Is it really a parent’s duty to their children?

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Is it really the duty of parents to do their best for their children, no matter what? In our modern society, this seems to be an unspoken assumption (certainly in Western cultures), but is it one that can still apply? I don’t think so, and here’s why…

Are Children Really a Parent’s Duty?

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Photo by Gustavo Fring on

Many people think that if they have children, they automatically inherit the responsibility of raising them. This can be quite an ordeal, but these days, there are more resources and guidance than ever before. When parents sit down and discuss how they want to raise their children and what kind of future they want for them, there is often less disagreement on matters such as nutrition, education, dress code and moral upbringing. Parents should make decisions together with their spouses and other family members so everyone feels heard. Sometimes, even grandparents or other relatives who live nearby may be called upon to lend a hand.

What makes you happy as an adult will make your child happy too

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

No matter what you believe, being an adult and doing what makes you happy is essential. Being there for your child and being involved in their life will also make them happy because it will show that they are loved. Asking about your child’s feelings and thoughts is also very important to help them through any difficulties they may be experiencing. One of the best ways to do this is by having open conversations where your child can tell you what is going on with them. Setting up boundaries such as chores, bedtime, and curfew should also be discussed so that both parents and the child know what expectations are set. It takes effort but being aware of how our decisions affect our children helps us create a better relationship with them

Are there exceptions?

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At the end of the day, parents are in charge of caring for and making decisions for their kids. It’s never easy, but they’re ultimately responsible. For as hard as parenting can be, however, there are always exceptions when this principle doesn’t hold. When there is severe neglect or abuse from the parent(s), either mental or physical, the courts may step in and remove a child from that environment. In cases where one or both parents are addicted to drugs or alcohol, a judge will also order rehab for one or both. There have been cases where drug addiction leads to neglectful parenting practices and the addicted parent loses custody of their children. Lastly, if you suspect your spouse is abusive towards your child, do not hesitate to contact authorities immediately.

Can I be Happy without my Child/Children Being Happy?

girls holding watering can while standing near green plants
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Being a parent is both challenging and rewarding, though not always in equal measure. A blog that I read recently shared the question What if our child grows up and is not happy?, and my immediate response was Can I be happy without my child being happy? It seems like you’re twisting the wording of the question because whether or not your child becomes happy in life should not determine whether or not you are. No one can say for sure what will make another person happy, so if there is no guarantee that we can make our children happy, why would we put so much pressure on ourselves? Instead of worrying about making them happy with material items and accomplishments, maybe we should focus on teaching them empathy for others and appreciating what they have. If they grow up understanding these values then happiness will come naturally.

Can I be Happy knowing that my Child/Children Aren’t Happy (if I do nothing about it)?

loving mother and daughter blowing kiss on kitchen
Photo by Gustavo Fring on

Childhood is hard for everyone. Raising any child will always be difficult, but not raising one will also be its own unique brand of challenge. If you don’t want your child then I think that would fall into the category of child neglect or abuse. But if you do want them and they are currently living with someone else, then I think you owe them some effort to get them back. The first step is figuring out what kind of relationship you have with the person who has custody over your kids. Are they an ex-spouse, sibling, etc.? What was the original agreement when splitting up custody? The next step is determining what kind of relationship you want to have with your kids now. Do you only want to see them on weekends or holidays?

The Ugly Truth

happy family sitting at dining table
Photo by RDNE Stock project on

Parents want the best for their children, and sometimes that means struggling financially. It might not be practical for some families to share one income instead of two, but many parents need the money in order to provide for their family. Many parents work two jobs in order to provide for those less fortunate. They put themselves through incredible stress so they can put food on the table and clothes on their kids’ backs.

There are many ways for parents to make ends meet without compromising their children’s needs. That could mean talking about your budget with your spouse or deciding what you can live without. You could ask other relatives if they can help out financially, or find an outside job where you don’t have to spend as much time away from your family.

The Real Answer

It is every parent’s responsibility to provide for and raise their children, but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our personal desires in order for them. Though children can not be your whole life, they should definitely be a part of it. Once kids are grown and on their own if you don’t invest in yourself, what will you have left? Sure, the children might need help with babysitting or money when they get older. But ultimately, if you don’t invest in yourself while they’re young, it may become harder to help later. So while there are always work-life balance issues – after all raising a child isn’t easy – some things (like meeting new people) just take time away from family responsibilities

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Where the wild things roam, there my stories are born. Blogger. Explorer. Forever curious.

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