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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are kids obligated to take care of their aging parents?

Traditionally in the Hmong culture, the youngest son (or other sons in the family) is expected to take care of the aging parents. Is this still the case today? And will it change now that we're slowly assimilating to the American culture?

I think it's accurate to say that many of the currently aging Hmong population in America do expect their children to care for them. The children who send their parents to a nursing home, for example, are often looked down upon and the perception is that those children obviously do not love their parents.

But here's the question I'm interested in exploring. What about you personally? When you get older, do you expect your kids to take care of you? And why or why not? I'm interested in seeing how this cultural tradition will be affected by our generation of Hmong-Americans.

For me, I don't feel my kids are obligated to take care of me when I'm older. I gave birth to them, and I'm raising them up to the best of my ability because of a desire to have children and create a family. My job as a parent is to love them, and in return, I want my kids not to pay it back to me but to pay it forward to their kids and to society at large. My kids don't owe me anything back. If they choose to do so, then that is their choice. If not, I think I'd much rather go to a good nursing home.

So what are your thoughts on this?