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Our Children and Our Korean Experience
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Circus Monkey



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: In my coconut tree

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Velvet Sea wrote:
Quote:
I daresay that you are painting a rosy, perhaps even naive view of how Koreans raise their kids.


May seem a little naive, but I guess I am trying to look at the positive aspects in some respect. Too much focus on the negative it seems! I would like to think that as Canadian, American, etc parents we could take a little good out of some of the negative ideas of Asian parenting styles.


What positive aspects do you see Velvet Sea?

CM
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jh



Joined: 04 Jul 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay. a couple of people got their backs up.

Corporal, I ask you, where was your empathy when you were critical of the Korean parent, voicing out and implying that she was a bad parent?

How can you or anyone be so confident, be such an uber-mom, as to be so vocally critical of another parent? Do you think you are right and that is all there is to it? I used to think this, til I became a parent. Now I am constantly second guessing myself. This is one job that is too important to screw up.

I did not mean to imply that only a parent can be qualified to voice an opinion or make a comment. Only that by becoming one, you gain an insight through the experience that can never be rivaled by the uninitiated regardless of intelligence, imagination and empathy. And being so, one would at least become hesitant in attacking another parent.

If parenthood is an exact science, why are there so many different views?

So, let me pose this one. How can we tell if we are good or bad parents? By looking at our kids grown up? By what criteria are we judging ourselves to be good parents, bad parents?

It seems to me that we are very quick to be negative of our hosts. You had stated that your statement would probably invite everyone to defend Korean moms. Well, you're right, but not everyone.

I'm defending them.

BTW, you have an adorable baby. Good luck being a parent, but of course you don't need it.
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makushi



Joined: 08 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jh wrote:

Corporal, I ask you, where was your empathy when you were critical of the Korean parent, voicing out and implying that she was a bad parent?

How can you or anyone be so confident, be such an uber-mom, as to be so vocally critical of another parent? Do you think you are right and that is all there is to it? I used to think this, til I became a parent. Now I am constantly second guessing myself. This is one job that is too important to screw up.


I think some relevant observations were made about kids running around unattended and then a specific example was cited to support the observation. The two were meant to be taken together.

Why would Corporal need to show an empathy towards what was obviously an irresponsible parent?

Go to any apartment playground and you can see unattended 3 and 4 year olds playing on broken down dangerous playground equipment. If there are any parents in attendence they are usually just sitting in the corner with the other parents chatting away.

Then "BAM!" something happens and the mother (if she's around) starts screaming "oh moh oh moh oh moh!"

If first aid is required, forget about it. They don't have a clue. The stand around in shock and disbelief.

Korean has one of the worst safety records in the world for children and adults. A large cause of that is parents who don't look after their kids properly and then fail to teach their kids to look out for potential dangers on their own.

Do Koreans have a monopoly on bad parenting? Of course not! Are they all bad? Of course not! But are there certain areas that they, as a group, need some improvement in? Darn tootin!

And why can't we judge other parents actions as good or bad? A mother acts irresponsibly and puts her child in harms way...blast her! A father is never at home and when he is he's drunk and abusive...blast him! They spoil their kids to make up for their failures as parents...blast them!

But I do agree that good parents will second guess themselves from time to time. So will good spouse, bosses, friends, etc.

The key (IMHO) is to know what your parenting goals are (survival of the children being an important one), and they figure out your strategy to achieving your goals.

Don't get caught in the analysis paralysis trap. You make a mistake, learn from it and get back on the horse.

Life goes on and it's the big picture that matters.

Sorry for being so opinionated...but this I find parenting to be incredibly interesting Shocked
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Corporal



Joined: 25 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amen makushi.

I tried to post a response to jh earlier, but my computer fried it.

Suffice to say, I don't think I'm a perfect parent nor do I think ALL Korean parents are horrible.

All I know is, I will not let my daughter (when she's old enough to walk) out of the apartment to run around and play unattended, and then go outside and scream her name for half an hour EVERY DAY, having no clue where she is. Who knows what kind of pervs are out there? Just because Koreans don't talk about them, doesn't mean they don't exist.

Nor will I enroll her in 50 different hagwons just so I can look better than the other mothers on the block.

