China's New Rule for Mandatory Parent Visits

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Grandparents, Old, Geriatric (Flickr: roblisameehan)

Bonnie Tsui, stories editor for The Atlantic, discusses the new Chinese law requiring adult children to visit their parents. Tsui talks about what this legislation tells us about the needs of a growing elderly population in the U.S., and takes your calls on how you manage a long-distance relationship with your parents.

China has just passed a law requiring adult children to visit their parents. BT talks Cleared No
about what this legislation tells us about

Bonnie Tsui, stories editor for The Atlantic, discusses the new Chinese law requiring adult children to visit their parents. Tsui talks about what this legislation tells us about the needs of a growing elderly population in the US, and takes your calls on how you manage a long-distance relationship with your parents.



Bonnie Tsui
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Comments [24]

Judith Mary Gee from New York City

For approximately two years, my favorite uncle and I shared an apartment at an assisted living facility that has a very good reputation (and, needless to say, is not inexpensive). My original plan was to visit him every day (this ALF is about a mile and a half from my home), but he was terrified of being left in a strange environment, attractive though it looks to an outsider. While this place did become home for us, and I am grateful for some of the care that my loved one received, I also bear some very painful memories. On more than one occasion, a server in the dining room was disrespectful, even refusing to bring my uncle's dessert. (This waitress apparently imagined that my uncle would be able to help her land a fashion modeling contract.) A few months before my uncle's death, an activities coordinator allowed the two of us to get lost in a public outdoor recreation area.

Aug. 08 2013 06:00 PM
Kurt Flood

@Suzie from Astoria. The link is for a site called See Your Folks. But it has been down for several hours.

Aug. 07 2013 04:11 PM
Luis from Staten Island, NY

I think it is right for the government to regulate certain obligations that we must meet as a family.
Remember, "FAMILY" is the first unit of human civilization and we must keep this unit as primary; without families there is no civilization, in that way our civilization could not go on.
But look how many gays and lesbians have spread in recent years, destroying our institution; don't take me wrong, I have nothing against homosexuality - simply I believe the only way to have a family is between a man and a woman, all else are fairy tales that do not apply to the case.
That's why, if we do not respect this institution we call family, the government is obligated to us to respect this institution, as well as respecting any other.

Aug. 07 2013 12:13 PM
John A

KC from Westwood,
I had a problem much like yours, also involving receiving physical abuse. My advice is to get relatives or friends to visit often, to break your routine and to be present to witness. If you already have other family present, well you are better off than I was.

Aug. 07 2013 11:35 AM
suzie from astoria

What is the link they discussed to figure out how often you should visit parents - it was a UK is not helping me.

Aug. 07 2013 11:34 AM
The Truth from Becky

Oh what an uncomfortable visit that would be! You can't dictate morality.

Aug. 07 2013 11:30 AM
Bob from Pelham, NY

@ Ed from Larchmont: Unfortunately your suggestion is a little late, as my Mom passed away a few years ago. Also, your information is not accurate -- the order you mentioned is no better than the other Catholic providers. So my challenge to you remains: If you are so committed to pro-life, get out there and agitate for the elderly Catholics (and others) with the Church leaders, and stop feeling you have done your duty by being the anti-abortion agitator on the BL comment board once a day.

Aug. 07 2013 11:30 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Marriage and "family" are antiquated institutions forcing obligations that are no longer relevant. Today government schools take care of most children most of the time, and the aged are cared for in nursing homes, also paid for by taxpayer monies. Soon we'll be producing babies in factories. "Brave New World" is only a few generations away at most.

Aug. 07 2013 11:29 AM
KC from Westwood

I am in a different situation. I am an only child and taking care of my elderly parents. My father is 92 and my mother is 83. He has mobility issues and she has Alzheimers. Due to extensive damage to our house during Sandy, they are living in an apartment while the house is repaired. I am trying to convince them to sell the house since it is so difficult for my father to handle stairs.

Sometimes they agree, then when I think we are embarking on a course of action, they change their minds. Life seems to change every five minutes and they are driving me crazy. It seems that if I were abusing them, the county or the state would step in, but the abuse and problems I get from them, there is no recourse for me.

Dealing with them and handling the after-Sandy problems seems to be so overwhelming at times. I envy some of your callers for having a seemingly easier time.

Aug. 07 2013 11:27 AM
John A

A lot of times - most times, really - morality is that which saves the society money EG Medicare for an uncared for senior vs cared for one. So the society sick of covering for losses due to immorality then legislates away from it.

