A Guide to Bad Parenting: How to Not Be a Parent

What is bad parenting? Although subjective, most people would respond along the lines of “when a parent doesn’t put in effort to properly discipline their child and correct them right from wrong,” as explained by a fellow classmate. Bad parenting is exactly that, but can also linger within excessive regulation or control over their child’s life. This overbearing style of parenting is illustrated within the panels of the comic Wind Breaker by Yongseok Jo on Webtoon, which follows the narrative of a studious high school student named Jay Jo, who explores his interest in biking with his friends. He faces numerous challenges, especially from the opposition of his mother.

Jay Jo’s mom from Wind Breaker is a prime example of an unfit mother because her stubborn ideals prevent her from supporting her kids. She pushes unrealistic expectations, uses manipulation, and isolates her children to reach her goal: heightened social and economic standing. While the story is not yet complete and she may be subjected to character development, her verbal and emotional abuse, that causes the distress and alarm of her children, is difficult to forgive. 

Mrs. Jo is a highly respected doctor with authority and wealth. It can be assumed that she had to work hard to obtain such a title, and based on her insistence of studying and the workload of her job, she sacrificed her own childhood to do so. Throughout the story, Mrs. Jo shows that she genuinely believes that molding her children into study robots is the only way to guarantee their success. She does this by constantly enforcing high expectations and strict rules, like practicing for exams night and day, taking cram schools, and having to be top in class rank. She places her children in the same destructive path she took and follows the idea that “with living creatures, one must begin very early to dwarf their” distracting hobbies. In Mrs. Jo’s eyes, any activity that is not studying is not beneficial, and therefore, believes that she is being a good parent by shielding her children from useless and meaningless tasks.

Manipulation is not a light topic. In fact, it is one that affects many people, youth and adults alike. It is used to establish power over another and is often presented in such a way that it appears to be authentic advice. When Jay expresses his desire to explore biking, his mother belittles his desperation to do more than studying by saying “how lucky [he is]… to have a pot to grow in.” In doing so, she makes Jay believe that he is taking her shelter and guidance for granted. Mrs. Jo exploits her son’s gratitude similarly to how the scientists in Scavenger used creatures as tools, or means to an end, in an experiment. She uses his name to brag about her role in his achievements and takes all credit for Jay’s brilliance, but avoids the responsibility of admitting or even acknowledging her role in deteriorating his mental and emotional health.

“Control freaks” or “bossy” people adopt their behavior when they feel pressure to be perfect or when they have experienced a time when they felt helpless. Considering Mrs. Jo’s achievements and behavior on studying, she must have lived her youth feeling pressured to live up to her parents’ expectations. Perhaps that can explain why Mrs. Jo feels an urgent desire to control the lifestyles of her children by isolating them from what makes them happy. She takes away Jay’s cherished bike gifted to him by his deceased uncle and takes away his troubled brother’s cat, knowing that both the bike and the cat are valued. Mrs. Jo “hadn’t taken kindly to all the new foot traffic, or for that matter, the” preoccupation of their newly found friendships. Jay’s mother does not understand the concept of the coexistence of a happy childhood and future academic success. Her lack of understanding causes her to take significant measures to protect her children, even if they might be mentally exhausted from studying around the clock.

Bearing a child takes a lot of responsibility. Often, parents don’t realize the delicate balance between being firm and being flexible. They may end up straying too far down one side of the spectrum and implement harm onto their child. As a parent, an important rule to follow is to guide them through a happy lifestyle, starting with their childhood. Upholding unrealistic expectations, being excessively controlling, and isolation with only studies as company is a direct path to a lifetime of regret and sorrow. Parents need to have self control and maturity; it is absolutely necessary to stay impartial and not let self-deprivation influence the youth spirit. 

One thought on “A Guide to Bad Parenting: How to Not Be a Parent

  1. This post motivated me to be a good parent when I grow older. I really enjoyed your analysis of the webtoon, Windbreaker, however, I would like to say that it is quite long. How DO you have so much time to read all 378 episodes? That aside, the artwork has a distinct style at the beginning, but as quoted from the author, “the artwork gets better later on, trust me” and I completely agree. However, do not bash Odd Girl Out for having weird looking feet, as that is just mean. To be completely honest, if I had the time, I would read this webtoon, but as a busy high school student, on top of the fact that this webtoon has almost 400 episodes, I would have to pass. Thank you for sharing though!


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