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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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EdgarAllanPO · 25/10/2017 10:15

Manchester what is a moncler coat?

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Butterymuffin · 25/10/2017 10:15

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.

It's good to keep putting the effort into your marriage, sure, but people who focus on their partners to the detriment of their kids are the problem here. And there is plenty of that around - at the extreme end, people allowing partners to behave badly towards and even abuse their children. That's why people think this.

The example of your friend taking her kid to dinner is bad parenting but doesn't mean kids shouldn't be prioritised in general. 'Putting kids first' I agree with, 'giving kids everything they want' I don't. But you're tapping into an MN liking for saying 'oh yes, I leave my kids to it, benign neglect is great' so you'll get agreement in spite of your carefully judged divisive post.

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Waytoogo · 25/10/2017 10:16

I do agree with you OP, but it makes me most happy to make my DC happy. So if it's a choice between buying something non essential for myself or DC, then DC get it. As a child I never got toys outside birthdays and Christmas (both in December) and clothes were hand-me-downs. So I love treating DC, it makes me so happy to see his little face light up for all of 5 minutes!

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Hidingalion · 25/10/2017 10:17

Woah, but hang on, you're not talking about equivalences. Not letting your kid tantrum you into taking them to an adults-only dinner, fine. Not spending all your money on them and wearing rags yourself - fine.
Not considering your partner's children I'm a new relationship and assuming step kids will be OK and you can disrupt their life and home - very much not fine.
As ever it's a matter of degrees, self-awareness, sensible boundaries, compromise and sacrifice where necessary, along with healthy self-worth and self-care.In short, behaving like a grown-up.

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butterfly56 · 25/10/2017 10:17

Totally agree OP.

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Crispbutty · 25/10/2017 10:17

I see some mums who martyr themselves after a divorce. They refuse to even think about another relationship saying they will wait until their children grow up as they are putting the kids first.

The problems with this attitude are the child feels guilty as they grow up feeling responsible for their mum not having a social life/partner. The child also doesn't learn anything about relationships.

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TieGrr · 25/10/2017 10:17

In terms of step parenting, I do think children should come first. DP and DD get on well but she is my priority. If his presence in our lives was upsetting or distressing her, then I don't see how our relationship could continue.

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Hidingalion · 25/10/2017 10:17

sorry, *partner's children when you are in a new relationship

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QueenInTheNorth26 · 25/10/2017 10:19

I think everyone parents differently and I respect your parenting style. For me my children absolutely come first in every situation. How you described your friend and her dc is not the child coming first that's bowing down to a child. If my DH and I were going for a meal and my dd said she didn't want us to go I'd certainly go and I wouldn't stop if for my child, that means the child is dictating to you. I would, however, be concerned on why she didn't want us to go and I'd try to find this out, if it was because she was being difficult then I would go out and not give a second thought, if it was because she was scared or didn't like her babysitter then I'd do what I could to make it easier for her.

There's a fine line between putting your child first and letting your child become the parent.

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fakenamefornow · 25/10/2017 10:19

When you have very little then all you can, and do, do is put your children first.

I don't even agree with that. Take breastfeeding, breast milk is absolutely better for baby than FM. The cost of providing this for the mum is sometimes just too great though, agonizing pain and no sleep, mum has needs too and sometimes it's best for the whole family if these are our first. And I say this as somebody who bf through agony.

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sickynicky · 25/10/2017 10:20

manchestergin

Exactly.

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brasty · 25/10/2017 10:21

Totally agree. Needs kids come first, wants it is a balance. Being a martyr for anyone including children, is not a great idea. And I have a hidden stash of quality chocolate that I share with NO ONE.

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Winosaurus · 25/10/2017 10:21

Hidingaluob but the SDC’s emotional welfare is a need, not a want. The SDC’s dictating what the whole family is doing and how the household should function is a want even if it’s to the detriment of the others (including kids) living there. There’s a massive difference.

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WhataHexIgotinto · 25/10/2017 10:21

I think somewhere in between is fine for me and my family. I want my DCs to be happy and I always put their needs first, but that doesn't mean they get to do, or own whatever they want. Putting their needs first is also about giving them the tools to go forward to a happily and fulfilled adulthood, which, for me, means learning that you don't always get what you want.

