November 29, 2014 08:19
Women are the primary caregivers of 92.4 percent of children in Korea, but as more and more of them join the workforce, the children are often cared for by their grandparents or sent to daycare centers.
According to the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, more children are also being raised by their grandparents after their parents divorce, and this is creating problems for many children.
Double-income families turn to nannies or send their kids to live with their grandparents and visit them on weekends. Couples often hire ethnic Koreans from China due to their relatively lower wages but at the same time view them with prejudice.
There are more than 90,000 ethnic Koreans from China working as maids or nannies here, according to estimates.
One principal of a middle school said half of the students in his school are either being taken care of by their grandparents or have divorced parents.
According to Statistics Korea, a total of 119,200 households consisted of grandparents raising their grandchildren as of the end of 2010, accounting for 0.67 percent of total households. A decade ago the figure was only 0.24 percent.
The increase is mainly blamed on a surge in divorces due to financial difficulties following layoffs after the 1998 Asian financial crisis.
Children raised under such circumstances can develop emotional problems. Kang Do-hyung at Seoul National University said, "Children develop their emotions by forming emotional bonds with their mothers at an early age, and an absence of maternal care can lead to depression, a sense of inferiority and anger."
In a 2013 study by the institute, 22.6 percent of children said their mothers did not express love.
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