Today, I read an article about an amendment to a law in China that has been on the books for a while. The original law says that people are required to visit or keep in touch with their elderly parents. If they don’t they could be sued by their parents for failing to provide emotional support. The purpose of the amendment seems to be to raise awareness of the issue – that children are not doing enough for their aging parents.
The amendment says that the children of parents older than 60 should see them on a daily basis, and that their financial and spiritual needs should be met, as well as the emotional support that was the basis of the original law. One woman said the only time she sees her two sons is once a year at a family reunion. She noted that the Chinese raise their children to take care of them when they are old. That is the expectation of older Chinese, but those who are younger apparently don’t agree with that belief.
- How responsible are adult children for their aging parents?
- Should there be a law or at least some type of guideline as to the care adult children should be required to give their parents?
The article noted that young adults who don’t want to cooperate with the new amendment probably won’t. Times are changing in China as they are in the rest of the world. Families often live long distances from their parents and don’t have a way to help care for them.
- Is caring for aging parents, especially physically, financially, and emotionally, something that should be required or should we leave it to the discretion of the individual family members?
- Is there an organization such as AARP that should set guidelines hoping that adult children would become aware of the need to stay in touch with older family members?
- As our population ages, should we consider getting the government involved by creating laws that would require family members to care for their elderly parents?
I can’t imagine we in the United States would enforce laws that required adult children to care for their parents or else they would face some kind of punishment. I really don’t see that happening. But, is there some way an organization or government entity might come forward and assist the elderly through encouraging or even requiring adult children to do more for their loved ones.
As our population ages, this subject could become a hot topic debated for years. While caring for aging parents is a responsibility that children should voluntarily take upon themselves, I don’t know that they should be forced to by law, or that the government should get into the act.
What do you think? I would love to hear your opinion on this controversial topic now raging in China.