The Post

Don’t sponge off your parents

CJ BENJAMIN Benjamin is a former national radio talk show host, who received numerous awards during her tenure in addition to

CALL me old-fashioned but I strongly believe that at a certain age we are no longer our parents’ responsibility. In fact, as our parents get older, I am of the opinion that it is our duty to take care of them, and not the other way around.

This sense of entitlement that many children have is terribly sad and I’m not sure what led to such a mentality. The idea that your parents have to care for your adult self and you live off their hard work is selfish and abusive. This is more prevalent by the day as adults enjoy the benefits of a rent-free home and food on the table, while their parents use their retirement funds or salaries, if still working, to support them.

It is true that we are living in very trying economic times, hence many ageing parents continue to care for their adult children. It is commendable when parents step in if their kids have fallen on hard times, but this is a generosity and a kindness that should not be abused or taken for granted.

You are not entitled to anything and your parents don't owe you a thing. This manner of thinking has to be expunged from our mentality. There are many who claim that they did not ask to be born, all the while lying on the couch watching Netflix as their old parents fund their lifestyle. What a selfish and self-centred view of life.

It’s even more disheartening to note that there is a notion that we somehow are entitled to our parents’ pension fund or at least a share of it. Did you work for it? Did you spend hours per day toiling for this income? So you think that just being their child opens the door to you taking a slice of the pie? Let them share with you should they wish, but there should not be an expectation that you have an unspoken right to their hard-earned money.

Money makes people so bitter that children can turn against their parents simply because they didn’t get a share of their parents’ pension or provident funds. Families have been torn apart over such disputes where entitled adults with the capacity to earn their own money allow greed to separate them from their parents.

Imagine walking away from your parents and disregarding them because you wanted some of their money, the money that they should be living out their old age with in comfort and peace, without needy adult children sponging off them.

Surely we want our parents to live out their senior years in peace and comfort, looking after themselves with spoils from their children every so often, using their hard-earned income to support themselves, burden-free.

For many of us, life hasn’t been easy. I come from a childhood of harsh poverty and all I ever wanted was for my parents to have a sense of financial freedom. I couldn’t imagine living off them as an adult with no pursuit of my own to improve my own life and allow them the space to live theirs.

Now I can fully appreciate that life is tough and you might need to return to your parents’ home to live with them while you find your feet again. However, living with them does not mean living off them! You should be a financial contributor to the home. You can’t stay with your parents to save money for your future but expect them to cover all the bills. Make that make sense, please!

If you are living with your folks and enjoying subscription services, internet, meals, and even your own room, it is your duty to help out financially, to lessen the burden on your parents’ shoulders. The very same people who live at home with their parents and choose not to contribute will spend 10 times the amount when they move out and not bat an eyelid but refuse to do so at their parents’ home.

I do think that many are taking advantage of their older parents, guilting them into paying for their bills, abusing their privileges in their parents’ home and adding a tremendous amount of stress to their older parents’ lives. I’m absolutely sure that parents in the majority would always want to support their kids at any age, but this cannot be abused in any way or form.

Someone commented on my video on social media and said she saw me fighting with my mum about who should pay at the till. It’s funny because it’s a usual occurrence. I feel strongly about this as my mum suffered through extreme poverty to raise my sisters and myself. Now I get to look after her, I get to spoil her and remove any burden or stress. I imagine when possible financially, this is how the picture should be painted.





African News Agency