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To think children do not always come first?

(247 Posts)
clairemcnam Fri 22-Feb-19 12:21:00

Adults matter too. And their needs and wants also matter.

Greensleeves Fri 22-Feb-19 12:32:36

Yes, but why?

thecatsthecats Fri 22-Feb-19 12:33:09

I think this stems from the funeral thread?

And yes, I agree with you. I think the truth is that all people who come out with the trite statement that 'children come first' will in fact be making decisions on a daily basis that DON'T put their children first.

But that's fine. People can't always come first, and they shouldn't. It will make them horrible adults, for a start, and the concept immediately breaks down when you have more than one child anyway - take, for example, Katie Price balancing the needs of her young children with her disabled son.

Always provide for their needs. Always provide for your own (which sometimes being a less than ideal parent, but actually a sane one...).

For the rest, just keep things in balance.

Slowknitter Fri 22-Feb-19 12:35:17

I agree with you Stevie. I actually think the onus is on the others to explain why they think children matter more than adults. Do children need more help? Yes, of course. Do they need protecting from things? Yes. Do they need to be loved and brought up and educated? Yes. But that doesn't mean they matter more in the sense of being of more worth or value as a human being. With a few extremely evil exceptions, all human lives matter equally.

iSiTbEdTiMeYeT1 Fri 22-Feb-19 12:35:56

Adults come first. How do you effectively take care of a kid of your tired, over stressed, emotional ect.
But in practice think kids tend to take priority because 'its the right thing to do' more than its what's needed

HalfBloodPrincess Fri 22-Feb-19 12:38:57

We need more context.

Adult wants never trump children’s needs. But the opposite is also true, and children’s wants don’t trump adult needs. But in my eyes, children’s needs do trump adult needs

Depends on the circumstances though. If I was a kidney organ donor match to both my husband and a random child then my husband is getting it, but if it were my husband or my child then my child would be getting it.

stevie69 Fri 22-Feb-19 12:39:46

Yes, but why?

I guess I just think that an adult has earned some privileges in life, one of which is for their wishes to rank above those of a child. It's hard to articulate, actually. I do think that children, in general, probably have a bit too much say in family life these days.

But, please remember that I'm a child of the 1960s and things were different then blush

clairemcnam Fri 22-Feb-19 12:40:04

thecats Yes I agree that most parents do not always put their children's wants first whatever they say. And that is the right thing to do.
So some kids desires would be for you to take them to soft play every single day even though you as an adult hate it, and it would cost you so much you could never afford any adult treats at all.

In real life most good parents balance wants. So your kid loves soft play and would love to go every day, you hate it. You take your kid sometimes, and take them other places other days that you prefer.

stevie69 Fri 22-Feb-19 12:41:27

Depends on the circumstances though. If I was a kidney organ donor match to both my husband and a random child then my husband is getting it, but if it were my husband or my child then my child would be getting it.

Ah, you've probably helped me with articulation there. Yes, the needs of your children rank above those of an adult; not the rights of children generally.

And that's a perfectly valid view smile

PBo83 Fri 22-Feb-19 12:41:41

This is all about context and differentiating between wants and needs.

I do believe that, quite often, some parents allow their child's WANTS to trump virtually everything which doesn't necessarily turn them into the best human beings.

Slowknitter Fri 22-Feb-19 12:42:12

It's actually impossible to make a blanket rule about this, because a) it will be different for every situation and b) people's desire to protect children is a very strong instinct, not based on logic.

Seeing to children's needs usually takes priority because, unlike adults, they are often unable to see to their own needs. If an adult is in a position where they'd have to see to their own needs first in order to be able to then help a child (e.g. oxygen mask in plane), then obviously that's different.

None of this means that adults don't matter though.

Greensleeves Fri 22-Feb-19 12:42:54

I think wants and needs are two very different things. I won't pretend DH and I don't sometimes pull rank when it comes to preferences (where to go on holiday, whether to stop and eat out rather than go home and cook) because we pay for everything and we're in charge!

My "children come first" ethic is around actual needs and serious welfare dilemmae. I wouldn't move DS1 out of his school in Y11 however much DH or I might want to take up a new job offer or pursue something for ourselves. When it's a serious conflict between our needs and the kids' - theirs wins.

