Are Americans expected to give money to their parents like people in Taiwan?
The quick answer to this question is no. American adults aren’t expected to give their parents a big lump of money at Christmas the way Taiwanese adults give their parents money at Chinese New Year or on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
Of course, no culture is so black-and-white when you look closely. Americans expect that by the time you are an adult, you are able to take care of yourself. You don’t ask for money from your parents and they don’t ask for money from you. Mixing family and money can be dangerous: do you want to lose your relationship with a loved one because they couldn’t pay you back the $1000 they borrowed?
That’s the ideal situation, but there are many gray areas. Some people have parents who have never really been able to take care of themselves, whether because of mental or physical health issues, or bad luck, whatever. Some people from a young age have been giving their parents money. Good parents are grateful for it, just like any nice person would be.
Some people have parents who were able to take care of themselves until they lost their jobs or had a health problem, etc. It can be very difficult for older people to find new jobs in today’s economy, and healthcare is always horribly expensive in the U.S. If you are able, you will help your parents out as much as possible. Maybe you just buy them groceries now and then, or maybe you pay some of their bills to make sure they are safe and comfortable.
Usually we think an adult’s biggest responsibility is to their own children, so that’s where your money goes first, but if you need to help out your mom or dad, you should try to find a way to do it.
If your mom and dad are happy and healthy and don’t have any money worries, then you’ll just celebrate their birthday, or Christmas, or Mother’s/Father’s Day. Some people just give their parents a phone call, some people take them out to dinner, some people give their parents nice gifts.
In my own family, I give my mom nice gifts for Mother’s Day, her birthday, and Christmas. She’s not badly off, but she might choose to save her money instead of spending it. I try to give her something I know she will like, but that she might not buy for herself. I send her matcha tea powder every month because it’s very healthy, but a little bit expensive. I want her to know I’m thinking of her, and I hope that whenever she has a cup of healthy green tea, she remembers me.
My grandmother is a widow on a fixed income. She’s probably better off than a lot of elderly single women, but she has to take care of herself so I worry about her. I usually give her gift cards for restaurants or stores. For restaurants, that allows her to go out and have a nice meal on me. For stores, she can use the money to buy groceries or pay for her medicine. For Americans, giving a gift card instead of just cash can feel a little more polite.
And that is the long answer to the question of whether Americans give their parents money.