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To think children should not ALWAYS come first

(197 Posts)
FavaBeansAndANiceChianti Wed 09-Oct-19 17:55:24

And that it's actually quite detrimental to their future personalities to let them think that they should?

I'm not talking inviting a known sex offender to live in your home kind of situation. But I hate seeing this line trotted out when half of the time I actually think it wouldn't do the children involved any harm to not come first in that particular situation.

Sometimes I read things on here and wonder how entitled and selfish these children must grow up to be.

I've seen people getting the pitchforks out because apparently parents should prioritize abroad holidays if their child has become 'accustomed' to them even if they can't afford it or would rather use the money elsewhere one year.

And I can't even start on the step parenting threads, you see it ALL the time on there, often over things which seem more to do with putting the ex first than the children.

I understand generally that children should come first in terms of needs. However, AIBU to think that people take this far too literally sometimes and it really is fine for other people's wants, needs and desires and feelings to be taken into consideration within the family from time to time?

seaweedandmarchingbands Wed 09-Oct-19 17:57:50

Children's needs should be prioritised. Their wants do need to be prioritised sometimes. I agree generally that it’s bad for children to believe they always come first in all circumstances, and bad for them to believe the people who love them won’t put them first when it matters. The balance is a tricky one.

PookieDo Wed 09-Oct-19 17:58:07

People tell me this all the time because I decided to stay single until they have left home. So what, my children my choice. It’s easier this way it’s not just easier for them but me too

Also I don’t have much choice in this seen as their dad never puts them first ever, someone has to and that person has been me 🤷🏻‍♀️

StarlingsInSummer Wed 09-Oct-19 18:00:04

Children’s needs should always come first. Their desires shouldn’t necessarily come before their parents’ needs or desires. Or not always anyway.

FriedasCarLoad Wed 09-Oct-19 18:00:44

Absolutely agree with you.

Whilst children’s safety and welfare should come first, their preferences should not.

Adult life is a nasty shock for those who’ve been brought up to be the centre of the world.

CheshireChat Wed 09-Oct-19 18:01:11

There was an identical thread a while back actually, IIRC most posters thought that as long as you prioritize the kid's needs, there's a lot more leeway with wants.

FavaBeansAndANiceChianti Wed 09-Oct-19 18:01:23

I do get that in a lot of circumstances they should be first.

But for example the holiday one, surely it's a better lesson to teach them that sometimes we can afford luxuries in life and sometimes we can't.

Some years we go to Spain, sometimes we go to a caravan in Wales, some years we haven't been able to go anywhere. I'm not going to bankrupt myself so that my child can have the beach holiday they have become 'accustomed' to. It's just bloody life! 🤷

PurpleDaisies Wed 09-Oct-19 18:02:17

There was definitely a similar thread recently. Most posters agreed wants and needs are different.

FavaBeansAndANiceChianti Wed 09-Oct-19 18:03:04

So what, my children my choice. It’s easier this way it’s not just easier for them but me too

Absolutely your choice, which I respect.

It doesn't mean you're awful if you haven't chosen the same way though.

FavaBeansAndANiceChianti Wed 09-Oct-19 18:04:27

Apologies for the duplicate thread blush

Fireextinguished Wed 09-Oct-19 18:05:46

Needs are shelter, food, clothing love and care. Holidays are a want. Completely different

SimonJT Wed 09-Oct-19 18:07:33

My sons needs always come first, there are times when putting my own needs first would be nice, but that wouldn’t be right in the longterm.

bridgetreilly Wed 09-Oct-19 18:11:03

Quite right. Children all need to learn that other people matter too, that they aren't usually the most important person in the room, that it's okay to have to wait or to share, that they won't always be able to have things that they want. Even if they really want them.

RopeBrick Wed 09-Oct-19 18:13:46

Children's needs should come first. Children's wants should be on equal footing with adults' wants.

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 09-Oct-19 18:17:21

You’re right and I said exactly that this morning on a thread about step parenting. It’s rife over there and but often more the responsibility of the step parent than either actual parent. My blended family/household works because we operate on a basis of balance where needs and wants are weighed up daily and everyone’s mostly happy and content. If I put what my DSC want first all the time I’d be a jiggering wreck with no money to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, clothes to keep them warm, time to reset myself occasionally and my marriage in tatters. If you have more than one child you have to weigh things up all the time anyway. Graceful compromise is a life skill.

