We’re in an age of change with everything changing at the same time. Technological and social changes abound. One of the areas experiencing a lot of change is parenting. Things that were widely acceptable 10, 20 years ago are now widely frowned upon. Recently, a discussion cropped up on TikTok with people, including some parents saying children don’t owe their parents anything, a statement that’s at first jarring, especially for people raised up in societies where it was explicitly said and implicitly implied that children owe their parents everything. Let’s talk about it.
Parents choose to have children
It is in fact parents who owe their children everything. Parents choose to have children. They make the decision to create dependents. Children don’t choose anything; they just wake up to find themselves in this wretched place we call Earth. Parents take on the obligations of parenting by their own choice. Everything parents do from there is their responsibility and as one parent said, “You get no gold stars for doing what you’re supposed to do.”
If you choose to have children, you’re choosing to care for a human being, providing all they need to live and thrive. You have to feed and clothe them. You have to provide other material comforts as well as meet their emotional and psychological needs. That’s what you chose to do. Your children had no vote in it. They didn’t choose anything, you on the other hand, you made some choices. You made your bed and now you get to lie on it for all eternity or until you die, whichever comes first.
Children don’t owe parents anything
Traditionally, people expected their children to be there to care for their parents in their old age. It was just expected that the relationship would go on and that was the function of children.
It’s why child-free women continue to be threatened with loneliness and financial lack in their old age. “Who will take care of you? Who will support you?” they’re continually asked. More and more people are realizing now that children don’t owe their parents anything not even a relationship. The quality of the relationship your parents cultivated with you will determine whether the relationship goes on in adulthood or not. When you’re a child dependent on your parents, you have no choice but to have a relationship, however strained or unhealthy with them. When you’re an adult though, you get to decide and the way they treated you becomes the biggest determinant of how things proceed. They got to make their choices when you were too vulnerable to make yours and now it’s your turn. Circle of life, baby.
Emotional maturity as a parent is recognizing that your child does not exist for you. If you have a child, it’s your job to take care of the child, it’s not their job to take care of you. Your child is not a retirement plan or a way to alleviate loneliness or some mechanism to prove to all and sundry that you are indeed fertile or virile. You may have made them but unfortunately, you made a person who when they grow up will get to make adult choices.
I’m convinced that too many people who think they want a child just want a baby, a cute little baby who smells like baby powder and is the best cuddler. They want a baby, not a child because children grow up to be their own people, adults. Most people who think they want a child, want a pet, something that will always love them and be there to do their bidding, not a full human who gets to make their own choices. (Speaking of pets, most people who think they want a cat, really just want a dog.)
Parents have to earn their children’s love, and respect, not to mention a relationship with them. Children though don’t have to earn anything. You chose to have them so you owe them. You owe them everything. Everything.
Check out these great TikTok videos on the same
Black dad says his son doesn’t owe him anything- https://www.tiktok.com/@busttdownmedia/video/7199403294182214955
Children don’t owe you respect or even kindness – https://www.tiktok.com/@annalieseerinparentcoach/video/6988762029112708353
Your children don’t owe you a relationship – https://www.tiktok.com/@ntuitivehealing/video/7029878444657855750
You’re not supposed to take care of your parents, they’re supposed to take care of you – https://www.tiktok.com/@brentcharleton/video/7185314480706866478
No-contact millennial on why you don’t owe your parents – https://www.tiktok.com/@culturally_x/video/7189733189861199150
You get no gold stars for doing what you should – https://www.tiktok.com/@usqtranslations/video/7288696157176401182
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