Pushing too hard?

Updated: 2012-02-10 08:07

(China Daily)

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A video posted on the Internet showing a 4-year-old boy exercising in heavy snow wearing only shorts, has drawn overwhelming criticism on his father, a businessman in his 40s from Nanjing, Jiangsu province, who claims his son is brought up "like an eagle".

But however inhuman it might appear, it is just the father's attempt, like any responsible parent, to provide his child with the best environment to grow up happy.

The "eagle father" as he is known and his wife, who quit her job to look after her son, are no exceptions.

They have introduced the seemingly harsh exercise program to help their son who has been diagnosed with many health conditions, such as bleeding in his left ventricle, an abnormal proliferation of blood vessels and swelling of the head, as a result of being born prematurely.

For the boy's parents, improving his fitness and strengthening his self-confidence are important tasks.

The father claims that physical and intelligence tests have shown that the boy's health and intelligence are now better than his peers thanks to the fitness program he follows, and that it has enabled his son to play with the other kids at his kindergarten without any problems. The father also says he does not conduct any training until his son agrees to it.

Despite being an isolated case the boy's upbringing provides an opportunity to reflect on how to bring up healthy kids today.

Many children, mostly the only child in a family, are spoiled and overprotected by their parents and grandparents. The adults are ready to do anything to please their children. These kids, used to relying on their parents, can hardly look after themselves when they grow up.

While the "eagle father's" training should not be encouraged before a credible investigation shows the boy is really benefiting from the training, pediatricians say that exercise can help cure complications arising from a premature birth.

However, it is questionable whether the father in this case has the ability and expertise to design his son's training regime. Such training is probably better left to the professionals.

(China Daily 02/10/2012 page8)