Do your parents owe you, or do you owe your parents?

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  • #1
Evo
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I see this all of the time. Kids that feel they haven't met their parent's expectations and let them down. Parents that feel their childen haven't met their expectations and let them down.

People that tell children that their parents don't owe them anything and they should grow up and move out and fend for themselves.

Ok, I'm going to take a stand. I chose to have children, so I am responsible for them, it's my responsibility to take care of them. My children did not choose to be born, so they owe me nothing.

I'm curious to hear from people that think otherwise.
 

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  • #2
turbo
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My father has saved and saved all his working life, and he has amassed quite a fund of savings-bonds for all us 5 kids. He ended up working for a privately-owned manufacturing company doing specialty-work in designing, building, and installing sheet-metal ducting systems. The owners ran his payroll through accounting, and handed an envelope to him every week containing Class E savings bonds, that nobody outside of the owners knew about.

I owe him for life-lessons and hard knocks. He doesn't owe me enough to justify those bonds (all stored in my safe for the 5 of us). My wife and I try to have him down here every nice weekend for cookouts, and I make sure that he is well-stocked with home-made pickles, and my wife always sends him home with left-overs after every cook-out. He is 85 and walks several miles every day and we hope he continues without falling into the dementia that many elderly parents face.

There were times when I was younger that I hated him. I'm going to try to keep a good eye on him, and let him do as much as he possibly can until his competence is shaky. What else can you do?
 
  • #3
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I don't see how owing to parents and meeting parent's expectations are related.

Personally, I always had and have self expectations and never liked any interference. But I still feel like indebted to my parents for all what they did.

(I will add my personal opinions on this matter later)
 
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  • #4
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I see this all of the time. Kids that feel they haven't met their parent's expectations and let them down. Parents that feel their childen haven't met their expectations and let them down.

People that tell children that their parents don't owe them anything and they should grow up and move out and fend for themselves.

Ok, I'm going to take a stand. I chose to have children, so I am responsible for them, it's my responsibility to take care of them. My children did not choose to be born, so they owe me nothing.

I feel the same way. All of us are here because of our parents' decisions. Because it is their actions, it is their responsibilities to take care of us and raise us. I believe that if the parents care and do the right thing, most of us will do right by them. This mean, we'll try to make their lives easier and taking care of them when they need us.

So to answer your question, I think the parents owe the children to provide and care for them until they're old enough to take care of themselves. The children don't owe the parent anything.
 
  • #5
Evo
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I feel the same way. All of us are here because of our parents' decisions. Because it is their actions, it is their responsibilities to take care of us and raise us. I believe that if the parents care and do the right thing, most of us will do right by them. This mean, we'll try to make their lives easier and taking care of them when they need us.

So to answer your question, I think the parents owe the children to provide and care for them until they're old enough to take care of themselves. The children don't owe the parent anything.
That's how I feel. If I do right by my children, then they'll do right by me. They don't owe me. I do have a responsibility to them until they are able to go off on their own. That doesn't mean that if they need help I won't always be there for them. Same thing, they have no obligation to me if I'm not always there for them.
 
  • #6
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It's funny this topic should be mentioned. I think I owe my parents a great deal. My mother has always had health issues, costing a great deal of money, and I know that they could have never afforded to send me to college, which I must admit, is my fault too, for being such a poor student in high school and not earning a scholarship and all that. Anyway, they did a perfectly fine job raising me. Lately it's dawned on me that they are getting older, and that's rather depressing. Now that my father is older, he can't really handle trivial things like "taking out the trash" even, and lately, I have been considering moving back in with them to help out and be there when/if they need me.

I would be perfectly fine with this arrangement, but I have my doubts associated with the stigma of living with ones parents at approx. 30. I don't have any financial need, nor do they anymore, and it would save me money I suppose. I am sure women will totally understand the "I moved in with my elderly parents" line... *sarcasm* ... It's a dilemma for sure.
 
  • #7
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I guess I just look back on my terrible, rebellious teenage years with a sincere feeling of regret.

And crushing...absolutely crushing guilt.
 
  • #8
lisab
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That's how I feel. If I do right by my children, then they'll do right by me. They don't owe me. I do have a responsibility to them until they are able to go off on their own. That doesn't mean that if they need help I won't always be there for them. Same thing, they have no obligation to me if I'm not always there for them.

I agree with that.

If you really want to muddy the waters: imagine if there are step-parents involved. Things can get tricky.
 
  • #9
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I would be perfectly fine with this arrangement, but I have my doubts associated with the stigma of living with ones parents at approx. 30. I don't have any financial need, nor do they anymore, and it would save me money I suppose. I am sure women will totally understand the "I moved in with my elderly parents" line... *sarcasm* ... It's a dilemma for sure.

