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Raising a child here
« on: October 01, 2015, 11:17:13 pm »
Father's perspective - having some doubts.

Pros and Cons?

Edit: Ok, I'll start... there's no drugs and teenage sex here but that's a concern 13 years from now. I'm more concerned about the health and well being of a toddler here.

My daughter and coincidentally/additionally, my dog have both been regularly sick here since moving from Australia.

The environment, hygiene and traffic safety are a major concern here, among other things.

On a more selfish note, by my daughter being raised here, she will be Korean at heart,  although she has Australian citizenship. It's becoming increasingly hard for me to watch all of her upbringing being conducted in Korean. My wife speaks fluent English after living in Australia for 10 years, however daycare is carried out in Korean, along with all interaction with our relatives here.

I'm relying on the view that it doesn't matter what I want, it's what's best for my daughter that's important.

I'm really hoping to hear some positive views on this. I very rarely post anything online but being a foreigner here and feeling so isolated, I'm reaching out.

Thank you for any advice on this!

« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 04:08:16 pm by jeffmcwill »


Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2015, 02:57:06 am »
no teenage sex in Korea? LOLOLOLOLOL


  • seoil
  • Veteran

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    • September 09, 2013, 02:31:04 pm
Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2015, 06:35:42 am »
Quote
Edit: Ok, I'll start... there's no drugs and teenage sex here but that's a concern 13 years from now. I'm more concerned about the health and well being of a toddler here.

You must be joking right???

http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2011/10/113_96375.html

Quote
The number of teenage girls dumping the body of an infant they deliver is increasing, sources said Sunday.

A girl said, “Unfortunately, I got pregnant. Of course, I opted for an abortion.” Another girl said, “I learned that if I undergo surgery three months after pregnancy or more, it’s not good for my health. It is better to dump the infant after delivery,” according to a youth center in Daejeon.


According to police in Daejeon and South Chungcheong Province last Thursday, they found an infant dead near a fire hydrant at an apartment complex in Nonsan.

During questioning, a young couple said they first did not know of the pregnancy. They said they were afraid that their parents became aware of the delivery, so they strangled their infant to death and dumped the body near the hydrant, a police officer said.

In May, another teenage couple was arrested on charges of killing their infant in Daejeon, the officer said.

According to the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, the number of deliveries by teenagers increased from about 1,400 in 2006 to 2,000 in 2009 and 2,230 last year. If deliveries at illegal facilities and abortions are added, the number will go up further, experts say.
 


As for why your child has been sick. It may be the chemicals.

http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=156369 
Quote
Korean children have excessive amounts of lead, mercury and Bisphenol-A in their bodies, levels far higher than those found in children in other countries.
That's according to a Ministry of Environment report released Wednesday.
It shows that Korean children between the ages of 6 and 18 have toxic substances like lead and mercury in their bodies at SEVEN times the levels found in children in other developed countries.
For mercury. the levels found were seven times higher than were found in children in Canada.
The report also found high levels of Bisphenol-A in children, a toxic material used mainly in plastic products.
The amount of this toxin found in teenagers is nearly double that found in adults, particularly concerning as Bisphenol-A can disturb the endocrine system, which is responsible for producing hormones.
 



  • sheila
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    • November 23, 2009, 08:32:58 am
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Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2015, 08:25:52 am »
I would suggest joining the Expat Parents Korea Facebook group. There are many more parents on there than you might find on waygook. You could really get some good insight from them. As a recently new mother myself, I am constantly having an internal battle as to when I should call it quits here. Best of luck with your decision!
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard!
www.freerice.com


  • kjritchhart
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Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2015, 08:33:01 am »
As others have said, teenage sex not being a thing here is a joke.  They don't talk about it as much but it definitely happens.  But that should not be a concern right now since your daughter is still young.  Additionally, you can teach her to respect herself and be open about sex.  What you teach her will play into what happens when she is a teenager.

