Has ignoring parents in their old age become the latest fashion?

There is a latest trend that is doing the rounds. Ok, its not a recent phenomenon, but the sheer number of such cases that have risen sharply in the recent years, has made it the latest fashion!

Now for some background.

  • Your parents give birth to you.
  • They go through all the torture you give them at your infancy, most of the time losing their sleep.
  • They take pains to join you in a good school, pay your school fees for so many years.
  • They take care of your stay, food, books, extra-curricular skills and other vital expenditure for so many years.
  • They rush you to a doctor and give the best medical attention (including paying hospital bills) when you are young.
  • They buy so many toys, cycles, computer, video games, computer games, cricket/ tennis gear, and all other entertainment items for you.
  • They keep the house and your room clean so that you can sleep well at nights.
  • They pay for your college education (usually running to lakhs) and pay all your transportation/ hostel/ misc expenditure during your college education.
  • They buy you new dresses, even though you keep growing taller every year.

They spend so much money, efforts, time, energy and sacrifice so many things in their life for you.

And what do you give them back?

Send them out of the house/ Make them live alone/ Ignore them, when they are old and need little amount of help from you?

And what all excuses do you give for doing that?

  • Oh, I am the daughter. Only sons are supposed to take care of their parents.
  • Oh, I am the younger son, only the elder sons are supposed to take care of their parents.
  • Oh, I may be the elder, but they were so close to the younger son all these years.
  • Oh, I am in some foreign country and I am too busy to come to India/ take them to that foreign country.
  • Oh, they like to be independent. They don’t want us to disturb them!
  • Oh, they like to be in India. They don’t like it here. They only come for baby sitting – They like their grandkids so much, you know!
  • Oh, my husband is so much against keeping my parents in the house.
  • Oh, my wife is so much against keeping my parents in the house.
  • Oh, we know how to control our kids so much that they do not do the same thing to us.
  • Oh, do you know? Our parents also ignored their parents when they were old. Why shouldn’t we follow their footsteps?
  • Oh, Did we ask them to give birth to us? They brought us in this world, and hence it was their duty to bring us up. We don’t have to show that courtesy back.
  • Oh, you know what all my parents did to control us when we were young? Thank God, we realized all that and moved on our own exactly when they reached their old age!
  • Oh, there are so many good old age homes you know and by now they should have saved enough to enroll in one – I am sure!
  • Oh, they are not leaving any property for us. Why should we take care of them?
  • Oh, they may have some property but we have made more money and have become rich now. We’ll anyway to to divide their property after them – who else can they give it to?
  • Oh, do you know how much health care for the elderly costs? If we take care of parents, we may not be able to buy that big car!
  • Oh, we are living in such an advanced scientific world you know. By the time we are old, they will discover robots that will take care of us!

To all these people : I will live to see the day when you face the exact similar situation (because of your own kids) in a few years from now.

Destination Infinity

51 thoughts on “Has ignoring parents in their old age become the latest fashion?

    1. Bikram, I think it would be better if our generation does the right thing and sets a proper example for our kids to follow, irrespective of who has been like what.

      Destination Infinity

      1. It is true, But Still The ones who have done it shud be punished. why are we always afraid to punish and be the good smaritans .. its the do gooders who are the worse and make me so angry..

        Its the same as saying of this kid shud not be put to prison for the offence as look at his childhood or he was deprived .. but we forget that this person has put someone’s life in danger has done wrong ..

        Yes we should do the right thing and I hope and pray to god that I am doing the right thing.. But its not about the ones who are doing the right thing that i am talking of its the others who in their constant run for the money .. forget there roots … Its to them. No one realises their fault till it hits them on their head.. so they will only learn when they get to feel the same cruelty..

        :)

      2. The do-gooders know that people will pay for their deeds automatically. Do you think that putting some one in jail for a few months will make him stop robbery? That’s a different topic, I agree but what shocks me in this issue is, majority of the people have started to ignore age-old people.