Go with conservative Asian. I don't know about other, but in Vietnamese culture most children don't leave their parents until they get marry or they have to leave for work. It's actually a bad thing that you move out before then. It shows that you want to have fun. You didn't want to care for your parent and family, that's why you moved out. It also shows that you're wasteful. (I know Western has a very different view, but this is what I'm taught/see.)

Back to the topic, another question I want to pose. Suppose your parent are divorce. You live with your mom, but your mom is out all the time. The dad doesn't even want to deal with you. So you end up taking care of yourself (and sometimes your mom). You've become very independent, finish school, got a good job. Who do you own that fortune to? Yourself for getting through all that? Or your parent? Because of their neglect, you learnt to be independent. Isn't that one of the best skill to teach your kid?

I don't know what are the chances that the kids in those situations turn out good. Around me, I would say...out of the 7 children of the said family situation, 4 turn out to be quite decent. One is actually studying to be a doctor :)
 
  • #10
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While I don't believe that children owe their parents from an indebted perspective, I do believe that there should be a sense of respectful honor towards the parents. That can even carry over to the grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. I think that would (should) at least be commonly accepted. Sure, your parents are responsible (obligated) for your upbringing, but that could easily mean they can to do so in a minimalist manner. Doing just enough to fulfill the responsibility, but not striving to do so better than the previous generation. Personally, i'm grateful that my parents went out of their way to go beyond doing 'just enough' while raising me. Making my quality of life as good as it possibly could be.

They didn't just fulfill their indebtedness. They also sacrificed. For that I honor.
 
  • #11
Ryan_m_b
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Ok, I'm going to take a stand. I chose to have children, so I am responsible for them, it's my responsibility to take care of them. My children did not choose to be born, so they owe me nothing.

I'm curious to hear from people that think otherwise.

I agree! My parents have some religious friends who always say things like "you should respect your parents no matter what, think of all they've done for you...". To a certain extent I agree, I'm an adult now and my parents could choose not to do stuff for me (unlikely) but as a kid what choice did I have? I'm thankful to my parents for the upbringing and opportunities they gave me but I don't owe them anything.
 
  • #12
cristo
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It's actually a bad thing that you move out before then. It shows that you want to have fun. You didn't want to care for your parent and family, that's why you moved out. It also shows that you're wasteful. (I know Western has a very different view, but this is what I'm taught/see.)

I don't understand this philosophy: so it's ok to move out when you get a partner, but not before then? To be honest, I think my parents would be quite insulted if I was living at home and told them the reason was to look after them!

I agree with Evo. There is nothing I automatically owe my parents. I am very grateful for what they have done in the past, and the help and support they give me. I will do the same for them in the future, should they need it, but this isn't automatically a right just because they brought me into the world.
 
  • #13
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I don't understand this philosophy: so it's ok to move out when you get a partner, but not before then? To be honest, I think my parents would be quite insulted if I was living at home and told them the reason was to look after them!

I agree with Evo. There is nothing I automatically owe my parents. I am very grateful for what they have done in the past, and the help and support they give me. I will do the same for them in the future, should they need it, but this isn't automatically a right just because they brought me into the world.

Outside of western culture, there's a lot more WE than ME. People stick together more and help each other out and share resources. Whole families sleep in the same bed. Men sleep in the same beds, more people per household, etc. Social efficiency all around.
 
  • #14
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As a parent, I agree with Evo, I'm the accountable one.
 
  • #15
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My parents certainly don't owe me anything. They provided me with all I needed to make it on my own. What more could I ask? I tried to do the same for my children but so far it's not looking good. I think I acquitted my debt to my daughter, but she hasn't done well with what I gave her. Probably what I owe her now is to kick her out, but I'm afraid to and that's a shortcoming on my part. She is going back to school and if she succeeds this time, I will consider that I did the right thing. My son is a special case and I will be responsible to take care of him even after I die.
 
  • #16
BobG
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My children did not choose to be born, so they owe me nothing.

I'm curious to hear from people that think otherwise.

My children didn't choose to clean their room or do the dishes or do their homework. I chose for them to do those things. Parents make decisions for their kids all the time, with that being the first one. I've just never seen the strength of that statement.

Historically, having kids has been the traditional pension plan, not to mention a method for parents to obtain cheap labor (eventually, at least).

I definitely don't hold to the philosophy of some that are in their 40's and still "borrowing" (but not repaying) from their parents, moving in to their parents' house for free every time they've screwed up yet again, etc.

I think both should have a mutual obligation to each other.
 
