China parenting KOL’s rough and ready physical training regime for toddler son sparks criticism

A self-styled parenting expert in China has faced criticism online for his tough methods of physically training his baby son.

Duan, 38, from Jiangsu province in eastern China, runs a Douyin account using the name “Teacher Duan’s Parenting”.

His videos show that he has three children, a seven-month-old son, and two daughters aged five and two.

Duan often lets his daughters take their brother to play in a creek when it is raining without any protective measures.

“Children need to connect with nature, and feeling the flow of water is tactile training,” he said.

In one video, Duan places his baby son on a climbing net on the beach. He claims that this net-grabbing training can build the baby’s courage and finger gripping strength.

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The seven-month-old child is allowed to play next to water despite his tender age. Photo: Baidu

In another video, he places his son on the pedal of sports equipment and shakes him rapidly, claiming it boosts the baby’s ability to balance.

Duan also places his son on a tree, using one hand to protect him while filming with the other. He claims the tree climbing trains the baby’s sense of security by making him trust his father’s protection.

In one clip, he placed his son on a rolling skateboard, saying it stimulates the child’s brain.

“My son has been training on the skateboard since he was 30 days old, and he hasn’t been injured once so far, nor will he be in the future,” said Duan.

The father’s methods caused much discussion online.

One online observer supported Duan’s methods: “This father creatively uses common equipment around him to train his children, which is very smart.”

Duan’s profile says he provides psychological counselling and is a children’s physical fitness trainer.

In China, children’s physical fitness trainers can develop children’s mental, social, and specialised sports abilities. The certification applies to teaching children aged three to 16.

But Duan has not provided any certificates proving his professionalism, causing many online to question his qualification to do so.

“His training methods have no scientific basis and instead always put the children in dangerous situations,” one online observer wrote on Douyin.

“Duan uses exaggerated training methods just to attract attention and gain online traffic,” said another.

“He is neither a qualified coach nor a good father,” said a third.

Duan has been banned from posting on Douyin due to multiple complaints.

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The infant’s sisters are left to look after him despite only being aged five and two. Photo: Baidu

Meanwhile, another major parenting influencer from Shandong province in eastern China, known as “Qian Yue’s Aunt”, threw a five-month-old child into the air, then claimed it was “sensory integration” training to help improve the baby’s attentiveness.

Wang Qiongli, a paediatrician at Huazhong University of Science and Technology Xiehe Shenzhen Hospital in southern China, said of the man’s methods.

“A seven-month-old baby is very fragile and cannot be vigorously shaken on sports equipment, which could lead to various consequences such as joint dislocation, cervical spine injury, intestinal obstruction and concussion.

“Infants lack self-protection awareness. The viral online training methods are unscientific and unsafe,” Wang told the Post.

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