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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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Oliversmumsarmy · 25/10/2017 11:17

Dc come first every time but in putting them first it means I have to say no to them at times.
Whether it was their wants were going to put them in danger or I just couldn't afford it. Or yes the bunny in the pet shop is lovely but we have a cat who would scare him to death.

I grew up in a family that didn't put my needs first at all because they didn't want me turning into a brat. The results was it went so far the other way that there was no connection between dm and df and myself.
Left home as soon as I could and haven't spoken to them since.

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JonSnowsWife · 25/10/2017 11:20

I think it depends on the circumstances. My Mum once refused to come to the hospital when the A&E nurse herself rant her from my bedside because she was at church. My Dad came straight from work. So in that instance yes kids should always come first.

But no I don't think there's anything wrong in putting yourself first for things like a meal out with your DH. That's 'you' time and the DC needs to suck it up.

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notangelinajolie · 25/10/2017 11:27

I 100% agree with the OP and many posters on here but I really struggle to put this into practice. I am the mum with a sim only brick phone with daughters with iphones. I buy all my clothes at Tesco's yet we shop for their stuff at nice shops on the high street. DH and I haven't been out together for years because money is tight yet I gave DD1 some money yesterday to go to the cinema. I cut and colour my own hair to save money yet will pay for DD's to get theirs done at the hairdressers. Baaaaagh! Oh dear, I need to give myself a treat don't I??

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Lifeisforliving25 · 25/10/2017 11:29

I think emotions have a lot to play in this Aswell. Past experiences and mental health !

I didn't have a kind living family was moved around a lot !
Never settled in a foster home for more than 6 months from the age of 8 !
My daughter is poorly ( extremely poorly )
I have a real big issue with making sure she has all my time and everything she wants and needs !
Christmas - well over 50 presents
Birthday the week after the same plus a trip out !
She has more toys than smyths and has a wardrobe I would dream of but it's control.
I can't control her health and have to do some horrible things to her dressings , injections etc etc suppose it's how I cope with it.

She is not a horrible child though and is very sweet natured !

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Winosaurus · 25/10/2017 11:29

notangelina Yes you bloody do! Xx

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pipistrell · 25/10/2017 11:29

Agree frogsoup, my DCs have seen and done so much because I won’t just do the kiddie stuff. Their cousins went to see Mr Tumble live. I thought fuck no! No way am I sitting through that, so we went to Cats. The kids loved it - DD now wants to be a dancer Grin

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Winosaurus · 25/10/2017 11:31

I am also of the view that happy parents makes happy parenting. I like leaving my kids to have a nice adult lunch / night out with friends. It gives me space and time to just be Wino not always mummy. And I think it actually makes me a better parent after the night off because I’m happy, relaxed and I’ve had a nice break

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FrenchJunebug · 25/10/2017 11:32

you are absolutely right!

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SouthernFriedChickenPlease · 25/10/2017 11:36

It’s the same when parents sit through bloody awful “kids” music in the car (high school musical/frozen/nursery rhymes etc.) Why? I have always played the radio or my cds and the kids know a vast variety of music now.

Don’t get me wrong if you like the soundtrack to Disney then crack on but I’m going to be putting on the radio..

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LoverOfCake · 25/10/2017 11:46

I do think that the step parenting situation is vastly different though to parents who are together or where there are no other partners in equation.

From the adult's perspective they have chosen to enter into a relationship with someone else, and if that other person also has children they choose to take on those children. and they may then choose to have additional children with their new partner.

From the child's POV, they are told that this is your new step parent, and these are your new step siblings, play and be nice. And that could be the scenario on both sides i.e. With both parents. And the step siblings might not want them there or the step siblings may live there full-time while they do not, and then each parent may have more children who that one child does not live with full-time and as such the child is the one going backward and forward between these two families which are made up of several other families. And the step siblings may have step siblings and half siblings from each parent and so the cycle carries on. But all the parent needs to do is consider their child rather than consider that their child should accept this new situation which is far more complicated from the child's point of view than the parent's.

Also, the view of step parents is invariably biased. Look at the step parenting boards and things are always so difficult because of the ex who is evil, or the children who are difficult, or the father who puts them first, there is never any acceptance of wrongdoing on the part of the step parent. And meanwhile there are children caught in the middle of all this who didn't ask to be there and who according to the OP shouldn't expect to be put first and who it seems have in fact been thrown to the bottom of the pecking order and should just put up or shut up otherwise they're the stepkids from hell.

