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To think kids shouldn’t always come first

242 replies

Winosaurus · 25/10/2017 09:59

I know this is going to be a divisive topic but I have read so many times on MN that “kids should always be your priority” and “kids should always come first” and I just want to know why people think this?
I think the welfare of children is the most important, their financial, emotional and health related needs should be prioritised but I think so many people these days confuse needs and wants.
My kids do not always come first in my life. I gave them life but I didn’t give them mine, and I do things that make me happy too even if they’re not fully on board. On a basic level I weigh it up - if we have spare cash and they need something essential then of course their needs come first, but if they want something but so do I then I don’t always try to appease them and like to buy things for myself too.
I think putting kids constantly first and particularly ahead of a relationship/ marriage is unhealthy. My parents were happily married for 32 years and were the most amazing parents - yet we were not the most important part of their life, their marriage to each other was and they took time and effort to maintain that.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who’s DC was having an almighty meltdown about her and her DH going to dinner without him. She relented and took him because “DC’s happiness comes first”.
I honestly think this is why we have so many entitled kids devoid of empathy.
Just saying Grin

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DaveGrohlsMrs · 30/10/2017 21:29

I completely agree! My husband and I put our relationship first because if mummy and daddy aren’t ok then the kids aren’t ok. Don’t get me wrong, if they need something they get it, even if it means that we have to do without, but they don’t get everything they WANT. How am I equipping them to deal with real life if I give in to their every demand? Kids have to learn to deal with disappointment when they are young, otherwise how are they going to deal with disappointment and rejection as adults? I believe in sheltering them to an extent, but at the same time it is our job as parents to raise our kids to be resilient, responsible, empathic adults. Also by modelling how a good relationship works I am hopefully teaching my daughters never to settle for anything less. Ultimately, we raise our kids to learn how to be independent adults who will grow up and leave home. If we don’t make our marriage a priority now then what will be left when the kids leave home?

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Autumnskiesarelovely · 30/10/2017 13:49

ohreally yes I’m sure that does happen, however it also does the other way. My Step children who had a ‘loose’ arrangement with contact suddenly were with us/me every day - so that Ex could spend time with bf.... ! Her reaction was children come first...

There can be a bit of a power play when this phrase is used, by someone, either an overly indulgent or guilty parent, or over invested parent, or separated family dynamics.

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ohreallyohreallyoh · 30/10/2017 12:31

It’s common for a step parent who wants some time just with the child’s parent, nights out or weekends or holidays, is told that they are selfish

You are missing out the part where a step parent decides that they get to change existing contact arrangements with a view to creating alone time for the adults. Frequently happens with new relationships, new partners dictating time with children (sometimes ending up less than previously) and/or assuming the ex can/should change existing arrangements even if that causes hardship in the children's other household.

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DanicaRose3 · 29/10/2017 23:36

100% agree with op

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Someonessnackbitch · 28/10/2017 07:47

This post can be so broad. Putting your child first means many different things to people. I always ‘put my children first’ but that doesn’t mean giving in to their every whim. I agree with you OP but I also think you put yourself children first. Getting yourself a treat doesn’t mean your putting your children second. It means that you think about your every move and what the effect will be on your child. Whether it’s going out for a meal with your partner or saying no when you need to.

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Escapepeas · 27/10/2017 23:25

This came up when I was talking to a friend recently. She was bemoaning their lot re holidays, saying that they had to plan all their holidays around making sure their 9yo doesn't get bored so it's never stuff they want to do.

I was a bit Hmm and said, well surely 9yo is old enough to come along to the odd museum, or y'know, do what her parents tell her. But no. Every single holiday has to be planned around what 9yo wants. They are currently away in a place where there's a pretty decent mix of cultural and kids stuff, and I suggested she visit a specific cultural place there which is really beautiful. Her response? No, we'd love to but DD would be bored so we can't. I did make a jokey remark about asking who was in charge but she basically said that it was actually DD in charge.

