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Why China Is Ordering Adult Children to Visit Their Parents

I want to explain the loneliness of the Chinese elderly, from a perspective of a Chinese student. It is my first Inspiration on OpenIDEO ;) .

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Written by DeletedUser

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The news from Business Week reveals that:
In China, a new law went into effect on Monday requiring people to care for their elderly parents, with provisions calling for children to see them regularly, or at least call on the phone. The law is intended “to protect the lawful rights and interests of parents aged 60 and older, and to carry on the Chinese virtue of filial piety,” the official China Daily newspaper reports, and the legislation gives seniors leverage to use on offspring. “Parents whose children live apart from them and fail to visit regularly can ask for mediation or file a lawsuit,” the newspaper says.
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I do not want to argue that whether this policy is right or wrong, but it is so so important that 'feeling lonely' is perhaps one of the Top 3 issues faced by many of the elderly, especially in China, where there is a thing called 'one child policy': it is difficult to be surrounded by your children all the time if you only have one.

The one-child policy led to some unexpected consequences other than 'no one takes care of parents by physically being there'. A single child tends to be more self-centered and cares less about elderly from a psychological perspective. Single child tends to be spoiled more by their parents, which cultivated their selfishness seriously.
Therefore a social institution or norm that can guide family and school education to TRULY (rather than stays at a superficial level) care about the elderly, at least - their parents, is due to be set up constructively.

In addition to this one child policy, the pace of urbanization and the level of work stress as well as travel cost (or difficulty to buy tickets) are big obstacles for family get-together.
These have strong economic implications. 
For example, the urban area pays higher salary. As ambitious young people who wants to reverse his/her destiny (or even their families'), people need to work in cities. It is not fair to blame them for not going home.

Secondly, 'family harmony' is such an important social institution that governs the elderly's psychological satisfaction. One of its representation is that they feel their children care about them and see them often. 

These are all complicated issues, especially in developing countries like China, where you can see much more subtle psychological and economic conflicts at the levels of individual, family and society. 

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DeletedUser

Cheng, thanks for your perspective. It is an interesting idea that creating a remedy to loneliness is a priority for a government. Maybe it is restrictive, but the intent seems profound.

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DeletedUser

Sorry for the belated reply Colleen! Thank you for your encourangement ;)