Originally Posted by Acting Like Godot
Important to also realise that it's about interdependence - mutually helping each other.
I don't see old people in my country being leeches on their adult children. Until they are really frail and ill and physically weak, they are still very interested in contributing and helping the family. The most obvious area is in looking after the grandkids.
In the USA, you would instead send your kids to a daycare centre or hire some teenager off the street to act as your babysitter. This really doesn't sound like a very attractive part of "independence" to me. Instead of depending on your own grandparents, you are depending on a daycare center or a teenaged stranger to look after your kids.
Secondly, I also don't typically see adult children living with their parents as leeches, because these adult children also contribute in their own ways. Typically they will give their parents some money every month, or they will take on the responsibility of paying for certain bills and expenses, eg power bill; water bill; groceries etc. If they don't do the housework themselves, they will pay for a maid to do the job.
There are many practical advantages, big and small, in living near each other, even if you do not actually live WITH each other. For example, once when my daughter was a baby, she fell ill and had to be hospitalised. My parents were of great help to me then, as they immediately stepped in to look after my son, while my wife and I camped at the hospital. Another kind of help that I give my parents - when they are away on holiday, I go to their apartment every day to walk the dog, feed the dog and water their plants. These are small things that just can't be done if I were living faraway from them.
One might say that in the USA, we would send the dog to a pet hotel. We have those here as well, but it just isn't the same. It's like sending your child to a daycare centre, instead of having family members to care for him or her.
I see your point here, but I think you're getting some kind of general idea of how Americans operate that is not exactly truthful.
Many Americans depend on their family to care for their children instead of sending them to daycare. You are in New Zealand, correct? The population is much smaller their than in America. Perhaps if you could use percentages of parents who rely on family members for childcare, pet care, etc., compared between both countries, you could be surprised. I don't know for sure, but I personally wouldn't be shocked if there wasn't much of a difference.
There are many, MANY people in America who would much rather be with their children than work or to have family member or friend care for their kids than a daycare center. If you took a poll amongst Americans on this forum with children, I would bet you almost all of them would rather a loved one care for their kids than send them to a daycare. I'll bet many of them do have care of than a daycare center.
My family and most of the people I know stay close to one another. Definitely close enough to spend quality time with each other and help support each other when the need arises. Perhaps not ALL of us, but I can say all my family are within a 1-4 hour drive of one another.
My mother actually babysat my dog for me last weekend.
I think there is some kind of stereotyping going on here regarding Americans that might not be entirely educated. No offense, but most of us don't just want to hire a random babysitter off the street. LOL. And most of us DO NOT do that. There are the exceptions, but I'm sure in New Zealand there are exceptions to that as well.