Do You Treat Your Kids like a Personal Retirement Fund?

You owe your kids a good life, not the other way around.

“Who’s going to take care of me when I am old? Who is going to provide for me when I am retired? Our neighbour’s kid is earning more money than you, when are you going to earn that much money? What am I supposed to tell our relatives?”

Have you ever heard of parents getting disappointed when their children choose to pursue a creative career instead of a “higher-paying” white-collar job? Or when their children choose to pick up a major in university that they think won’t bring the money?

Often (especially common in Asian households), parents try to raise their children according to their wishes instead of the child’s. Some even try to raise their children to live dreams they never got the chance to fulfil in their lifetime, even if it is not what the child desires. Some push their children to chase high-paying careers so that their children can care for them in the future.

These expectations are put onto children out-of-the-womb. For me, I call it giving your baby a “job” before they are even adults. Is it any surprise then that their innocent admiration towards their parents slowly turn into contempt and self-loathing as a child grows up?

The act of having children is already selfish in itself. You brought them into this world to fulfil your desire to become a parent. They didn’t ask to be born. Hence, it is your responsibility to provide them with the best life. Not the other way around. You are supposed to provide them with the environment that they need to flourish and thrive.

Stop placing unrealistic expectations on your children. It is so unfair and honestly quite cruel that you raise a child with the plan of turning them into your crutch or a trophy to show off to your friends and family.

I say this fully aware that I have a daughter. I brought her into this world. The least that I can do for her is to provide her with a good life and allow her to explore and grow into the best version of herself; The way she wants to, not the way I expect her to. It is also my responsibility to work hard now so that she doesn’t have to worry about money for me in the future. Frankly, it shouldn’t be her problem either.

Her happiness and safety is my utmost priority. Whether she has the capability to care for my husband and me in the future is a conversation for a later day. A day I hope would never have to come because the last thing I want to be is a burden to her.

If life was a garden, children are the seeds. You don’t determine what kind of flower they grow into. Your responsibility is only to provide them with the soil that allows them to grow into the healthiest and prettiest flower in the garden.

Singapore-bred Malaysian who enjoys sharing her too honest thoughts on life, feminism, love, and religion among other things. www.shafiqahothman.com

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