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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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EveningShadows · 25/10/2017 10:28

Maelstrop, I think as teachers we probably see a far wider spectrum of kids than most people - although some of the little darlings my DC bring home have a masters degree in entitlement and clearly failed their GCSE in basic manners Hmm.

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arethereanyleftatall · 25/10/2017 10:29

Yanbu.
Friends of ours lives revolve around their one dc and it isn't doing him any favours. He has the pressure of his parents happiness on his Young shoulders all the time. 'What do yoa want to eat for dinner ds' 'where do you want to go on holiday ds''what do you want to do this weekend ds' just give the poor boy a break from making decisions.

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pipistrell · 25/10/2017 10:29

When I was in primary I used to see the kids going out to the parents at pick up time. They barely said hi, but would chuck their bags, sports kit, book bags, coats etc at mum and would walk off to play. Mum would stagger on behind loaded down like a pack pony.

I used to want to yell MAKE THEM CARRY IT THEMSELVES!!!

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EveningShadows · 25/10/2017 10:30

Clandestino, that’s not what we’re describing at all - you take your DD’s needs into account, that’s fair enough, but still do things for you too.

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JacquesHammer · 25/10/2017 10:30

I tend to agree OP.

On another thread I was royally berated for myself and my ex deciding we wanted more from our marriage. We weren't arguing but we had moved into a siblings type relationship. We left probably before most people would have.

Countless posters told me I was selfish for giving my daughter a broken home etc.

In reality DD has two loving homes, both of us are better parents because we're happy and fulfilled as adults. My argument that by tending to our mental health WAS putting her first was dismissed out of hand.

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Rudedog · 25/10/2017 10:30

There is a fine line.

I know a couple who definitely put themselves first. They are horrible parents.

The thing that sticks in my throat is they never take them anywhere - no day trips etc.
But will try and find people/relatives to leave them with so they can go for lovely days out together - often to places specifically aimed at children.
The eldest realises that they do this now and her mum tells her that 'mum and dad need child free time'

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brasty · 25/10/2017 10:31

Yes I see lots of entitled kids too. Not badly behaved, they just think the world revolves around them, because in their world, it largely does.

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SilverSpot · 25/10/2017 10:32

I agree too.

Growing up I was very much loved by both my parents and they did a lot for me, don't get me wrong I wasn't neglected in any way. But we did things for everyone in the family, not everything was child centered. Sometimes things were super boring for me, and sometimes I was left out of things.

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brasty · 25/10/2017 10:33

Rudedog There is a balance. And with step kids agree that the partner can be too much the other way.

Kids need to realise they are loved and important. But it is a balance.

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Winosaurus · 25/10/2017 10:33

Also I want to clarify that we as kids were made to feel incredibly loved and we were important but we were not put first all the time.
For example I still remember the amazing way my DF defended my DM when my DB was being rude in his teenage years... he sternly said “She may be your mother so you think talking to her like that is acceptable, but she is my wife and if any other man spoke to her like that then they certainly wouldn’t be getting this restrained reaction”.
My parents adored each other and were quick to point out that they chose each other before they chose to have us. We were a lovely added extensive of the life they chose to create together ❤️

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WhataHexIgotinto · 25/10/2017 10:34

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.

Actually, I do agree with this. A friend of mine met someone and they had moved in together within two months and she was pregnant within 5. We were all pretty concerned but she just couldn't see what everyone else could. Her then 7 year old daughter was a lovely, sunny little girl but he resented her completely. Friend put him before anyone and everyone even though, it transpired, that her DD was completely terrified of him. Eight years later it's all a total bloody mess with her now 15 year old daughter in counselling after years of self harm, lots of other accusations being made. He's away from the family home (3 years ago) and hasn't seen his own DD since.

I appreciate this is extreme but I do think that you have to tread very carefully when new partners come along. I certainly did with my SDS and thankfully it paid off.

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stevie69 · 25/10/2017 10:37

Agree with everything you say, OP. I had a mega wonderful childhood, and now have a fantastic (but not stifling) relationship with my parents (still together after 53 years) and little sis.

Me and my sis were not the most important things in my parents' lives at all times, either. They got the balance right. They got everything right. Well done Maz and Faz. Love you always Blush

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AnUtterIdiot · 25/10/2017 10:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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EdgarAllanPO · 25/10/2017 10:37

Is a sense of entitlement due to parenting or personality. Anyone I've met who has this flaw, and I do think it's a flaw, comes from a family who also display the traits.

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Spikeyball · 25/10/2017 10:38

Our son's needs always come first and because of his severe disability he has more needs than others of the same age.

His needs aren't necessarily giving him what he wants all the time because in the long run it may not be in his best interests and therefore not giving him what he needs.
Only those who know him very well know what his needs are so this can sometimes lead to judgement from others.

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orangeowls · 25/10/2017 10:38

I haven’t read the whole thread but I agree with your OP.

