What Is Jiwa Parenting and Why Is It so Widespread in China?
- “Tiger Mom” was the term used to describe Chinese mothers for the past several decades.
- Now the trend is “jiwa,” a style where parents make their children work hard to get the best grades.
- Parents want the best possible result for their children, even if that doesn’t mean free time to play.
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When my family first moved to the United States from China, my mother threw me into dance, gymnastics, and piano classes. I didn’t grow up spending free time to play with my friends after school. My mother was what we would call a “tiger mom” today, an overly controlling mother who doesn’t give her children much freedom.
As first-generation Chinese immigrant children continued to be admitted to top universities, the term became a badge of honor.
Gone are the days when ambitious Chinese parents were lumped together as “tiger mothers”.
Today, China’s animal-based, ambitious parenting jargon includes “baby chickens” or children with many extra-curricular classes and educations (that is, they have been injected with “chicken blood” – referring to an unproven and now forbidden decades-old practice). “Baby frogs” refers to children with no notable talent or children who maintain average grades even after a period of “injection”. “Baby cows” are children with good grades and perfect competitive performance.
Some Chinese parents want “baby cows” who are naturally gifted and diligently study. Those who are not “baby cows” are usually classified as “baby chickens” or Jiwa – children who are not necessarily natural but work extra hard, either alone or because their parents make them.
Some Chinese parents are interested in “chicken blood” upbringing
I spoke to parents in Beijing’s Haidian District, home to some of the best universities and technology companies in China, and known for being a center of self-sacrificing, education-minded parents. When an educational trend hits China, it stops at Haidian.
Haidian is home to some of the most expensive apartments in Beijing’s school district, and the mothers there were the ones who got the trending term “Jiwa” on Chinese social media platform Weibo.
Haidian student Julia Wang, who refused to reveal the name of her school for privacy reasons, told Insider that she learned the C ++ and Python programming languages in high school and was considered advanced, but preschoolers are already in Haidian Learn to program with iPads. Many of these pre-school Haidian children, who essentially grew up in China’s Silicon Valley, are given a head start in the world of technology as early as possible.
Haidian mother Lily Zhao, who has an 8-year-old named Alice Xi, told Insider, “There is absolutely no shame in injecting chicken blood into our children,” which means that children are put in and pushed into extracurricular after-school and tutoring classes will get good grades in school.
While there are international and private schools across the city, most Haidian parents, like Zhao, still choose to send their children to local public schools. If Chinese children want to attend a top Chinese university, they must attend a local school as the curriculum is designed to allow them to take the gaokao (China’s national university entrance examination) while in international schools they prepare children for the SATs and other international exams.
These public schools are notoriously difficult to attain because they are known for producing extremely high Gaokao children who attend China’s elite universities.
It’s about the future of children
Alice Xi is already a phenomenal Jiwa, according to her mother, although she is barely in elementary school. “We allowed her to explore her interests when she was young, but now that she is in school, every activity she participates in has to consider something that will help her future,” Zhao said.
Jiwa education is not just about what other parents are doing. It’s also about calculating the educational pathways that will help a child stand out in the future, such as computer programming, writing competitions, and “exotic” sports like horse riding.
16-year-old Olivia Li attends one of the most prestigious private schools in Haidian and has grown up in a self-described Jiwa lifestyle with tutoring and a variety of academically-focused extracurricular activities throughout her life. She doesn’t have the best grades in her class, but she has a great grade point average, she told Insider.
Outside of her normal school hours, she volunteers at a local support center, runs awareness campaigns in her school, takes part in internships and takes part in design and art competitions.
“I’m the product of Jiwa upbringing, so I think that makes me a full-blown chicken,” Li told Insider.
In August, China banned after-school tutoring to improve the playing field for students.
Many places for after-school activities no longer take classes from students because they are unsure whether they can continue to provide services.
Others have removed the words “curriculum” and “students” to comply with the ban while continuing to do business. Some have chosen to teach parents instead of children so that those parents can teach their own children. Some wealthy families even hire tutors disguised as nannies.
The ban on tutoring puts a strain on the daily routine of the jiwas, but as tutoring centers and parents adapt to the new regulations, it becomes clear that parents will do everything possible to ensure that their children are ahead of the game, e.g. B. Form small groups of children for private tutors to teach, as reported by CNBC.