Most people would rank their parents among the most important and closest relationships in their lives. But how many of these relationships are rooted in feelings of guilt for being cared for as children versus a genuine feeling of love and respect?
How many children are held back in life because they feel obliged to remain obedient to an authoritarian parent well into adulthood?
Lisa Pontius, a mother on TikTok, has caused a stir on the platform by asking people to reconsider their relationships with their parents. Even boldly proclaiming that kids "Don't owe their parents" anything.
Pontius is a former private chef from New York who moved to South Carolina with her husband to become a full-time stay-at-home mother of two.
In a video that's been seen over five million times, Pontius argues that it's wrong for parents to guilt their kids into thinking they owe them a certain type of relationship as adults. The question came about after she made a video discussing the importance of setting boundaries with her own parents.
"Here's what's going to piss 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 is reciprocal," she says in the video.
She believes parents shouldn't expect anything from their children because that's part of a job they chose. "You're not loving and providing for your children with the expectation that they will blindly obey and do whatever you say as adults," she says.
Pontius says that part of being a healthy adult is to reconsider one's relationship with their parents. She also says that children shouldn't feel they owe their parents anything for raising them because that's just "parenting" which they "signed up for."
Already anticipating the Karen’s in the comments #parenting #parentsoftiktok #parentchildrelationship #respect #boundaries
On the other hand, she believes that parents who are emotionally healthy shouldn't have to worry too much about their relationships with their adult children. "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 says.
Nobody chose to be born or decided how they were raised. Therefore, why should anyone feel that they owe a debt to their parents? You're supposed to take care of your kids. Nobody deserves to take a victory lap or request special treatment because they took responsibility for their offspring.
However, many of us get trapped in unhealthy parent-child relationships because we think we owe our parents something and they try to take advantage.
In the end, Pontius believes it's all about setting appropriate boundaries.
"Boundaries can be small things, like asking someone to call before coming over or asking visitors to not kiss your new baby," she told Buzzfeed. "There can also be bigger boundaries, but the goal is the ability to maintain a relationship that doesn't compromise your mental health or happiness."
Whether you agree with Pontius or not, her video is a reminder for all of us to seriously consider our primary relationships and to examine whether they are based on genuine affection or a feeling of obligation.
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