Surely this is not usual?

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Autumnskiesarelovely · 27/10/2017 23:12

I think the OP may have been getting at how in step families the putting children firsr can get ramped up a notch. It’s common for a step parent who wants some time just with the child’s parent, nights out or weekends or holidays, is told that they are selfish.

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FlyingJellyfishInTheAttic · 27/10/2017 21:57

Our message at home is we are all a family and we all equally important and all support and take turns to choose etc.

Even little things eg dss is 10 and dd is 1. Dss is happy he and his sister can take turns with the tv and if we do day trips we take turns to make them focus of it.

And at home dss knows me and dh need time together or alone so we have time 9pm onwards and dss happy doing his own thing then for an hour before bed. It's balance.

Needs are different completely as are birthdays etc.

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Dustbunny1900 · 27/10/2017 21:42

That may have come off more judgmental than I meant wiggles. I was just referring to the inability to be away from your kids ever, to have adult friendships, interests, even go to dinner with your husband etc. I just find it unhealthy when people can't do anything that doesn't revolve around their husband/kids/another person, and that it can turn into a problem where ppl view their kids as an extension of themselves. I just think it's important to keep your own seperate identity and sense of self so it doesn't turn dependent. That's all. I don't know your family of course, just going by what I read.

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mrsRosaPimento · 27/10/2017 19:04

I think that some people are confusing neglect and spoiling a child. Having no boundaries and saying yes for an easy life is neglect.

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GerrytheBerry · 27/10/2017 18:42

A bit of a strange post imo, so basically it's best to let the kids know they're not priority?
Of course you don't need to buy them absolutely everything they desire, that would just be spoiling them, but it can't be healthy for a child to think that they come second to daddy or mummy? A child doesn't reason like an adult so won't understand (depending on their age) that mum and dad need time alone together, without them, they're only little for the blink of an eye, they should be treasured not made to feel second best! Obviously I'm not talking about teenagers but even so I don't see why they should have to come second either, when you become a parent it's just something you have to do, and most of us wouldn't have it any other way...

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Sallystyle · 27/10/2017 18:40

I have an amazing relationship with my mum. I speak to her daily and I consider her a friend as well as a mum. She didn't put me first all the time to achieve that though.

However, not enjoying a meal out with your husband because your children aren't there is very odd and unhealthy.

I would have hated it if my mum couldn't enjoy a night out because she wanted to be with me.

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Sallystyle · 27/10/2017 18:29

Agreed too.

Sometimes quite often I will treat myself to stuff, knowing the children want things. My wants are just as important.

I sometimes feel selfish compared to other parents I know because I don't put myself last like so many parents I know do.

Of course if they really need something that comes first, but there are 7 of us and everyone is as important as the other, including me and my husband.

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Wiggles9408 · 27/10/2017 17:57

Feel like that could be aimed my way...but she’s certainly not as you so eloquently put ‘up anyone’s Ass’ 🤣 we choose to see her, she doesn’t insist we come over or give us some weird ultimatum or trick us into seeing her by laying out a stragtic trail of sweets to her door and then capture us under a basket 🤣 she’s just an amazing mum with a wonderful sense of humour and personality and she loves being around us and her grandchildren. I think bringing mental health into the mix is slightly strong 😳 our family just works this way but it’s not a one size fits all, everyone just tries their hardest for their children regardless of what that specifically means to each parent as long as we all go to bed (wherever we may be) and know in our hearts we’ve done the best we could do with the decisions and events that unfold then there is no better way to parent :) but imma go a’head and unwatch this post becauseeeeee I’m going to my mums house 😏😉 heheh.

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mrsRosaPimento · 27/10/2017 17:08

Putting dcs first doesn’t mean letting them behave badly. That’s the opposite as they need to grow up to become good people. Boundaries are part of putting them first. I always put my dcs first. I’ve even gone without food to make sure they have good quality food. I have abusive parents so was always last and have mental health issues as a result. I always think about how any decision will impact them. They get the best I can afford. You’re only a child for a short time. I want to give them the childhood I didn’t have.