DS was not happy a couple of weeks ago that we didn't give him the money to go out with his friends, but he'd already had the money from his paper round and pocket money and chosen to spend it on random crap. My response was 'tough'. Might make him think about doing it again. My DSIS thinks I was totally out of order but I'm happy to be though of as unfair of it means my kids will take responsibility for their own actions.

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DaisyRaine90 · 25/10/2017 10:21

There needs to be a balance sure. The kids come first financially etc. For me and DP, but the evenings are our time x

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LoverOfCake · 25/10/2017 10:22

I don't think that the step parenting forum is an adequate representation though. If you go over there there are countless posts from step parents who feel that the NRP should change their access arrangements with children who were not a part of the split with their other parent in order that the couple get alone time for instance, and consider that the needs of the children should not come first because they, the incoming step parent, feel that they should be allowed alone couple time even though the child potentially only sees their parent every other weekend.

I do think that children do need to learn to compromise on many situations and that they can't always come first in terms of e.g. Financial outlay or parents going out to dinner etc, but I also think that there is middle ground between bringing up children with a sense of entitlement and bringing them up to be content with what they're given because they shouldn't expect to come first.

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DaisyRaine90 · 25/10/2017 10:22

The kids know their place and not to interrupt adults x

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SouthernFriedChickenPlease · 25/10/2017 10:23

CrispButty that is that is exactly what my mum did after her and my dad split when I was just 2. It got to a point where she was so used to being on her own and independent that no man would have stood a chance. As a consequence when we grew up, I in particular being the youngest, felt a massive burden and guilt to keep Mum company etc as “she’d made the sacrifice to her own life to bring up us girls.”

I would much rather she had tried to find someone (decent of course) when we were kids and she may have been happier and less lonely now.

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Winosaurus · 25/10/2017 10:24

Oh Southern that’s quite sad Sad

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raglansleeve · 25/10/2017 10:25

Agree totally. We grew up when children were not the most important people in a household - not exactly 'children should be seen and not heard', but we didn't rule the roost. I think children should grow to take their place in the adult world, and often wonder what happens to children who have been the centre of their household when they grow up and find they're not actually at the centre of the universe and will not be pandered to by their work colleagues! Must be quite a difficult adjustment to make.

We have a family example - DNiece is the centre of her parents world. Last Mother's Day, DSIL had planned a nice lunch out for herself, DBIL and DNiece, followed by a walk. When I caught up with her during the week and asked her how her Mother's Day had gone I was gobsmacked to learn they'd cancelled because DNeice wanted to stay home and watch DVDs. This is fairly typical of how the household works.

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pipistrell · 25/10/2017 10:25

I agree!

I make the kids give me a turn on stuff too. Sometimes I get to choose which (suitable) film we watch or where we go. I'm a person too!!

I teach and see a lot of teens whose mothers (particularly) have given up their lives to become slaves to their kids. By and large the kids are decent people, but with a MASSIVE sense of entitlement and no idea how to stand on their own two feet. I actually have to tell the parents to back off sometimes!

This family is a team. We're all equal.

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Maelstrop · 25/10/2017 10:25

Also a teacher and see dozens of incredibly entitled kids whose parents and they believe every word they say and think school should be centred on them. I think pp saying they don't see entitled kids must walk around blindfold.

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pipistrell · 25/10/2017 10:27

Daisy my DS said a couple of weeks ago "I wish I could have mummy time". This was about 8pm and he'd got out of bed for the loo. He saw me snuggled on the sofa eating a snack and watching TV and was very jealous! :)

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DonkeyPunch88 · 25/10/2017 10:28

I agree with OP. We have a little kiddie friendly holiday in the summer so they get a nice time, we also go somewhere plush and romantic once a year just for us and to keep our relationship going. If I’m down to my last tenner then yes it will always go on the kids but I like to treat myself to sometimes just because I can.

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Clandestino · 25/10/2017 10:28

I put my DD first and so does my husband.
It doesn't mean that our life runs by her wishes. We maintain our hobbies and interests and we both have full time jobs.
But when it comes to decide about what holidays we are going to have, we chose them with her interests in mind, i.e. will she have fun, can she manage a 10 to 16 mile hike every day etc.
We still have our dinners or cinema visits together where she doesn't come with us and if she pouts, tough for her.

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