And there are quite a few other "Korean" parenting practices I will not engage in, but I need coffee and I'm too tired to go into it all right now.
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Velvet Sea



Joined: 09 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once did a short paper in my Child Development Course at uni about Asian parenting styles and it often showed that they can not be truly classified into Authoritive, Authoritarian, Indulgent, or Neglectful (North American Classification). That was some time ago so there definitely could be more advanced studies since then.


Circus Monkey Wrote:
Quote:
What positive aspects do you see Velvet Sea?


I can totally see the children who grow older have an unconditional love and respect for their parents. Their is somewhat a lack of selfishness amoung them and other siblings. Only what I see at the Hogwon so who's to say? Children have goals and expectations they work toward and it gives them something to concentrate on rather than causing trouble, getting into trouble with the law, and giving their parents grief. I know their is a lot of stress on children in Korea and it is caused by pressure from parents, but I see kids in my Hogwon that do have a healthy balance.
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jh



Joined: 04 Jul 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
All I know is, I will not let my daughter (when she's old enough to walk) out of the apartment to run around and play unattended, and then go outside and scream her name for half an hour EVERY DAY, having no clue where she is. Who knows what kind of pervs are out there? Just because Koreans don't talk about them, doesn't mean they don't exist.


This is bad parenting? How old was the kid? 2 you say? Korean kids are awfully small for their age. I ran around when I was in Elementary. I went by myself. Even for grade 1, after the first day. It's very probable that most of us did.

Corporal, you're daughter will eventually start walking. She will want to go outside and play, instead of being cooped up in a small apartment. Even if it's big, it's small, right? And you're gonna have a grand ole time. You cannot take your eyes off them. Especially once they start crawling, walking, running. Yup, let's crucify her. The kid ran off, was found in a dangerous situation, the mum got upset and gave her a smack.

How many Korean kids attend "50" hagwons?

So, are you breast-feeding or formula? When will you enroll her in the Korean "Play-rooms", "kindergartens", "elementary"? Do you plan on sticking around that long?

As for Makushi,
Quote:
Why would Corporal need to show an empathy towards what was obviously an irresponsible parent?


It is not obvious to me that the parent was irresponsible. It seems like a normal everyday occurrence in the world of parenting to me. Corporal brought up empathy. Sheesh. And one must be selective in showing empathy, right? So how about you, are you going to stay at home to raise your kid? If you work, is that being irresponsible? There's a nice little playground a block away from where i live. It's not broken down. And all the kids are attended to by their mums, and occasionally dads. And I don't know where you get your info, but Korea does not have the worst safety records for kids. The US does, bar none. Look it up! I have seen kids get into accidents, and BAM! they are whisked away to the emergency faster than you can say "what are they talking about?"

How about this, parents, instead of raggin on a foreign culture and pointing fingers, which Korean practises would you like to adopt?

Mums staying at home to raise kids? Trying to indulge your kids by allowing them to attend different hagwons or programs and trying to provide them with opportunities that you never had even though you really can't afford to. Teaching them to respect their elders? Teaching them to respect others? Trying to abstain from sex until they become at least legal adults?

As for the profession of teaching and parenting. How many of you have taught in the West. Which do you prefer? I think this topic has been raised previously, but I think it is relevant here.
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makushi



Joined: 08 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Velvet Sea wrote:
I once did a short paper in my Child Development Course at uni about Asian parenting styles and it often showed that they can not be truly classified into Authoritive, Authoritarian, Indulgent, or Neglectful (North American Classification). That was some time ago so there definitely could be more advanced studies since then.


Well, hey since you did a "short" paper on it, it must be true Rolling Eyes

Quote:
I can totally see the children who grow older have an unconditional love and respect for their parents. Their is somewhat a lack of selfishness amoung them and other siblings. Only what I see at the Hogwon so who's to say? Children have goals and expectations they work toward and it gives them something to concentrate on rather than causing trouble, getting into trouble with the law, and giving their parents grief. I know their is a lot of stress on children in Korea and it is caused by pressure from parents, but I see kids in my Hogwon that do have a healthy balance.


I hear ya and can somewhat agree with you. But please do not confuse the massive guilt trip and forced acculturation that these kids are force fed as "unconditional love and respect." They treat their parents the way they do because they have been taught from day one that their parents have sacrificied everything for them and it is the utmost duty to follow their parents will and later in life take care of them. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not to be confused with "unconditional love and respect." In fact, go drinking with the big boys and you will see just as much, if not more, repressed anger and resentment towards their parents (typically the father) than you would in any western country.

