Father Forces Sobbing 4-Year-Old Into Snow in Underwear

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BEIJING — A video of a toddler crying while running in the snow nearly naked has sparked controversy in China, but the boy’s father says the exercise is strengthening his son physically and mentally.

The father posted the video clip online himself. It was shot by the boy’s family when they were on vacation in New York. The video shows his 4-year-old son running down a snow-covered street, wearing only shoes and underpants. In the footage, the boy chases his father, sobs and begs to be picked up.

“It’s tough for me, too, when he cried out for my comfort,” father He Liesheng told CNN in China. “But I believe in ‘no pain, no gain.’ Like an eagle, I push my child to the limit so he can learn how to fly.”

“Daddy, Daddy, please hold me,” the child cries in the video.

The father, who lives in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, said he calls himself “Eagle Dad” for his tough parenting skills.

He told CNN in a phone interview that the snow run is part of a training regimen of intensive physical and mental activities designed to strengthen his son, who was born premature and has suffered from health problems.

“I consulted my doctor friends to ensure what we do is scientific and that it won’t harm my son’s body,” he said.

The video has been viewed by tens of thousands of people online. In China, it has stirred a familiar debate about how far parents should push their children to success.

In the video, both parents can be heard off camera instructing the child named Duoduo to lie down in the snow. The father said he and his wife ensure their son is happy, and that Duoduo’s health has improved because of his unique training regimen.

“My wife strongly opposed my idea in the beginning, but I kept persuading her about the benefits of my method,” the father said. “She told me she’s beyond caring now.”

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