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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?


Anonymous said...

I agree with you. I don't expect my children to take care of me during my golden years. I would rather have trained professionals who know what they're doing do the job than have my children stress over not knowing how to take care of their aging mother. I believe that this kind of attitude---believing your children "owe"---will only lead to resentment.

MK Chang said...

ahmongwoman, you bring up a good point about having trained professionals take care of you when you're older. It reminds me of an aging uncle of mine who is currently being taken care of in the home by his son and grandsons. Because of his complete immobility, they have to manually move him in and out of bed and to the bathroom and so forth. They had good intentions in caring for him, but the thing was that they didn't know how to properly carry and support his body weight. So for many months, every time they moved him, it would hurt and he would complain. They would try to be more gentle but it was difficult as they were not aware of the proper techniques for lifting and moving an adult body. Thankfully, a nurse visited and finally thought of showing them how to do it, where to hold, etc., without hurting him too much.

Dorothy Explora said...

i agree with everything you said, when it comes to me personally and my own expectations. but in the instance of my own parents, i would still wholeheartedly take on the responsibility of caring for them during their golden years.