A quick story:

Once upon a time in a job long forgotten a young bright eyed student asked me why American didn't respect their teachers. I asked him why he thought we didn't respect our teachers. He said, "because you don't bow to your teachers."

I responded, "last week you told me that you really didn't like your math teacher because he didn't teach well and then beat you if you asked questions. He said, "yes that's right."

So I asked "do you bow to him?" "Of course," my student answered. "But why would you bow to him if you don't think he's a good teacher?" "Because we have to," he responded.

Ohhhh...so it's not a respect thing. It's a, well you know, kind of a forced respect thing...another one of those mysterious Korean concepts I guess.

Ok ok...now you've got me going...just one more story.

I'm listening to another teacher give my students an interview test. The students can't see me, but I can hear them.

With one student the teacher asks if he thinks "Makushi" is a good teacher. The student responds "yes, he's very good."

My head instantly starts to swell as I lean forward to listen in more carefully.

"Why do you think he's a good teacher?" the other teacher asks.

"Because he makes us do push-ups if we don't do our homework or if we act bad in class," he answers confidently.

Sooooo....it seems that in Korea...respect definitely comes out of the barrel of a gun as they say.


[/quote]
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the_beaver



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jh wrote:
And I don't know where you get your info, but Korea does not have the worst safety records for kids. The US does, bar none. Look it up!


http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/322/7282/317
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makushi



Joined: 08 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the_beaver wrote:
jh wrote:
And I don't know where you get your info, but Korea does not have the worst safety records for kids. The US does, bar none. Look it up!


http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/322/7282/317


I usually make them up as I go...but sometimes, like this time, I get them from people who are kind enough to provide support to my argument. Read the article ya dork!

"Sweden and the United Kingdom have the best records on child safety, occupying the top two places of the 26 country league table, with Sweden having just over five child injury deaths per 100000 children. The bottom two places are occupied by Mexico and South Korea, with rates three to four times higher than the leading countries."


THE BOTTOM TWO PLACES ARE OCCUPIED BY MEXICO AND SOUTH KOREA!
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the_beaver



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

makushi wrote:
Read the article ya dork!


Quote:
THE BOTTOM TWO PLACES ARE OCCUPIED BY MEXICO AND SOUTH KOREA!


I did read the article you blatherskite. And a Dork would be the opposite of a beaver.

I don't believe I wrote anything to suggest that I support the view which opposes yours (mostly because I support your view) -- just posted a link.
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Wombat



Joined: 28 May 2003
Location: slutville

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is just an experience I've had, and I'm not citing it to condemn an entire nation of mums and dads.

At the bath house once, as I soaked in a big granite hot tub (full of above-averagely hot water), I noticed a 2 year old (or thereabouts) girl perched on the edge. I suppose I was dizzy from the heat of the water, so it didn't click instantly, as it should have, that this was not a good idea. Anyhow, she toppled into the water a few minutes later and sunk like a stone to the bottom of the crazy-hot water, smashing her lip on the granite edge of the bench along the way.

Luckily, I wasn't so drowsy as not to react, and leapt up and plunged myself under the water to collect the still-at-the-bottom infant. When I hauled her up to the surface, she was bleeding from the lip and sobbing hysterically, in between truly frightening fits of watery coughing. As I clapped her on the back to help her cough the water out, I looked around frantically for a parent - none were around, it seemed. An old woman regarded me casually from across the room. I didn't have anything to stop the copious blood from the little girl's split lip, so, carrying her, I sprinted to my locker to get a clean towel. The poor little thing was sobbing and shrieking, bleeding and coughing.

I managed to clean her lip up; about 3-5 minutes had passed in total; finally, some woman sauntered out of the sauna room, glared at me angrily and said something rude in Korean, before snatching her daughter out of my arms. Of course, I lacked the powers of language to tell her that I hadn't split the girl's lip, etc etc.

The bathhouse was almost empty; what would've happened if I hadn't been in that tub? How long would that little girl have stayed at the bottom of that hot tub? I'm not a mum yet, but I know enough about toddlers to understand that leaving them completely unattended in a virtually empty place full of deep pools of boiling-hot water is a bad idea. They're not like Western kids either, in that most of them have no experience with water; they usually don't know how to swim.

