Recently, a newly-wed post 80’s couple in Changchun, capital city of Jilin province broke up due to the argument as to whose parental home they should go back for the Spring Festival.
This is of course an extreme case. However, for couples whose parental homes locate in different cities, which home to go back for the Spring Festival has become a very tangled puzzle. Especially nowadays when a growing number of only children have reached their marriage ages and enters into marriage, this contradiction has almost become a topic that will lead to potential strife between husbands and wives, reflecting the worries of the society on transition.
At present, among the 178 million elderly people above the age of 60 in China, nearly half of them live an “empty nest” life, suffering from the loneliness of ageing life and only looking forward to the family reunion during the Spring Festival.
However, today in China, there are 200 million only children and a couple has four parents to care for in total, leaving them torn between two families.
The major style for taking care of the senior is home-based, supplemented by some independent nursing homes, which is far from enough. Therefore, a lot of old people are not well cared, either materially or spiritually, without relevant services to relive their lonely life.
In the past when familism was especially emphasized and marriage played an important role in ensuring the care for parents and carrying on the family line. Today’s China, however, is facing the changes of core family, namely the focus is placed more and more on husband-wife relations than parents-children relations.
Unfortunately, in face of the new situations, most husbands and wives lack the modern family values and relevant guidance. They marry immediately falling in love at the first sight, and divorce on impulse at a rage, resulting in a number of quick marriages and divorces.
“One couple, two parental homes and which one to go back to spend the Spring Festival ‘’ has become an issue that needs to be solved urgently, because it concerns the harmony of families and society.
For coping with the issue, governmental departments are expected to improve services for the aged, and expand the service items, such as organizing travelling etc. for empty-nest elderly to spend the Spring Festival.
Children should also provide parents with more psychological support and affections. Spending the Spring Festival with parents is indeed important, but it is more important to think of the parents. Parents should also put themselves into the shoes of their children and understand children’s inconveniences, taking into consideration of the traditional beliefs and modern values.
Read the Chinese version: “春节回谁家”折射老龄化烦恼; Source: People's Daily; Author: Li Xiaohong
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