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This Mom Went Viral For Claiming That Kids "Don't Owe Their Parents Anything," And Lots Of People Agree

"The whole 'roof over your head' argument is manipulative."

Lisa Pontius is a 33-year-old stay-at-home mom from Charleston, South Carolina who often shares her parenting perspectives on TikTok.

Recently, Lisa went viral for sharing a TikTok with the banner "Kids Don't Owe Their Parents Anything" that quickly gained over 5 million views:

In the video, Lisa responds to commenters who previously criticized her for setting boundaries with her own mother and said that she should be "grateful" for everything her mother's done for her. She says, "Children don't owe their parents a certain kind of relationship, and depending on the parent, they might not owe them respect, either" once the child becomes an adult.

@itsme_lisap / Via tiktok.com

"It's a parent's job to provide for their children. It's a responsibility. Not everyone rises to the occasion, but that's like the bare minimum, taking care of your kid's physical and financial needs. The level above that is their emotional needs, which good parents do, but all of that is not a contingent relationship. You're not loving and providing for your children with the expectation that they will blindly obey and do whatever you say as adults."

@itsme_lisap / Via tiktok.com

Lisa then closes out the video by explaining that children are "people" and that they "don't owe you shit because you took care of them."

@itsme_lisap / Via tiktok.com

Thousands of people flooded the comment section on Lisa's video to agree with her, and also to express how they feel that many parents (the older generations, especially) don't really see it this way.

Comment text: "100% so many parents - especially boomers - do not understand this fact" and "parents don't like to hear they've often earned the relationship they've had with their child"
@itsme_lisap / Via tiktok.com

BuzzFeed spoke to Lisa, who said that while she and her husband love raising their own kids and watching them grow up, "they don't owe me anything once they're grown just because I birthed them. Hopefully by that point, I will have earned their admiration and respect by the relationship we have built, but that's not a guarantee."

"Some parents parent through fear and authoritarianism, and who in their adult life wants to maintain a close relationship with a dictator or someone who emotionally manipulates you? I kept seeing the same messages on my videos from members of the older generation that said children owe respect to their parents regardless of how the parent treated the child, and I think that's simply naive and unrealistic."

"You don't get a participation trophy for housing your child or keeping your child clean. The whole 'roof over your head' argument is manipulative, because in theory, wouldn't you have had a place to live for yourself regardless of if you had children? A kid isn't a freeloading roommate, they're your dependent and your responsibility."

When asked about maintaining healthy boundaries with parents, Lisa — who has a good relationship with both of her parents — responded, "I think going no contact can be a necessary step, but the goal would always be to set boundaries and communicate so that does not happen. Boundaries can be small things, like asking someone to call before coming over or asking visitors to not kiss your new baby. There can also be bigger boundaries, but the goal is the ability to maintain a relationship that doesn't compromise your mental health or happiness."

"I hope parents, especially parents of younger kids, take away how delicate this relationship is that they are building with their children. That they will one day be adults and get to decide if they want you around, and hopefully you've given them a reason to want to."

What do you think of this approach to parenting? Tell us in the comments, and be sure to follow Lisa on TikTok for even more parenting content.

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