There are lots of crazy rules in North Korea; parenting rules are some of them. North Korea is led by Kim Jong-un who is well-known for his iron fist way of leading. His jurisdiction covers not just the government or the overall welfare of everyone in his country, he feels that as a leader, he has the right to control everything the people do.
North Korea’s rules are very different from what most countries have. While lots of non-North Koreans are enjoying their rights as kids or grownups, there is this country that doesn’t allow its own children to play like how normal kids should play.
Although it is hard to extract information, information does get out from time to time. This secretive country can’t hide everything in today’s Internet-driven society. North Korea is known for their very unique parenting rules. Here are some of them.
10. Poker Face on July Eight
We, as humans are perceived as rational beings that have full control over our minds and emotions. In our country, we have the freedom to express our opinions, dismay, frustration, joy or happiness. No one directs us what to feel on a particular day. Even on All Saint’s Day, no one tells us not to smile or laugh. While that is true for almost all of the countries, it is different in North Korea. Every July 8, everyone in the country must wear sad faces. The eighth of July has been declared a day of mourning because it is the day that Kim II Sung, North Korea’s previous leader, died and to express sorrow, they must not smile or laugh on that day. To commemorate his death, everyone must maintain a poker face. Any person caught cracking a smile will be punished.
Someone punished for being happy isn’t fair at all. How could they expect kids to follow this rule when kids smile, giggle and laugh most of the time? Being prevented to smile in a particular day is kind of absurd, right? Kids are too young to internalize brief and concise instruction, but North Korean moms don’t seem to understand this or at least the government. Even though moms want their kids to be happy, North Korean moms have no choice but to follow the state’s rules about this.
Unfortunately, if a person is punished, everyone in his family is punished as well. So whether they like it or not, they must conform to the rules and follow it wholeheartedly. Guess should be pretty easy for everyone living in North Korea because there’s really nothing to laugh and smile about in this country, not at all.
9. What Everyone Eats, You Eat
People buy food to satisfy cravings, to unwind, to indulge. People enjoy either home-cooked food or instant food. How much do people in America enjoy eating burgers, fries, spaghetti and other delicious meals? Celebrity or not, most people get to eat the food they want every day as long as they can afford it and as long as it is available. However, North Koreans are exceptions to this. They don’t get to eat hot dogs, ice cream or fries. We’re pretty much guessing they don’t know that this food exists. North Korean moms don’t have a choice but to let their young eat the same food every day.
Poverty is very rampant in this country. Only the privileged have access to a lot of different foods. North Korean kids are trained to do a lot of work. They work up to 10 hours per day and only get to eat mostly just Kimchi or corn after working. Eating the same breakfast every day is sickening, imagine eating the same food for every meal? Ungrateful people think life is unfair. Well, it’s time for them to try to live in North Korea to know what “unfair” truly means.
8. Prescribed Hairstyle
Be it for men or women, there are a lot of fashionable hairstyles in the world. Many people enjoy changing their hairstyle, sometimes every day. They can choose any hairstyle they want. Moms are usually the ones who get to choose their kid’s haircut or they choose between what they want and what the kid wants. But in North Korea, the choices are limited. It seems there are rules for everything in North Korea, even hairstyles. Kids, nor anyone else is allowed to have a hairstyle that is not approved by the North Korean government. Parents must prevent their kids from wearing a hairstyle that is not prescribed by the government.
According to, Newsfeed Time, men and boys are only allowed to choose between 10 prescribed hairstyles, while women and girls are only allowed to choose between 18 prescribed hairstyles. Unmarried women are not allowed to grow their hair long. Kids not conforming to the rules will be punished by the government, and it will include punishment for the parents too. Wearing a hairstyle not prescribed by the state will be perceived as rebellious. One last rule: No one can have the same hairstyle as Kim Jong-Un or suffer severe punishment.
7. Work 10 Hours a Day
You think you’re having a hard time working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week? Preach that to the kids of North Korea. You think doing laundry or washing dishes at an early age is unfair? Tell that to a North Korean kid. They force their children to work up to 10 hours a day, but that doesn’t stop there. Only kids living outside the capital city of North Korea are obliged into forced labor.
Moms in North Korea allow their kids to work up to 10 hours a day under the heat of the sun or under the pouring rain. They really have no choice. Kids have been one of North Korea’s assets. Kids can produce money at an early age. Imagine kids at 5-years old working on railroads, construction or farms? Children know little about what play means. In most countries, only prisoners are put into forced labor. However, in North Korea, everyone must serve the government whether they like it or not.
Kids are sent to labor camps every day. They work and barely eat. They’re not even paid for it. Labor is an expression of love for North Korea. Laziness in North Korea is not tolerated. On the other hand, Kim Jong-un’s physical appearance is a living proof that he is contrary to North Korea’s rules.
6. Reading North Korean Comic Books is a Must
Comic books are a kid’s best friend. Kids love to read comic books and daydream about being a hero. While that is true for most countries, North Korea has created unique storytelling books.