Settlersofcatan Wed 09-Oct-19 18:23:02

I think the thing is that people disagree on what a want Vs a need is.

So, for example, we both earn enough that either of us could be a SAHP and we would still be fairly comfortably off but neither of us want to so our kids (I'm currently on mat leave) will both be in childcare from the age of 12 months. Some posters would argue that at 12 months a baby needs a parent at home, I don't agree.

LeekMunchingSheepShagger Wed 09-Oct-19 18:28:16

I completely agree. It's vital that children learn that they can't always have what they want.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Wed 09-Oct-19 18:30:16

In some situations, the parent should look after their own needs first, so they can then take care of their children’s needs - the prime example would be if the oxygen masks came down on a plane - the advice is to put your own mask on first and then help your kids with theirs.

It also depends on the relative importance of the needs - for example, if the parent has diabetes, and if their child needs a drink or a nappy change, but the parent needs their insulin (or sugar because they are having a hypo), then the parent’s need must come first. The parent who has just cut or scalded themselves needs to take care of that first, before they look after their child’s needs.

Same applies when you have more than one child - sometimes you need to decide whose need is greater, and look after that child first.

I would also say that it does children no harm to learn that their wants and needs are not always paramount. Most of their needs are not life-or-death needs and it will do them no harm to wait if their parent is in the middle of something else - cooking, for example, or making an important phone call - or, when my dses were little, drinking that first, life-giving cup of coffee!

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 09-Oct-19 18:33:18

Some posters would argue that at 12 months a baby needs a parent at home, I don't agree.

Others would argue that children need parents who are happy and for many people that requires stimulation outside of the home.

I want to stay at home instead of going back to work after maternity but we need the income to pay our mortgage and bills and particularly to fund my DSC.

Bluntness100 Wed 09-Oct-19 18:34:08

The holiday one is a weird extreme example and doesn't really do you any favours. I'm not sure I know anyone who would get into debt for a holiday just because their child accepted it.

In general as children have no control, then yes, their needs and welfare come first.

Clearly not in terms of holidays you can't afford though.

ZaphodBeeblerox Wed 09-Oct-19 18:34:31

Agree with others above that their needs - food, safety, shelter, emotional well-being, love, feeling of security - should come first.

In my case I wonder about parents who do things like extended co-sleeping etc. I know mums on bf groups who cosleep and go to bed with their little ones who are 3 or 4 years old, while their partner sleeps in a different room. Arguably the child does need mum to sleep, but I wonder if they shouldn’t sleep train etc to prioritise their marital relationship somewhat.

Wtfdoipick Wed 09-Oct-19 18:35:31

I don't necessarily think putting children first means that you have to give them everything they want, to me it just means to consider the impact of something on them. So before you do something consider the impact on them first.

FavaBeansAndANiceChianti Wed 09-Oct-19 18:38:17

The holiday one is a weird extreme example and doesn't really do you any favours

I've seen that very argument on here. Not going into debt, that was exaggeration but I have seen someone tell a poster that they shouldn't do X Y or Z if it means they can't afford a holiday that year because their children are used to them.

Longlongsummer Wed 09-Oct-19 18:42:21

Children always come first in step families! Being a SM I’ve heard this so many times.

What helps to think more clearly is
Children’s NEEDS always come first.
Children’s WANTS should not always come first.

And in step families. The Step Mums NEEDS are important and shouldn’t be trumped by the mothers!

Longlongsummer Wed 09-Oct-19 18:46:32

A prime example is a step mother giving birth to a child and wanting say a week without step kids. Just to adjust, to settle etc.

Here to me clearly the SMs needs come first.

However they are vilified as the step kids are going to apparently be irreparably damaged for life for not being around the newborn straight away and having their schedule in any way disrupted.

I find this unbelievable. It is so clear that in this case SMs needs are pretty important and so are the newborns child’s needs to have a relaxed mother.

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