        Destination Infinity

    1. ‘Whatever goes around, comes around too’. That’s right, but a lot of people hope that Science & Technology would break that law eventually and hence it is ok to do stupid things now. Or they think they are too clever.

      Destination Infinity

  1. Joke
    It is a typical Iyer family. The mother-in-law asks daughter-in-law to do pooja. The daughter-in-law offers flowers in a stylish manner. The mother-in-law is shocked and moves causing a heavy vessel to fall on the foot of son and causing a fracture.
    The lessons learnt are:-
    1) A stylish way of pooja does not mean lack of bhakti.
    2) The mother-in-law should do pooja with daughter-in-law, slowly passing the culture to the daughter-in-law.
    3)A neutral son is no good. He will get punishment for being neutral.

    1. The story seems to highlight the absent mindedness of the MIL than any other conclusions you have drawn.

      I am not good at reading symbolic gestures that can take multiple meanings :)

      Destination Infinity

      1. It is logical lessons,DI.
        Highlight is vessel falls on the son’s foot.
        1) Why get so upset with stylish pooja?
        2) Why sudden movement?
        3) The son did not do anything(Neutral)

      2. Well, the son could have taken his legs off the falling vessel. If he has ever played cricket/ soccer in his life, the reflexes would have automatically worked for him. That’s why we practice such games for such a long time when we are young :)

        Destination Infinity

  2. No DI, I don’t completely agree. I have seen so many of the PARENTS who behave weirdly once their sons (especially) gets married. Suddenly the behaviour changes. so much so that even the grandchild cannot thaw their behaviour!!! :-x

    I really don’t agree (for a change!! :D )

    1. When their sons get married, the parents have not yet reached old age. If they behave funny, they deserve the reaction they get back.

      I am talking about the age when their grandsons are teenagers or about to be married and a stage when they are no longer able to manage by themselves. An age where doing even small chores becomes difficult.

      The elders might have done some mistakes, but everyone does mistakes in their lives. I am shocked to see the attitude of the sons and daughters who not only stay away at that time, but also ill-treat them. At an age where they need support and no longer so strong, people should really show some courtesy and help them back for what they got during their childhood and youth.

      But sons and daughters tend to keep the past actions in mind and completely forget all that their parents have sacrificed to bring them up. If they have done so much, don’t you think its our duty to at least be with them and support them during their old age (When they are not able to take care of themselves)?

      Destination Infinity

      1. so you want to say that even those “mistakes” which was to ill treat the new DIL and went on for years should be forgotten as they become old? Or you still believe in karma – do good, get good?

        actually I know what you wanted to highlight with this post of yours, I just wanted to give another perspective that just because someone has become old, it’s not necessary that they are good or were good(resonalbly good and I am not saying that they NEVER made any mistakes!!!) and get hence, should get good treatment. Also, it’s easier said than done, when you have suffered at some such oldy throughout your life… humanity might call for a better behaviour to such people, do know that it is NOT always younger generation’s fault. Though in our society it is believed that the so-called new generation is not well behaved, not well cultured etc. We should not forget that this new generation WAS/IS nutured by the old generation and probably giving back what they learnt from their elders!!!

        1. Please note that I am NOT in favour of our elders going to “elderly house” or be left alone when they need the younger people the most, not only physically but also mentally.

          I just want to say that before we blame the younger generation, it is imperative that we don’t forget what was dished out to them when THEY needed these elders’ understanding and love and support!

      2. When we were young (1 – 20 years), the parents keep up with what ever nonsense we did and still took care of us and provided more than what we wanted. But when it comes to reciprocation, it always their fault!

        Forget MIL/FIL, why don’t women take care of their own parents (who in most cases don’t to any ill-treating) when they are ignored by their brothers/ left with no one to support in their old age? A very few do (and I appreciate them), but many conveniently cite the social structure and say that its the duty of the men to take care of their parents, according to the traditional customs.

        So, they neither want to take care of their own parents, nor want to take care of MIL/ FIL during their old age. MIL/ FIL have ill treated them, and their own parents are not supposed to expect their daughter to take care of them! How convenient?

