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AIBU to think adult children don't OWE their elderly parents care

(238 Posts)
Burpeesshmurpees Tue 22-Oct-19 20:06:28

Another thread got me thinking. The consensus on here seems to be that grandparents don't owe their adult children help with childcare (your choice to have children) but that their children do owe them help in their old age because their parents cared for them when they were children.
I don't really understand this view. If you're of the opinion of your choice to have children the surely that applies to the grandparents too and so you don't owe them anything for raising you - since they chose to have you therefore it's their obligation.
To be fair I do think adult children should help out their parents in their old age when they are able but I also think grandparents should help out with grandchildren too.
What do you think?

Inebriati Tue 22-Oct-19 20:18:06

What happened to 'it takes a village to raise a child' - or is that just a trendy thing people post on SM without really understanding what they have posted?

I'm a Socialist. I think the State should provide cradle to grave care, daycare and healthcare for anyone who needs it, and we should all contribute to that. We don't all have families, or loving families, and most of us have to work into our 70's.

Even if I had a loving family to care for me, wouldn't it be better to have access to a nice local day care centre and some days out, rather than be stuck at home all day, and forcing a female relative to be with me 24/7?

Ibizafun Tue 22-Oct-19 20:19:47

I think every situation, story and family is different so I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as that. There may be a good reason why grandparents can’t help out. Personally I’d want to, but we’re all different! If my parents had been abusive to me when I was in their care then I doubt I would want to care for them.. there are so many ifs and buts.

Thewheelsarefallingoff Tue 22-Oct-19 20:22:02

Yes, I completely agree and think it's a very British attitude. That said, I'm lucky with my parents, they do one school pick up per week and have the DCs for that day in the holidays. They do the same for my 2 siblings on different days (their choice to separate the days), so they're quite committed to their DGC.

Liverbird77 Tue 22-Oct-19 20:22:33

@Burpees...I totally agree with everything you've said. That's rare for me!

CAG12 Tue 22-Oct-19 20:23:16

As an A+E nurse I see the consequences of the elderly having no care in place either because adult children live far away, or their not willing to care. Its heartbreaking.

I havent reached that stage in my life yet, but I really hope I can live up to the standard needed when my mum needs me. It worries me quite a lot.

EggysMom Tue 22-Oct-19 20:23:31

Personally I don't think you should have children with the intention that they care for you in your old age. There should be no obligation that, just because you brought them up, they should reciprocate in your old age. Bringing up children is something you do because you want children.

If you want to be cared for in your old age, don't have children; put that money into a savings scheme instead, and pay for professional care.

NannaNoodleman Tue 22-Oct-19 20:23:30

I don't feel I owe my parents but they've done so much for me throughout my childhood and adult life, I WANT to care for them when the time comes.

I want them to feel love in the care, as I have. It's the least I can do... I just hope I'm in a position to provide it: kids are older, able to work part time, can convert part of the house to a granny-flat, etc

GrumpyHoonMain Tue 22-Oct-19 20:24:52

Nobody owes care to anyone, but at the same time if your parents decide to leave you out the will for not providing care that’s fair too. I hate it when kids who have never even visited their parents in old age then try to muscle in on the probate.

ladybee28 Tue 22-Oct-19 20:25:38

I think once a relationship becomes about 'owing' things, it's fuggered already.

I'd hate someone to take care of my (currently non-existent) kids out of nothing but a sense of duty, and I'd rather chew off my own arm than have my future kids (if they ever exist) take care of me in my old age because they felt they 'owed me'.

Do it for love, do it if it's consistent with the person you want to be, but please don't anyone ever be around me out of obligation.

Span1elsRock Tue 22-Oct-19 20:26:41

I used to work in care. And spent many hours with very lonely and unhappy elderly people........ most of whom had families but had the attitude it was everyone else's job bar theirs to care for/look after them.

It was soul destroying.

Pukkatea Tue 22-Oct-19 20:27:14

Caring for an elderly relative is very different to caring for a child - they often have complex medical needs, adult personalities and all the difficulty that can bring particularly when old and in pain, as well as needs of dignity and independence that you dont have to think about with say a baby.

birdsdestiny Tue 22-Oct-19 20:29:38

You see I wouldn't want my children to care for me , that's not the life I want for them. I probably need to tell them that really clearly now.

