Sunday, June 17, 2012

130. On Father's Day

This week, newspapers have published a report which brings out the abuse of the elderly by their children. A survey carried out by the Helpage India shows that in over 60 % of the abuse cases, the son is the primary abuser. The daughter in law is the primary abuser only in 24% cases. In 51% cases, property is the reason for abuse. In most cases, parents faced verbal abuse. In many cases, children did not recognise their presence and did not talk to them which is also a form of abuse. Over 70% of those abused preferred not to report abuse. About 35% of the elders felt that economic dependence on children made them more vulnerable.The survey covered around 5600 people.

The results of the survey only re-confirm what has been already reported again and again. The only new thing is that it is not the poor daughter-in-law which is the prime abuser as is commonly believed, but the son himself. Abuse of the elderly parents is no secret. Human beings normally 'love' only those who have some value for them or who may harm them. As far as elderly parents are concerned, their utility to children diminishes day by day. Children build their ambitions around the property of their parents and feel that they have a bigger right to the property than the parents themselves have. They become restless if there is any impediment in enjoying the property.  They know that even if they ill-treat their parents, there would be no reporting and no action, as parents would not like to complain against their children out of fear of more abuse, family honour, love and so on.

On the occasion of father's day, I urge all children to put themselves in the shoes of their elderly parents. It is easy to find fault with them and blame them for what they should have done, but did not do. Recall what they have done for you- the sacrifices they have made, the love they have showered. Say some kind words to them. Give them some time in their sunset years even if you don't enjoy their company. And finally, never forget that you also will grow old someday and the gap between you and your children will perhaps be larger than that between you and your parents.