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To not understand when MNetters say "you don't own your baby"

(27 Posts)
CheeseFiend36 Wed 11-Jan-17 01:16:29

Normally in a discussion about interfering in laws somebody will say this.

Who does "own them" then if it's not the mum and dad?

Obviously I don't mean in the possession sense, but surely in the absence of a child being able to make a decision for themselves the child's direct creators have full say on what happens with their child in all aspects of its life?

I've seen so many posters saying that they hate the phrase "your baby your rules", but why should somebody other than the parents have the ability to decide how the child is reared?

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 11-Jan-17 01:21:50

I have never seen that phrase used.

CherryChasingDotMuncher Wed 11-Jan-17 01:23:28

No one owns them. Parents raise them but don't have the god given right to control every tiny aspect of their existence. This is usually said on threads where for example the OP gets pissy because MIL took 5 photos and little Jocasta should only have 4 photos a day. It's not a suggestion that any one but the parents should be parenting

DailyFail1 Wed 11-Jan-17 01:23:52

Dsd's mum as lovely as she (she is a good friend) is is an unreliable wreck, so dsd is mine. She lives with me, I parent her, and decide exactly how she's reared even though I didn't create her. So yes yabu.

OneWithTheForce Wed 11-Jan-17 01:34:42

You don't own your children. You raise them, you care for them, you look after their interests until they can do it themselves.

I've only seen this said on threads where people are trying to police their child's relationship with (usually) inlaws.

geekymommy Wed 11-Jan-17 01:47:42

Your country decided in 1834 that you couldn't own another human. Mine followed suit in 1865.

One really obvious reason why parents shouldn't have unlimited power over their kids: some parents are abusive or neglectful. We have to balance the child's right to not be abused or neglected against the parents' rights.

And some parents are just unreasonable about what other people can do with their kids. I would probably have the legal right to decide that I don't want my kids wearing any articles of clothing that are red. Does that make that a reasonable request? And, of course, there are all kinds of ideas about what is and isn't reasonable. I'm Jewish and keep kosher- I ask people not to offer my kids non-kosher food. There are people who think this is reasonable, and others who don't.

reuset Wed 11-Jan-17 01:49:50

You don't own your children. You raise them, you care for them, you look after their interests until they can do it themselves.

Onewiththeforce summed it up well I think.

OneMillionScovilles Wed 11-Jan-17 01:52:15

"They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you"

Khalil Gibran - On Children

steff13 Wed 11-Jan-17 01:52:43

When people say "your baby, your rules," they typically aren't referring to how the child is being reared, but something along the lines of, "I don't want my SIL to look at my baby."

PerspicaciaTick Wed 11-Jan-17 02:11:48

As a parent you have to be very careful that you don't make long-term parenting decisions based on what suits you rather than what is best for the child. You have to be prepared to question your own motives and be aware that there may be times when your interests and your child's interests are not 100% the same. You have to listen to what the other people who love and care for your child are saying to you about your parenting decisions, you might not like what they say, you might hear them out and then choose to ignore them, but you shouldn't try to prevent them from speaking in the first place.

TheOtherGalen Wed 11-Jan-17 02:14:35

Makes me think of the song "On Children." Here's a link to the version by Sweet Honey in the Rock:

TheOtherGalen Wed 11-Jan-17 02:28:25

Oh snap, I completely stampeded past OneMillionScovilles's post. Sorry!

MiscellaneousAssortment Wed 11-Jan-17 02:34:05

Love the links, very apt

ScruffbagsRUs Wed 11-Jan-17 06:24:28

Children are not property. IMHO, it's immoral to own someone. I'm not in the frame of mind to liken my DC to something that can be bought in a shop.

dylsmimi Wed 11-Jan-17 06:37:26

I think mumsnetters hate the phrase 'you're baby your rules' generally when a poster asks for advice , gets lots of sensible answers particularly those in line with medical guidance and a poster pops up and says 'your baby your rules' basically ignoring medical guidance because as a mum you clearly know more than medical advice*
*In a lot of cases instinct and knowing your child is essential but in cases of car seats or weaning etc then no
Eg op ' my 3 month old seems hungry should I give her some mashed potato to help her sleep
Mumsnet and medical guidelines 'no it's not exon mended, dangerous etc'
Other poster 'worked for my 2 mth old - your baby your rules'

BoomBoomsCousin Wed 11-Jan-17 06:44:09

What do you mean Who does "own them" then?

