Felt obligation and ageing: a socio-cultural issue | 16985
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Felt obligation and ageing: a socio-cultural issue


Megha Singh* and Neelima Mishra

In traditional Indian society, care of the ageing was within the extended family system and family was considered as a unit in our value systems and norms. These societal norms had been passed on from generation to generation. The elderly held an important place in our society and the youngsters sought for the benefit of their experiences. The elderly were not “charity cases”. Rather it was a reciprocal relationship of give and take. Adults used to take care and support their parents. Obligation emerged from society expectations that older parents have a “right” to be taken care of and adult children have a “duty” to do so. Thus obligation toward parents seems to be an important issue for adult children as they approach middle age and anticipate or see the needs of their aging parents. In ancient times, adult children fulfill their duties as of personal choice and affection governing their family relations. But in recent years industrialization and urbanization have weakened the willingness of adult children to care for their elderly parents. Migration of the young to towns and cities for education and jobs, acceptance of small family norms, and more women working outside home has led to decline in traditional values and growing individualism among younger generation. Though adult children still value and practice obligations towards their parents in their day-to-day life, yet the way they express their cultural values has changed in the process of adapting to rapid and massive changes. This paper tries to explore the problems emerging in parent-adult child relations and further tries to extend some suggestions to cope up with such problems.

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