Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rejecting the call

The (who else?) Joongang Ilbo has an interesting article about changing attitudes towards having the wife's mother help raise the children, something I've found relatively common among the working women with young children I've taught, many of whom have moved to the area to be close to their mothers. Some stats:
According to a recent survey, more and more young married couples are seeking help from the wifes’ parents. In an Internet poll of 336 single men and women in their 20s and 30s conducted by marriage consulting firm Duo, 54 percent said they are willing to live with the wifes’ parents, something that was nearly unheard of a generation ago. Asked about getting help with household work from the parents of working women, 81 percent said they approve of the idea.

In a reversal of the tradition that a family does not get involved in the family affairs of married daughters, growing numbers of working mothers seek comfort and security from their own mothers rather than their in-laws. Mothers of working moms are thus facing new hardships as they are called on to help raise grandchildren and perform other tasks.
The twist? Many grandmothers are tired of putting up with it:
Lee Jeong-sun, 70, said she spent four years taking care of her 8-year-old granddaughter and 4-year-old grandson. She then devised a strategy to prompt her daughter to stop asking for help ― she started using foul language in front of the grandchildren when she watched soap operas on TV. “My daughter decided to send the kids to kindergarten,” Lee said.[...]

Park said her friends joke about the situation and swap tips on how to send the grandchildren back to their daughters. “Daughters hate it when we bring kids to the elderly community centers or use our broken English with them,” Park said. “When we do that, the daughters soon take the children back to their own homes.”
The entire article is worth a read.


James Turnbull said...

The entire article was indeed worth a read, but I don't trust internet surveys (especially Korean ones), and if there is indeed a new trend then the article would have been more useful it had offered explanations. If I can offer some myself then, I can't help but think that mothers are needing the support of their parents more and more because of inadequate childcare facilities and the increasing need for 2 incomes. But this has been the case for over a decade, so grandparents increasingly refusing to fill this gap is an inevitable backlash really.

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog from BombEnglish.com
I look forward to reading more...

Felicia Shelton