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To think parents shd prioritise existing children in a second marriage?

(63 Posts)
Clara101 Mon 31-Oct-16 08:11:08

Sometimes this happens... Often it doesn't...

AIBU to think any parent shd prioritise the needs of existing children if they (re)marry. And anyone who marries a parent shd expect their partner to do just that, so they can't always come first in the way they would have done had kids not already been on the scene?

Or is this too simplistic and a life partner always needs to come first before kids - whether previous or shared? (NB I'm not talking abt prioritising existing kids over kids from a second/subsequent marriage. Obviously all children shd be treated equally.)

I've seen my two parents follow these two different strategies over many years and believe that the first leads to greatest happiness all round over the long term. Do others find this too or not? AIBU to be cross with the parent who took the second strategy? Interested in perspectives fm parents who have remarried..!

Aibohphobia Mon 31-Oct-16 08:13:54

Vowels would make this easier to understand.

I'm not sure that either should be put first. DH and I are in our first marriage and no other children from other relationships but at no time have I considered I'm putting them before one another in the long term. In the short term and of less significance, of course there are times my children need me / us more and others where my husband and I need each other more than the children.

supermoon100 Mon 31-Oct-16 08:14:27

Definitely the kids from a previous relationship take priority. I wouldn't get together with someone who did not also believe this and i would not get together with someone who didn't get on with kids from previous relationship

Iloveswears Mon 31-Oct-16 08:17:19

My kids come first - full stop. They come before my dh and he's their dad and we're happily married! He'd put them before me too. Wouldn't have it any other way smile

harshbuttrue1980 Mon 31-Oct-16 08:18:59

It depends on the age of the kids. Young, dependent kids should always take priority, as they need their parents. However, grown-up kids should be more independent, and should be expected to accept that their parents are entitled to be happy with someone new, and that their parents can't always be on-call. I'm in my 30's, and I certainly don't expect my mum to put me above her partner all the time.

Simmi1 Mon 31-Oct-16 08:20:17

I agree to a point. Kids should be prioritised but, incase of conflict between the children and the new partner, the parent shouldn't automatically side with the children and should actually show a united front with the new partner as much as possible.

sterlingcooper Mon 31-Oct-16 08:22:00

I definitely think overall the children's needs and well being should be put first. But that doesn't mean that in every instance children should be given what they want and the new partner's feelings and needs not taken into consideration. It's about finding a healthy balance. It does seem that sometimes it is hard for a separated parebt to fivd this balance, and it can become a bit all in one direction and nothing in the other. Hence Disney dad syndrome where kids are treated like demigods on one side, and the dad who effectively abandons his kids for a new partner/family on the other. Of course this can apply to mums too.

lalalalyra Mon 31-Oct-16 08:26:33

Yes. The main reason I have zero respect for my ex is because he put his new partner's wish to have children before the two girls we already had. As a result of this he has no time, money or space in his life for his daughters. I would have been, correctly, absolutely slated if I had had more children which left the twins neglected financially and emotionally, yet because his new wife wanted children it's socially acceptable for him to have done so.

I cannot fathom finding a man who has happily abdicated any responsibility toward, or even care for, his children attractive in anyway - let alone look at him and think "I want to have children with you".

I have been told that I am unreasonable for "expecting" his new wife to give up her wish for children, but I didn't expect that at all. She didn't have to have children with him. I find it very bizarre that it's acceptable to expect her to live a military lifestyle if she stays with him because of his choices, yet it's not acceptable to expect him to say "I can't afford more children".

ateapotandacake Mon 31-Oct-16 08:31:29

Both my parents have new partners. Both prioritise their partners. We were teens when they split up: my brother only just. My DM made it crystal clear from the day she left that he would always come first: my DF was the one who picked us all up and initially I would say we were his priority. But he eventually met someone and she is quite difficult and he does tend to prioritise her. But they're married: he sees her every day as opposed to once a month or so, and I can understand that.
My ex-BF's DSF prioritised his own child over him and it caused tremendous damage, his extended step family were always a bit rubbish with him and it was so sad to see.

Trifleorbust Mon 31-Oct-16 08:33:18

It doesn't matter about it being kids from a previous marriage. Everyone in a family counts. Children have more needs and usually more urgent needs, so when it is important they need to come first. However, I think entering into a marriage on the basis that your children will always come before your spouse no matter the situation is a recipe for disaster.

TheNaze73 Mon 31-Oct-16 08:35:52

Children should always come first

LetsAllEatCakes Mon 31-Oct-16 08:41:57

Depends on the situation. Should they dump existing kids, no way. Is it age dependent? Definitely.

My friend is over 30 and still vets her mums partners. She expects to be given a say and always put over them. Thats very wrong.

Onto the poster whose girls don't even get a look in now, that's very wrong too and reflects badly on the father. However many partners or other kids you have, you don't just ditch the existing ones.

minipie Mon 31-Oct-16 08:50:57

I don't think the needs of the existing children come first in every way - that's a bit too sweeping.

However I do think that any parent has some core obligations to their children - to support them financially as best they can, to spend a large amount of their non working time with them, to give them love and affection, to play a big role in their upbringing. These core needs do come first above everything else - above the needs of a new partner and they should be set in stone when deciding whether there is capacity to have a second family.

VinoTime Mon 31-Oct-16 08:55:55

My daughter will always, always come before any relationship I have with a man. Regardless of her age. If she ever needs help - I'll be there no matter what. I would never be with a man who failed to understand that and I would never partner with someone who didn't hold with the same stance. Her emotional needs and well-being and our bond as parent and child means far, far more to me than any other relationship I have - it's utterly precious to me and nothing will ever come between it.