As for her being sick, it could be some chemicals or the general air quality.  You eventually get used to it but maybe start putting a filter mask on her and see if it helps.  I know when I first moved here my dog was getting super sick but after some minor adjustments to food and water, she is fine.  Maybe try that as well.  Slowly eliminate things that you may think are the issues and see if it helps.  Or you could take her to the doctor and see what they suggest. 

That being said, what you should be worried about is school.  I get that she is not in school yet but are you going to send her to international school (expensive) or Korean public schools.  The school system is super competitive and she might be picked on because she is mixed (though that is slowly changing).  The hyper competitiveness of Korean schools is what may lead to issues really.  There is so much pressure put on students and you have to think long and hard about if you want her raised like that.  (i.e. without a childhood?  hagwons all the time?  are you going to do hagwons?)  Again this comes down to parenting and what you expect from her to some extent but she will still feel pressure in school.  The teenage years will be the hardest on her here.

In the end it is really up to you and how you and your wife raise your daughter.  Obviously her school will be in Korean (for now?) and day to day activities will be as well but is being bi-lingual a bad thing.  I am assuming you speak English in the home?  If that is right, she will know both languages, which could really only help her.

TLDR:  It is about how you raise her and what you put as values in her life that will make the biggest difference, Korea will impact her but so will your parenting.


  • JNM
  • The Legend

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    • January 19, 2015, 10:16:48 am
    • Cairo, Egypt (formerly Seoul)
Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2015, 08:47:14 am »

That being said, what you should be worried about is school.  I get that she is not in school yet but are you going to send her to international school (expensive) or Korean public schools. ...The hyper competitiveness of Korean schools is what may lead to issues really. 

International schools do not isolate you from the hypercompetitivenes s.

These schools need to have a certain percentage of foreign students, but thre are many Korean kids that qualify as foreign by virtue of having a foreign passport (themselves or one of thier parents) or having gone to school somewhere else for a certain time.

There are also rich Koreans with no foreign ties who sent thier kids there.  These are the type-A parents.  They also have sway with the school because they are the paying customers.

My son's teacher told us that they do NOT grade on a relative scale, but against the British standards.  He is behind the class (as measured by Korean parents), but ahead of the British standard, so I am happy.

I would be more concerned with your spouse's and thier parents' pressures in the educational area.  They will be greater if you are in "thier world".



Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2015, 09:54:30 am »
As far as education is concerned, the difference is you're not pressuring your daughter to study every waking moment to 'keep up with the Kims' or for your own gratification. I can only imagine, since she'll be fully bilingual, public school will be an absolute breeze. Your daughter speaks English and will use Google, thereby opening up the other 95% of the internet closed off to Koreans. The development of her thought process is what's important and the way you raise her is going to make sure she doesn't become another linear thinking robot.

I had a mixed Korean/American student at my middle school. Her English was fluent and she was exempt from participating in my classes, she'd just sit at the back and read quietly. Luckily, our school had a relatively impressive selection of English books (Harry Potter, Enid Blyton etc.). Sometimes, we'd discuss what she was reading, but she seemed reluctant to 'show off' in front of her peers. Either way, it didn't seem like she was bullied in any way.

Much of her future is going to depend on how you raise her and augment her education, and in that regard I wish you all the best.

 


  • nomadicmadda
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Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2015, 12:49:51 pm »
As far as education is concerned, the difference is you're not pressuring your daughter to study every waking moment to 'keep up with the Kims' or for your own gratification. I can only imagine, since she'll be fully bilingual, public school will be an absolute breeze. Your daughter speaks English and will use Google, thereby opening up the other 95% of the internet closed off to Koreans. The development of her thought process is what's important and the way you raise her is going to make sure she doesn't become another linear thinking robot.

I had a mixed Korean/American student at my middle school. Her English was fluent and she was exempt from participating in my classes, she'd just sit at the back and read quietly. Luckily, our school had a relatively impressive selection of English books (Harry Potter, Enid Blyton etc.). Sometimes, we'd discuss what she was reading, but she seemed reluctant to 'show off' in front of her peers. Either way, it didn't seem like she was bullied in any way.