Contraceptionismyfriend Tue 22-Oct-19 20:31:08

I absolutely feel I owe my parents when they age.
The quality of my childhood and the childhood that they are giving my children is above and beyond. And so I owe them the same selflessness that they have passed on. My sister has worked in car homes. It's tragic.
Some are happy to take. Take the childcare, take the financial assistance and take the inheritance with absolutely no give.

Velveteenfruitbowl Tue 22-Oct-19 20:33:29

Children have no say over being born and no say over being cared for in childhood. It’s not like my five year old can refuse the care I give him and ride off into the sunset of an independent life. Parents have an obligation to care for their children arising from creating a completely helpless creature. Until such a point that the children you have knowingly created are capable of independence you are bound to care for them and the children are entitled to take this care for granted. You can’t then expect to be ‘paid back’ for the care you gave which the child was entitled to and had no option to refuse at any rate.

I feel a desire to care for my father because I love him. He has been good to me in adulthood and to an extent I suppose that result in obligation but for me it’s mostly desire to be sure that he is happy and safe. I don’t feel I owe him anything for his parenting though (despite it being far above and beyond anything you average parent would do).

quincejamplease Tue 22-Oct-19 20:36:25

Some of those elderly people will have viciously abused their children for years, so mneh.

This stuff isn't black and white.

ThighThighOfthigh Tue 22-Oct-19 20:37:46

When you're hale and hearty it's easy to say you don't want care in the future. My Dad very much wanted care and companionship from his family in his last year. He was frightened when we weren't there, it's about compassion not debt.

Babybel90 Tue 22-Oct-19 20:38:45

I won’t be caring for my parents when the time comes, I’ll make sure they get the care they need though. Similarly I’d be devastated if I thought my child’s life was going to be spent caring for me, I want better for her than that.

Velveteenfruitbowl Tue 22-Oct-19 20:38:50

@Eggysmum hit the nail on the head. There’s no excuse.

EggysMom Tue 22-Oct-19 20:39:11

Some are happy to take. Take the childcare, take the financial assistance and take the inheritance with absolutely no give.

What childcare? What financial assistance? And nobody should presume entitlement to an inheritance (presuming there is one to leave).

Nobody should feel obligated. Not because they were cared for as a child. Not because they were assisted into adult life. Care should be provided because you WANT to.

Settlersofcatan Tue 22-Oct-19 20:39:38

I think it depends on what is meant by "help out". I plan to visit my parents in their old age, help them with the odd practical thing but I don't plan to move house to be close to them (they live a couple of hours away) or to give up my job to care for them.

Similarly, it's nice when they take my son to the playground but I don't expect them to do regular childcare.

ThighThighOfthigh Tue 22-Oct-19 20:41:19

And like pp, i was happy to do anything he needed. As he had helped me countless times.

LucileDuplessis Tue 22-Oct-19 20:43:38

My parents have been very helpful to me since I had children - they are really hands on grandparents. This will definitely make me more likely to help them when they need it (currently in good health but who knows what is around the corner). It’s not exactly that I feel I have to pay them back for the help they gave me, just a general feeling of goodwill I guess.

N0tfinished Tue 22-Oct-19 20:43:59

I think it's more an expression of love than ethics. If you come from a loving functional family then you want to care for your parents. I recently lost my DF from an extended serious illness. He died at home in peace. We had support from palliative care. I didn't feel I owed him care but I wanted to care for him.

It was made easier as my mother and all my siblings shared in the caring, so we all supported each other and there wasn't any resentment. I'd imagine it would be completely different if the burden wasn't shared equally.

WaningGibbous Tue 22-Oct-19 20:45:01

A friend is an only child - went to boarding school, had no child care from her parents at all but did receive some financial support. Both her parents developed dementia at around the same time and it's been a full time job since then getting assessments, appointments, organising carers, then sorting a suitable home, clearing their old home, sorting their very complicated financial situation - they were each others POA along with a relative who also became incapacitated around the same time. I don't know who else there is to take all of that on. The home take them to some of their appointments now - at cost of course but there are many things only she can do.

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