The Twilight Years
February 23, 2007 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Indian Government proposes bill to penalize children for neglecting their aged parents.
posted by hadjiboy (22 comments total)
God, what a terrible idea.

I think that a necessary part of the whole life equation is that if you're a shitty to your kids, your kids won't take care of you when you're old and crotchety.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:39 AM on February 23, 2007

This is why you have to kill your parents when they start getting infirm.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:09 AM on February 23, 2007

Actually, you should chop them up and boil them. At that age, they're perfect for stew.
posted by Alex404 at 8:20 AM on February 23, 2007

Fuck that! Put 'em in the movies.
posted by dsword at 8:25 AM on February 23, 2007

I took a medical anthropology class last semester (continuing ed, so it was all adults), and we discussed this very subject. It is a huge insult to not take care of your parents in India. One classmate, who was born in India, said that it is one's major life duty to get married, have children, and raise them to take care of you in your old age. And, in truth, many elders are actually live-in babysitters of their grandchildren or other youth living in the house. In the poorer neighborhoods, if the man of the house leaves or dies, the grandmother is a blessing, as she can watch the children while the mother goes out to work.

As the article says, putting your elders out is an act of betrayal. Another classmate, also Indian-born and raised, said that the stigma against this action was not on the children who had done such an awful act, but rather on the dismissed parents, as if they had not done their job properly or were not worth keeping around.

Another classmate, who was born and raised in Morocco, claimed that nursing homes were outright illegal in Morocco; the social rule about taking care of one's elders was that strong.

Meanwhile, the Americans in the class all discussed how when we get old, we want to remain as independent as possible. We work so hard all our lives to make a home for ourselves, and when we get old we don't want to give it up. It's a very different culture here, especially when it comes to end-of-life care.
posted by sarahnade at 8:52 AM on February 23, 2007

I don't know. It was always taught in my family that a parent takes care of their child, and then the child takes care of the parent. In my family, nursing homes are a last resort used only when caring for the parent at home is impossible, and even then there was a stigma of shame attached to sending them away.
posted by FunkyHelix at 9:15 AM on February 23, 2007

My mom has always told me that if she gets too old/sick to funtion properly, I should take her to a high mountain and shove her off a cliff.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:44 AM on February 23, 2007

My mother was awful to me during my childhood, and we haven't spoken in years. I'll probably still take care of her when she's old and crotchety, though. That Jell-O sure is sweet when it's served by the daughter you wrote off as a failure.
posted by katillathehun at 10:31 AM on February 23, 2007

My parents abused me as a child, and we are completely estranged. If they showed up on my doorstep looking for someone to take care of them, I would slam the door in their face.

And if they persisted, I'd call the cops.
posted by Jake Apathy at 10:34 AM on February 23, 2007

Afroblanco writes "I think that a necessary part of the whole life equation is that if you're a shitty to your kids, your kids won't take care of you when you're old and crotchety."

I always thought those horrible nursing homes featured on 48 Hours and 60 Minutes were advertising for parents to be nicer to their kids.

Personally, I feel that it's everyone's major life responsibility to have enough vices to kill you before you reach infirmity. I don't think running your own breeding program should be a requirement for retirement.
posted by mullingitover at 10:37 AM on February 23, 2007

People have kids to have someone to take care of them when they're older, when you get right down to it. And people go to prison for mistreating their children and not taking care of them; why not have adult children just as responsible for their parents? While this implementation is a bit ridiculous, I think it's a good idea overall. One of the few responsibilities we have on this earth is to make our communities, at the very least, slightly better than they were before we got here. If we can't start by taking care of our predecessors, I don't know why we should bother with anything else.
posted by luriete at 10:53 AM on February 23, 2007

"I always thought those horrible nursing homes featured on 48 Hours and 60 Minutes were advertising for parents to be nicer to their kids."

I think it had the opposite effect. There are so many nasty ass nursing homes around here that it's not even funny.

Do you want to find a good nursing/care home? Grab the nearest EMT and ask them.
We remember the bad ones, and we remember the good ones too.
posted by drstein at 11:02 AM on February 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

And people go to prison for mistreating their children and not taking care of them; why not have adult children just as responsible for their parents?

Because having children is a conscious decision to take on a certain responsibility. Being born is not.

Because it is natural for children to want to take care of their parents, and if they choose not to, they probably have a good reason.

Because a child who is forced to take care of their parent, presumably under threat of incarceration, will probably do a worse job then even the worst nursing home.

Because children are innocent, and have no faculties to deal with the world. Parents have had a whole life to prepare for their old age.

Because your analogy is totally broken. Children of unfit parents are taken from their parents and put into a different environment. The same thing should happen if a child is an unfit caretaker of their parent.

Because you can't be held responsible for the choices of a fully grown adult, unless you've signed some sort of contract (marriage license, joint credit card, loan co-sign, etc.)