Much of her future is going to depend on how you raise her and augment her education, and in that regard I wish you all the best.

This is great, and helps, but is not the biggest factor in her school pressures.

The far greater hurdle is going to be all the pressure that comes from her peers.  And teachers.  And neighbors when they see her in the complex.  Everyone is in everyone else's business, and even if you try to tell her she doesn't have to keep up with certain standards you find ridiculous and "play the game," she's still going to feel pressure to.

When mother tell their daughters that they're beautiful just the way they are and they don't need to worry about body image pressures, does it solve the problem?  Hell no.  Yeah, it makes it easier for the girl in that her parent is supportive, but I personally remember that giving me very little reassurance as a middle schooler--what everyone else was doing mattered more.  Same with a boy who sucks at sports and his dad tells him to just "have fun"--if the rest of the team seems to be focused on being the best, even if they aren't bullying him, he's going to feel shitty.

It's a nice sentiment, but the social mentality is going to have much more power than any single parent's support.  OP you need to be very mindful of this when deciding where you want to raise your daughter, be it Korea, Australia, or any other country.




Also, in terms of sex, that's totally an issue here--I think it's even worse because it's hushed.  My high schoolers were all busted at a love motel over the weekend last semester, so some are more bold than others. :laugh:


Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2015, 12:56:19 pm »

I will pray for you as you raise your child here.

If I was a parent things would be worse for my child because
my child like me would stil turn out black like me, and suffer much
worse bigotry.


  • pkjh
  • The Legend

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    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
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Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2015, 02:40:22 pm »
Once had a half-Korean/Japanese student. Came into middle school with absolutely no Korean. She spent virtually all her school in the US, but for whatever reason her family came back to Korea. From what I saw she had a small group of friends, and wasn't bullied at all. Matter in fact it seemed her classmates were pretty protective of her. Everyone knew her background. She is currently in a Korean university doing some international business degree.


Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2015, 02:46:26 pm »
Toxic air. Why subject your child to that for the first 20 years of their life. You made the decision to come here, fair enough. The child didn't. Let his/her lungs develop in clean Australian air.

Yes, the child will be way more Korean than Australian. What a bloody shame. I've never been to Australia but i imagine it'd be much better growing up with an Australian mind than a Korean one. Culture has a huge impact on the way we see the world.

Pack your bags and re-start a new life down under.

That's my overly opinionated opinion.   :)


  • lobotronic
  • Veteran

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    • November 25, 2011, 05:42:08 am
    • South Korea
Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2015, 03:44:32 pm »
Father's perspective - having some doubts.

Pros and Cons?

Edit: Ok, I'll start... there's no drugs and teenage sex here but that's a concern 13 years from now. I'm more concerned about the health and well being of a toddler here.

My daughter and coincidentally/additionally, my dog have both been regularly sick here since moving from Australia.

The environment, hygiene and traffic safety are a major concern here, among other things.

On a more selfish note, by my daughter being raised here, she will be Korean at heart,  although she has Australian citizenship. It's becoming increasingly hard for me to watch all of her upbringing being conducted in Korean. My wife speaks fluent English after living in Australia for 10 years, however daycare is carried out in Korean, along with all interaction with our relatives here.

I'm relying on the view that it doesn't matter what want, it's what's best for my daughter that's important.

I'm really hoping to hear some positive views on this. I very rarely post anything online but being a foreigner here and feeling so isolated, I'm reaching out.

Thank you for any advice on this!

OP...there is absolutely a whole bunch of teenage sex here. they just hide it better. there's a reason why teenage moms are so rare in Korea--not because they're having sex, but because the abortion rate (although the practice is illegal here) is ridiculously high.

anyway--raising a kid is tough anywhere, but you need to be a little more positive and proactive.
not every area of Korea has pollution. If you're concerned about traffic safety or pollution, move to a smaller city (East Coast, like sokcho area, is quite nice, for example).

