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Newlyweds Living Closer to Parents

Posted September. 22, 2006 05:59,   


Seong (30) had been worrying a lot about where to have his newlywed house before he got married two years ago.

At first, he was thinking about moving to Gangbuk, Seoul, which is close to his workplace, but he finally accepted his wife’s proposal to live in the apartment in Bundang, Gyeonggi, which is only five minutes apart from her parents’ house.

My wife insisted that we live in somewhere close to her parents’ house because doing so would be helpful in assisting our kids, and I accepted her idea” said Mr. Seong.

He added, “It’s much better to ask parents to take care of my children than strangers or day-care centers, even though we still need to pay money. My colleagues are envious of newlyweds who live closely to parents.”

There is a growing population of married children living in the same apartment complex or living closely to their parents.

Daughters-in-law of the ‘386 generation’ who had begun to realize the rights of females wanted to live as far as they could from their parents-in-law.

However, new married couples these days often wish to reside in a place of which the distance is only an inch away from their parents’ house.

Dr. Kim Hye-gyeong from Korean Women’s Development Institute explains this change, saying, “As more women have careers of their own, couples tend to have houses near their parents’. And this is becoming a new way of a big family.”

This kind of a loosened big family becomes very popular because it is the middle point between the desire of personal privacy and burdens of living such as raising kids.

Many parents are welcoming this trend, because they are not far from their children and grandchildren emotionally and their children can always take care of them.

Kim (61, female, Goyang city) had his son who married four months ago live next to her apartment building.

“I was worried because I thought my daughter-in-law would be not satisfied with living together. It is better to become friendly with my son and my daughter-in-law by living somewhere close enough for us to communicate easily,” says Kim.

On the contrary, grandmas who are tired of taking care of grandchildren want their children to move far from theirs in recent days.

Goh (34, Munjung-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul) had lived nearby with his parents in Ilsan, Gyeonggi, and moved in the remote area from there early this year. “I wanted to ask my parents for my children, but they said they were tired. I had no choice but to move to somewhere else,” says Goh. “I’m thinking about telling my wife to consider quitting her job.”

Dr. Kim says, “Only family can fulfill the basic needs such as caring children and seniors under the circumstances of Korea where there are not enough supplying systems from the government. There are many positive aspects of a loosened big family: for example, they can protect personal privacy between parents and children, which is impossible in a nuclear family, and they can help each other in everyday life.”