Gransnet forums


Is this really what children are for???

(93 Posts)
Bluesmum Tue 17-May-22 08:24:06

On another forum I belong to, someone asked for advice how to accept help from her only son and his wife without feeling she was a burden. The general response seemed to be that she was entitled to expect help and support from her son, with one person adding “after all, that is why we have children in the first place”!!!! I don’t have any children, by choice, even though I had a very happy and long, sound marriage, but this reaction really shocked me and I wondered if any of you lovely ladies and gents on here feel the same way about your offspring?

MissAdventure Tue 17-May-22 08:26:10

Of course not

FannyCornforth Tue 17-May-22 08:26:27

I think that she was probably joking, or saying it tongue in cheek.
It’s a lot easier, and probably cheaper, to employ carers or ‘staff’ than to bring up a family

Franbern Tue 17-May-22 08:38:23

Absolutely NO.......I had my children because I desperately wanted to be their Mum. Despite the tears and sleepless nights (and I am not just talking about when they were babies!!), they have all given me countless times of wonderful enjoyment. I am so proud of them and love them all to bits.

I do feel very guilty whenever I have to ask any of them for any sort of assistance. I do try to be as little intrusive as possible in their (busy) lives, and appreciate any time they can spend with me and/or for me.

I do know that there are some cultures that do have the expectation that children have a duty towards their parents, etc. and that is fine for them and works. However, in UK that is not the norm and I really do hope that the reasons the majority of us had our children is because we so much wanted to have a child.

Must say I do often really feel for the generation who are now in their mid-50's to mid-60's. My generation are the longest lived of any generation and so many of them are having to cope with aged parents (on one hand), as well as their own AC needing some form of help - whilst also having their own problems.

BlueSky Tue 17-May-22 08:41:10

And don’t you expect it! I’ve got two sons both of them overseas, so will have to have paid help if and when. But no that’s not the reason we have them!

lixy Tue 17-May-22 08:56:36

As FannyCornforth says surely a tongue-in-cheek comment?

I hope my children will feel able to help out here should we need it - as indeed I already ask DS and SiL to help with heavy lifting as they are both fitness fanatics, but I don't expect it or feel it is my due. We do a fair amount of childcare and cooking for them. Give and take is just what families do isn't it?
But that is not why we had children!

Grandmabatty Tue 17-May-22 09:01:09

I definitely didn't have children to make my declining years easier. It's a biological urge to propagate the species, isn't it? I wanted to be a mum and I have loved being a mum and a grandma. We help each other out by doing little things for each other but I would never expect help, and for big things I buy help in.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 17-May-22 09:05:15

Certainly not. But in some cultures there is an expectation that children will look after ageing parents, children grow up knowing and witnessing that and it is taken very seriously.

Bluesmum Tue 17-May-22 09:17:00

Thank you, you have all restored my faith in parents!!! Although I am not his birth mother, my step son and I are very close, even though he is on the other side of the world! With his Dad, and now in my own, we have always helped, encouraged and supported each other, but it is out of the great love we share, not through any sense of duty.

henetha Tue 17-May-22 09:23:07

Absolutely not the reason I wanted children. Heaven forbid that either of mine should feel they have to look after me in my old age.

GrannyGravy13 Tue 17-May-22 09:23:27

Different cultures have different expectations of what is expected of their children.

In my family my earliest memories are of great grandma at paternal grandparents, ensconced in a huge bed where I curled up beside her sucked her peppermints whilst she told stories. My Maternal great grandma lived two doors down from my granny, I was allowed to visit whenever I wanted and by the age of 5 skipped to her home on my own (no doubt Mum or granny were watching)
My parents took care of their parents, I had my lovely mum live with me for the last four months of her life, previously she was included in all family occasions by us and her grandchildren, we took her shopping, out to dinner and helped her in the home and garden.

So speaking personally I think taking care of our family members is what we do, we do it willingly with love without the need for any pressure of expectation.

Witzend Tue 17-May-22 09:28:21

Good Lord, no!
I would never expect - or want - help from adult dds, and have told them so in very plain words. They have protested that they’d be happy to help, but unlike me, they have not had the experience of elderly relatives needing help and care.

However much you may love your frail, elderly relatives, I doubt that many people would deny that they can become an exhausting worry - especially if dementia is involved.
And yes, a burden.

Our dds will have their own busy lives to lead, and 🤞there should be enough money to pay for help, if needed.

Davida1968 Tue 17-May-22 09:33:38

Certainly not! IMO children need to be free to live their lives.
However I don't think that any GNs who have "expectations" of support from their children, will admit it, here!

GrannyGravy13 Tue 17-May-22 09:38:03


Certainly not! IMO children need to be free to live their lives.
However I don't think that any GNs who have "expectations" of support from their children, will admit it, here!

I have absolutely no expectations of support from any of our 5 children. We are financially able to fund our care home fees if needed, and pay folks to do jobs which we no longer feel inclined or unable to do.

Four of our AC would be horrified and extremely hurt if we refused or denied them the opportunity to help, the fifth not so, but that is personal choice not expectation.

Grannybags Tue 17-May-22 09:38:04


My youngest son and his partner chose not to have children and he gets asked about this a lot from friends and colleagues. He says it sounds as if they had children so they would have someone to look after them in old age

Baggs Tue 17-May-22 09:41:18

Children, including the offspring of other animals, plants, life-forms) are to continue one's genes. That, ultimately, is what all life is about. I suppose one could call it the naked life force.

Baggs Tue 17-May-22 09:43:28

Civilisation, on the other hand, is about looking after the weak (among other things), so it's natural (up to a point) for old people to expect some kind of support, initially from their offspring if they have any.

Redhead56 Tue 17-May-22 09:52:41

My children have their own lives and families I wouldn't want to be a burden on them. I most certainly would not expect them to look after me. I helped care for my mum until she went to a care home it was physically and mentally very stressful. I would not put that responsibility on my family.

cornergran Tue 17-May-22 09:55:04

No expectations here. We still help them from time to time smile and know if we ask for help it would be there if life pressure allowed. They don’t fuss, the understanding is we’re ok unless we say otherwise. Suits us all.

A childless friend constantly tells me how lucky we are, we’ll never need to pay for care as our children have a duty to care for us. Yes, she does mean it. I’ve given up arguing with her as she’s immovable. Now I just smile and say nothing.

timetogo2016 Tue 17-May-22 10:04:02

I agree with FannyCornforth, said with tongue n cheek.
If i need help with anything i can`t do myself and Dh can`t do i automatically ask one of my sons for help and vice versa.

paddyann54 Tue 17-May-22 10:46:46

I sadly,have a daughter who is chronically ill .So I still do what I can to help her.I have no expectaion of either of my children looking after us.We are still the go to people for decorating or replacing kitchens or landscaping their gardens .I'm very happy to help .
It would be amazing if one day some real medical help would appear and give her her life back ,seems very unfair that I'm looking 70 in the face and fit as a flea and she suffers chronic pain every day

AGAA4 Tue 17-May-22 11:01:20

I want my children to enjoy their lives free from the onus of looking after me.
I still look after them in different ways. I have happily helped with childcare and money when needed.
I believe the best gift you can give your children is your own independence.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 17-May-22 11:05:22

💐for your daughter Paddy and for you💐.

Chocolatelovinggran Tue 17-May-22 11:55:18

Oh paddyann, that's tough- for you both

Chocolatelovinggran Tue 17-May-22 11:56:23

I understood that the role of children is to absorb any excess money 💰 left lying around...