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Are you Raising your Parents?

by Ben Shelley 8 months ago in parents
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Am I now Mum?

Are you Raising your Parents?
Photo by Glen Hodson on Unsplash

I love my Mum. She raised me against a sea of challenges growing up. From my father choosing to walk out on us before I could walk to hiding food to ensure that I was able to eat. My Mum is an inspiration alongside many other Mums around the world but that does not stop me from wondering if I am raising her?

The Digital Generation

I have been raised online yet am still lost. TikTok confuses me, Facebook annoys me and I wonder if Twitter has a purpose beyond spreading hate, yet I understand. I understand the digital world in order to navigate.

My Mum still utilises videotapes. Her spare room is closed due to the consideration that it is stacked, from top to bottom with videotapes, CDs, DVDs and Books. It contains more history than the average local museum and when I suggest upgrading I am threatened with being locked inside.

Streaming for my Mum is limited to the use of BBC iPlayer via the television. Suggest a Chromecast and hosting media in the Cloud and the Wickerman is threatened on me. Internet banking is the devil and layers upon layers of paper bills and magazines litter the house. 

My mum is a hoarder and despite the premise that everyone is entitled to live life in the manner they choose, I am worried. When I ask my Mum about the costs of her mortgage payments (to help out) she has no idea, the same is true for bills, lost to the winds of time. 

Despite all of these considerations and withdrawing herself from society, she has still had her bank account hacked. 

Paper is not Safe

My Mum has had her bank account hacked and despite getting the money back it reinforces the consideration that digital is safer. Removing yourself from the conversation means that you forfeit the opportunity to protect yourself. 

Unless you only use cash, never your card then your details are out in the world. They are free for a skilful hacker to remove from a website such as Amazon, as regardless of the layers of protection, there will always be someone smarter, waiting in the wings to take the data. Being connected to the world means that you will be updated with the latest remedy and these can help to protect you. 

My Monzo account notifies me of every transaction. I can then review and if I see anything that isn't right, freeze my card instantly and highlight the transaction as fraud. If this happens to my Mum then she will have to wait until she next accesses her bank account, which can take days. I check my accounts every morning when I wake up and before I go to bed, as I want to be protected.

Internet Banking

I can see my account data in an instant. Logging into an app I can check my funds available and send money as necessary, re-prioritising as needed and highlight any rogue transactions in real-time. I am protected but my Mum refuses to join as she believes that it is unsafe. 

It is not. The world has moved on and if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. Using cheques is not secure, yet my Mum still uses them. A system that costs four times as much as electronic payments still exists and is ripe for fraud.

  • You could easily forge a cheque if you can forge a signature
  • You could leave the amount blank (My Uncle did this for my birthday) and be rife for loss of money
  • The cheque could be taken from a birthday card.

Cheques are not safe...Fraud is everywhere and the best defence is understanding. Knowing the problem and being able to create the best defences is what we can do. If we refuse to be a part of the conversation then how can we ever work collaboratively to develop a solution?

Post-Pandemic Behavior

For me personally, I believe that the pandemic has altered our behaviour, which for me means that I am one step away from having conversations with the fish. I understand this and know that paranoia has grown across the world. For my Mum, it has made her even more adverse to the outside world and asking questions.

Starting a new job recently my Mum has begun a new challenge. A challenge that she is more than capable of but she continues to doubt herself and whilst I could do with advice and guidance, I feel as though I am raising her. I am passing on learnings and how to navigate the working world, something that is true also for money.

My Mum has no idea about her mortgage and how much is left to be paid. It is something that worries me and a consideration that I wish to address, as it is terrifying. My Mum has a limited number of years until retirement. She does not need a new carpet, she needs to finish paying off her home or the bank will take it back...Whilst I love my Mum unconditionally, I know that she is incredibly naive at times and I do feel like I am a surrogate parent at times.

A Final Thought

Are you raising your parents? Is it inevitable? Do we achieve an age in life where we not only think but also know better? We are able to raise questions and show our parents that we know what we are doing. After many years of living under their rule, we are free to question and show how wrong they are.

Is this inevitable? The feeling that we outgrow them and when we do, we need to switch roles and end up raising them also? Is this what my future will look like? 

When my wife and I move down that road, will we come to a point in our lives when our children start to raise us? Will we find ourselves unable to survive in the world around us and need support from our children? Is this inevitable?

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About the author

Ben Shelley

Someone who has no idea about where their place is in this world, yet for the love of content, must continue writing.

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