SCMP Friday, March 2, 2001

Children blame busy lifestyles for neglecting parents' needs


Sons and daughters scored only average marks for caring for their elderly parents in a survey that reveals changing attitudes towards the family.
The telephone poll, sponsored by Prudential Assurance and carried out by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, interviewed 885 adults aged from 30 to 45 and 641 parents over 50.
Based on a full mark of 10, parents gave their grown up children 5.66 marks for paying attention to their needs and caring for them properly. But the children rated themselves even lower, at 5.31, blaming their busy lifestyles.
Ernest So Moon-tong, of the university's centre for social policy studies, said the mark showed there was room for improvement in caring for parents.
"I would not say the mark is low, and the survey showed that Hong Kong people valued filial piety. Most of the children feel concern for their parents' needs," Mr So said.
He said parents and children in Hong Kong spent an average of 20 minutes talking to each other daily. "Hong Kong people are so busy in their everyday lives that they don't have adequate time to care about their parents," he said.
He said nearly 80 per cent of the grown-up children surveyed said they gave an average of $3,100 a month to their parents, while parents said they received about $2,000 a month.
The survey also showed that the traditional values of filial piety were changing.
"Due to space restrictions on housing in Hong Kong, most parents agree that their children should move out of their homes to start their own families after marriage," Mr So said.