This was an Atlantic article from just before Thanksgiving that apparently I didn’t link to.
My answer: Nothing.
They didn’t ask to be brought into the world– for most of us, that was our selfish choice. (Sadly, for a growing number of people in the US, it wasn’t a choice at all, but still, not the choice of the child.)
We have a responsibility to feed, clothe, shelter, educate, love etc. Again, this is our responsibility and a gift to the children, but responsibilities and gifts do not create an obligation. Miss Manners is very firm on that last point about gifts. Gifts are freely given but the recipient is free to do whatever they want with them.
Whether our children want anything to do with us as adults, that’s their choice. We should do the best we can to help them become functioning adults. Once they are adults, then they get to decide what to do.
Our kids are really cool and get more cool every day, so we hope we get to see them as adults. But that’s a choice on their parts and not an obligation.
Do you feel like you owe your parents anything? If you have children, do you think they owe you anything?