  • #17
Astronuc
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That's how I feel. If I do right by my children, then they'll do right by me. They don't owe me. I do have a responsibility to them until they are able to go off on their own. That doesn't mean that if they need help I won't always be there for them. Same thing, they have no obligation to me if I'm not always there for them.
I more or less agree.

My parents have expressed the feeling that they owe me for obligations that were imposed on me as a teenager. I indicated that wasn't the case as far as I'm concerned. My parents raised me to be independent.

The only obligations for my kids are to be independent or self-supporting and righteous (i.e., be good and honest). But in the end, that's their choice.

I will leave them what I can for when I'm gone.
 
  • #18
Dembadon
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I've thanked my parents many times for choosing to do their very best, rather than just going through the motions. It was very difficult at times, and they both chose excellence over mediocrity. I'll always owe them my thanks for that.
 
  • #19
Chi Meson
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I think it's my parents that owe my children,

Big time!

In fact I think the entire inheritance (rumored to be in the 5 or 6 figures!) will be going directly to them, skipping us completely. Our accounts are settled, me and the parents.
 
  • #20
turbo
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This brings up a question that my wife and I are facing... We have no children, but plenty of liquidity in the form of IRA, 401K, MMA, savings accounts, etc. How to deal with that if we should die? My younger brother would love to take over this little place and move out to the woods and sell that white-elephant of a house in town. I'm seriously thinking about getting our lawyer to set up a trust for my brother's little girl in the case of our death.
 
  • #21
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I had some bad things to say about my parents, but I clicked the "I hate my parents" thread in the similar threads section at the bottom and changed my position. I do feel that they owe my sisters and I due to all the bad habits that we have learned and the poor advice given.
 
  • #22
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Its interesting (atleast for me) to compare western and eastern culture. So, in western culture, you leave your parents as soon as you are strong enough (financially) to leave? That seems absolutely rude here. It appears that you don't love your parents and were staying only for economic reason. Children stay with parents even after marriage here.
We can't even imagine to leave the parent all alone. If there are multiple sisters/brother then parents may choose to stay with any one or may choose to do switch places time by time.
How do you feel about it?

As for the original thread, we of-course aren't talking about owing by law. By law, parents must take minimum care of their children until they are grown up. There exist no such law that tells children should take care of their parents.

So, we are talking about emotional owing. Emotionally, Parents love us by heart, we love our parents. Whats left to discuss? Are you asking, should we love our parents or not? If you have to ask that, you probably don't.
 
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  • #23
Evo
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Its interesting (atleast for me) to compare western and eastern culture. So, in western culture, you leave your parents as soon as you are strong enough (financially) to leave? That seems absolutely rude here. It appears that you don't love your parents and were staying only for economic reason. Children stay with parents even after marriage here.
We can't even imagine to leave the parent all alone. If there are multiple sisters/brother then parents may choose to stay with any one or may choose to do switch places time by time.
How do you feel about it?

As for the original thread, we of-course aren't talking about owing by law. By law, parents must take minimum care of their children until they are grown up. There exist no such law that tells children should take care of their parents.

So, we are talking about emotional owing. Emotionally, Parents love us by heart, we love our parents. Whats left to discuss? Are you asking, should we love our parents or not? If you have to ask that, you probably don't.
No here it is about financial obligation and that is what the thread OP is about. Children are expected to move out as soon as they are of legal age and make their own way in the world without their parents help. A lot of parents do continue to help their children after they turn 18, but many don't, and many will speak badly about children that stay at home, although in recent years, it's making more sense with the bad economy.

I was engaged to a guy in Sicily, and there men stay in their parent's home until they get married. Then it is expected that their parents will move in with them when they get older. In his parent's home, his mother's parents live with them. His father's parents live with his father's older brother. There is no "if I help you, then you are expected to repay me" the way it is here.
 
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  • #24
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No here it is about financial obligation and that is what the thread OP is about. Children are expected to move out as soon as they are of legal age and make their own way in the world without their parents help. A lot of parents do continue to help their children after they turn 18, but many don't, and many will speak badly about children that stay at home, although in recent years, it's making more sense with the bad economy.

I was engaged to a guy in Sicily, and there men stay in their parent's home until they get married. Then it is expected that their parents will move in with them when they get older. In his parent's home, his mother's parents live with them. His father's parent' live with his father's brother. There is no "if I help you, then you are expected to repay me" the way it is here.

Sorry, I missed the financial obligation point. Financially, if both the children and parents have income, no one owe no one. If the parent are out of income, the children definitely owe the parent, they can't leave them to misery. And if the parent have income but the grown up children are in misery they must help.
There is nothing like, I love you so much, but I can't financially help you. Its all about sharing out what you have.
Of course the story about bad children (spoiling parent's money) and bad parents spoiling money on drinks etc is a different one.
 
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