Author Topic: Mom's "Suggestions"  (Read 9282 times)

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blarg314

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Re: Mom's "Suggestions"
« Reply #60 on: March 13, 2013, 09:11:26 PM »

Regarding cultural expectations - in North American culture, things have changed drastically over a few generations when it comes to the lifestyle of the elderly. At the moment, we have government and employer pension plans, coverage of medical care for the elderly, various types of welfare and government support for people below a certain income level, and a variety of housing options for people when they become too old to manage on their own (assisted living facilities, nursing homes, etc).

If you have a society that doesn't have all of those things, having your elderly parents move in with you and supporting them is the default retirement option, with the alternative often being abject poverty when the parents are too old to work any more.

In the parts of Asia I'm most familiar with (Japan, Taiwan) retirement homes exist, but aren't considered a good option, and even if you want to find one, it can be hard. Now mind you, there are an awful lot of grandparents living with their kids and acting as full time babysitters, so the support doesn't come without a cost.

But for parents who are still working, are bad at finances, and are expecting their kids to buy them treats *and* help cover the bills? In that case, it's more like having a petulant college student who blows through their budget and wants you to give them beer money and help cover their rent. In that case, saying no is better for both of you, and giving in just teaches them that they don't have to be responsible.

 

Coruscation

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Re: Mom's "Suggestions"
« Reply #61 on: March 13, 2013, 11:24:28 PM »
I was going to state what SoCalVal did.  In some cultures it is expected that the children will assume some financial responsibility for their parents.

Actually, it is a pretty NEW concept in most cultures that the children won't financially support and care for their parents once the parents can no longer support and care for themselves.

It wasn't until the 20th century that most adults had some type of financial plan for retirement. In farming communities, the oldest son took ownership of the farm and the parents remained living there in most cases. To many that would be similar to the parents funding a child's education and now the child will use it to help support the parents.

I don't agree with this concept, but I do understand that many of us are only a generation or two removed from when children supporting the parents was the norm.  And some of us may not even be a generation removed. As other's posted, in both the Asian and Latin cultures, it is still expected. 

But even if the OP's culture is one where it is expected, wanting the kids to fund a higher end lifestyle would not be tolerated. In those cultures it is acknowledged that the one with the money now makes the decisions and they do not ask for things like expensive shoes.

I'm not a historian, just an extensive reader so make of this what you will but my understanding of it is thus.

Men worked until they died or were physically unable to continue. An old age pension is fairly recent and the start was set at about two years after the average life span so hardly anyone would benefit.

When a man died, his son became head of the family and he and his wife moved into the main bedroom. The MIL moved into a smaller room with a single bed, if anything. Before she did this, she handed over the keys to the moneybox/spice/cabinet/linen closet to her DIL. She was allowed to take a small number of personal possessions with her.

MIL, while receiving free board and lodging, would of course, still keep doing housework including full time child minding until physically unable to do so. All household decisions now come from the DIL re: what to cook, what chores to do that day.

Do I still have any takers?

Miss Tickle

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Re: Mom's "Suggestions"
« Reply #62 on: March 14, 2013, 12:28:49 AM »
Speaking of paying for things; My co-worker's husband gave his mom a kidney, so she lives with them and provides 24/7 childcare/support. It's the most amazing thing. 

violinp

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Re: Mom's "Suggestions"
« Reply #63 on: March 14, 2013, 12:49:34 AM »
I even told my mom that when they are unable to take care of themselves then I will help take care of them. My sister and I have discussed what we plan on doing when our parents are unable to care for themselves, which DH is understanding about. For us, it is an aspect of our culture because DH, who is not Asian, has never considered inviting either of his parents to live with us when they are unable to care for themselves.

They are not unable to take care of themselves.  They are unwilling to do so when they can.

