Overprotective Korean Mothers Flock to Military

Article from Chosun Ilbo:

Mothers Flock to Military

Everyday, they ask after their sons in the military, and if their sons are shoved by senior soldiers, they complain to the unit

Overprotection causing maladjustment among soldiers…When they miss their mothers, they ask for leave

overprotective korean mothers military service soldier

When Navy captain A thinks of soldier B who was only in the military for a month, and then discharged from service due to maladjustment, the soldier’s mother’s face comes to mind. From the time that soldier B was placed in the military, he would say “I really hate the military” and requested a meeting almost every day. Eventually, he tried to commit suicide. Navy captain A said he tried his best to help soldier B, who was labeled as in need of special attention, adjust to the military. He carefully observed the soldier’s barrack life, and frequently met with him. However, it wasn’t soldier B that made the captain feel helpless- it was the soldier’s mother. After B’s suicide attempt, B’s mother frequently called A to ask after her son, and this only intensified as time went on.

She would call almost three to four times every day to ask about her son, even calling at 2- 3 AM in the morning and pressing him to put her son on the line. Finally, it was decided that B was unsuitable for the military, and was discharged from service due to illness. A said “I understand that she was worried about her son, but wouldn’t her attitude have influenced her son’s ability to adjust to the military?”

Korean parents who are known for their devotion to their children are flocking to the military.

These kinds of mothers have emerged– mothers who frequently ask platoon leaders about their sons’ well-being as if they were making inquiries to the kindergarten teacher, and rent rooms near the training facilities to be at their sons’ side when they undergo new recruit training. A recent string of bullying incidents and suicides have drawn attention to the backwardness of military culture, but among commanders, “Overprotective parents are a main reason for maladjustment among soldiers.”

Parents Who Follow Their Sons to the Military

Company-grade officer C who is the midst of new recruit training in the military says, “Not too long ago, I went to a restaurant near the training facilities, and was shocked when a woman in her 40’s asked me ‘Do you happen to know recruit x?'” She introduced herself as the mother of a new recruit who had entered the training facilities two weeks ago, and said “I wanted to be by my son’s side. I come to the restaurant in front of the unit almost every day for lunch.” C said “There are mothers who rent rooms and camp out near the training facilities until their son’s training is over. This woman felt that she couldn’t compare to them. I was at a loss for words and couldn’t reply.”

Among lower level officers, there is a term they call parents who frequent the unit’s internet cafe dozens of time a day during their son’s service– “super fans.” On one unit’s internet cafe, a soldier’s mother uploaded childhood pictures of him, as well as pictures of his favorite foods. These parents send notes and frequently ask the platoon leader and squadron leader about their sons.

According to observers at the military training facilities, in the Kakaotalk chat rooms that the platoon leaders establish, there is no end to petitions from parents who send messages about the cosmetics that their sons use, and ask the platoon leaders if they can send money and have the platoon leaders buy the products for their sons on their behalf.

Soldiers who ask for their mom in the military

Squadron Commander D of a Gangwon-do unit tensed up when he heard that a private who had recently transferred to the unit three months ago had requested a meeting. He accepted the meeting right away, thinking that the private been beaten, or endured cruel treatment, but the soldier told him, “I am satisfied with life in the military- I just miss my mother” and asked if he couldn’t be given leave. D said “It was absurd, but many incidents can happen in the military, so as a preventative measure, I gave him leave. His parents had driven to the front of the unit and were waiting for him.”

Considering this, there are many things that happen in middle and high school classrooms that can also happen in the military. One field-grade officer said bitterly, “Two corporals who were a rank apart were bickering, and the senior soldier lightly shoved the junior soldier. Even though the commander said he would take measures to resolve it, the mother of the junior soldier came to the unit and demanded a public apology from the mother of the senior soldier. Eventually, the unit had to call the parents on both sides, and mediate a resolution between them.”

The problem with overprotecting soldiers

The military is a place where you live a regulated life with a group in a closed environment. Because of this, it’s necessary to be mentally capable of being self-reliant. But in the front line unit, one general in charge of new recruit education says, “Whether it’s overprotecting their sons or ignoring them, this has an effect in development, leading them to have a weaker ability for self-reliance or have obsessive-compulsive syndrome, and I see in many cases they not able to adjust to life in the military. Eventually, these soldiers have a high risk of ending up becoming the attacker or victim in the barracks.”

Comments from Naver :


When war breaks out, they’ll go to the enemy commander and argue with them.

wate****[Responding to above]:

The Republic of Korea’s Ministry of National Defense = Parents??


Parents, don’t you have to teach your children how to tough it out after you pass away?

the_****[Responding to above]:

We don’t have the right to mock China’s little emperors.


When there’s a war, they will go fight in their son’s stead.


At this rate, the army is becoming a mess…


Gather together all the soldiers under special supervision, and create a training center for them. It would be great to put all of them there.


It’s these kinds of extreme mothers that are creating “mama boys” and torment their wives, leading to divorce. They don’t cultivate a sense of independence in their sons, but forever treat their sons as kids. Their sons are pitiful.


They care about their moms only when they’re in the army, but they are indifferent to their moms after they’re discharged. Korean moms, don’t be fooled.


These guys will get married and then a few years later, their wives will give them divorce papers to sign…


This doesn’t help your kid, but instead, screws them up, don’t you know? How silly.


The problem is not with the military. These kinds of parents interfere in their kids’ social life and marriage life.

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