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Mum explains the harsh truth about why children don't owe their parents anything

Jess Hardiman

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| Last updated 

Mum explains the harsh truth about why children don't owe their parents anything

Featured Image Credit: TikTok/@itsme_lisap

A mum has shared the harsh truth about why children don’t owe their parents anything, having responded to criticism she faced online about the matter.

Lisa Pontius, a stay-at-home mum and TikToker from Charleston, South Carolina, regularly posts videos about parenting and family life.

In one she shared a couple of years back, she explained how ‘kids don’t owe their parents anything’, saying in the caption that she was ‘already anticipating the Karens in the comments’.

Pontius said she’d received a wave of comments from a previous video about setting boundaries with her own mother, having been told by ‘older women’ that she should be grateful for everything her mum did for her.

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She said: “Here’s what’s gonna p**s people off: children don't owe their parents a certain kind of relationship.

“And depending on the parent, they might not owe them respect, either, because that s**t is reciprocal.

“There is definitely a dynamic between an adult parent and a child who is still a child, but once that kid is an adult, that person is a fully formed human being.

“And all that ‘s**t they did for you’... is parenting, which is what you signed up for.”

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Lisa Pontius. Credit: TikTok/@itsme_lisap
Lisa Pontius. Credit: TikTok/@itsme_lisap

Pontius, who has more than 564,000 followers on TikTok, continued: "It's a parent's job to provide for their children. It's a responsibility.

“Not everyone rises to the occasion, but that's, like, the bare minimum - taking care of your kid's physical and financial needs.

“The level above that is their emotional needs, which good parents do, but all of that is not a contingent relationship.

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“You're not loving and providing for your children with the expectation that they will blindly obey and do whatever you say as adults.

“Honestly, if you’re raising your kids well and you’re an emotionally mature person, you don’t want them to blindly just accept things that are not good for them.”

Pontius told Lisa that, while she and her husband love raising their children – and watching them grow up – they don’t owe her anything once they’ve grown up just because she ‘birthed them’.

“Hopefully by that point, I will have earned their admiration and respect by the relationship we have built, but that's not a guarantee,” she explained.

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"Some parents parent through fear and authoritarianism, and who in their adult life wants to maintain a close relationship with a dictator or someone who emotionally manipulates you?

WARNING: CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE

“I kept seeing the same messages on my videos from members of the older generation that said children owe respect to their parents regardless of how the parent treated the child, and I think that's simply naive and unrealistic."

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Pontius added: “You don't get a participation trophy for housing your child or keeping your child clean.

“The whole 'roof over your head' argument is manipulative, because in theory, wouldn't you have had a place to live for yourself regardless of if you had children?

“A kid isn't a freeloading roommate, they're your dependent and your responsibility."

When asked about how to maintain health boundaries with parents, Pontius - who has a good relationship with her parents - said 'going no contact can be a necessary step', but the goal must always be to set boundaries and communicate so that 'does not happen'.

Naturally, other TikTok users were divided, with one agreeing: "So well said. Every time I try to set boundaries with my mom and grandma, they think I'm ungrateful. Ugh!!"

Someone else commented: "Yessss! Say it louder for the toxic generations who think that just because someone pushed a kid out that they are owed something."

But a third wrote: "Unpopular opinion: yes, children DO owe their parents basic love and respect."

Topics: Life, Parenting, TikTok

Jess Hardiman
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