Singapore is known for its kiasu parenting and that's often considered harsh by some. Competitive parents often burden their children with high (and sometimes unreal) expectations, which can be bad for the child's morale.
Of course, not all kiasu parents are overtly competitive but they are at large, which is often attributed to the general competitive nature of the education system.
But before kiasu parents begin introspecting their parenting techniques, here's something that will make you feel like you've been extremely lenient on your child.
As it turns out, a new parenting trend which is the more hardcore version of the already popular chicken parenting is gaining popularity in China.
Local media reports dub it "chicken blood" parenting, calling it an extremely intensive parenting method.
What is chicken blood parenting?
The term "chicken baby" has turned out to be quite popular in China over the few years. This is particularly in larger cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou with “obsessive" middle-class Chinese parents.
It refers to those parents who obsessively want their children to succeed. Obsessively being the keyword here.
But why do they call it chicken blood parenting?
Well, turns out, the word "chicken" in the parenting context is used because of the colloquial expression “da ji xue,” or “inject chicken blood".
During the cultural revolution in the 1950s, chicken blood treatment was quite the fad in China. People considered fresh blood from the roosters to be a cure-all for several health problems including baldness, infertility and even cancer. Clearly, there was no scientific basis for this and the fad subsided over the years.
However, the phrase "chicken blood" remains and refers to agitation or hyperactivity for parents who want their children to excel in everything.
Overload of expectations from children
Chicken blood parenting is as problematic as it sounds. Reports from China suggest that parents are overtly competitive and go to the extent of hiring exclusive tutors and the best sports coaches. They also won't shy away from buying houses next to the public schools in the city.
Parents who believe in such parenting techniques aren't satisfied with just good grades. The report suggests that such parents don't believe good grades are good enough.
However, it's not entirely the parents at fault here. The education system favours the brighter student for admissions in school.
In fact, the recent education reform in China sees schools taking the student's physique, cultural and artistic skills, as well as international experiences into consideration for school admissions.
Sadly, these chicken babies in China learn everything from English, math, Chinese, among other subjects and are attend private tuition classes, above and beyond school. Then, there are extracurricular activities like sports, music, culture and volunteering in the community. These count towards securing admission to a good school.
This does beg us to wonder what happens to children who do not meet these outlandish criteria.
Chicken blood parenting: What a child's day looks like
For a 10-year-old chicken baby in China, here's what their day's schedule looks like:
- 8.30-9.50am: Reading
- 9.50-10.30am: Gaming and socialising with peers
- 10.30am: Eye exercise
- 11.00am: Lunch while listening to audiobooks
- 1.00-4.00pm: Math Olympiad practice
- 4.00-5.30pm: Biking outdoors
- 5.30pm: Dinner
- 5.50-8.30pm: English lessons online
- 8.30-9.00pm: Snack break
- 9.00-10.00pm: Homework
- 10.00pm: Bedtime
Chicken blood parenting: How is it affecting children?
Childhood myopia is one of the highest in China among the kids there. The Chinese National Health Commission found that 71 per cent of middle schoolers and 81 per cent of high schoolers are nearsighted.
This has also given rise to orthokeratology lenses or OK lenses. Kids need to wear them overnight which temporarily improving vision during the day. And yes, that does sound problematic in the long term.
A 2019-20 National Mental Health Development Report in China also concluded that teenage suicides are on the rise in the country. About 25 per cent of Chinese adolescents suffer from depression and 7.4 per cent have severe depression.
Private compulsory education is such a lucrative business that the Chinese government recently passed the Private Education Law in the country. This prohibits foreign ownership of private compulsory education. It also introduces a raft of policies restricting the profiteering of private schools.
Chicken blood parenting also comes at a time when China wants to promote families to have more children. However, the financial burden and turmoil of such a parenting style can be discouraging for parents to have two or three kids.
This article was first published in theAsianparent.