PKU graduates are at the lowest level of society, some even have become criminals. How to account for all these?

The official website of the Ministry of Education even condemns Xiao’s parenting as “despotism”, bringing no good to his children.

This despotism requires children’s absolute obedience to parents. It will only lead to slavishness. It will not forge any creativity because there is no humanity in his [Xiao’s] heart.


Media also questions whether everything is just a showcase or publicity campaign for Xiao’s new book Therefore, Peking University Siblings and his private school.

China Youth Daily says everything might just be to “label him and publicize him so that he could meet market demands.” The article says the plots about beating and punishment might have been exaggerated by Xiao.

Such an opinion is shared by many, including the People’s Daily, in which an article  recalls the case of Amy Chua, the tiger mother. The article says many Chinese parents bought her book  of “little value of education” and they were appalled  after Amy admitted that her children’s success was more of a matter of their own efforts.


Nevertheless, Xiao is still popular.

A survey has shown that nearly 60% of students are willing to be parented by such a “wolf father” as long as they can be admitted by Peking University. Around 30 children have been sent to Xiao’s private school for the wolf-like training during vacations.

Another survey reveals that over 80% of the interviewees admit that they have seen such a “wolf father”, with more than 25% saying they know “many” similar cases around them. As for whether such a parenting will do any good, nearly 25% believes it is OK to beat children as long as they can succeed.

Xinhua Daily Telegraph, a daily newspaper run by the official Xinhua News Agency, says, “as long as our education is still test-oriented,  any method that is good for higher scores and better management will not be totally abandoned.”


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