► “We do not raise children to be grateful”
Christina, 50 years oldmother of two daughters aged 16 and 22
“Like many parents, I hope my children will be a little grateful, but I don’t see it as a duty. I believe that recognition is expressed when you give your children an education that brings them positive things. It’s not a question of filiation, because some parents are abusive, but of reciprocity, even if we don’t raise children to be grateful.
→ ANALYSIS. Should we expect recognition from our children?
In adolescence, we can regret that they make choices that do not always correspond to what we imagined for them. So we say to ourselves: “We have done everything for them to have a good life, for them to succeed, and they are not following the best path to get there.” But we know that at this age they are moving towards independence and do not want to follow the path traced by their parents. Old age is the time when we most need recognition. And I confess that I think about it. I tell myself that it would be important to be able to count on my children, like my own parents count on me, but they also have to live their lives. »
► “If we need our children, we know they will be there”
Éliane and Joseph, 80 and 84 years oldparents of seven children
Éliane: “I don’t expect recognition from my three daughters. Moreover, they have never explicitly thanked us for the education or the financial aid that we have given them because they find it normal that the parents do their best and that they do the same with their own children. But I know that if we need them, they will be there. In the past, mutual aid was somewhat self-evident because parents and children lived together, but today everyone lives their own life. And what we want is not to need our children. »
→ MAINTENANCE. “In Asia and Africa, gratitude to parents is a moral imperative”
Joseph: “I don’t know if I want recognition, but I expect affection from my four boys. I don’t demand it, of course, but it would be welcome if they manifested it in some way. They call and worry when we are sick and I think that if we needed a larger presence they would be there, but they are more distant and less demonstrative than Eliane’s daughters, who have closer to their mother as they also live in Paris. »
► “In my culture, we expect a little recognition”
Elizabeth, 55 years oldmother of two
“I am of Portuguese origin and in my culture you expect a little recognition and attention from children, but, like Fati (to be found here), I don’t want to suffocate mine. I would be happy for them to come and see me and call me, of course, like I do with my family, but I don’t want to be a burden on them when I’m older. If I can afford it, I’ll go to a retirement home because they have their life, their job and they mustn’t waste time with me. »