        Destination Infinity

        1. I feel your opinion is quite biased. If there are bad kids, there are bad parents too and similarly if there are good parents, there are good kids too (not necessarily in the same home though!) It’s not right to generalise…

        2. I agree that its not right to generalize. I am representing certain facts that I see happening around me. I do agree that my exposure is limited to this small circle.

          Even if parents are bad, since they have spent their time, money and energy to bring up children, its the duty of the children to take care of them. I am not saying that they should be pleasing their parents for 24 hours. At least, they should not send their parents out of the house. Either directly or indirectly.

        3. Firstly, having kids is a choice which parents make. When Parents make a choice, it is for their enjoyment or a selfish desire. Secondly, taking care of a young baby and giving it a good education/food/shelter, etc… is a responsibility. Parents should do that without an expectation.

          Now, it is human to reciprocate to that. So, a child, if he/she has been take care well, provided a good atmosphere (of course, considering the limitations of the parents. not that the expectation is that the kid should have luxury when the parents themselves are living in huts) and so on. Once the child becomes an adult, he/she should reciprocate that love which has been shown.

          But what is cruel is – if the parents without providing the right environment or without any love just have the kid and leave it to fend for itself. Later, if they see that the child has become successful because of sheer self-perseverance or hard work, then determine that the child should take care of them and to top it, dont show any gratitude for it. That is WRONG.

          Ramu

  3. Rajesh,

    I am not sure if it is fashion but sure it is trend. I agree with you completely though. Also it is worth asking parents what they would like. Personally when I am old, I would not like to stay with children – why bother them.

    1. Of course, I did not mean fashion in the sense of fashion. But I thought that word will prick people’s mind more.

      Parents might be compelled to say that they don’t want to stay with their children – and many people do that. Children know what parents want, without having to ask.

      Its every child’s duty to help their parents in their old age. Its not their bother.

      Destination Infinity

  4. Every problem has two sides, D.I. Both sides should be sincere with each other and adjust with each other, giving spaces to each other.

    I am seeing many parents living nearby to their children’s homes, but alone, without disturbing them much. When they need them, the children are there for them and when the children need their parents for anything, they will be there for them. That will be the best way, I feel. We are thinking of following it…let us see! I might be still blogging to discuss about it!

    1. The issue today is with having children that do not want to even stay in the same city (or in the same country) as their parents, and using that as an excuse for ignoring them.

      Living alone, even next to children’s house will still mean double maintenance, double expenditure and double efforts. Not everyone has the strength to cook/ maintain their house at their old age. At best, its a very inefficient way of doing things just because some people want their ‘space’ and ‘independence’, without realizing the meaning of either. Freedom is given to people who can take responsibility, and that responsibility includes taking care of parents. If they don’t do that basic thing (for all that they have got from the time of their birth), they do not deserve any freedom.

      Destination Infinity

      1. Your thinking is very honourable, Rajesh! But it isn’t practical. Parents also have to be a bit selfish and keep aside some money for their old age. Parents’ should educate their children and if they are lucky, they might get a daughter in law who treats them as her own parents or at least respect their age and in many houses I have seen that the sons become selfish than the daughters in law. The parents should never give away their property or savings to their children completely, until their last breath. Everything can go to the children only after the last parent’s death. They should definitely have medical insurance. This way they will not be a burden to their children.

        My sister in law and my mother were lucky enough to be with their sons till the end and the daughters in law remember them often! They are the luckiest parents, which is rare nowadays and both of them didn’t have their own money! I don’t know about me because my in laws were dead when my husband was small! I will know about myself whether I will be a good mother in law or not…time will tell!

      2. Money, I think is not such a big issue as the attitude. I have seen people aged 70-85 who have large independent houses but living alone because their kids are either abroad or in a different city. On the other hand, people who are not that well to do, stick together because it makes a lot of sense financially.

        Having property will enable people to survive during their old age, but not live.

        I know I don’t have enough experience to speak out on this issue, but this is something that bothers me more than others.

