33-Year-Old TikTok Influencer, Lisa Pontius, Says Children Don’t Owe Their Parents Anything Once They Become Adults

In June 2021, a 33-year-old TikTok influencer, Lisa Pontius, posted a video about setting boundaries with her mother. She had recently told her mother that she wasn’t allowed to bring her puppy over to her house when she visits – which ultimately resulted in her parents declining an invite for a family dinner. 

She described herself as a former ‘people-pleaser’ who grew up as the ‘caretaker of [her mother’s] feelings.’ The video sparked quite the conversation online as people shared their own opinions (and questions) about the topic – with one fan asking how to get over the fear of setting boundaries with family.


Reply to @nadinesebecke letting go of your responsibility of others #boundaries emotionalmaturity #settingboundaries #toxicrelationships

♬ original sound – Lisa P

In a followup video (in response to the user’s question), Pontius explained that it takes baby steps – it’s normal to feel guilty and get that pit in your stomach, especially if you’ve always been a people-pleaser. Over time, you’ll start to prioritize your mental health over the other person’s reactions to your boundary.

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A couple weeks after that follow up video was posted, Lisa Pontius decided to revisit the topic due to a lot of users commenting that she should be grateful for everything her mother has done for her – insinuating that she, as the daughter, shouldn’t be setting boundaries with her mother because it’s disrespectful. 

That’s when she decided to drop a truth-bromb that made a lot of people mad because she was making a lot of sense. “But here’s what’s going to piss people off,” 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.” 

She goes on to argue that respect is reciprocal between a parent and child – once that child becomes an adult, of course. “Once that kid is an adult, that person is a fully-formed human being,” she adds. And as for all the things their parent did for them growing up, is just parenting – something they signed up for. 


While she admits that not every parent ‘rises to the occasion’ in regards to their responsibility as a parent, she argues that taking care of a child’s physical and financial needs is the bare minimum of what a parent should provide. “A level above that is their emotional needs, which good parents do,” she continues. 

Nonetheless, she says that there are no contingencies between a parent and child. “You’re not loving and providing for your children with the expectation that they will blindly obey and do whatever you say as an adult,” she says. In fact, she says good parents should want their children to think and act for themselves. 

TikTok Mom, Lisa Pontius, Uses That Same Logic With Her Own Children

Towards the end of her viral video – which has been seen by more than 7 million people and liked by nearly 1 million people on TikTok – Lisa Pontius says she had this same conversation with her husband about their children. Unlike most parents, they understand their children might want to go their own path.

“Hopefully we do a good enough job raising our kids and fostering a good relationship and a solid family unit that our kids will want to have relationships with us when they’re adults,” she said. At the same time, she acknowledges there’s a chance that doesn’t happen and they don’t want to have that relationship.

“So is there a chance they move to Norway and don’t want to hang out? Yeah! Is there a chance that they completely not like us and don’t ever want to talk to us again? I hope not, but it’s possible,” she adds before another truth-bomb. “They’re people and they don’t owe you s**t because you took care of them.”

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In a follow-up video, she says the only time a parent can have that level of authority over their adult child is when that adult child is still financially-dependent on their parents. If the child wants nothing to do with their parents, they need to find a way to be financially independent before they get the benefit of that.

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