There is a quote that says “We never know the love of a parent until we become parents ourselves” and it is a quote that really rings true to me. Especially, now I am a parent myself.
I was recently chatting to my mother in law who was sharing some of her parenting views with me. She is someone I really respect, someone who has lived longer and experienced more than me. She reminded me how, no matter how old you are, that you never stop being a parent. It wasn’t something that had even crossed my mind until she mentioned it that day. No matter what your age, most parents always welcome those telephone calls and conversations where they can offer love, help and advice whenever it’s needed. No matter how much parents would like their children to be self-sufficient after they have flown the nest, we all know that they secretly love it when we reach out and say ‘Mum/Dad...I really need your help and advice...’.
As a parent myself, I can understand why the #foreveraparent phrase is true. Once you have a child, your instinct is to love, nurture and protect that child – for as long as you live. In turn, this means parenting is...well...forever. Although, in hesitation, let’s be honest – parenting forever is tough. Parenting isn’t easy and we all make mistakes. Overall, we just try our best to raise our children to be happy, to feel loved and accepted.
Sometimes we may think about what our children’s future might look like. That 21st birthday bash. A good excuse to crack open that bottle of vintage champagne you have been saving. The time you might get to watch your child graduate and how proud you would feel as you choked back tears. Their wedding day. Sounds glorious, doesn’t it?
Then you think about them moving out and how much time you might get back. What will you do with that time? My immediate thought is that I might go to the gym more (but we all know that probably won’t happen). Then, when they eventually move out, parenting doesn’t stop there. They are soon on the phone asking for help, advice or possibly asking for a loan. Yes, probably a loan. Once a parent always a parent.
Parents often have a consistent presence in our lives that perhaps shouldn’t be undervalued. A recent survey from Legal and General uncovered some interesting statistics. Legal & General surveyed over 1000 parents with children aged between 18 and 40 as part of the campaign, aimed at highlighting the importance of parents taking steps to safeguard their children financially. The survey found that more than three-quarters (76%) of parents still feel responsible for their adult child’s financial security. The survey went on to uncover that nearly two-thirds (63%) of parents with adult children had provided financial assistance within the past year with almost a quarter (24%) gifting more than £1000!
And there’s more. Not only do we worry about our child’s financial security, we worry about their wellbeing too. 90% of parents who were surveyed said they still feel responsible for their adult child’s financial security, which means the feeling of protecting and nurturing your child’s wellbeing never dies. I suppose on one hand, this is a good thing, but on the other, it means we always feel responsible.
If you still reach out to your parents, what would you normally ask? Legal & General’s ‘Forever a Parent’ research has found that adult children across the UK continue to seek advice from their parents on a range of matters, from financial planning to childcare and careers. In fact, financial advice remained the most popularity topic children aged between 18 and 40 sought, followed by careers (40%), cooking (38%) and car trouble (28%). On the car trouble side, the last time I asked my dad to sort a car out for me when I was nineteen, he got me a car, a very old Renault 5 which had seen better days. After one week of driving it with very little in the way of brakes, the local garage deemed my Renault 5 as un-roadworthy, so I was back where I started. Thanks dad! But hey, the thought was there! Therefore, I now rarely go to my dad for car advice. I go to my brother for that.
In summary, I found the research from Legal and General really fascinating. It is good that we understand and think more about the future now, so we can make small changes to protect and guide our children. Our kids will always be our kids no matter whether they taking their first steps, heading off for their first day of college or changing their own little one's nappies. And although, I know I can’t help them with every decision they make, (they have to make many for themselves), but I will never stop worrying about them.
Forever a parent...I believe I am.
This blog post is brought to you in collaboration with Legal and General’s #foreveraparent campaign.
For more information, visit https://www.legalandgeneral.com/life-cover/forever-a-parent/?cid=PaidContent3094