        Destination Infinity

  5. People should be ashamed of themselves for neglecting their parents. These excuses are so lame. The fact is that all such people are nothing but ungrateful brats. Sooner or later they’ll definitely pay for their sins .

    1. One of the reasons for this happening is the paternalistic approach followed by the society, I guess. The boy’s parents think they are too clever and ignore the girls parents, but the children get too clever and ignore both! I guess children should be responsible for taking care of both their parents… It takes a hard battle to fore go deeply rooted customs, I guess…

      Destination Infinity

  6. Actually I think each individual case is different. I personally believe that parents often behave in a selfish way. There are shocking stories of how they treat their daughter in law. I have heard stories of adult children treating their parents badly but in the cases I know the parents are getting the taste of their own medicine. When it comes to cases I have heard, I have heard more cases of parents ill treating their son’s wife.

    1. Parents ill treat their son’s wife when they are not yet old and still have the authority. I am not talking about that age at all. I am talking about the age when they get very old and are not able to take care of themselves. Like 70-80 years, for example. At that age, people should really forget the past and take care of their parents / parents-in-law because they have taken so much pains to bring them up.

      But thats a good point you make – Getting the taste of their own medicine. So, if their getting ignored is a punishment for ignoring of their parents, then no one can help. But still, at least the children could stay near to them and take care of their basic needs, which is very difficult to manage at old age.

      Destination Infinity

  7. DI, research has shown that children tend to love their parents even if they are ill-treated. Thrashed, cruel words, ignored etc. This is because the natural instinct of the child is to do so. Even as adults this feeling remains because the childhood imprint is very strong. It is only in extreme cases of cruelty that children tend to turn on their parents and often because the parents continue to ill-treat them when they are middle-aged. I know people whose parents have been fairly harsh on them but the children are taking care of them well. In our Indian society it is expected that parents are harsh and demanding. I am a firm believer in love begetting love and hate begetting hate.
    The natural instinct of humans is not necessarily to love their children. That is why you find people killing their own children, either at birth or even later.
    However when parents pamper the children but do not really spend any quality time with them teaching them the right values, and then it can have a bad effect. This often happens when parents do not really care enough about their children to spend any time with them, but shower them with gifts and accede to their every whim.

  8. Well, whaddya know. I have seen more than my share of children who grow up to give respect, money, comfort, more than what’s actually their due to parents considering what control freaks the parents had been to the children, making their growing life miserable.
    Yes, I admit there are cases like you mention. But I amazed at the way some children respect and LOVE parents who have been tyrannical and abused them physically, emotionally. It is a miracle how such children still fall at their feet and do everything they can for such parents who always play the ‘We are elders, we DESERVE your love and respect’ card. I don’t think ANYONE talks about those children who are a fair and silent majority. For me they are the wonder. They who did not have a childhood, but still do their duty towards parents because of their good heart.

    And yes, as a mother of grown up children, (from the time they were born to this day) I believe that they did not ask to be born. Hence what I have done for them is my DUTY. In fact I have told them both this too. But whatever they do for me is their goodness of heart. I firmly believe that.

    // “Oh, they like to be independent. They don’t want us to disturb them!”//

    Well, I’d say that is true of me. I’d want to be left alone, not mollycoddled by children and fussed over. I’d like to be independent as long as I can, till maybe I need care. Even then, I wouldn’t want my kids to displace themselves over me. I brought them up to lead a life, not to reap benefits from them. If they give me of their life, I will of course accept it with gratitude as bonus. Well, that’s my philosophy in life. :)

    1. /* They who did not have a childhood… */

      No child would ever think that they missed their childhood because of their parents! Irrespective of how parents treat them, children know how to have fun. At least in their absence.

      /* Till maybe I need care… */

      That’s exactly the situation I am talking about. If parents can manage on their own, its good. But there are situations when they are not able to manage on their own, and still ignored by kids. Did parents ignore their kids when they were little and not able to manage themselves?

      /* As bonus */

      I don’t think that’s the right word to use. Its the duty of children to take care of their parents or at least show some gratitude back for having brought them up sacrificing so many things for so many years (when the children were young).

