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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?

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 09-Oct-19 19:07:36

That’s an interesting one Longlongsummer because while a lot of people agree, when I had DD earlier this year, which involved several days in labour, an EMCS under a GA and a slow painful recovery, we kept contact the same as normal and DH brought them to the hospital the day we went up to the ward because while DD barely opened her eyes and couldn’t have given a crap, it meant a lot to my DSC and me that they met her ASAP and they could see we were okay and what our newly expanded family looked like. DH drove many many miles that evening on no sleep and I felt like I’d been hit by a bus but it was so worth it and those memories are forever and got us off to a good start. I could have had a child with a man who hadn’t done it before but I didn’t and his children are in my family and their relationship with their sister was as important as my need to rest. When we were home again we had them as much as normal but watched more films than usual and ate more oven food. They needed feeding, we wanted things to be as easy as possible. Everyone was happy.

IceCreamAndCandyfloss Wed 09-Oct-19 21:49:08

I think their needs should always come first and wants should be met if reasonable ie hobbies etc.

I think they should definitely be first before new relationships, I’ve seen too many put a new relationship over a child.

SpagBowl99 Wed 09-Oct-19 22:00:21

Totally agree with you OP. Children's needs need to be met, but then everyone is on an equal footing.

Have to admit that I am not always practicing this. But I agree we should be.

Longlongsummer Thu 10-Oct-19 00:01:48

@AnneLovesGilbert if that’s what you felt was good for you then that is great. However many SMs have difficulties and there are problematic, tricky relationships which aren’t just about feeding kids, and it’s totally fine to put these tricky dynamics on hold for a few days. I was made to feel guilty for asking for a few days space from my very tricky and resentful DSD, and so I just gave in and said it was fine. It wasn’t. My first days out of hospital were all about her, she was not nice to my older child, she wanted to have the baby on her own on day three, she wanted her mother to come around, she said breastfeeding was rude and complained to her father constantly. Sometimes I think a parent, even a SM needs to be prioritised even for a short while.

Visiting in hospital is obviously usually totally fine.

Wellthatwasarottennightssleep Thu 10-Oct-19 00:29:54

Agree that there's a distinction between needs and wants (although it's not always completely clear-cut which is which). I know mothers who brag about the fact that, as a point of principle, they will cancel any adult plans at short notice if their small child tells them to cancel. That seems ridiculous to me. It would be different if the child is ill or uncharacteristically distraught about something; in that case, I'd argue that the child needs to be with a loving, familiar attachment figure until they feel better (although not necessarily the mother). But giving into a tantrum because the child doesn't want to share mummy isn't putting the child's needs first. I'd argue it's the opposite, because children need to learn how to function in society and that their wants can't always come first.

Longlongsummer Thu 10-Oct-19 00:45:14

In my experience it is also often when people separate that ‘children must come first’ is bought acutely into the picture. It is often to serve adults needs, rather than the child’s, for example:
- a parent over intensely identifying with their child and putting their own anxieties onto them
- indulging a child to ensure their love is still intact after separation
- Covering their own perceived inadequacy as a parent by repeating this e.g. my DD must have her own preferred holiday above many adult decisions because I do not parent her as much as I did before and feel guilty.
Etc...

It also can teach children that they can manipulate their parents as their wants trump anyone else’s.

However on the other side it is absolutely awful to see children’s needs ignored for adult priorities, such as a parent not being interested in their schooling, their emotional and physical health. The parent ultimately must sacrifice their selfish wants for their kids needs, or step kids.

Wellthatwasarottennightssleep Thu 10-Oct-19 00:47:06

Oh, and my mother has always bragged about being a superior mother because she didn't pursue a new relationship until her kids were adults. Then, after I'd left home, she met a guy online and moved him in when she'd met him less than half a dozen times. He sexually harassed me and made inappropriate comments every time I was visiting, so I ended up feeling uncomfortable in my mother's house and not really visiting anymore unless I had to. At the end of the day, it's her life and her home, of course. But I think our relationship would be much better now if she had introduced a carefully vetted new partner at a gradual pace when I was a child. Instead, she martyred herself to "I will never bring a man into the house while my kids live there", then panicked because she (wrongly) thought she was on the shelf.

ArizonaRobbins Thu 10-Oct-19 01:21:46

Well personally I don’t think “blended families” are ever about putting the children first.

Christ. Can you imagine having to live with unrelated strangers without any say in the matter? I wouldn’t ever put my girls through that. It is always about the adults’ needs before the children.

Oliversmumsarmy Thu 10-Oct-19 02:02:38

I certainly wasn’t put first ever when I was growing up.

My mother didn’t want to spoil me

I vowed never to do that to my own children so they come first all the time

They have grown up to be kind, confident, and hard working.

StoppinBy Thu 10-Oct-19 02:04:28

@longlongsummer IMO your example is terrible and your idea of wants and needs are out of wack.

