„I sacrificed myself for my child”

Father and son holding hand in hand
Father and son holding hand in hand

There are parents who bring children to this world, provide them with normal things - shelter, food and education, and then, when the child reaches adulthood, have different claims from him and say "I sacrificed myself for you, now you have to do what I want." But it’s the parents’ responsibility to raise their children and provide them with the best conditions to become mentally and physically healthy adults, to become autonomous, independent and self-sufficient. Anything else is manipulation and emotional blackmail.

It makes no sense for a child who became an adult to compromise himself and his life just because his parents are selfish or egocentric and want him to obey and meet their needs and whims. They have "sacrificed" themselves for their own child because they have self-deluded themselves that he is an instrument through which they will be able to find the happiness and fulfillment they haven’t had the courage to seek for themselves. It’s much more comfortable this way: they have assumed their own unhappiness and then placed it on their child, burdened him and made him feel guilty to sacrifice in return his life for them. Is not that a very selfish gesture?

First of all, when you bring a child into the world, you do it because that's what you want, not because that child asked for it - that is, it’s an act of unilateral will on the part of the parents. Parents have children because they follow their biological instinct, because they "have to" because they want their life to make sense, to feed their ego through their creation or for other equally selfish reasons.

But there are parents who bring children into the world because they want to offer them from their overflow, and they raise their children supporting them to become autonomous and independent adults from all points of view.

To bring a child into the world for yourself, to meet your present or future needs (to bring you a glass of water when you’re old) is an act of extreme selfishness and practically what you do is to burden your child with your different needs. All the investment you make in that child turns into a debt that he has to pay you, one way or another. Is this right to the being you brought into the world without having the opportunity to ask her if she wants that?

Everything a parent does for his child actually does for himself because the child is his creation and it’s normal to take responsibility for what he created. Once a child has been brought to the world, the parent has the duty to raise him and give him the best start in life - and this isn’t a sacrifice, but normality. Thus, the child has no duty to his parents. If he had a happy childhood, he will want to help his parents when they need it, out of love and gratitude, and not because he feels obliged, is emotionally blackmailed or manipulated in any way.

So his only duty is to himself and to what he feels to do. If his parents have managed to create a positive relationship with him, based on unconditional love and acceptance (because that is a parent’s duty), so that the child has become a well-balanced adult in all aspects, then he will want to seek and spend quality time with them and he won’t perceive this as an obligation or as a debt. But if the parents raised the child with offenses, beatings, induced him guilt or shame feelings, if they devalued, minimized or raised him in a toxic and dysfunctional environment, he has no duty and no obligation towards them, rather than seeking to heal and move on.

The quality of the relationship between a parent and a child is given by the way the parent relates to the child during his childhood. The child is totally dependent on his parents and can’t choose for himself. But the parent does. If a parent abuses his child and does more harm than good to him, what claims does he dare to have from the child who becomes an adult?

Parents bring children to this world because they want it, not because the child has asked for it, so no contract can be signed, like "I give birth to you, I invest in you, you become in debt and then I wait to recover my investment", with a being who can’t decide for herself.

The child is not responsible for the choices his parents made, sometime in their youth. Every adult needs to take responsibility, one hundred percent, for everything he has chosen to do at some point, for his actions, and for the consequences that follow. True maturity is measured in the capacity to assume your being and the life you have built. You brought a child to the world because that's what you wanted. The child isn’t responsible for anything. It was your will to bring it into the world, so take the responsibility of raising him, without burdening him with the decisions you took, because that's what you wanted that moment.

Create a human being only when you feel that you can offer her from your overflow and support her to become an autonomous, independent and self-sufficient adult. The greatest satisfaction and fulfillment of a parent should be when he sees he has raised an adult  who has a beautiful life.

If you have a child for selfish reasons and then you try to burden that being with the responsibility of your needs, don’t be surprised that when he gets the chance he will go as far as possible from you.

Being a parent isn’t an obligation, a sacrifice or a merit. The idea of ​​sacrificing yourself for your child brings with it countless frustrations and experiences that will be reflected in time on the same child for whom you sacrificed yourself.

Dr. Ursula Sandner


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