I have zero time for people who do not put their children first. Obviously all children should be treated equally in a family, but if the initial family unit split, care and consideration must be taken when 'new' families are made. I cannot imagine anything worse for a child than being made to feel unwanted or like second hand parts when a new partner and/or baby comes along sad

Mummyoflittledragon Mon 31-Oct-16 09:01:14

Young children definitely. Adult children, especially those, who've moved out of home, not so much. However, a balance is still required. My mother met her husband when I was 19 and he always comes first. I moved abroad, paid to travel to visit them and I still was basically ignored over him. They'd get out of the car if we went somewhere, link arms with him and totally ignore me and I'd trail behind feeling like a embarrassed spare part. I constantly constantly got messages of my inferiority and place. That's nasty and hurtful to any adult. Far more damaging to children. But then I'm the family scapegoat and my mother doesn't believe in "emotions" so looking back, her behaviour was just an extension of the past from when I was little.

Trifleorbust Mon 31-Oct-16 09:02:24

I would never partner with someone who made it clear to me that their children would always come first irrespective of circumstance. Why would I? I understand, obviously, that children first needs to be the day-to-day rule and reality, but I wouldn't accept that there were no circumstances where I needed to come first. No way. What if I were sick, or what my partner wanted for the children (at my expense) was ridiculous?

BarbarianMum Mon 31-Oct-16 09:04:39

Define "prioritise"

Even in non-divorced family life their are compromises to be made between the needs of all family members/between siblings etc Add divorce and new relationships in and it all gets more complicated. Children of previous marriages shouldn't be pushed out or neglected or deprived of financial support because younger siblings/a new relationship has come along but they will have to experience the give and take of family life just like everyone else.

Mummyoflittledragon Mon 31-Oct-16 09:05:57


I've just your post. Actually you're right. I've been so downtrodden and brainwashed I couldn't see it. My dd is the most important thing in the world to me.

ToastDemon Mon 31-Oct-16 09:06:39

And this is why I would never have considered anyone with children as a potential partner.

Secretmetalfan Mon 31-Oct-16 09:09:07

Kids should always come first. Adults can reason about situations kids cannot. I know someone split from their wife and the kids are constantly left with family members by both parents as they prioritise new relationships (new partners seem to actively dislike and resent the kids)my. DH gets so angry about my tales of them e refuses to discuss it. If you can't put kids interests first don't have them

BarbarianMum Mon 31-Oct-16 09:13:00

<<My daughter will always, always come before any relationship I have with a man. Regardless of her age. If she ever needs help - I'll be there no matter what. I would never be with a man who failed to understand that and I would never partner with someone who didn't hold with the same stance. Her emotional needs and well-being and our bond as parent and child means far, far more to me than any other relationship I have - it's utterly precious to me and nothing will ever come between it. >>

^This is what my dad believes. That's why he's now separated from his wife (who couldn't take any more) and spending the last few years of his life living with my ungrateful 40 year old drug addict brother who is working his way through his life savings very quickly . His wife is my brother's mum by the way.

No amount of abuse will come between my dad and his co-dependence love for my brother .

Lucked Mon 31-Oct-16 09:14:12

Yes BUT it doesn't mean children rule the roost or get their own way.

If you could give examples it would be clearer.

Trifleorbust Mon 31-Oct-16 09:19:08

Lucked: I think you're right and this needs to be exemplified. If I needed my partner to take me to the hospital for treatment, for example, and he said no, his DD would have to miss her trombone lesson so I would have to get the bus, I would argue that that takes the idea of 'children first' too far.

Usernamehistory Mon 31-Oct-16 09:19:57

People here seem very quick to extol the virtues of a relationship summarised by My daughter will always, always come before any relationship I have with a man. Regardless of her age. If she ever needs help - I'll be there no matter what. I would never be with a man who failed to understand that.

Based on the premise of the OP talking about second marriages, does that mean people who blindly put their children before others have failed to make their marriage work? Perhaps they need to reconsider their approach as a healthy two-parent home with a balanced relationship amongst all is for the best.

lalalalyra Mon 31-Oct-16 09:20:20

Define "prioritise"

To me prioritising my children means that I consider them, and the impact on them of each decision I make. If it negatively impacts them then it gets thought through and balanced up, and most of hte time it doesn't happen. They don't always get what they want, but neither do I.

So yes sometimes children have to go to childcare when they'd rather stay at home because the parent has to work. But no I'd never work away for two weeks, then choose to go on a child free holiday for two weeks missing their birthday, and then go away for 9 weeks after that with work meaning I didn't see them for 13 weeks at least.

Each month when income comes in housing, food and clothing is the priority. In exes house it's housing them (fair enough), feeding their household (fair enough), paying for their car, activities for their children, holiday for their family unit, putting a set amount in savings then providing for the twins if they have anything left over - not fair enough.

Holidays - Ex and his wife have chosen to have 3 children. This year they chose, for the second time, to go to Disney for their holiday. They cannot afford to take 5 children to Disney. So they didn't take the girls. They could easily afford to go on another holiday with all of the children, but they didn't (and it's not like the girls get fancy holidays with me to balance it, plus they are 13 and their half siblings are 2, 3 & 5 so even if they'd put off the holiday for 5 years when the girls would have been too old to go the little ones would still be young enough).

Now when Ex's new wife was ill in hospital it was absolutely right that he cancelled having the girls for the weekend. I'm not a dragon. However the fact that he didn't see them for FOUR months, not even for an hour, because every hour that he wasn't at work was to be spent with her wasn't right.

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