Intergenerational Relationships between Aging Parents and Their Adult Children in Malaysia

  • Published 2013 in

Abstract

Under the impact of rapid industrialization and urbanization over the last few decades, family structures in Malaysia have changed, impacting upon relationships between older parents and their adult children, triggering a debate on numerous complex issues surrounding such relationships. The debate on the relationships between older parents and their adult children today encompasses roles and responsibilities, parent-child interaction (physical, emotional and social support), quality relationship and caregiving. The objective of this paper is to explore the intergenerational relationships between older parents and their adult children in Malaysia. The paper is based on a study conducted by the author who used in-depth interview method on 15 elderly parents and adult children. The elderly parents were from Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnic groups, aged 60 years and above. The findings indicate that roles and responsibilities, parent-child interaction (physical, emotional and social support), quality relationship and caregiving fall upon the shoulders of daughters more frequently than sons. This phenomenon impacts the development of families, communities and nation. The implication of this study is that there must be improvements in formal and informal support systems to assist adult children address the dilemma and challenges they face in caring for older parents. Keyword: Intergenerational, modernization, care giving, parent and adult children

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