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2ducks2ducklings · 27/10/2017 17:01

I 100% agree. Little things like allowing the children to interrupt when their parents are talking lead them to believe that they always come first.
My parents were fab, but we never made any important decisions like where we should go on holiday, frankly we were gratefully we were going!
Parents are trying to be more of a friend to their children than a parent now and all I can see happening is that we'll end up with a load of young adults who have never been told 'no' and who don't know how to deal with any sort of negativity.

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morningconstitutional2017 · 27/10/2017 16:56

I think that you're making a very valid point. When very spoiled children grow up and realise that they're not the centre of the universe it can be a bit of a shock. Far better, surely to come down to earth with a few gentle bumps during childhood and they can learn gradually to consider others.

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Dustbunny1900 · 27/10/2017 16:53

I would worry about my mental health if I could never stand a moment away from my children and had no seperate identity or interests of my own and thought of anyone else as "pointless friends" or whatever. Confused
I want my kid to know I love him and be secure enough in that knowledge hat he doesn't need to spend every moment with me and can be independent. I don't want to be up his ass.

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Wiggles9408 · 27/10/2017 16:47

Gottagetmoving

My siblings and I are very grown up I can assure you, we all have children and work (mat leave for my sister and I) we’ve all got partners and live in our own houses, we are confident adults :) but as adults and individuals we’ve grown up and seen our parents not only as mum and dad but as human beings and they are amazing people and we love spending time with them.

Our partners love them too, my sisters fiancé gets along with my dad so so well and my brothers partner (who’s mums flits in and out of her life whenever suits) turned to my mum for the support she was missing, my mum was in the hospital and watched her give birth to both her boys, she helped her with how to care for her dc’s and took her under her wing because she needed her and even now the boys are 2 and 3 and she still calls/texts/FaceTimes my mum for help and advice 😅

I do not see it as unhealthy in any way, and when you say let go I don’t quite understand? At what point do you let go of your role as a mum? When they’re 16? 18? When you’re 6 foot under...? That job role in my eyes doesn’t have a cut off point. And as I’ve already said we are all adults and we choose to see our parents pretty much everyday out of this wonderful thing called free will 😏

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Maireadplastic · 27/10/2017 16:40

Macaroni, that's very interesting. My eldest goes to a secondary which has a bad reputation (not our experience at all and he has had some great opportunities and a good bunch of friends). The school had an interim leadership team whilst a longer term plan was looked for. They now have a permanent team who warned about potential rebellion over their behaviour policy. There has been next to no rebellion! I genuinely believe the children have been desperately waiting for strong, clear guidance- they are relieved it has come.
The point of all this is that sensible, clear guidance makes children thrive. Whether that's parenting or at school.

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Mittens1969 · 27/10/2017 16:15

I do understand what the OP means, to a certain extent. DH and I do like to go out together occasionally and I spend time with friends. My DDs know that we do things separately from them and this is healthy.

But it isn’t about putting your partner first, or shouldn’t be. It rankles with me, as my DM always put her marriage to my abusive father first, and the damage to me and my siblings has been truly horrendous. (She didn’t know what he was doing, she says, but I certainly never felt that I was a priority in her life.)

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Gottagetmoving · 27/10/2017 15:28

Wiggles, if I'm honest, that sounds a bit unhealthy really

I agree.
It's lovely to have a close relationship with your Mum your whole life but not that close!
It can cause problems when you have a partner and its like never growing up.
A mother needs to know when to let go and not make her grown children her whole life.

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HonestlySomePeople · 27/10/2017 15:24

Well said.
I agree with you OP

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babybarrister · 27/10/2017 15:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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brasty · 27/10/2017 15:10

When I worked with young kids I could always tell the ones who had never been told no.

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