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Study: Generation-X Parents Are Unique

Posted January. 16, 2006 03:00,   


X-Generation parents are different. The Korean saying: “Nothing is good about keeping in close contact with the wife’s family” is past history for them, and “Ajumma,” a Korean word that is somewhat degrading to married women with children, also has little meaning for them.

Generation X, born in 1970s, used to be crazy about Seo Tai-ji and the Boys, the first boys’ hip-hop group in Korea, and went on backpacking trips. Cited as the first “Internet generation,” they are now 26 to 35-year-old parents whose thoughts and awareness are quite different from those of previous generations.

Cheil Communications released a report called “Fair-ents, X-mommies, and X-daddies of Our Times,” which includes an in-depth analysis of 26 to 35-year-old parents, who used to be called Generation X. The survey was conducted from October to December 2005 through phone calls and in-depth interviews with 600 males and females ages of 26-35.

According to the report, the family concepts of Generation X parents are liberal and flexible. With women’s social activities becoming more vigorous than ever, they keep close contact with the family side that helps to raise the children, regardless of if it is wife’s side of the family or the husband’s. Generation X husbands are not ashamed to live with the wife’s family.

In terms of child gender, their attitudes are quite different from their parents’ generation, which strongly preferred boys to girls. A total of 86.4 percent of those surveyed said that they “do not mind the sex of their child,” and 85.6 percent said that “daughters are more valuable asset to the family.”

Generation X parents also believe that children’s happiness relies on their own happiness, which is different from the view the generation before them, who said that “the happiness of children is their happiness.”

“Children’s Lives Don’t Have Anything to Do with Mine”-

Generation X mothers have strong “Jummarella ” characteristics, a word that combines the terms “Ajumma” and “Cinderella.” “Jummarella” stands for married women who have their own economic capacity and have beautiful, positive personalities.

Jummarellas do not focus their lives on “devotion and sacrifice.” They are more enthusiastic about caring themselves. However, they don’t follow trends blindly and they don’t consume just to show off to others.

They do not like things just because they are luxury goods; they know the meaning of reasonable consumption. They prefer organic food for the health of the family, even if it costs a little more.

Generation X parents do not devote their lives entirely to their children. They give all their love to their children and do their duty as parents, but think of their lives as separate from the lives of their children.

In addition, since children prefer friend-like parents, they try to be their children’s friends and always try to look at things form their children’s point of view.

“Living with the Wife’s Parents Helps”-

Generation X was defined as a self-centered generation about 10 years ago. However, as they became parents, they learned how to respect others’ independence. They put lots of importance on their children’s and their own lives, but also have respect for others’ lives as well.

In terms of lifestyle, they are utilitarian. While their parents’ generation did not live with the wife’s family under any circumstances, Generation X parents are willing to do so.

Cheil Communications Director Park Jae-hang, who was in charge of the survey, said, “Generation X parents have a ‘fair’ quality in that they keep a balance between the past and present, themselves and others, and parents and children. They can be called ‘Fair-ents’ because they are different from traditional Korean parents.”

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com