I was shaken, to say the least.

Wombat
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mokpochica



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wombat--
My friend had a similar experience to yours (in Korea), except that hers was with a child narrowly missed being hit by a car, falling and hurting herself, and then the mother coming angrily up about 10 minutes later as if my friend had inflicted this upon the child. I wonder if the angry demeanor comes from being embarassed...?

As for myself, I once helped a 4 year-old child who had gotten lost/separated from her mom downtown. I waited about 5 minutes, watching her crying and shrieking by herself before I decided that no one else was going to help her and I should do what I could with my minimal Korean skills. Situations like that do make me question the parenting skills of those involved. Of course I know that not all Korean parents let their kids get into these kinds of situations. However, it does seem that kids are given more leeway here to do as they wish, even when it sometimes can result in dangerous situations.

As to the original question, I know that my household will have a bit of both N. American parenting styles and Korean since I'm planning on marrying a Korean. Some things that have rubbed off a little bit on me here are the more relaxed attitude toward not having a strict bedtime every night (I was brought up an 8 PM every night kid) and not hovering over the kid so much (but still keeping a close eye on them). As for respecting and loving parents/elders, I think that it's really the same in N. America and Korea. This respect and love may be shown in different ways, but I have no short supply of respect and love for my N. American parents and grandparents, even though I don't show it by bowing to them. Of course, I want my (future) children to show the respect to their grandmas and grandpas in culturally appropriate ways.

As for the hagwon issue, I know a lot of parents nowadays in N. America that are overscheduling their kids' free time as well. They may not go to hagwons per se, but they often have a different extra-curricular or play date to go to every night. I want my kids to have time for unscheduled activities (wherever we live), but see no harm in hagwons/extra-currics in moderation.
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makushi



Joined: 08 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the_beaver wrote:
makushi wrote:
Read the article ya dork!


Quote:
THE BOTTOM TWO PLACES ARE OCCUPIED BY MEXICO AND SOUTH KOREA!


I did read the article you blatherskite. And a Dork would be the opposite of a beaver.


So are you saying there are no dorky beavers? Shocked

Blatherskite huh? Well being an American and all, I don't know what that is, but if it's good, I'm it Twisted Evil

Quote:

I don't believe I wrote anything to suggest that I support the view which opposes yours (mostly because I support your view) -- just posted a link.


Yeah...but above the link was some ridiculous babble about the US having the worst safety record blah blah blah...when we all know that nothing (not even teenagers with fully automatic machine guns) can compare with toddlers on motorcycles, six kids without seat belts in the back seat, broken down play ground equipment, busses that refuse to stop at crosswalks, kids w/o helmuts on roller blades in every nook and cranny in the city etc. etc. etc. Korean tops the world in yet another category!
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the_beaver



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

makushi wrote:
So are you saying there are no dorky beavers? Shocked


dork: Vulgar Slang. The *beep*.
beaver: -- well, you know. . .

a dorky beaver. . . are you calling me a hermaphrodite?
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makushi



Joined: 08 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wombat's experience reminds of a time I was at a beach in Taiwan and the lifeguards were having too much fun on their jetski to notice that some kids were stranded a small sandbar as the tide was coming in.

I saw one kid that was waving his hands wildly with water up to his mouth and trying to scream. I swam out got him and brought him back.

Then a litte girl comes over and starts crying and pointing out to another section of the sandbar and I see three more kids in the same situation. Turns out it is actually worse because they are bigger and the water is getting higher.

I know there is no way I can help them all by myself. They'd definitely drown me. So I run over to a lady who is playing with an inflatible tube, snatch it and swim with out to the sandbar. By the time I get there the water is up to my mouth level and the kids just jump on me and the inflatible.

It was craziness as all three, in their panic, kept trying to climb to the top of the inflatible and, in the process, pushing the others down.

I tried to pull them back to the beach but it was like swimming with a 200lb weight behind me.

At one point, one of the kids climbs up just high enough to get level with my face and pukes. Nice!

Anway, I finally make it to the beach and collapse.

The lady who owned the inflatible shows up and starts yelling at me for taking her inflatible without asking! (Damn foreign devils!)

As I proceed to puke the sound of the lifeguards whizzing around on their jet skis is distinctly audible.

Another Asian moment brought to you by Makushi....
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