A housewife’s obsession with her children’s education has led a Seoul court to order she pay 10 million won ($8,500) to her husband in a rare divorce ruling, the family court said Wednesday. The case highlights the excessive attention paid to children’s education by many parents in South Korea.
The Seoul Family Court issued its ruling last Wednesday, but did not identify the couple by name.
The couple, who married in 1992, had conflicts mainly driven by what the court described as the wife’s inordinate obsession over their two children achieving high scores in exams.
The mom of one daughter and a younger son verbally abused and beat the younger child when dissatisfied with the poor test scores he received from his school.
She openly discriminated against her son when her daughter obtained excellent test results, leading to the younger child being diagnosed as having an adjustment disorder as a victim of child abuse, according to the court.
The harsh treatment of their son led to irreconcilable differences between the couple, and the spouses had both eaten and slept separately in the shared home since 2008, the court said.
“The major responsibility for the divorce rests with the wife who one-sidedly blamed the husband for his different ideas about children education,” court records said.
“The mother worsened the family discord by refusing to carry out her duties as a mother and wife,” the records said, referring to the wife’s refusal to cook and clean for her husband and son following a major fight in 2008.
The divorce court granted custody of the troubled son to the father, while allowing the daughter to live with her mother.
In South Korea’s highly competitive society, with rivals seen as not only fellow citizens but those of neighboring countries, a superior education is seen by many parents as the key to success.
The country has one of the world’s highest rates of high-schoolers going on to obtain university degrees.
Graduates of the top colleges have long held the advantage in obtaining the most sought-after employment in South Korea, where people’s occupations adds enormously to their social status. (Yonhap News)