Which K-Drama Parent Are You Based on Your Parenting Style?

Which K-Drama Parent Are You Based on Your Parenting Style?
Image credit: Netflix, tvN, SBS, KBS

These characters show the lengths to which a parent will go in guiding their children.

We walked through the alleyways of Korea's finest TV neighborhoods, peeked into the lives of the families there, and figured out which K-Drama parent matches your own approach to raising kids.

Authoritarian: The "My Way or the Highway" Approach

Do you believe that kids should be seen and not heard? That a strict curfew is non-negotiable? Well, you might just fit the authoritarian mold, setting the rules with an iron fist, and expecting them to be followed without question. Here are the K-drama characters your parenting style is similar to:

1. Sky Castle's Han Seo-Jin (Yum Jung-Ah)

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"Sky Castle" takes us into the elite enclave where status and education reign supreme. Han Seo-Jin epitomizes the authoritarian parent, obsessed with her children's success. She orchestrates her daughter's education with the precision of a general going to war. The pressure mounts when her daughter, Ye-Seo, strives to get into a top university, reflecting her mother's relentless drive for perfection. The series chronicles the family's struggle to uphold their reputation, with Seo-Jin pulling the strings and pushing Ye-Seo to extremes.

2. The Penthouse's Shim Su-Ryeon (Lee Ji-Ah)

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Another drama, another high-stakes world. In "The Penthouse," Shim Su-Ryeon is the glamorous and authoritarian mother in a luxury apartment complex. When her daughter falls victim to a heinous crime, Su-Ryeon's veneer of control cracks, and she's thrust into a vengeful crusade. With every calculated move to protect and avenge her family, Su-Ryeon demonstrates the ferocity of a mother scorned.

Permissive: The "Free Spirit" Approach

Now, what if you're on the other side of the spectrum? If you're more about letting your kids learn from their own mistakes and rarely say no, you're likely a permissive parent, valuing freedom and self-expression above all, similar to parents from popular K-dramas "Reply 1988" and "It's Okay to Not Be Okay."

1. Reply 1988's Sung Dong-Il (Sung Dong-Il)

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If you've watched "Reply 1988," you know it's a heartwarming trip down memory lane, set in a humble Seoul neighborhood. Sung Dong-Il, playing himself as a father, is as permissive as they come. His approach is hands-off, letting his children figure out life on their own terms. His son, Jung-Hwan, develops a crush on their neighbor, Deok-Sun, and through Dong-Il's subtle guidance and open nature, we witness the bittersweet pangs of first love and family ties that bind beyond blood.

2. It's Okay to Not Be Okay's Moon Young's Father (Oh Jung-Se)

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In "It's Okay to Not Be Okay," we meet a father whose permissive ways are rooted in his own tragic circumstances. Moon Young's father, once a celebrated author, is now battling dementia. His daughter, Moon Young (Seo Ye-Ji), a children's book author with antisocial tendencies, had a turbulent upbringing marked by her mother's murder. Her father's hands-off parenting is more by default than design. As he grapples with his fading memories, Moon Young yearns for his approval and love, even as she often rejects conventional norms of affection and behavior.

Authoritative: The "Guiding Hand" Approach

If your parenting is all about balance – firm rules but with a side of warmth, and encouraging independence while maintaining clear boundaries – then you're flying the authoritative flag. These two K-drama parents, two, are a "guiding hand" to their kids:

1. My Father is Strange's Byun Han-Soo (Kim Young-Chul)

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In the heartwarming family drama "My Father is Strange," Byun Han-Soo is the quintessential authoritative parent. As the head of a bustling household with four unique children, Han-Soo guides with a mix of discipline and love. The plot thickens when an idol turns up claiming to be Han-Soo's son, born out of wedlock. Throughout the series, Han-Soo's parenting is tested as secrets unfold, but his consistent support and understanding shine through. He exemplifies how to steer the ship through stormy family secrets.

2. Hi Bye, Mama!'s Cha Yu-Ri (Kim Tae-Hee)

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"Hi Bye, Mama!" tells the touching tale of Cha Yu-Ri, a mother who returns from the afterlife for a second chance with her family. Although she's a ghost, her authoritative parenting style is very much alive. In her brief 49 days back among the living, Yu-Ri is focused on setting her daughter's life on the right path and preparing her family for a future without her. Yu-Ri's heartache and determination as she helps her daughter from the sidelines are as endearing as they are tear-jerking.

Democratic: The "Let's Vote" Approach

Perhaps you see your family as a mini-democracy, where each member has a voice, and parenting is about guiding and facilitating rather than directing. If so, you're probably a champion of the democratic style, just like these two popular K-drama characters:

1. Crash Landing on You's Yoon Se-Ri (Son Ye-Jin)

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"Crash Landing on You" brings us Yoon Se-Ri, a successful CEO who inadvertently paraglides into North Korea and into the life of Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin). While not a parent, Se-Ri's style with the people around her is democratic. She listens, empathizes, and often lets the group's needs inform her decisions, even in the direst situations. As she navigates her unexpected detour, she builds a surrogate family with the North Korean soldiers, and together, they form a unit that makes decisions with consideration and consensus.

2. Sky Castle's Lee Soo-Im (Lee Tae-Ran)

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Back in the intense atmosphere of "Sky Castle," we encounter a different parenting approach with Lee Soo-Im. She's a stark contrast to the authoritarian Han Seo-Jin. Soo-Im is an author and advocate for a more democratic style of parenting, promoting understanding and support over competition. Her arrival in the Castle turns the community upside down because she isn't afraid to challenge the rigid status quo, insisting on her son's ability to make his own choices. Lee Soo-Im believes that children should have a say in their future, not just follow the path laid out by their parents.