Home > Maybe expecting kids to take care of the parents isn't such a bad idea.

Maybe expecting kids to take care of the parents isn't such a bad idea.

July 3rd, 2007 at 01:42 pm

When I first heard of the idea of a kid (grown) being expected to take care of a parent, I was horrified at the implication that people starting a life and raising kids would have one more burden on them (mom and pop).

But the more I think of it, the more I see how older folk are relegated to nursing homes and added to a chore list of 'people you aught to go see' but prolly never do. This is an upside down way to treat people. The two opposite ends of the age spectrum should be brought together not separated for time with 'peers' My kids would benefit so much more from a quiet talk with great-grandma than an hour with another short kid.

Notice I said 'great grandma' grandma (both of em) is still able enough to support herself, and spoil my kid. Not that time with grandma isn't valuable in its own right, it just has to be restricted to keep the spoiling a treat not an everyday habit (though not as restricted as the miles apart make it for us Frown.)

Great grandma on the other hand is a bit slower, a bit more philosophical on kids (read likely to laugh when they tantrum, not rail against my parenting ability, inward or outward), and a bit less financially likely to whisk them off for ice cream or yet another toy.

Unfortunately those miles separate great grandma as well, fortunately she has quite a few years before she can't support herself...and when that happens...well I would prefer to have her (and pappap) here, but I doubt they want to move that far.

Anyway I was just thinking there is more than money going into the decision of what to do with 'old folk'. There is the need to keep em around the 'young folk'. Moms and Dads need reminded they weren't perfect as kids. Kids need to know that mom and dad learned from their mistakes. Kids need to hear about how the world has changed. Grown ups need to hear the enthusiasm of learning in a child.

And the number one thing...two adults isn't enough for kids..they need more adults to guide them...and hopefully enough that you have options in finding a mentor.

6 Responses to “Maybe expecting kids to take care of the parents isn't such a bad idea.”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    This type of arrangement is very common, if not the norm, among the Chinese anyway.

    Rather than Retirement homes and so forth, it is expected that you'll eventually have your parents come live with you, and in return, your parents usually help out with common domestic chores.

    This is also kind of an awkward issue for me because my parents still live with Asian values, while I have Americanized. Fortunately, they do well enough on their own, and they plan on retiring on their own. As far as I know, they're actually happy with this arrangment, which is good because I'm nowhere near able to help out my parents once they retire....

    In general though, I think the Chinese way is better. It's healthier overall. Grandparents are happier because they're with the grandkids. Grandkids are happier because they have the grandparents who will pay attention to them. You're happier because there's somebody around to babysit.... Big Grin

  2. nanamom Says:

    Well said, Perhaps if the grandmas lived closer they wouldnt' be as apt to spoil because it wouldn't feel like their only chance. I don't know why people seem to feel everyone has to hang out with their "peer group", older people in nursing homes, little ones in schools, and middle people with whoever is left. I like having a variety of ages around me.

  3. mom-from-missouri Says:

    If you look back a few generations, it was natural, almost expected to take care of the grandparents (every see the Waltons??). I would not have an issue with it. After all, didn't my parents bring me into this world, bathe me, feed me, clothe me? Why should I not return it to them when they need it.
    Just because they are retired or unable to stay by themselves doesn't mean they are of no value to the family. After my grandmas first stroke, she moved in with my Aunt for awhile, then us for awhile--switched houses and states from Fl to MO every 4 months or so. She was still able to help start supper, read to grand and great grand children, tell stories, change diapers, give hugs, dust.... I am grateful for the time we had.

  4. laceshawl Says:

    Kinda see 2 sides here; if the relationship is already loving and caring on both sides it could work really well - seen that among friends and it's lovely.
    BUT, there is another side - what if the relationship has been abusive? I have seen in my own family how someone may be very eager to have a parent live with them, when they are really after the money. There are also reported cases of elder abuse. When an elderly person becomes frail and demanding, it can be like having another small chid to look after 24/7. Sometimes tempers snap and harm is done.
    I also have a cousin who was sexually abused by her own father. There is no way she or anyone else in the near family would have him living in the home with children. So what does one do with abusive parents when they are elderly? I think there will always be a place for secure dementia units and trained caregivers. It is hard not to feel pity when one hears of old people in homes having no visitors, but no one knows what the family history may have been that led to making that decision.

  5. princessperky Says:

    I think there are always special situations..some people aren't so great, and not something I want my kids around regardless of age.

    And I think a generation gap would help. No need for parents int he 50s to go live with the 'kids' in their 30s...more like the 70-90 generation...

  6. contrary1 Says:

    Having just moved in with my mom, we're still finding all the perks. We knew we would have a great time, and I knew I could be of assistance to her. We have found it to be cheaper too. I believe we will toss more of our individual holdings together as we go down this road.... and mix a couple other things like car insurance policies for one.

    I too agree,living with elders isn't the norm in the U.S., but in many other countries, it is just the way the life cycle goes.

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