The Korea Herald


Korean fathers don’t talk enough with kids

By 천성우

Published : May 1, 2011 - 18:45

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A third of South Korea’s fathers feel they don’t talk enough with their children, with the lack of dialogue experienced most among single-parent and poorer families, a survey showed Saturday.

More than 34 percent of fathers said they don’t spend enough time talking to their children, while 19.8 percent of mothers felt the same way, according to the survey by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

The results were based on an analysis of two separate polls conducted in 2005 and 2010 on 691 teenagers aged between 15 and 24 and 1,051 parents with children aged between 12 and 24, the ministry said in a press release.

Nearly half of the single-parent families surveyed, or 48.5 percent, said there was a lack of conversation between the parent and the kids, with high rates also recorded among families in which both parents worked (28.1 percent) or that met only on weekends (38.9 percent).

Low-income families were more likely not to converse, at 55.4 percent, than their wealthier counterparts, with the results being 26.3 percent for low- to middle-income families, 21.9 percent for middle-income families and 29.3 percent for middle- to high-income families.

From the children’s perspective, daughters, at 25.1 percent, were more likely than sons, 20.1 percent, to say there was a lack of communication with their parents. More children felt they didn’t talk enough with their fathers (33.5 percent) than with their mothers (11.7 percent).

In terms of the level of understanding between parents and children, more mothers said they had difficulty understanding their children at 19.4 percent compared with 12.2 percent among fathers.

On the children’s side, more sons (23.6 percent) than daughters (16.7 percent) said they felt their parents misunderstood them.

On the issue of leisure time, fathers spent an average of 86 minutes with their families each day, compared with 97 minutes for mothers. While much of that time was spent watching television, both parents and children picked traveling as their first choice of family leisure at 28.7 percent. Attending cultural and arts programs came next at 14.9 percent, followed by hobbies and amusement at 14.3 percent, and resting at 11.1 percent.

“The results of this analysis show that parents and children have different views of their time spent talking and level of understanding,” the ministry said. “This requires programs for securing conversation time and communication between parents and children.”

The ministry also said it plans to strengthen family counseling services and education programs for both parents and children, while pushing for family-friendly work environments and better facilities for family-oriented leisure programs. 

(Yonhap News)