What Children Owe Their Parents

I often hear parents complain about things their child has done. I have often complained about this. Being a parent can be frustrating. Here’s a small list of things that many parents think their child should be doing for the parent:

  • Doing chores (cleaning their room, help with dinner, etc)
  • Being obedient
  • Being respectful and polite
  • Giving the parent a card and gift on special occasions (birthday, holiday, mother’s/father’s day, etc.)
  • Calling the parent (for older children or adult children)
  • Telling the truth to the parent
  • Talking to the parent (“What did you do at school today?”)

I’m sure that nearly every parent would have a different list of things they think their children owes them. In the box below, you can find my list of all the things that a child owes a parent:


That’s right, nothing. NADA. Children don’t owe their parents anything. Children don’t owe their parents a birthday gift, a Christmas gift or a thank you. Children don’t owe their parents a phone call on their birthday, on their parents birthday or any holiday for that matter. Children don’t owe their parents “spending time together” or “communication.” Children certainly don’t owe their parents love.

Children didn’t ask to be brought into this world and they certainly didn’t ask to be brought into this world to some asshole, demanding and needy parents who can’t even be nice to their own child. Parents who are “nice” aren’t owed anything by their children either. Parents brought their kids into this world and parents owe children everything until they can take care of themselves. Well, “everything” might be a little strong, but I hope you get the point.

Here are some of the things I would argue that parents owe their children:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Love

Most parents will want to provide much more than this to their children. Here are some additional things that most parents will want to provide:

  • Support
  • Respect
  • Time together
  • Conversation and listening
  • Trust

Lets wrap this up with a list of things a parent does not owe to a child:

  • Dessert
  • An iPhone
  • A television in their room
  • A trip to Disneyland
  • A good spanking
  • A lecture
  • Mac-and-cheese when dinner is spaghetti
  • The latest Star Wars toy

If parents do a good job as parents then they may actually get some of the things that they want as parents–cards, phone calls, conversations, thank you’s, etc. But lets remember that these are not owed to the parent.

My message to parents:

Don’t be needy and demanding. Raise your children to be nice and responsible by being nice and responsible yourself. Get over any hurt feelings you might have because you didn’t get a Valentine’s card or a call on your birthday.

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