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Old 02-22-2010, 06:44 AM
 
406 posts, read 1,377,557 times
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People have children because they WANT them. It is an inherently selfish act. You don't "owe" your parents anything for bringing you into the world--that was their choice and theirs alone. You are not responsible for any bad choices they made--like having more children than the could afford, spending unwisely, being lazy, etc.

I would cut those ties. Toxic people are toxic people, and it doesn't matter what genetic ties you have to them. You should not allow toxic people to take advantage of you. Your "obligations" are to your children--making sure that they are properly provided for so this cycle won't repeat itself. Don't punish your own children by giving handouts to your toxic parents--your responsibilities are with them and them alone.
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
6,468 posts, read 15,941,205 times
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I would never expect my children to take care of me in my old age. I'm putting away money in my 401(k) for that!

My children have both gone through community college. My daughter graduated from Berkeley with a Bachelors in Psychology, and only $9,000 in student debt. My son is going to go a state university, and hopefully won't run up huge student debt as well.

I'd be embarrassed to always run to my kids asking for $20 here, $10 there! If I'm an adult who's able to work, leaning on my kids is not a great plan. They're trying to build their own lives, and shouldn't feel obligated to rescue me from any bad choices I made, including giving birth to them!

If something happened, and I couldn't work, then it's a little different. I'd hope they'd do as much as they could, but even then, if they have other responsibilities (spouses and children of their own), they don't owe me anything. Children are not an insurance policy!
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:41 AM
 
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I don't think adult children are automatically obligated to support their parents. I would never want to put my own children in a situation like that. It's hard enough to meet your own financial obligations/put away money for your own retirement...

That said, I would not hesitate to help out a parent (or in-law) that was having a hard time making ends meet and could not afford proper food or a roof over their head. I suppose I would sit down with them and review their budget/expenses and try to help them work out a more affordable long term living arrangement. If I could cut some of my own expenses temporarily (by giving up a vacation, cutting back on Christmas/birthday gifts, giving less to other causes, etc.) I would do it and help supplement my parent's income that way. If they couldn't work themselves, I might also get a part time job to help them out.

But I wouldn't stop saving for my own retirement or my children's education. It wouldn't be right to transfer the economic hardship of a grandparent onto the grandchildren.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:00 AM
 
2,605 posts, read 4,184,954 times
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Quote:
What obligations does an adult child have to his/her parents?
In a nutshell: None.

In all the answers on this thread, none address the above question.

As my daughter so aptly reminds me; she did not ask to be here. That's the bottom line.

We, as parents give to our children what they need (presumably), and some give their children what they want. It is our obligation as parents, being responsible for our children's existence, to give them what they need to grow to be responsible adults and productive citizens. In other words, preparing them for their adult role in life.

Our children don't owe us anything. It's good when they appreciate what we have done for them and have respect and love for us, but they OWE US NOTHING. They are not responsible for our existence, our parents were. Our children did not bring us into this world to be their parents.

It's great when a grown offspring can help the parents out, but they are not obligated to.

On the same hand, our parents aren't obligated to us once we become an adult at 18 (I know, someone will say in divorces college tuition is required, but that is not a moral obligation. It's just one more way the courts own us when we choose to use them in a divorce.). There is nothing in any law that prevents an 18 year old from taking the responsibility for her/himself, hence, the parent's obligation to that grown offspring ends.

Most families don't go by obligation alone though. We help each other out when we can.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Middle America
37,330 posts, read 44,797,762 times
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Definitely depends on the situation and the relationship between parents and child. I'm pretty glad my dad didn't back away with his hands up and say, "Um, no thanks, I don't have time for this or the inclination to help out," when my grandma got Alzheimer's and needed somebody to take the reins on her wellbeing and affairs. His sisters sure did. She didn't require financial support (in fact, she had helped all her adult children out herself throughout the years with financial support herself...a short-term loan or even flat out gift here, free childcare there, help with a house down payment for one child, music lessons or back-to-school wardrobe for another child's kids, etc.). She required somebody taking care of her and seeing to her needs being met when she was no longer able to do so for herself.

