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So goes the old proverb. And there is a lot of truth in that statement although there are obviously exceptions to this. We don’t want to put all grown sons in the same box!
Back in the old days (and let's face it, it still happens all the time) sons were often pampered by parents, especially mothers and this certainly happens in Irish and Italian families from my own experience (let me know yours!) In many families, the brother's sisters had to make him his dinner and he had very few responsibilities in house care. He went off to partake in his hobbies on Saturday mornings while his sisters cleaned the house and did other chores required of them. His sisters faced far more criticism that he, despite doing far more. Now with all this fine treatment, you’d think he’d be more than happy to come back in his parents old age and return the favor. Alas, no – he had his own family to care for and he didn’t have time. Granted, his sisters had their own families too but somehow they found the time, often times even moving elderly parents in with them, to establish a multi-generational household. From my years working with the elderly and mentally challenged, the ratio of female to male caregivers was vastly different. For every male caregiver or visitor we saw, we saw at least four females.
However, adult daughters often have a more difficult relationship with their elderly parents than men. This is due in great part to the stress on daughters who are caught in that “sandwich generation” – caring for children and elderly parents at the same time.
According to the AARP, nearly 45 million people in the United States are unpaid caregivers to relatives and the burden falls to daughters at least 60 percent of the time. Forty percent of these daughters said they faced stress due to this kind of care giving. Only one of five of male caregivers felt the same way. Sons also have wives (daughters-in-law) of the elderly parents who are more likely to contribute to their care, as opposed to sons-in-law. According to medicine.jrank.org, even a family with a large number of sons and perhaps only one daughter – the expectation is that the care will fall to her.