      Destination Infinity

  9. Agree to an extent but some kids go out of their way to make their wicked parents’ life better (like my dad). He ignores his wife and children to take care of his mom and dad, which I feel is foolishness. And his mom and dad do lot of drama to gain attention(like feign illness)

    1. The very reason that the mom and dad do a lot of drama to gain their children’s attention is because they feel that they are ignored. And maybe rightly so?

      It is the duty of every son and daughter (yeah, being a girl is no exception) to take care of their parents during old age.

      Destination Infinity

  10. I think the post is too biased. One cant generalise and above all one can not pass judgement just by seeing what appears superficial. every case is different! things are not so black or white! for example saying that a daughter escapes by citing a “lame” excuse..how can u say that? A financially dependent woman wanting to take care of her parents requires a lot of things! your post is very one sided and naive.

    1. If being financially dependent is a limitation, women need to see how then can get out of that situation and support their parents. They can’t just sit and think I am financially dependent and hence I cannot do anything, etc.

      Destination Infinity

  11. this is ridiculous…..the way you wrote this was as if one should feel guilty that they were brought into this world and had to be fed and clothed and taken care of and put through school, oh the burden….why have a child if the only reason you are having one is to make them feel so guilty that they have to wipe your rear when you are elderly b/c thats what you expect of them. i would never place that guilt or burden on my children that is ridiculous……..i had children to have a family, not to produce future slaves………..once they are married and have children of their own, that is their priorty not caring for an old fart like myself, of course i hope that i instill in them respect and that they want to help me and spend time with me, but never would i guilt them into it, how horrible. nor would i treat my daughter in law like dirt and then expect her to come and kiss my rear now that she has kids and i want my grandkids as my in laws have done, maybe she should have treated me like a human being the 13 years i was married to her son prior to having children…….nonsense…………as christ says, treat others as you would like to be treated and guess what, they may just return the favor.

    1. *I had children to have a family*

      What’s the point of having a family? Just to play, make fun of each other, wanting a share in parents property and ignoring the same parents during their old age? If parents helped the children grow up and become someone in their lives, its the duty of the children to ensure that they give back at least something to their parents. Helping people who have helped us for many years is too much to ask? Forget being bound by duty, even plain human courtesy will tell you that helping people back is vital and the basic tenet of human civilization.

      *They may just return the favor*

      Obviously. If parents/MIL has ill treated someone, they are bound to get the same treatment back, later on. But this is not always the case and people are not as bad as we imagine them to be. Try to understand the insecurities behind being aggressive or protective and try to empathize with people.

      Destination Infinity

  12. What’s the point of having a family? Just to play, make fun of each other, wanting a share in parents property and ignoring the same parents during their old age? If parents helped the children grow up and become someone in their lives, its the duty of the children to ensure that they give back at least something to their parents. Helping people who have helped us for many years is too much to ask? Forget being bound by duty, even plain human courtesy will tell you that helping people back is vital and the basic tenet of human civilization.

  13. Hi Rajesh. Whereas I do agree with you that many people behave like tyrants towards their old parents,but I donot agree if this statement is generalised. It is unfair to condemn all children. There is still lot of goodness among children, who will go to any extent to make the life of their old parents comfortable. I personally know several young couples who are looking after their old parents and giving them the respect and treatment they ought to get and which they genuinely deserve.Some aberrations cannot make everybody a villian.

    1. The aberrations seem to be increasing at an alarming pace these days. Of course, the aberrations are lesser in families where parents have a considerable amount of wealth – Children might behave better in order to get that.

      Perhaps there are some decent families. I cannot refuse that.

      Destination Infinity

  14. i always care for my cuz they gave birth to me… and I dont care what the others say thats true that sometimes they act very bad cuz we are the junior but … they scold us cuz they love us and who scolds more loves us more … Some people says that they keep shouting at us why should we help them I tried to say that they love you thats why they shout cause they wan’t your future bright … Thats why i say keep it in ur mind that.. “YOUR PARENT’S LOVE YOU THE MOST DON’T LOSE UR MIND ON THEM!

