Monday, January 20, 2020

asymmetry in taking care of family

In Western society, there is intense pressure to be an amazing parent to your kids, but it's acceptable to neglect your parents in their old age.

A parent who sends their kid to an orphanage is condemned. But if the same person puts their parent into a not-very-good retirement home and only visits them once per year, that wouldn't get a second glance. They'd get sympathy from their friends, "It must have been hard to put your mom/dad into the retirement home and not know if they're being mistreated."

The asymmetry is interesting.


Mingus said...

In anglosaxical culture kids are considered to be belongings to their parents so parents have a responsibility (and power) to decide about their kids (this is somewhat different from European tradition where kids are thought of as full members of society but that's another story). Parents do not fall into this category so when a parent can't take care of themselves it falls into a void. This transition has happened very fast, my grandmother (born in 1920) was the last child of five and the designated caretaker for her parents since a very young age.

Boater1 said...

Thank you for writing this post, and your previous one.
I'm European-American and I feel a strong desire to take care of my parents. I don't see many of my friends feeling the same way, so sometimes I feel like something is wrong with me.