Cheeeeislifenow Fri 22-Feb-19 12:44:56

It's too broad a statement to agree with or disagree with.

PBo83 Fri 22-Feb-19 12:45:07


I think you've articulated exactly what I wanted to say very well so, if you don't mind, I'll sit back and let you get the bashing instead of me ;)

HollyGoLoudly1 Fri 22-Feb-19 12:45:57

I think children often come first out of necessity. Should they ALWAYS come first, in all situations? No.

My midwife spoke to me when I first had my baby and explained it using the 'airplane oxygen mask' analogy. You can't take care of children's needs if you don't take care of yourself first. There are plenty of situations where a child can't come first all the time: other siblings, someone is ill, parents working or good forbid need a break.

Greensleeves Fri 22-Feb-19 12:45:59

Nobody is getting bashed confused

It's a really interesting question.

Purplepricklesalloverhisback Fri 22-Feb-19 12:46:45

I agree with greensleeves. It depends on needs and wants. The needs of my children will always come first, but wants are a compromise and everyone in the family gets a say.

Putting children first does not mean giving them everything they want.

JingsMahBucket Fri 22-Feb-19 12:47:07

@stevie69 and @Slowknitter. I tend to side eye the people who say children should always come first. That just leads to tired and resentful adults.

JingsMahBucket Fri 22-Feb-19 12:47:47

@stevie69 and @Slowknitter In case that wasn’t clear, I agree with you.

stevie69 Fri 22-Feb-19 12:48:13

I think you've articulated exactly what I wanted to say very well so, if you don't mind, I'll sit back and let you get the bashing instead of me ;)

Happy to take one for the team. My views are genuine and not in any way designed to annoy anyone. So .... bash away smile

pointythings Fri 22-Feb-19 12:48:48

I think if you are a parent, you're going to be inclined to put your DCs' needs above your own, and also above your partner's. That's just nature. Ultimately a child is dependent on the parent for its needs - the other parent in the scenario is (usually) an independent adult capable of taking care of their own needs.

Wants are an entirely different thing.

It's horrible to have to choose between your partner and your children. I've had to do it - alcoholic husband, distressed DDs and distressed me and ultimately I chose to protect my daughters. They couldn't protect themselves, I could protect them, he made the choice not to be there for his family. It was the only sensible thing to do, it was hard and yes, my DDs came first in that scenario.

PBo83 Fri 22-Feb-19 12:49:43


Actually lots of people seem to be agreeing with you so I was the one who made the misjudgement. Sorry everybody sad

Designerenvy Fri 22-Feb-19 12:50:28

Kids come first always. They're vulnerable and need adult care, support , guidance. Adults are important but not as important as children opinion.

BogstandardBelle Fri 22-Feb-19 12:50:31

Totally depends on the context.

DH is fairly dissatisfied in his job atm. But changing jobs would involve a move, and taking both DCs out of the school they’ve been in since they were three. We’re not going to do that unless it is really, really necessary - their need to be secure in life trumps DHs desire to change jobs. But if DH got miserable to the point of depression / illness, then priorities would change and his need to change jobs would eventually trump DCs need to stay where they are.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Fri 22-Feb-19 12:51:00

It depends entirely on context, in all honesty.

No my DC do not get final say, or make decisions, or get all their wants administered to immediately. Their needs are met, as they should be by all responsible parents, but I'm not raising little princes who think their every whim should be met!

If I had spare money and a choice of spending it on something they want, or something I want, then sometimes they'll get it and sometimes I will, depending.
If I want but they need, then they get it.
If they want but I need, then I get it.

My children's needs come above my DH's, because they're still very much dependent on us as parents (at 11 and 6). But when they're adults, then things will change again.

But if it came to a house fire, for e.g., and I had to save them all, I'd save the children first without question.

thecatsthecats Fri 22-Feb-19 12:52:23

Another thing is adult life is hard, and parenting is hard.

Being aged 5-9 was fucking AWESOME. I went to school and learned things, I played with my friends every single day, I had no responsibility for bills, or household, or cleaning or anything. Life was GREAT.

So yeah, knowing at this age, nearer my parents position than myself at that age, it's obvious that parents need some kind of kick back.

(in part you could say that childhood is magical BECAUSE they're put first... but I was thinking at Cadbury World - you know what, sod it, I've had a hard week, I'm sitting at the front!)

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