It's not about obligation or owing. It's about being a good person.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:33 AM
 
5,209 posts, read 9,488,798 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
Definitely depends on the situation and the relationship between parents and child. I'm pretty glad my dad didn't back away with his hands up and say, "Um, no thanks, I don't have time for this or the inclination to help out," when my grandma got Alzheimer's and needed somebody to take the reins on her wellbeing and affairs. His sisters sure did. She didn't require financial support (in fact, she had helped all her adult children out herself throughout the years with financial support herself...a short-term loan or even flat out gift here, free childcare there, help with a house down payment for one child, music lessons or back-to-school wardrobe for another child's kids, etc.). She required somebody taking care of her and seeing to her needs being met when she was no longer able to do so for herself.

It's not about obligation or owing. It's about being a good person.
I can't imagine turning my back on or just not dealing with a parent in a situation like that. Especially one that had done so for much for me when I needed help.

I'm glad your dad came through for your grandma - he sounds like a good guy .
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:17 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 95,994,803 times
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I think this is going to become more and more of an issue for future generations. The middle class isn't able to prepare for retirement like in the past. Few companies have pensions. Parents are mortgaging the houses, raiding the 401Ks to put children through school. In the end, there will be a lot of parents who aren't able to take care of themselves financially---especially as cost of living continues to increase with no real pareparation for retirement.

I have a friend who is supporting her father with her brothers and sisters. He was very successful consultant---self employed their entire lives. He provided well for them with a very nice standard of living through childhood. He sent them to private schools and paid for their college educations too.

He lost almost everything, not due to irresponsibility, and the children rallied around to support him. Granted, the investment he made in taking care of them produced very successful children who could easily afford to help him. Three of them were very wealthy and they split the financial costs of supporting their father. The one who wasn't financially successful does her share by committing to live in the same city as the father so she could physically support him---with rides to the doctor's office, etc.----whenever he needed. THAT'S FAMILY! Family pulls together and does what needs to be done.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:33 AM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
12,006 posts, read 15,620,538 times
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I would not be disappointed for this country go back to seeing multi-generation families living together as the norm. In-law suites in every home!
To me it makes sense from an economical standpoint, and I think it would cut down on the sense of isolation and disconnection a lot of people have.
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Old 02-22-2010, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,387 posts, read 31,891,555 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpanda View Post
People have children because they WANT them. It is an inherently selfish act. You don't "owe" your parents anything for bringing you into the world--that was their choice and theirs alone. You are not responsible for any bad choices they made--like having more children than the could afford, spending unwisely, being lazy, etc.

I would cut those ties. Toxic people are toxic people, and it doesn't matter what genetic ties you have to them. You should not allow toxic people to take advantage of you. Your "obligations" are to your children--making sure that they are properly provided for so this cycle won't repeat itself. Don't punish your own children by giving handouts to your toxic parents--your responsibilities are with them and them alone.
I guess that would depend on whether or not you value your life. If it's a gift you don't value then I guess you owe them nothing.

Personally, it's not my parents I owe but myself. I'd rather look back and think "You idiot, you did too much" than say "You selfish jerk, you should have done more". It's not about what I owe them, IMO. It's about the kind of person I want to be and the kind of family I want to be part of.

My father was a class one jerk when I was growing up (later I learned that he was bi-polar. Mom thought she was protecting us by not telling us but I think it hurt not to know why dad acted like he did). I owed him nothing but I visited him in the nursing home anyway and gave him montyly pedicures (we're talking gross toenails here). Seemed like a lot at the time but as I look back, I realize that helping him was more of a gift to myself than it was a gift to him. I grew a lot. I'm a better person for having done it.

It's not about what we owe others. It's about what we owe ourselves. After all, we are the ones who have to live the rest of our lives with the decision to help or not help another human being.
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Old 02-22-2010, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,387 posts, read 31,891,555 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubbleT View Post
I would not be disappointed for this country go back to seeing multi-generation families living together as the norm. In-law suites in every home!
To me it makes sense from an economical standpoint, and I think it would cut down on the sense of isolation and disconnection a lot of people have.
I agree. I don't know why we insist on living in isolation. That's not the way it was meant to be.

Yes, helping others costs us but we also gain from it. And then there are the financial advantages.
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