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Overprotective parents pay the price with 'parasite' children

By Pham Nga   August 18, 2022 | 10:30 pm PT
Overprotective parents pay the price with 'parasite' children
A man rests on a sofa in his home. Photo by Envato Elements
Nguyen Thi Thanh rode down to a nearby neighborhood to get a young woman's phone number for her 35-year-old son in the hope romance would bloom between them.

When the woman's family asked Thanh why he did not come himself, she told them, "He was embarrassed since the two had never met before."

Someone from the family laughed and said: "How can I let my kid date him if he is more than 30 years old and still asks his mother to get him phone numbers from other women?"

The 65-year-old was speechless and returned home.

Her son, Minh Tien, from central Thanh Hoa province, had brought home and introduced a few girlfriends to her in the past, but no one had interested her too much.

She admits her son is lazy and worries she will not be able to take care of both of them if he ends up marrying a woman who is also lazy or only cares about her looks.

She likes the woman she went to meet for her hard-working nature and dedication to family, and believes someone like that will change her son’s personality.

Tien, the only son in a family of four children, was always pampered by his parents and sisters.

Thanh even bribed teachers when he could not pass tests at school. When he was looking for a job, she and her husband used their money to get him one.

But Tien was fired the next day after loan sharks gathered outside his office, demanding money. The inveterate gambler had borrowed from them to fund his addiction.

But he was not too concerned, believing that his family's rice business would take care of him.

Every day he would eat at home and go out to gamble, and constantly ask his mother for money.

Thanh was not too concerned at first, but two years ago, when her husband died and she started experiencing back pain and blurry eyesight, she began thinking about finding a wife for her son.

It is not uncommon to see adults who have no job or degree and are completely reliant on their parents like Tien, and they are even becoming a social phenomenon in Vietnam and other Asian countries.

"Every week I have at least one customer who have ‘parasite’ adult children," La Linh Nga, director of the Psycho-Pedagogy Research And Application Center in Hanoi, said.

Studies have yet to be done on this phenomenon in Vietnam, but there are signs that sociologists are concerned about.

According to the General Statistics Office, some 1.1 million people of working age were unemployed in 2019.

People aged 15-24 are three times more likely to be unemployed than the general population.

The British use the term NEET (not in education, employment, or training) to describe people like Tien who do not contribute labor to society or participate in educational or training activities.

They have no income and are completely dependent on their families.

In France, they are called "kangaroo generation" since they are raised by their parents even after reaching adulthood.

However, the reason people like Tien are too dependent on their parents can often be traced back to the latter themselves, many of whom pamper and protect their children and do not teach them how to be self-sufficient.

Besides, Vietnamese culture fully embraces the multi-generational family model in which children and grandchildren are reliant on their parents and grandparents.

Ha Trang, 24, of Ho Chi Minh City graduated from a top university and speaks foreign languages fluently, and so thought she would easily find a good job with a high salary. But despite applying for numerous positions, she could not get a job she liked. She decided to stay at home and depend financially on her mother until she could find a job with a good salary.

Hong Ha, her mother, says she was initially happy that her daughter was spending time with her, but started to worry when Trang did not go to work or help with housework even six months later.

"In the past my daughter was occupied by studying, so I did not let her do any housework. When she was jobless and stayed at home I told her to make rice, but she did not know how to, and refused to learn how to cook either."

Trang recently borrowed money from her mother to invest in a business.

Ha gave her more than VND200 million (over $8,500) to start a business, pleased that her daughter had considered working. But the money quickly vanished because Trang lacked management skills. She cried the entire day, and even threatened to commit suicide.

After Trang got over it, Ha reminded her to find a job, but she refused outright saying she did not need to work when her mother could take care of her.

Nga says overly protective parents raise selfish children who only know how to take and not to give, and are incapable of self-control.

When parents are old and sick, their children are unable to care for them and support themselves, she says.

"It imposes a double cost on society. That is also why many elderly people have no one to take care of them when they are hospitalized even if they have children."

Experts believe it is critical to develop an educational program that teaches life skills to children of school age in addition to knowledge.

Parents should send their children to summer camps to learn social skills and make help them with housework in their spare time during summer, they say.

Thanh is encouraging Tien to attend an apprenticeship class saying she cannot look for a wife or job for him any more.

"Many parents want their children to be filial. All I want is that he can provide himself with three meals a day."

 
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