I think takeheart meant when the time came that they were physically unable to do for themselves, as in the state at which many elderly people get a caregiver at home or are put in a nursing home.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


jaxsue

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Re: Mom's "Suggestions"
« Reply #64 on: March 14, 2013, 09:04:31 AM »
My family is not Asian (we're WASP), but we have the same ideas when it comes to our parents. For many years, now X-DH and I financially supported my parents. When our 20 and 30-something peers were taking handouts from their parents, we sent them money monthly. My parents never asked for things, and they lived a simple life.
When my dad was near the end (cancer), he and mom lived with my brother and SIL. When my mom decided she couldn't live alone alone any longer, she moved in with that same brother. We take turns caring for mom; she will stay with different siblings at different times of the year.
A nursing home is sometimes the only choice, but we determined long ago that that would be the absolute last resort.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Mom's "Suggestions"
« Reply #65 on: March 14, 2013, 10:21:15 AM »
I even told my mom that when they are unable to take care of themselves then I will help take care of them. My sister and I have discussed what we plan on doing when our parents are unable to care for themselves, which DH is understanding about. For us, it is an aspect of our culture because DH, who is not Asian, has never considered inviting either of his parents to live with us when they are unable to care for themselves.

They are not unable to take care of themselves.  They are unwilling to do so when they can.

I think takeheart meant when the time came that they were physically unable to do for themselves, as in the state at which many elderly people get a caregiver at home or are put in a nursing home.

I know.  I am pointing out that takeheart is not reneging on her implied or stated obligations.

TurtleDove

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Re: Mom's "Suggestions"
« Reply #66 on: March 14, 2013, 10:40:15 AM »
My mom (think Sophia Loren-esque 68 year old) has told my sister and me that if she ever "gets old and difficult" that we have her permission to put her "in a home."  She wants our memories of her to be good ones and for us to be focused on happy lives and not be burdened with taking care of her.  She also wants her independence and to live her own life.  Obviously, she will never "get old" and unable to care for herself (I am sortof kidding - I kinda doubt she will!) but if she does, I will absolutely put her "in a home" where she will have friends and doctors and activities and I will visit her often. 

As an aside, this is sortof a running joke since I have many elderly relatives happily living "in a home" after their spouses have died.  My then 5-year-old niece often jokes with my mom (her grandma) that she better give her a cookie or take her to the park or else she will "put her in a home!"

Pen^2

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Re: Mom's "Suggestions"
« Reply #67 on: March 16, 2013, 12:26:06 AM »
I just read all of the responses, and I want to add...

I am Asian, and like SoCalVal, it is expected that we take care of our parents when they are older and unable to take care of themselves, which I agree is a huge difference between that and my mom "suggesting" that I gift them with money here and there now. I even told my mom that when they are unable to take care of themselves then I will help take care of them. My sister and I have discussed what we plan on doing when our parents are unable to care for themselves, which DH is understanding about. For us, it is an aspect of our culture because DH, who is not Asian, has never considered inviting either of his parents to live with us when they are unable to care for themselves.

Not that it's justified, but I believe my mom made the suggestion of giving my dad money every now and then because my sister does. However, my parents also watch her daughter five days a week and overnight on Sundays. They also helped her financially here and there too, which is another reason that added to their in debt. I believe my mom feels that because my sister does that I should too. I don't ask anything of my parents, except maybe once a month or two if they can watch our son if DH and I are both working on a Saturday.

Previous to the $400, my dad has never asked for our help or made "suggestions." I know it took him a lot of consideration to ask me, which is why DH and me were okay with loaning him the money. He feels like parents should always take care of their children no matter how old their children are—something I don't necessarily agree with either. It's all my mom.

I still don't know if I should confront her or ignore her. DH thinks I should just ignore her, especially since I don't see her that often.

I understand this due to personal experience. I don't recommend just ignoring your mother--the current dynamic needs to be changed or it will stay the same, and doing nothing won't change anything. She'll keep badgering you. Or, try ignoring her and give it a time limit (e.g. ignore her requests for a month) and if they haven't stopped by then, change tactics.

Looking after your parents when they are old and infirm is indeed a very nice to do. However, buying shoes and similarly 'looking after them' when they are still perfectly capable of looking after themselves in another thing entirely. As long as they are able to care for themselves, even if they aren't exercising that ability, you do not in any way have to help. And if all that is wanted is shoes or car fuel, then they aren't nearly at the stage where you might to step in.

I'd suggest making it clear to your mother (since you father seems to be less pushy) that you aren't her personal bank. This might prompt her to change her poor spending habits, since she may actually be spending poorly in part because she is factoring your 'help' into things. I'd also make it clear that you aren't your sister.

You will kindly help care for your parents when they need it, not when they want it. Choosing to spend money poorly does not constitute a need.