As for English, you are the English-speaking parent and you must create an English environment for your kids. network and find other expats with kids, or other English-speaking Koreans with young kids and start a babysitting circle or a weekly English playdate. Enforce "English-only" rules maybe 3 days a week in your home. All TV and bedtime reading can be in English. What characters on TV did you like as a kid in Australia? ask your family from home to send you authentic Australian DVDs or books to have in your home, to give her a sense of her other culture.

Yes, Korea is a tough place to raise kids, but it's not a hellhole. You have more control than you think--you don't have to send your kid to hagwons until 11pm, you don't have to let her be brainwashed about body image, " SKY = success", ifgnorant of world politics, etc...don't be a lazy parent.

 Just be an active parent and make sure your wife knows that you want to have your daughter embrace her Australian heritage too. It's not impossible, just takes extra effort and involvement as a parent. A lot of traditional Korean families operate under the dad = paycheck and mom = caregiver/gatekeeper/educator/chef, etc. You have to step up and be an active agent in educating your kid; don't just leave it all to your wife, or it'll never go the way you want it to.

Moving back to Australia is a nice option, but it doesn't have to be the only one.

I have friends in this group, it might help you: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ExpatParentsKorea/
« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 03:46:27 pm by lobotronic »


Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2015, 06:30:14 pm »
Yes, the child will be way more Korean than Australian. What a bloody shame. I've never been to Australia but i imagine it'd be much better growing up with an Australian mind than a Korean one. Culture has a huge impact on the way we see the world.

Pack your bags and re-start a new life down under.

Foreigners who raise kids here do so because of a lack of options.

It can't possibly be anybody's first choice to raise a mixed race child in Korea.
Creating shared values


  • ART55
  • Adventurer

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    • August 29, 2012, 01:11:00 pm
    • Pohang
Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2015, 10:47:08 pm »
Father's perspective - having some doubts.

Pros and Cons?

Edit: Ok, I'll start... there's no drugs and teenage sex here but that's a concern 13 years from now. I'm more concerned about the health and well being of a toddler here.

My daughter and coincidentally/additionally, my dog have both been regularly sick here since moving from Australia.

The environment, hygiene and traffic safety are a major concern here, among other things.

On a more selfish note, by my daughter being raised here, she will be Korean at heart,  although she has Australian citizenship. It's becoming increasingly hard for me to watch all of her upbringing being conducted in Korean. My wife speaks fluent English after living in Australia for 10 years, however daycare is carried out in Korean, along with all interaction with our relatives here.

I'm relying on the view that it doesn't matter what I want, it's what's best for my daughter that's important.

I'm really hoping to hear some positive views on this. I very rarely post anything online but being a foreigner here and feeling so isolated, I'm reaching out.

Thank you for any advice on this!

My wife and I will be leaving Korea in January.  Before I got married, life was bearable in Korea, but after we got married and realized how disadvantaged we are in Korea, we figured our children will have many more disadvantages than even we face.  Life just generally sucks for everybody in Korea.  People are far more depressed, aggravated, and people generally make life miserable for everybody else.  You would be hard-pressed to find a Korean who would say they are generally satisfied with life.  I think that says something about raising a child here.  Do you think your kid can beat the odds and be happy? I don't know your situation but I'm sure you are better off moving to Australia.

Is it an option for your wife?  Can she work out the situation with her parents and would they would be understanding?  For my wife, leaving her mother behind is the hardest part.  Otherwise, she is certain that life will be better for our family in the U.S.

I know a lot of people on this board will focus on the discrimination your child will face so let them bicker about that, but let me bring up a few other points you should consider:

1) Korea has affordable and accessible healthcare pretty much for life, far better than what most Americans in the U.S. have.  I will go back to teaching in the U.S., so my family doesn't have to worry about that.  Will you be in a situation where you could have just as good of healthcare?