Who owns you OP?

HardofCleaning Wed 11-Jan-17 07:12:42

The phrase is usually raised because people feel the poster is being too controlling, particularly trying to micromanage the time their DC spends with other people. Everyone can agree that it's fair for a parent to set reasonable limits (e.g. no smoking around DC, can't show young DC violent films etc) but it's not reasonable to police every aspect of their relationship with the world (e.g. don't take too many photos, I've had an unrelated disagreement with you you can't see DC anymore).

TheMortificadosDragon Wed 11-Jan-17 07:40:08

the child's direct creators have full say on what happens with their child in all aspects of its life?

That sounds as if you are thinking more of parents as having rights, rather than responsibilities, with regard to their children.

AuntieStella Wed 11-Jan-17 07:46:42

The people with parental responsibility (who may or may not be the direct creators) get to raise the DC but do not have full say.

They have the level that is appropriate to the age and stage of the child, and the responsibility to act in the DC's interests.

I note that OP cites a stock phrase about care of ^babies* who do need decisions made on every part of their lives.

Not nursery and school age DC as life beyond the home emerges. And clearly not teenagers!

HecateAntaia Wed 11-Jan-17 08:25:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Brokenbiscuit Wed 11-Jan-17 08:32:23

Of course you don't own your child. Children are not possessions. Yes, you have responsibility for them, and within certain limits, you are empowered to make decisions on their behalf. But you certainly don't own them. They own themselves.

Eolian Wed 11-Jan-17 08:33:46

I've never seen this phrase on MN, but I can see why people might say it to a parent who seems to be over-controlling of an older child. Obviously children aren't property whatever their age, but I can't quite imagine in what context the phrase would be used about a baby or very young child, as the parents or guardians, while not 'owners', are essentially in control of every aspect of the child's life at that age.

CheeseFiend36 Wed 11-Jan-17 09:33:29

I guess I didn't appreciate that there are parents out there who abuse their position of power over their children and don't make decisions that are in their best interests; it's easy to get territorial sometimes and think of your own selfish needs rather than what's best for the baby

Eolian, 2 recent examples i can think of both involve babies/toddlers. One is currently active and is about the poster who is going on maternity leave and wants to stop the fortnightly days that her DC spends at her MIL because she wants to spend more time with her DC now she as at home.
In my view this is completely understandable however somebody said "you don't own your child" - in the sense that they don't have full rights to their child's time. Whilst I agree with that, it's not like the poster doesn't allow her family any time with the child so I think it was unfair for the poster to say that to her. And surely if we were forming an opinion based on what the best interests are for the child, then what the OP was proposing would be hugely beneficial for the child as in my opinion, spending more time with his mum at this stage of his life is more important to his emotional development (in my opinion). There is plenty of time when the child is older and is able to actually say "I want to go grandmas" for that grandparent connection to develop (assuming they are not already very elderly).

The other example was about the poster who didn't like family taking excessive photos of her baby. She was met with a chorus of "you don't own your baby" - i do think she was a being a tad OTT but at the same time as the baby's mother, I do believe she has some say over actions other people take involving her baby

Eolian Wed 11-Jan-17 09:47:19

Hmm. Well in those cases I agree with the OP on the first, but think the second is weird. And in neither case do I think 'ownership' has anything to do with it. It's clearly just a phrase people use when they are over-invested in the idea that extended family members have an automatic right to spend lots of time with a child (perhaps they react this way because they themselves are a family member who feels they don't get enough time with their grandchild/neice/nephew etc).

MrsDustyBusty Wed 11-Jan-17 09:56:13

You don't own your children. You raise them, you care for them, you look after their interests until they can do it themselves.

Well that is it, really. You have stewardship but not ownership of your child.

Overall though, children have a right to a relationship with their extended family and the unconditional love and support they can offer. They have a right to relationships that are not controlled by their parents and to experience the fact that different people can be different but still lovable. Cutting extended family out of a child's life because they threaten a sense of ownership and control you have is not healthy.

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