top of page

Are Tiger Moms' "Love" Destroying Korean Children's Futures? [Crash Course in Romance Breakdown!]

Jeon Do Yeon stars as Nam Haeng Seon in "Crash Course in Romance" (tvN)
Jeon Do Yeon stars as Nam Haeng Seon in "Crash Course in Romance" (tvN)

The top trending romantic comedy Crash Course in Romance is on a roll! The latest episode, episode 8, has garnered the top viewership ratings since it premiered snatching 11.823% of total viewers, good for first, according to Nielsen Korea! Although this K-drama focuses on the budding relationship between the two main characters, we want to bring attention to an underlying more serious theme, tiger moms! Let's dig deeper into this overbearing issue that has caused many Korean teenagers to harm themselves.

Amidst the comedy and ridiculousness that Crash Course in Romance gives off, the reason that the main characters Nam Haeng Seon (Jeon Do Yeon) and Choi Chi Yeol (Jung Kyung Ho) meet is because of Haeng Seon's daughter, Nam Hae Yi (Roh Yoon Seo). Hae Yi feels that she needs extra help in math so she seeks out Choi Chi Yeol's math academy to help her.

The drama really begins when Nam Hae Yi is pushed off of the class for seven of the top students due to a mother's plead to get her son to take her spot. Since Hae Yi is pushed to the side, she's not able to get the class materials needed to improve her grade. Her best friend, Lee Seon Jae (Lee Chae Min), who is also accepted into the elite student group, covers up for her when Hae Yi's classmate and rival, Bang Su Ah, accuses her of stealing the exam questions.

Roh Yoon Seo as Nam Hae Yi, the top student of her class, "Crash Course in Romance"
Roh Yoon Seo as Nam Hae Yi, the top student of her class, "Crash Course in Romance"

What's the problem?

South Korea is a very competitive country. Due to its limited resources and manpower, the struggle to survive and make a better life is at the forefront of every South Korean parent's mind. Therefore, education is the "key to a better life". It is the only option that many Korean parents feel their children have.

Is society making the situation worse?

Since most parents want their children to have a "competitive edge" over their classmates, sending their children to after-school academies is a popular option. Most children, mostly all teenagers, attend school in the morning until early afternoon and go straight to their after-school academies until late at night. It is usual for teenagers, especially those in the last year of high school, to study 12 hours a day! Because of this constant pressure to study and do better than their peers, many Korean teens have resorted to taking out their frustrations by hurting themselves.

South Korean hagwon, private tutoring academy (The Korean Times)
South Korean hagwon, a private tutoring academy (The Korean Times)

Although South Korea's suicide rates have been trending down over the past several years, suicide has been the leading killer for people in their teens until their early 30s1 . The Korean Youth Counseling and Welfare Institute stated "Counseling on self-harm and suicide for teens has surged. One area reportedly saw the number more than double during the same period.” Lee Mi Won, the head of the welfare institute added, “According to the data, the biggest reasons young people consider suicide are academic stress, interpersonal relationships, and family problems. Peers or family should help alleviate academic stress, but when that doesn’t happen, suicidal thoughts often emerge,”

In 2020, Korea had the highest suicide rate among the 38 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with 23.5 per 100,000 people.

What is the solution?

The argument for many non-Koreans would be to alleviate the competitive educational requirements for children and young adults, but many Koreans oppose this thinking since it will "create laziness". Many Korean families have been leaving Seoul for neighboring Gyeonggi Province to create a more balanced lifestyle for their families since there is more area their children can play.

What are your thoughts about this? Should Korean parents give their children more freedom? Let us know!

Source: 1


bottom of page