I am very fortunate in that I have a very supportive partner, however if I had my time again I'm not sure I would have gone looking for a relationship while I still had children living at home. Because ultimately people look to cohabit, have more babies, bring everyone together and it invariably happens before the problems arise because often the problems arise because of the attempts to blend families which IMO rarely works. But because of circumstances outside my control me and DP have not been able to live together and are unlikely to do so before the DC leave school now. And that has actually stood us in good stead because although DC have a good relationship with DP having seen the impact of moving too quickly from other's point of view and even from my ex's point of view and what that has done to the relationship with DC my view is that it's preferable not to seek to rush new relationships where there are children involved. They will grow up one day and leave home and people can live together then.

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Dervel · 25/10/2017 11:48

Nuanced problem to be sure! I think a lot of it depends on age/development. Expecting an infant/toddler to just suck it up and the world is brutal and they need to learn that is a tad callous, but attending to a teenagers each and every whim is foolish in the extreme.

Children need unconditional love from their parents, and from a stable emotional/psychological platform blossom into their own identity, independence and potential. Part of doing that entails managing emotions, coping with failure and dissappointment.

However if the message that a child grows up with is that mum/dad didn't care enough to make them a priority then with compromised self esteem they have a pretty bleak existence to look forward to trying to fill that void going forward.

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Tenroundswithmiketyson · 25/10/2017 11:58

I think you may be referring to two different concepts.

I do think you need to tread carefully with stepparenting as kids get v insecure but agree with not overcompensating. I can't say too much as I have no experience of it.

I agree with the other issue offeeling almost beholden to your children. Cancelling a much needed night out falls into this category.

I have a teenager. I've already realised that I fell for the guff that children need stimulating and now she cannot spend a minute alone and unentertained.

Yesterday she gave me such attitude after I'd forked out to take her and a friend swimming, given her 10 to walk round the shops, and have said friend til 6pm, only for her to tell dh to fuck off for asking her to sit down for dinner when I called. I decided there's not going to be much entertainment for the remainder of the week

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Summerswallow · 25/10/2017 12:16

You can make your children a priority in your life, but also recognize the need to prioritize yourself.

I think this is very gender driven- women in particular are pressured to be very self-sacrificing, to give up careers to work p/t in jobs way below their intellectual level, to be on hand day and night (I have friends whose husbands have never ever had the kids for the weekend or even a day as 'they don't know what to do'), and to generally sacrifice their lives to make their children's better.

I don't like this for two reasons. First, it seems crazy to sacrifice everything to help your children get ahead in terms of education, employment and general life enhancement, only to model women just sacrificing their happiness and their life goals especially if you have girls, I don't want them to think they have to just grow up, have all these amazing dreams and then let them go again, especially when men don't.

Also, I'm a person in my own right and am only going to get one life on this planet- I'm prepared to adapt, change, do things differently for my children and pour a whole lot of love and energy into parenting, but I don't want to become a different person or not achieve anything in my own right because I was a parent. I am more selfish than some other mums I know, but I think it's important for my children to know I matter to, so does my husband- and we have to do what's best for the whole family which sometimes means doing things they don't like (moving home, not allowing certain things).

I don't think there's anything wrong with doing a p/t job or giving up work if you get the chance, I'm sure many men and women would love to do that and have more family time- but I don't like it when women are essentially just expected to sacrifice all their dreams and goals at the altar of motherhood, especially as children grow up and away and you may have 30-40 more years of living to do. The career thread was pretty sad as it sounded like a lot of people felt they had 'no choice' which isn't at all the same as choosing to downsize your work at all.

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mandy20256 · 25/10/2017 12:35

My kids are my life and do come before anyone or anything but I do agree with you in the fact that its important to make time for yourself and your relationship.
For me its about balance, making sure I do what I want to do now and again.
Like this week for example my kids have gone to stay with grandparents for 2 nights. They wasn't overly pleased but its things that need to be done. As me and their dad work and its half term so they had to go.
They get plenty of treats/days out, meals out.
I wouldn't let them dictate to me. