Your children don’t owe you anything


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After celebrating mother’s day a couple of weeks ago and observing some parent-child relationships it got me thinking.  I wonder how exactly some parents view their position in their children’s lives. If you run an orphanage and you take care of children who would otherwise have been homeless or worse, then they owe you a lot.




If you decided, for your own happiness, to conceive or adopt a child… that child owes you absolutely nothing. It would be nice for children to take care of you when you are older, yes, BUT it is not owed to you. People decide to have children because it makes the two of them happy or it provides some convenience for the two of them. It has nothing to do with the child because before the two of them get together this child does not even exist. It’s for your own happiness, so that you can have cute pics to post on Facebook or for whatever reasons. I don’t understand it at all when parents demand praise and say things like I carried you for 9 months and fed you, bathed you, stayed up late when you were sick etc. Well… you gave birth to them right? So you were supposed to do all that. This is not to say that the job well done is not appreciated but the fact that you did those things does not mean you should use it to guilt  a child into doing anything for you or feel inadequate about not doing enough. Even if no one ever mentions the fact that you did all of it it should still be fine, you did not do it to get a medal. The child was non-existent before you brought them into this sometimes very cruel world so yes bathe them, feed them, protect them and make sure they are alright. You brought them into existence.

Get off your butt and work!

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A child is not a retirement or emergency plan.  A child is also not your way of redeeming yourself if there are dreams you did not fulfill when you were young. There are people who never owned homes when they were working but they expect their children to build a home for them. If you could not do it back then when there was less inflation what makes you think they can do it now and still build homes for themselves? I come from a culture where we have proverbs that encourage people to take care of children so that they in turn will be take care of tomorrow (Chirere chigozokurerawo; Zimbabwean (Shona) proverb). I find that this encourages people to think that they have to work only up to a certain point in their lives and then sit back, relax and start living off their children. Maybe this used to work in the past but for as long as I can remember these kinds of expectations have caused a lot of friction between parents and their children and children’s spouses. Consider that life is tough for everyone now and your child is trying to make ends meet for themselves and their children, there isn’t always something left over for parents. It’s not being stingy or disorganized but financial struggles are very real.

So if you are a parent now or intend to be one  in the future please prepare for those twilight years when you will no longer be able to support yourself. Be the kind of senior parent who gives their children and grandchildren presents and even help here and there, not just the one who always receives because “you did your part when they were young”. It really would be refreshing for our seniors to understand that even when we drive cars and look happy we are not swimming in cash and so expectations need to be checked. So while you still can, prepare for old age and if your children can or want to chip in and make it better, that’s fine if not, you are already sorted.


That being said let’s take care of parents as well as we can. Well done and thank you to parents who did/do a good job raising kids. And remember, it’s not a debt system…

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