And on and on and on. It's just a bad idea, ok?
posted by Afroblanco at 11:16 AM on February 23, 2007

because it would interfere with my narcissistic wish to not have any obligations towards anyone that would interfere with my lifestyle

because, i, unlike every other human being on this planet, will remain forever young and healthy

because, if i can throw away my furniture when it goes out of style, trade in my car when it loses that new car sheen, throw out my clothes when i get bored with them and break up with my partner when i get bored with them, i ought to be able to toss away my folks, too
posted by pyramid termite at 12:45 PM on February 23, 2007

I for one believe that pyramid termite has expressed an opinion that I find to be far more common than Afroblanco's.

This bit in particular:
"Because it is natural for children to want to take care of their parents, and if they choose not to, they probably have a good reason."

if rewritten as, "it is natural for me to want to take of my parents" makes it a noble statement because it is so rare.

Most of my life, I have been taught by my parents that it is expected for us to care for our elders as they grow older. It is our way, our culture and one of the base assumptions of a society that didn't have something like, you know, Social Security. Then, in the next breath, my parents would also curse how much grandma and grandpa were crimping their lifestyle and wish that we could go on vacations without having to worry about wheelchair accessibility.

I am certainly not looking forward to having another mouth to feed, especially if I choose to have kids myself. The only ameliorating factor would be if I could start my kids on paper routes and WoW character farming gigs as soon as they show signs of literacy.
posted by bl1nk at 1:13 PM on February 23, 2007

So the obligation to provide for your own retirement should consist of nothing more than squeezing out a couple of crotchfruit?
posted by FreedomTickler at 1:28 PM on February 23, 2007

Hope they don't pass anything like that here...Oh hi Mom, just kidding! Yep, I'll see you later! ........Ha! - at least Pyramid Termite's with the program.
posted by jalexei at 5:16 PM on February 23, 2007

Afroblanco, I was a lot like you growing up, and I’m not that old either;)

The point of this law isn’t to make sure that the children of these parents stay together, but to make sure that the parents don’t get kicked out of their houses or disowned by their kith and kin when there is no-one around to protect them. To assume that the only reason why a child would feel the need to do such a thing is if he were abused or mistreated by his parents fails to take into account that there is also a possibility that the parent could’ve done everything in his power to make the child happy, and still fallen short of his children’s expectations, so what does one do then?
I understand how difficult it can be to live with someone who has mistreated you, or not allowed you to fulfill all those dreams that you thought that you may have been destined for, but Parents aren’t perfect either. And I’m not saying that parents who abuse their kids would fall under this category, because that is a whole ‘nother topic by itself, but you can’t lump everyone together, and even if your parents were horrible to you, and you have every right to be vindictive towards them, there is always a hope of reconciliation, or at least a truce where you can let the other live in peace.
It just so happens, that in India, as sarahnade wonderfully pointed out, Parents usually stay with their kids until, well, they die I suppose, and anything less than that is considered an insult. Especially if you were to have been kicked out of your own house, and by the very people who you thought would be safe-guarding your interests in your latter years. It’s not surprising that a person like that would feel so dejected that he would not even want to ask anyone for help.

The only thing that I’m worried about is the slight chance that this law might have of being misapplied, like the Dowry law has been over here, leading to the deaths of some men, their family members, or the incarceration of anyone concerned with the man in question.
posted by hadjiboy at 8:53 PM on February 23, 2007

Wow, Hadjiboy, you make a whole lot of assumptions about me in your condescending reply.

You're speaking in philosophies and generalities, and that's all fine and good. However, I'm talking about practicalities. And practically speaking, it does not make any sense to force one adult to be responsible for another adult, unless they have consented to do so.

The whole idea of this law is fucked. Yeah, let's have the government stick its nose into our personal lives a little bit more. I'm sure that will help matters.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:39 PM on February 23, 2007

Afroblanco, if I’d wanted to be condescending I would’ve come right out and said it. I don’t know what, but it wouldn’t have been what I’d written above because I empathized with your statements and condescension was the last thing from my mind. If it came across that way then I apologize. However, there is a cultural difference that exists between India and America that puts Parents on such a high pedestal that to discard them in the way that has been described in one of the links that I’ve linked to is unthinkable, even though it does happen. You may not agree with it, and I hope I’m not sounding condescending when I’m saying it, but it’s just the way things are over here. And, by the way, I was not referring to you in particular in the above post, but to anyone reading this thread. I hope I wasn’t too vague about that.
posted by hadjiboy at 12:42 AM on February 24, 2007

Do you know what I blame this on the collapse of? Society, that's what.

I recall Singapore (maybe Hong Kong?) passed a similar law a decade or so ago, which was really quite unthinkable at the time, due to their culture's heavy emphasis on respect for family, one's elders, and one's familial elders, in particular.

In that respect, the culture seems pretty similar to Indian culture, and a lot of blame was placed on modernisation, westernisation & crass materialism amongst the younger generations.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:41 PM on February 24, 2007

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