Editor's note: We forgot to include in the print edition of this letter that Jimmy Wright of Rockmart. We apologize for the error.
It is normal for a parent of any age, no matter the age of their child, to want to be there for them, to do for them, to protect them. Those are normal actions of a parent. But there comes a time when parents need to let go and allow their child to live their life, no matter what the consequences may be to their actions.
This doesn’t mean that parents should cease to be there for their children, but instead it means that sometimes there needs to be no rescue in order for the child to learn a valuable lesson from life. A parent can still be a parent without being a savior… and sometimes being a savior is more detrimental to the child.
But when is a parent’s job done? At what point do we stop looking towards our parents for what they can do for us and instead start looking to ourselves for what we can do for them? I believe that this is something that cannot be definitively set in stone.
Sometimes, we are forced to take care of our parents early in life, due to illness or such. Sometimes, we lose our parents in their prime and are left as orphans to roam this planet “on our own”. And sometimes, we are blessed for them to have long lives. I believe it is in that time, the “golden years”, that the roles should be reversed and that the children should instead start meeting the needs of their parents, especially when one of the parents loses the other to death.
It seems like it is then that it is most important as a child to show your parent how much they are loved, cared for, and wanted.
In my opinion, it is wrong for an adult child, who doesn’t require it, to rely on their parents.
There comes a time when our parents are supposed to be relinquished of the responsibility of our care. Of course, most of us know this and live our lives accordingly; supporting ourselves, our families, and bearing the consequences to our decisions.
However, it seems in our society, more and more adults are going back to their parents’ doorstep expecting a free ride or continued financial support. We live in a society of entitlement. Adult children are looking towards their parents with the thought, “You owe me.” It upsets me that too many adults believe that their parents are required to “share the wealth” or completely support them. When did working for what you have in life become something of the past?
I believe we are coming to a precipice in our society where if something doesn’t change a generation will be doomed once their parents are no longer around to rescue them.
Parents need to realize that continued financial support of their adult children only hinders their children from learning how to take care of themselves once the time comes for them to be forced to do so. A good parent knows when to say “no” and when to take a stand.
It’s time for some parents to understand that saying “no” doesn’t make you a bad parent; enabling does. It is my hope that this letter is read by those parents that need to hear, “You are a good person, even when you have to say no” and that it gives them the strength to take the stand they’ve been afraid to take.
It’s not a comfortable thing to do, but if we truly love and care for our children, it’s the best thing for them.