Working fathers spend less time with kids: Survey

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Working fathers spend less time with kids: Survey

A 37-year-old worker surnamed Lee drives his 4-year-old daughter to preschool everyday on his way to work, but he doesn’t have time to play with his daughter in the evening because he usually gets back home after 10 p.m.

His lack of involvement in his daughter’s life causes arguments between Lee and his wife even though they are a dual-income family.

“My in-laws think that it’s fine for my husband to get home late and I’m the one who must be home in the early evening,” the wife complained. “Our daughter even doesn’t want to speak with her daddy as she has not spent much time with him.”

Korean husbands spend much less time than their wives caring for their children, a study conducted by the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education under the Prime Minister’s Office said on June 9.

The study, which evaluated Korean husbands’ participation in child care, examined 1,802 couples raising their children in Seoul in 2010.

The study said husbands of dual-income families raising children aged 3 and younger spend an average of 1.3 hours on child care during weekdays while wives spend 3.5 hours.

During weekends, husbands spend 4.1 hours whereas wives spend 7.5 hours caring for their children. Full-time homemakers spend 6.9 hours on weekdays and 7.5 hours on weekends on child care, the study said.

“Not many Korean husbands think that they have to share the burden of child care equally with their wives,” Kim Eun-seol, a researcher from the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education told the JoongAng Ilbo.

Kim added that when a proposition which read “dual-income families must divide the child care burden equally” was given, only 35.3 percent of husbands agreed, while 60.9 percent of wives agreed.

The study said husbands in dual-income families are relatively more cooperative in child care than single-income families where husbands are the sole breadwinners.

The average score that wives in single-income families rated their husbands in child care was 3.68 out of five, while wives in dual-income families rated their husbands at an average of 3.8 points.

The study said that if the father spends more time with his children, it helps children’s brain development and also helps them develop psychological stability.

“Children who have spent more time with their fathers relatively earn better grades at school,” said Kim, the researcher.

“The government should provide more policies that encourage more fathers to take part in child care and also expand their support to corporations that have provided good child care programs.”

By Park Su-ryon [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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