PURPOSE: The study was conducted to explore the parenting experience of mothers who have defected from North Korean. METHODS: Nineteen mothers who defected from North Korean were recruited in Hanawon and data were collected through face-to-face interviews. Grounded theory methodology developed by Strauss and Corbin (1998) was adapted for theoretical sampling and analysis. Interviews were recorded with consent and transcribed verbatim. RESULTS: The core category was discovered to be 'pursuing positive parenting'. Phenomenon was identified as 'acting out of frustration' and this series of processes was categorized as having four stages: 'harsh reality', 'moving forward', 'seeking transition' and 'internalization'. CONCLUSION: The results indicate that their parenting experiences were in a transition process and, thus, it is critical to develop positive parenting intervention programs as a way to promote the empowerment of these mothers in parenting to help them support themselves and their children.