    -Justin Bieber

  15. Thanks for the article. This is really serious issue, because I think taking care of my old parents has to be natural. Of course there are cases which needs to be put in some facility. Especially when our old relative has some serious disease – like in our family. We were taking care of our grandma but her Alzheimer disease was so bad that we had to put her into Los Angeles Alzheimer care. The professional staff is the best she can have in this moment.

  16. My parents are wealthy and want to go into assisted living. They abused mel all my life so their decision is fine with me!

    1. Highly biased article. Basically what you are saying is, because parents brought you into this world, stick to them even if it means daily fights and tortures. I would think that “love” should be the factor to consider while deciding this. Speaking from the point of a DIL – I had a love marriage, compromised in every way with my MIL since the past 10 years in the name of “duty”, I am now ready to call it quits, and separate. My hubby and I tried right from the beginning in every way to be a dutiful to her, trying to make light of her daily tantrums. Yes, she is elderly, the max I am prepared to keep an eye on her, send her food, but I DO need a separate home. From day 1 till now, she has been controlling and still does, to the extent that nothing we do is right for her. And each 7 or 10 days she has this spurts of anger where she starts of abusing everyone at the top of her voice, sometimes going outside the house and shouting. The only mistake I have done is, to have a love marriage for which I have been severely punished and still am. I am concerned about this environment for my growing son too.

      And yes, I know now how not to treat my DIL, and if still there are issues when my son gets married, I will decide myself to happily stay separate. I would prefer a loving home with peace of mind any day to staying in one house with daily fights and shouting.

      The author of this article is either not experienced in this, is lucky to have good parents, or is a masochist.

  17. I feel today’s dil s make everything as issues. they have heard stories of girls or aunts in their families getting tortured by their mils years back. And they enter their husband’s home with the thinking that mils are monsters.I have seen how the young girl who is a stay at home mother bosses over her husband over dish washing,cleaning the bottles for the baby, changing the diapers for the baby etc. This in spite of the son being extra considerate to his wife and in spite of being a busy Cardiologist who has to leave the house at odd and unexpected hours to attend his patients. As a mother, you feel sorry forSS your son but can not utter a word and your help is not welcomed.
    whatever statements mil makes become issues and are not tolerated.
    In the previous generation we heard stories of how dils were tortured by their mils.
    Now we have stories to tell how we, as mils are being tortured by the dils to show their might.

  18. In most of the columns here, I see that the m-i-ls are painted black. There is other side of the story also.
    Today’s m-i-ls when they go to US to their son’s house, they do not simply sit and relax. Initially they lend a helping hand in cutting vegetables and slowly the entire cooking burden starting from breakfast to dinner falls on the m-i-l’s shoulders. Having come to the son/d-i-l’s place, they take her help for granted. When they visit m-i-l’s place in India, the d-i-l never gives a helping hand because she is too busy in her shopping schedule and in endless phone conversation. They don’t even think about the reciprocal help in cooking.
    It is quite common in many households to keep the left overs in the fridge in India as well as in US. M-i-ls who are visiting their son for a few months do not make any fuss over the left overs which are reheated and taken. They do not expect the food to be made in a particular way. Their undemanding nature is not appreciated; it is just taken for granted.
    Today’s m-i-ls are matured enough not to interfere with their d-i-l’s way of spending, as how they bring up their kids, what foods they give to kids etc etc.
    In return, atleast you can give them the freedom to enjoy the company of their grandchildren. Grandmothers do not want to enjoy their time with the kid under the supervision and prying eyes of their daughter in law.
    Years back m-i-ls might have complained about their d-i-ls to their sons but today’s m-i-ls do not do that bec. they know their son will not side them at any cost. But at least the d-i-ls can show their magnanimity by not making normal conversation into big issues. You know that your m-i-l is considerate but you do not want to appreciate it because of your selfish narrow minded mentality. You are afraid that she may come and stay with you permanently. This is the picture of today’s d-i-ls.

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