Navigating parent/child relationships can be complicated in adulthood. But one mom has some strong opinions on what parents owe their children and vice versa.

Advertisement
An image of a woman holding her mother's hand.
Credit: Getty Images. Art: Jillian Sellers.

The idea that adults struggle to set boundaries with their parents—particularly when those adults become parents themselves—is nothing new. For every story of perfectly helpful grandparent, there are several tales of a struggle to navigate those relationships or even a full-on fight to raise children a certain way.

Setting boundaries with your parents is a healthy thing adults ought to do, but when one mom spoke out about the way she handles her own relationship with her mother, she drew criticism. But now, the mom is addressing that heat in a TikTok video—and she's making some seriously valid points about the way the parent/child relationship changes after the child is no longer, well, a child.

"I got a lot of comments on my video about setting boundaries with my mom from older women reiterating the message 'you should be grateful for everything your mother has done for you'....like somehow setting boundaries with someone doesn't mean you don't love or appreciate what they've done for you," the mom says. "Children don't owe their parents a certain kind of relationship."

"There is definitely a different dynamic between an adult parent and a child who is still a child, but once that kid is an adult, that person is a fully formed human being," she continues. "And all the [things parents] did for you...is parenting. Which is what you signed up for."

The mom, who goes by Lisa P. on TikTok has a point: Being a parent means you are responsible for keeping your children safe and fed and secure. Looking after their basic needs is the job of a parent, and it should be done without the expectation of payback in any form. "You're not loving and providing for your children with the expectation that they will blindly obey and do whatever you say as adults," the mom says.

This logic is resonating with many TikTok users. "I agree. I gave my mom boundaries when I had my kids...she knew I loved her and respected her but she understood," one user comments under the video. Another adds: "I heard once 'people who set boundaries are trying to maintain a relationship instead of walking away' and some parents need to understand this."

And it doesn't stop there. "I had kids to be a mom. For me. My choice. They owe me NOTHING when they get older," one commenter writes. And a therapist weighs in too, writing: "YES YES YES. I'm a therapist and have to teach this to my younger clients who carry this burden."

This mom makes a really important point here, one that will especially resonate with parents who have the ultimate reason to set boundaries: Their children. Because no matter how much you love and respect your own parents, the fact of the matter is, you are the ones who get the boundaries and rules and standards when you become an adult and have children of your own. It isn't always neat or easy to do, but it is healthy.