Why would a non-disabled, healthy parent under the age of 70 live off their adult children? Is it because of tradition? Why is pressure placed on adult children from certain cultures to reward their parents for bringing them into the world? Or for sending them to school? Or for simply doing their duties as parents? Do children owe their parents anything? Why do some parents feel this level of entitlement? Is it bragging rights?
These are some hard questions to answer. And it may hit a nerve or two for some people. But, this kind of behavior is nothing new. Freeloading has been around the block for a long time.
So, what is freeloading? It is taking advantage of another person’s generosity. The person in question relies on someone else without doing or giving anything in return. These people want, want, want, but give nothing in return.
Is Freeloading Often Generational?
Yes! I believe it is passed down from generation to generation.
Older and adult children are expected to take on the responsibility of taking care of their still young parent(s) without thought or question. “I washed your back, now you wash my back” type of thing. They are usually left to bear that early burden. While poverty and other factors often play into this way of thinking and living, it is not always the case. It could also be a case of a narcissistic parent.
Some parents operate on a level of entitlement for simply giving birth. Therefore, they expect a reward for “doing their job” and see nothing wrong with their actions. After all, they ought to get repaid for everything they’ve done. To these dirty scoundrels, their unsuspecting children are a source of income. Now it’s their turn to be the dependents.
Is It Right? Is It Wrong?
There is something wrong when a is non-disabled parent chooses to freeload off their children. It is a stressful and toxic environment for everyone involved. An adult child’s responsibility is to take care of themselves (and their family, if they have one). It is not a child’s job to take on the responsibility of their lazy and selfish parents.
And let’s be real here, any parent with a good conscience (with working years ahead) would not put this kind of burden on their children. Birthing children and raising them is not a meal ticket to a better life. The pressure and stress that these children have to face would drive any sane person mad. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Does tradition win?
My Personal Experience
I have been through this sort of stress and pressure firsthand. I did not have the support of my family after I made my decision to move on with my life. I became the enemy. They were more concerned with carrying on the tradition and putting on a good face than to walk a mile in my shoes. None of them were in my shoes, but they had no problems giving advice.
My mother was 49 years old when she came under my care. For over ten years, I provided her without looking for anything in return. I’m still not looking for anything in return. As a single parent, I understood how hard it must have been for her, so I wanted to help her out in any way I could.
Thus, when the opportunity came to bring her to America, I did not think twice about my decision. I wanted to give my mother a better life and provide her with better opportunities. I didn’t know that she would come here and not lift a finger to help herself.
She had watched me struggle with two small children and knew the hell I went through to get to where I was in life. So, I didn’t understand why she was not motivated or driven. Over time, her negative attitude was getting to me. It bothered me she was comfortable doing nothing all day while reaping the benefits of my hard work. I was not okay with that kind of behavior. It was a slap in the face to watch her waste away such an excellent opportunity.
In the end, my mother walked away spoiled and ungrateful. She had no bills or debts to her name. But in my family’s eye, I was evil for “using” and “abusing” her while she was under my care. They claimed I didn’t need her around anymore because my children were getting older. But, that was not the case. The truth was that her family didn’t want me to cut off her “good life” because she’d had a rough life. In their eyes, she deserved her well-deserved comfortable, and carefree lifestyle. They wanted me to accept her decision because I am her daughter and she is my mother.
My family used guilt as a scare tactic to discourage me away from moving on with my life. They reasoned she was my only mother, and I would regret my decision. Those family members ignored my mental health and how stressed out the situation had made me over the years.
My children didn’t matter to them. And unfortunately, neither did I. They ignored the fact that she was in the perfect situation to better herself but chose not to help herself. It was okay for her not to put any effort in, but it was okay for her to gain everything I had to offer.
The Effects on Mental Health
Healthy mental health is a must-have. However, mentality, my experience was stressful because I allowed guilt to stand in my way. I had waited too long to do what I should’ve done within months of her arrival. My mental health suffered; my physical health was in disarray. I suffered from insomnia and various digestive issues because of the stress and pressure.
I had to take control of my life. I forgot that I mattered too. My children and my health mattered. I had to push the guilt aside and realize I could not help someone who did not want to help themselves.
What Should You Do If You Are In This Situation?
Move on with your life without guilt or fear. Love your parents and help them if you can. But don’t go out of your way yet, especially if they still have working years ahead. If it is a freeloading situation, realize what you are up against and cut the string as soon as possible.
Remember that they are adults too, and they are responsible for their actions. No different than you are responsible for your actions. And every choice comes with its own set of consequences, good or bad. It is a choice, and you don’t have to put up with their selfish decisions.
Note: If a parent is sick, disabled, or elderly, then this does not apply to them. Also, for those hardworking parents who are genuinely struggling and in need, help them if you can.
Is freeloading an unspoken tradition in your country? Have you been through something similar? How would you handle a situation of this magnitude? Do children owe their parents anything? What age is someone considered a senior?
Please like, comment, share or follow. Do you have a story of your own you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you.