Stepchildren need to feel they are not being excluded - their father just had a baby who is there sibling and yes they do need to be able to bond with that child. Not sure how you feel that wanting them gone for a week would facilitate that?

On the other hand many many women have given birth/had c/sections and then gone home to their other children. Do you think that only the mothers biological children have a right to be included in welcoming baby home?

All mothers want peace and yes at some stage they all need it but cutting step children out of this important time is a very selfish want, not a need.

In my view children's needs come first and their wants should always be considered by their parents/guardians but are not as important as the adults wants.

RainbowMum11 Thu 10-Oct-19 02:10:12

It's needs vs wants.
Needs absolutely should be prioritised, wants, not always - that's what's potentially damaging.

mathanxiety Thu 10-Oct-19 02:10:21

Maybe a good example would be an expensive school trip abroad that a family would be very stretched to afford.

I disagree about blended families. It depends very much on the age of the children involved, and maybe on the sensitivity of the parents. If the blending happens when the DCs are young they can frequently figure out a way to become a solid family. It can also frequently be very advantageous from a financial pov to amalgamate households, and this can nearly always benefit the children. Obv if a blended family features children from one or two previous relationships plus children of the third relationship, then blending is necessary.

Pixxie7 Thu 10-Oct-19 02:50:48

Whilst no one can really argue that children’s needs should come first. It’s a worrying trend that they should come first in everything. Parents have a responsibility to bring up their children to be active members of society, always being put first is not going to happen.
Therefore we have a responsibility to ensure they realise this from a young age.

BadSun Thu 10-Oct-19 03:03:34

I've never actually seen anyone saying childrens' wants should always come first.

Userzzzzz Thu 10-Oct-19 03:09:12

Yes children’s ‘needs’ should come first but as part of that, I believe children need to learn that they can’t always come first, they sometimes they need to think about others and they can’t have everything they want. I’d also say that some ‘needs’ are ridiculous so the parent needs to make a sensible decision on behalf of their child.

Userzzzzz Thu 10-Oct-19 03:10:36

Eg my 3 year old frequently thinks she needs something that she doesn’t. She doesn’t understand the difference between need or want.

Zippetydoodahzippetyay Thu 10-Oct-19 03:30:37

Absolutely agree with those of you who say their needs should be prioritised but not necessarily their wants.

I always try to remember though that you can't serve from an empty vessel. If you don't take care of your own physical, mental and emotional health, you won't be the best parent you can be.

edgeofheaven Thu 10-Oct-19 04:53:38

I was watching "Queer Eye" on Netflix and there was a couple who had given the master bedroom to their 8 year old daughter. The father slept in the basement and the mother slept on the sofa. This was because the 8 year old didn't want to share with a sibling confused The Fab Five rightly told them - you are the adults, you pay for this home, you need proper sleep and rest to work and care for the family, and your relationship will suffer if you are sleeping separately. Clear case of prioritising a child's want over the rest of the family's needs.

Bobthefishermanswife Thu 10-Oct-19 05:25:21

To an extent you are right op.
It's mine and dps relationship, our son is here because of our love for eachother.
As a baby of course his needs come first, but as a parent it's my job to teach him independence, so as he gets older, he will still be a priority, but he won't always be number one.

Limpshade Thu 10-Oct-19 05:33:44

I have seen it that desperately tired posters hoping to sleep train, get their toddler to sleep in their bed, etc etc have found short shrift from a small number of posters to the tune of, "They're only young once, just cosleep with them until adulthood - that's what I did". Except for cases where it's a very small baby, I do think a mother needs to put herself first sometimes. Everybody agrees that PND is an awful, awful thing, but comments like that which place a mother's mental health below everything else surely feed into it.

Waxonwaxoff0 Thu 10-Oct-19 05:41:07

The holidays abroad thing is ridiculous.

But in the case of step parenting, I think blended families are more hassle than they're worth and rarely di

Waxonwaxoff0 Thu 10-Oct-19 05:43:50

Posted too soon.

Rarely does everyone come out of it unscathed. Personal experience of it as a child was negative for me and for that reason I have chosen not to have a relationship while DS is a child.

Material things are another thing entirely. DS doesn't get everything he wants just because he wants it.

Sockwomble Thu 10-Oct-19 06:02:02

With my son his needs come first and then his wants are considered along with everyone else's. Whether something is a need or want varies between children and families. For example there are lots of situations where I wouldn't take my child somewhere or keep him there because I know he won't or isn't coping with them. In that situation I might want to be there but he needs not to so we don't go.

Tumbleweed101 Thu 10-Oct-19 06:02:42

The person in the household whose needs are greatest should be prioritised, whether that is an adult or a child. Families work together so everyone is supported. For example
a parent who is struggling with a health issue should have their needs met before a child’s if the impact of not doing so will be detrimental to the family.

Children are not more important than anyone else in a family and adults have the knowledge and experience to have the final say on a situation.

Overtime2019 Thu 10-Oct-19 06:18:15

Kids come before anyone end of

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