373 Grandparents seen as cash cows in Japan


If children are a joy and a responsibility, grandchildren are a joy pure and simple – an irresponsible joy. Harassed parents look forward to being grandparents. Grandchildren visit, stay long enough to make you feel young again and then go home, their parents’ to worry and fret over.

What’s wrong with the above? Only one thing: it isn’t true. Probably it never was. Now less than ever, says Shukan Post.

Last month the magazine ran a story on “grandchildren fatigue.” It’s not the little ones themselves who are demanding, of course, but their parents on their children’s behalf.

Cash cows – that’s what parents are to their grown children. Vultures – that’s what grown children are to their parents.

I – Word Understanding
cash cow – provider of steady income (money)
vulture – a person who takes advantage of someone

II – Have Your Say
Here are stories shared by some grandparents. Let’s discuss how you feel about each situation:
1. A 70-year-old grandfather is always delighted to see his grandchildren, and the fact that his son’s family doesn’t stay with him and his wife but at a nearby onsen is not a bad arrangement either – except that the unspoken understanding is that grandpa and grandma cover the onsen hotel bill. Why?

2. “My four-year-old granddaughter developed sick-house syndrome,” says a 70-year-old retiree. “They had to move. But my son’s just 30 – it was impossible on his salary.” There went grandpa’s life savings – 20 million yen. He’d been planning on using part of that to make his own home barrier-free. Now he and his wife are looking for part-time jobs through a senior citizen placement center.

373 Grandparents seen as cash cows in Japan