2) Have you seriously thought about how you will fund your retirement?  So far that national pension you and maybe your wife are paying into in Korea is a joke.  At best, after working 30 years in Korea, you will be getting a national pension that would be equivalent to 300,000 in today's money.  No matter what job you do, and even if you become a Korean citizen, you will never have a private pension.  If you were smart, you would be saving 15% of your salary into a private retirement plan.  But, private retirement plans also suck in Korea--they are virtually savings account. So, if you returned to Australia, would your national pension be better than Korea's?  Would you get a private pension from you employer? You have to think about retirement!? Do you really expect to do the "korean custom" and make your kids give you and your wife money every month in retirement?  Or do you want to work until you die?  What if something happens and you can't work?  One of the best things a parent could ever do is be financially stable for life so that their children never have to give up on their dreams, hold themselves back, and take care of their parents. 

3) Do you see a future in what you are doing in Korea?  Can you or do you want to switch careers?  If you are teaching now, look at the facts: salaries have stagnated here, jobs are being cut, private hagwans owned by foreigners are doing horribly, and more and more Koreans are viewing Koreans as being more qualified to teach English than native speakers--regardless of that NET's qualification.  Could you go back to Australia and find a career with better job security that you could bet the next thirty year's of your family's well-being on?

4) How easy has it been for you to get loans or housing with your wife?  Have you ever ran into any walls?  Faced any discrimination?  Do you think it will ever get better in Korea?  It won't, we will always face this kind of junk and it will definitely wear on you over time.  It sure has with me and my wife.

5) Screw it, let's talk about discrimination....  Do you think your child will have any difficulties getting jobs?  Do you think they will have problems at their jobs?  Do you think they will be on the same playing field as Koreans when it comes to getting job opportunities, work tenures, pensions, loans and housing?  If people are being discriminated against now, it is wishful thinking to assume that things will change that drastically in 30 years. 


One of the problems with Generation X and the millennials is that we had more opportunities to actually see if the grass was actually greener on the other side.  Most of us probably grew up in a suburb or some nice rural city and felt life was routine and everyone around us didn't know how exciting the world was!  But then one spends time abroad, goes and lives in a few countries and realizes life is the same everywhere.  Or you go to Korea and realize how much more life sucks for everybody-- both Koreans and foreigners.  And then you realize that life wasn't so bad at home.  I'm lucky that my wife lived abroad for a decade, visited my home, and realized that it is a privilege to be born in the United States as opposed to being born in Korea.  I hope your wife will be able to realize that.

I really think you shouldn't raise a family in Korea.  If you have the opportunity to live a much better life outside of Korea, take it!  Don't subject your children to the misery that is Korea.  You can raise your children culturally Korean, but don't subject them to Korean society.


  • alexc2000
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Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2015, 12:16:48 am »
If you are going to raise your child in Korea, I think it would be good if you can make your child fluent in English. If your child is not able to become fluent in English, I think life will be hard for her.


Re: Raising a child here
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2015, 04:45:55 am »
Yeah, it would be pretty embarrassing if the daughter of an English teacher didn't become fluent in English.  :laugh: 

If you're planning on staying in Korea long term, it would behoove you to live modestly and save money like a bandit for several years, and put that money in the US stock market. There are several stable and secure stocks that pay a reliable dividend. With patience, you can be proud of your accrued nest egg, and your future self and family will be grateful.

The big question is long term job security in Korea, especially for foreigners. Getting into a university position is a catch 22 proposition nowadays, as most unis require an MA+2 years of uni experience to even get an interview. And the Korean corporate world? I have foreigner friends working at Korean companies, and they are nauseated by the blind hierarchical structure of never questioning any methodology, staying late at the office until the boss leaves, and "strongly encouraged" 회식, where you need to drink with your superiors until absurd hours. Seriously, it's oftentimes sad how little involvement the Korean salary man has with his wife and kids. And this is the life Koreans strive so hard to achieve? What the hell?