Aug. 07 2013 11:26 AM
Rosemary from New York

I am an elderly parent whose four children live in four different states yet manage to keep in close touch with my children and grandchildren via texts and Skype and occasional visits. It can work.Mandating visits to elderly parents can breed resentment on both parts.

Aug. 07 2013 11:23 AM
pliny from soho

Do they have Social Security in China?

Aug. 07 2013 11:22 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The situation is similar in all places, but in China it's much worse because of the one-child policy (and they want to push that or the two-child policy) on other cultures.

Aug. 07 2013 11:22 AM
harriet from new jersey

joke - Mother calls her children, who live far away, to tell them she has decided to get a divorce after 55 years. Children say "don't do anything until we get there to talk about it." Mother turns to father after she hangs and says, "see, I told you I could get them to come home!"

Aug. 07 2013 11:18 AM
Katherine from NYC

In my family, it is Mom who moved away. She lives in a state where no one else in the family has ever lived. My brother still lives in the town where we went to high school, and Dad lives not far away, so I make trips across the country to see them about twice a year, but going to see Mom is much more expensive and far less rewarding for both of us, as she no longer knows who I am.

Aug. 07 2013 11:18 AM
tom LI

What about all the hype we Americans have been taught (for several decades now) about the deep and culturally reflexive respect and love for their elders...? They now need a law to perform their duties...? I thought the Chinese, Asians in general, were always better than us Americans at such respect and consideration to/for their elders...?

I'm not being snarky here...I really wonder why this "lore" is not being addressed?

Aug. 07 2013 11:16 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

China has many problems, most of which it has created for itself and which it tries to remedy by passing bizarre laws. Well, unless the Chinese want to delegate a couple of million people to enforce this law, it will continue to be a problem.

On the other hand, doesn't the Chinese government provide health care and long term care for its citizens? Isn't that part of the communist philosophy (from those who have to those who don't have)? Or are they so corrupt they have forgotten that was the original intention of communism (which may be atheistic in philosophy, but was supposed to take care of all the citizens).

Anyway, in this country, we could have no such legislation. We don't have millions of people around to enforce it, for starters, but also people in this country visit their parents based on the parent-child relationship. The better the relationship, the more frequent the visits. For dysfunctional families, visits will probably range from infrequent to never.

Aug. 07 2013 11:15 AM
Krista from Ridgefield, CT

Many of the workplaces are so very demanding in China, this might set up policies through the workplaces that allows for workers to be given enough time off to go out to visit their aging parents in remote locations which may require several days off in a row.

Aug. 07 2013 11:14 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Children have a moral obligation to care for their parents in their old age or in sickness, but I doubt it can be legislated.

Sorry you had a bad experience in a Catholic nursing home, I recommend the Little Sisters of the Poor, they're great.

Aug. 07 2013 11:14 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Children have a moral obligation to care for their parents in their old age or in sickness, but I doubt it can be legislated.

Sorry you had a bad experience in a Catholic nursing home, I recommend the Little Sisters of the Poor, they're great.

Aug. 07 2013 11:14 AM
Todd from Brooklyn

I'm not against children visiting their parents but it is the parent who decides to have a child and that should be done without expections. Meaning the child should not be obligated.

Aug. 07 2013 11:12 AM
Harriet from new jersey

Visit my 91 yr-old mother as often as possible; usually 4 times a year . My sister also goes to visit about that often (she lives 500 miles from us both). My father died about two years ago and she has amazed us all with the way she's been able to adjust and manage the home he built for them. She is still living independently with many supportive friends and neighbors. Love our visits and long-distance calls several times a week.

Aug. 07 2013 11:11 AM
Bob from Pelham, NY

@ Ed from Larchmont: I'd like to agree with you, but unfortunately my experience with Catholic nursing homes in New York area doesn't provide much confidence. You should check out our glass houses for the elderly before casting stones at China's practices. Better yet, use the energy and sincere commitment for life you obviously have to press the Church hierarchy to pay attention to the elderly laypeople in its care, and stop just warehousing them.

Aug. 07 2013 10:54 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Oddly China, because of it's horrific one-child policy, is a rapidly aging society. And one child is responsible for his or her parents and perhaps two sets of grandparents. Hard to do.

It's kind of comical to watch an atheistic government looking back wistfully on the religious practices of the people, which included care for the elderly. As Catholicism grows in China, they will take more care of the elderly.

Aug. 07 2013 08:08 AM

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