The North Korean government gives out comic books to every family to let them read and spread their propaganda. North Korean comic books present America as a coward country. In these comic books, it is always the Americans that lose wars with North Korea. America is always afraid of North Korea. Americans are the ones who aren’t brave enough to fight with them. Comic books contain the story about how Americans ditched North Koreans, and that they must hate them for the rest of their lives.
Kids are obliged to believe these lies. Moms teach their children to hate America while they are still young. North Korean moms teach their kids about how evil and traitorous Americans are and that they should not be looked up to or followed. Being taught to hate something at such a young age can be very effective. One strict rule everyone must follow in North Korea, even children at a very young age, is, “Be Anti-America and hate Americans.”
5. Year 106
Who says its 2018 yet? it is 2018 for the rest of the world, but not in North Korea. Kim Jong-un controls everything in North Korea. Dates are not an exception to these. As he acts as a father and a mother to people, and he also believes he is the astrology expert and historian. North Koreans are set to believe that this year is year 106.
North Korean moms teach their kids to believe that the year is 106 and not 2018. Even teachers teach their students this. North Korea has a different calendar compared to the Gregorian calendar the rest of the world uses. Kim Jong-un felt that it was too “western.” The reason for this is that their First Leader, Kim II-Sung was born on the 15th of April 1912. Kim Jong-un decided that the beginning of the world was the beginning of the life of their first leader. North Koreans don’t have access to the outside world so they will never know the difference between their country’s year and other countries’ year. Obliviousness is really a thing in North Korea and Kim Jong-un is enjoying it.
4. Harsh Punishments
Welcome to North Korea! Where all members of the family are punished for the mistake of a single family member. This rule is has been turned upside down from the famous quote, “United we stand, divided we fall.” It seems like North Korean families are forced into everything together. There have been lots of pictures circulating in social media wherein North Korean families cry, kneel and beg soldiers for forgiveness. Kim Jong-un must not know what humanity means.
Kids are sent to labor camps as a punishment and as an obligatory duty for the government. It’s not like moms want that for their kids. But as we have said a while ago, parents only have a small amount of control over their children. Thus, moms always see to it that their kids follow each and every rule given by the government to avoid the punishment of the whole family in public. Kids or anyone who doesn’t comply with what the government wants is sent to concentration camps wherein they will be punished and “rehabilitated” for doing something against the law or not doing anything at all. Kids must abide rules whether they like it or not for the sake of everyone in their family.
3. Internet Usage
The Internet is a big part of our lives. You couldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t have it. The Internet is everywhere and accessible almost to everyone. The Internet could even be included in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs at this point. Malls, hospitals, and cafés provide free internet to all its customers. Moms encourage kids to use the Internet to help their kids search for projects or assignments and widen their perspective about the world. Social media is also a thing now. After waking up, it’s our phone that we immediately find to check if we there is current news or if there is a comment from the Facebook posts we previously shared.
While we are enjoying this privilege, kids in North Korea don’t get to use the Internet. They barely even have food on their plate, much less a computer and internet in their household. They don’t even know that the Internet exists. It is also reported that only the privileged can access the country’s Internet. We’d be wondering what could be the content of their Internet. We’d be guessing it’s still about Kim Jong-un’s amazing and heroic life and state propaganda. Everything in North Korea is controlled by their government. The Internet is not a thing in North Korea. Period.
2. Limited Electricity Usage
Electricity is undeniably one of the necessities of today’s modern world. Some people say they can’t live without it. They can’t live without a heater or air conditioner or mobile phone or computer. All of which needs electricity to function. Imagine a world without electricity; life would be so hard and so boring at the same time. In North Korea, only the capital city has electricity. According to NKNews, only the rich and people who have connections to the people in a power supply plant have a stable power supply. However, this is very illegal. If caught, one shall be punished.
Ordinary North Koreans live in the dark and sleep without electricity or fans or light. Electricity usage is very limited. Older people can’t consume it so kids using electricity is pretty impossible. This is pretty miserable for parents and especially for kids or a newborn baby who needs a heater to warm themselves when winter comes. So you’re complaining about your electricity bill? Please don’t. Only the privileged get to consume electricity and still it is limited. Many are struggling to pay for their electricity bills. But isn’t that a blessing in disguise? Paying one only means we get to use electricity and we can consume it.
1. Hate Americans
As avid movie fans, we tend to hate the villain in the story. It is pretty impossible to love a villain like Joker or Loki. However, these villains don’t exist in North Korea. Instead, US armies are the villains in this country. At a very young age, they are taught to hate Americans, most especially the American army. They are taught that Americans are traitors and that they must be terminated whenever they see one. And it’s not just the Americans, they are also subjected to hate the South Koreans and Japanese militaries.
Although most kids in North Korea haven’t seen an American in person, they are already taught to hate them. How absurd? Hating something kids have never even seen. According to Wikipedia, they have a museum called Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities intended to educate young North Koreans about the US-North Korean relationship.
Young students are usually sent on field trips to this museum to constantly remind them to hate Americans. They want to seek revenge and kill every American person that comes in their way if there are any. Kids are brainwashed, parents don’t have choices. How pitiful this country appears to be. Still, think you aren’t lucky enough? Think again.