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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

March 28, 2006

Written by C.N.

Leaving Kids Alone at Home

For many Korean parents, it’s common to leave their kids at home alone while they’re at work or running errands, etc. But as you can probably imagine, the norms about leaving kids at home here in the U.S. are much different. As the Pacific News Service reports, this cultural disparity has resulted in some serious consequences:

Often many immigrant families cannot afford daycare for their children. They are also especially prone to leaving their children to fend for themselves because they lack the support of grandparents or other relatives nearby who might otherwise help in the care of the children. Cultural attitudes also can influence parents’ decisions. . . .

Hae Sun Shin, a counselor with the Korean Youth Cultural Center, says there are many detrimental emotional side effects for small children left alone. “Latchkey kids often suffer from emotional distress and other negative side effects,” she says in the Korea Daily. Latchkey kids, she says, often suffer from high levels of separation anxiety.

It’s a pretty sad situation for everyone in these types of situations. Thankfully, social service agencies are apparently becoming more sensitive to these types of situations and how they are often merely the result of cultural misunderstandings rather than overt neglect or abuse. On the flip side, as Korean immigrants become more acculturated into American norms, they will hopefully realize that this practice can have serious negative consequences and should be avoided.

Hopefully as both sides become more aware of each other and educated about the specifics involved, this issue will become one less problem that Koreans (and all immigrants) will have to worry about.

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Leaving Kids Alone at Home" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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