The relationship between parents and children is one of the deepest and most complex bonds we have in our lives. Parents do their best to raise, support and love their children. Parents invest time, energy and money to support their children. They look after them, educate them, pay school fees, buy clothes and provide a home. Many parents sacrifice their own needs to ensure their children have everything they need to grow up. This commitment and love is admirable and deserves respect and gratitude. But what happens when this loving act of parenting results in a demand for material goods? In this blog article we will address the question.
In today's globalized world, it's easier than ever to stay connected to our loved ones far away. Technology allows us to facilitate cross-border communication, which is undoubtedly a blessing. Unfortunately, this openness also presents problems, especially when it comes to children who are contacted by their parents living abroad and pressured to send money. This practice has become an increasing problem in many parts of the world.
What are the motivations behind this behavior?
First of all, it is important to understand that not all parents who ask their children for money do so with malicious intentions. In some specific individual cases, financial difficulties or hardship may be the driving force behind this request. When parents find themselves in financial difficulty, it is important to encourage them to find alternative solutions. This may include seeking government assistance, participating in financial counseling programs, or finding other sources of income. Adult children can be helpful in this regard by providing emotional support and financial expertise.
In some cases, parents may take advantage of their children's love and trust to benefit financially. This can be done through targeted manipulation and emotional blackmail. Some parents may try to make their children feel guilty by pointing out how much they have done for them in the past. This can put pressure on children to send money to support their parents.
Parents shouldn't make their children feel guilty for sacrificing themselves for them, for several important reasons:
- Parenting is a choice: Parenting is a conscious decision that adults make. When parents have children, they voluntarily choose to take responsibility for their upbringing and well-being. This means that parents should take responsibility for their decisions without blaming their children for them.
- Children should not be held responsible for parents' decisions: children did not ask to be born. They have no control over the decisions their parents make regarding parenting. It is unfair and inappropriate to blame children for their parents' sacrifices and decisions.
- Responsibility and sacrifice are part of parenting: Parenting undoubtedly requires sacrifice and responsibility, but this should not be used to create guilt in children. The responsibility and sacrifices that parents make for their children are part of the process motivated by love and commitment to the family.
- Parents should see their sacrifices and responsibilities as an expression of their love for children and focus on building a healthy and supportive relationship with them. Open communication, empathy and mutual understanding are crucial to maintaining a loving parent-child relationship in which children feel loved, safe and accepted.
How can children protect themselves?
- Question requests: If your parents or other relatives abroad ask you for money, you should always ask questions and understand the reasons behind their request. Consider whether the request is plausible and whether you are able to help.
- Set boundaries: It's important to set clear financial boundaries and know how much you're willing to give. Be honest and communicate your financial situation openly with your parents.
- Get advice: If you feel unsure, it is advisable to talk to friends, other family members, or even a professional counselor. They can help you analyze the situation and make the best decisions.
- Trust your gut: If something isn't right or you feel like you're being manipulated, trust your instincts. It's okay to say "no" if you feel uncomfortable.
Parents should help their children and children should help their parents to become independent and go their own way. The relationship should be based on love, trust and independence. Adults should make sure that they can get their own lives under control. When parents find themselves in financial difficulty, it is important to encourage them to find alternative solutions.
It is important to emphasize that there are also some cultural differences between collectivist cultures and Western cultures when it comes to expectations of support from children to their parents.
Collectivism vs. Individualism:
In collectivist cultures, often found in countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, the focus is on community and family. Children are expected to support their parents in old age as the family is viewed as a unit. In Western cultures, which are more individualistic, the emphasis is on personal freedom and autonomy. Children are encouraged to forge their own paths and lead their own lives, without the same obligation to support their parents as they age.
In collectivist cultures, an unspoken "generational contract" is often assumed, in which parents provide for their children's upbringing and education, while later in life children have the responsibility to care for their parents when they are old. In Western cultures, there tend to be less clear expectations regarding this intergenerational contract, and supporting parents in old age may be a personal choice that is not viewed as an obligation.
Social pressure and stigma:
In some collectivist cultures, there can be social pressure and stigma when children do not adequately support their parents. Failure to fulfill this duty can be viewed as a moral failure. In Western cultures, there is typically less social pressure and stigma around supporting parents in old age, and the decision is made more on an individual basis.
Some Western countries have a good social security system that provides financial support and health care to older people. This reduces the pressure on children to support their parents financially. In collectivist cultures, public provision systems can often be less developed and the responsibility for caring for the older generation falls more heavily on the family.
It is important to note that these differences represent general trends and there may be individual variations in each culture. Some people in collectivist cultures may choose to go against the expectation of supporting their parents, while some in Western cultures are very close to their families and provide that support. Cultural differences can also change over time as societies and values evolve.
Children should show appreciation and gratitude to their parents for the love and support they have received. It is important to express this appreciation in various forms, but without putting yourself in financial difficulty.
It is important to emphasize that every family is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether it is appropriate for parents to demand things from their children. Acknowledging parents' love and care and setting clear boundaries can help maintain a healthy and respectful relationship.
Healthy parent-child relationships are based on love and support: Parents should love and support their children unconditionally. Creating a guilty conscience damages the relationship between parents and children and can lead to negative emotions such as guilt and resentment. Children need an environment in which they feel loved and accepted in order to develop healthily. Parents who create a guilty conscience do not help children develop strong self-esteem and self-confidence.
Open communication, setting boundaries, and encouraging parental independence can help maintain a healthy and balanced relationship. With patience and compassion, you can overcome these challenges and maintain the special bond with your parents.