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Winosaurus · 25/10/2017 10:39

Whatahexl but feeling secure is an emotional need, not a want. No child should he scared in their own home.
I read on the step-parents forum about a SM who was at the end of her tether because the DSC’s (teenagers at that) were constantly making unreasonable demands on their DF - we want this, take us there etc but to the extreme. Putting them first in that situation wasn’t the right choice. Like I said, needs yes 100% of the time - wants then you have to weigh it up as what’s best for everyone

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mindutopia · 25/10/2017 10:40

I don't even think it's about parents 'putting kids first' or giving into their every want. A lot of it comes down to parents who are insecure or who get their self worth from their children and nothing else. What I mean by that is they can't feel good about anything they do unless it's constantly pleasing their children. My mum is one of these. It took having children of my own to see how she is with them and realise that explained a lot of my childhood! She literally feels distressed to the point of tears or raging anger (like walking around my house slamming my doors) if I have my daughter sit out for doing something or if she has a meltdown because I won't let her have something she wants. I'm really strict in the sense that my children are the most important thing to me and as you say their needs always come first. But I don't give in to every want (in fact, probably not most of them) because I think learning to deal with disappointment and frustration is really important.

My mum though is the opposite. I truly cannot remember a time in my childhood when she didn't give me something I asked for. If we went into a pet shop and I wanted a puppy, I got a puppy. I wanted a horse, I got a horse. I wanted to go out for dinner when she'd already cooked something, we did it. I wanted sweets for breakfast, she'd bring them to me in bed (literally, I'm not making that up, I pretty much ate sweets in bed for breakfast for about a year, no wonder I have no many dental issues now!). It's because psychologically her self worth was completely tied up in whether I was content or not. I think because she was a single parent she felt she had to overcompensate (she didn't, she did a perfectly fine job without having to buy me all that stuff). But she couldn't cope with me being upset if she said no, so she never said no.

When she last visited, my daughter wanted to take her shoes off in the car. I said I'd prefer if she didn't, but if she did, she had to put them on herself when we got to where we were going because I wasn't doing it. She said she would. When we got there, she didn't want to. So I told her we weren't going anywhere until she put her shoes on like she'd promised. My mum wanted to do it for her, but I had to stop her and said she could do it herself and we'd wait. My mum literally ran into the store crying because I made my daughter put her shoes on (she's school age, she can put on her own shoes, they're velcro). But she just can't cope with seeing anyone do anything they don't want to do or saying no.

I think you're right there is a confusion about needs and wants, and some of it is a bit of wanting to keep up with what everyone else is doing or buying. But I also think it's probably due to low self esteem and self worth whose happiness and confidence is tied into whether or not their kids seem happy all the time. For my mum, any sign of a tantrum or feeling upset on my part meant she was a failure, so she tried to avoid it at all costs, and I'm quite certain there are still a lot of people who have that mentality.

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DaisyRaine90 · 25/10/2017 10:42

I think people get confused. Putting your kids first does not mean neglecting your marriage, your career or your own life. It does also not mean letting them rule the roost. It means that their needs come first, and part of that is having a Mum and Dad or step parent who don’t hate each other x

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ManchesterGin · 25/10/2017 10:43

edgar

Some variety of this
www.childsplayclothing.co.uk/designers/moncler?dir=desc&order=price

The school playground is full of them

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Crunchymum · 25/10/2017 10:45

I think being a step parent is a completely different situation to what you describe OP.

Always having things a certain way [mum and dad putting their relationship first] is completely different to having a new person / parent figure in a childs life. And in the instance of step parents then Hell yes the kids needs and wants should be heavily considered. Do you have any idea how damaging it is for a parent to put a NEW relationship above their kids.

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EdgarAllanPO · 25/10/2017 10:47

Manchester you can buy those in any high street shop, people must be mad in the head. Real fur too Angry

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MomToWedThorFriday · 25/10/2017 10:47

Not sure if I’ve missed the point but I disagree, as would the Stately Homes threads. My kids are way more important to me than me, ergo their happiness is paramount. That doesn’t mean they always get their own way/what they want, it means they come first in my list of priorities.

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Whywonttheyletmeusemyusername · 25/10/2017 10:48

Omg, YES....absolutely agree OP

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Winosaurus · 25/10/2017 10:49

Stevie69 how lovely xx

mindutopia I had never thought of it from that perspective before. What an interesting point!
I also think there’s a lot of pressure and competition from other parents these days about who can -give in to their little darlings the most- be the most perfect parent.
I left a baby group because of mums making snide remarks about others’ parenting. One said to me Oh you’re giving DD a jar of baby food? I make all mine from scratch in the morning, it only takes a little bit of effort
My reply was “Oh well whilst you were boiling up broccoli my DP and I had a lie in and good shag” Toodlepip Grin

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