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Grandparents ask for wages to take care of their grandchildren

ChinaInstead of staying at home to take care of their grandchildren like Chinese elderly people do, Ms. Chen Shuxiang and her husband like to take pictures and travel around.

In China, many elderly retirees are often stuck at home because they have to take care of their grandchildren while their sons and daughters-in-law go to work. But Mrs. Chen Shuxiang and her husband did not want that. They only sometimes help to take the child to school. “We are satisfied with our lives,” said the woman in her 60s, from Fuzhou, southeast of Fujian.

Like Mrs. Chen and her husband, many elderly people are changing their traditional views. Instead of take care of grandchildren are not paid full time, they only help for a certain time or want their children to be paid.

Earlier this month, a court in Jinan, Shandong province ruled that a couple must pay their father 20,000 yuan for taking care of their grandchild for many years. The couple let their children live with their grandfather, promising to pay 300 yuan a month, but did not fulfill them.

Other cases of childcare claims have emerged across China in recent years. Linda Sun, a kindergarten teacher in Shanghai, said that at least 80% of the children in her class are picked up by grandparents every day. But lately, she has begun to see more and more parents picking up their children. “People are becoming more and more aware of the importance of spending time with their children,” she said.

According to a 2017 survey on “need to pay grandparents”, 84.3% of Chinese respondents thought “should pay”, 9.4% said “don’t want to pay”, and 6 .2% paid only when requested.

Illustration: Sohu

Illustration: Sohu

Although there have been changes in life perspective, the refusal of grandparents to take care of their grandchildren to pursue an independent life is still relatively low. An April 2021 poll conducted by the Changzhou government in Jiangsu found that 20% of parents “raised their children independently”, a third of whom asked grandparents to help take care of their children, while some up to 47% said that grandparents are the main caregivers for children.

According to the survey, not all parents are satisfied with this arrangement. More than half of the respondents said that grandparents are too fond of their grandchildren, spoiling them and uncivilized living habits.

Professor Yuan Xin, of the Institute of Population and Development of Nankai University, in Tianjin, said the lack of childcare facilities makes grandparents the main caregivers in families. However, social thinking and better family financial conditions have contributed to changing this traditional concept.

“Current retirees born after 1960, they are young enough to enjoy economic benefits and absorb changes in social perception. They are not the type of people living around the family anymore. The younger generation also want parents to have their own lives,” the expert said.

Ms. Chen is able to enjoy her retirement with her husband in part because she can support herself in retirement. “We are financially stable enough to travel around and do the things we love. My son and daughter-in-law sometimes give us cash,” she said.

Ms. Chen said that the children are very supportive of their parents pursuing an independent life in old age. “We hope there will be many young people who support their parents to live independently and without distractions in the future.”

Intelligent Update (According to SCMP)

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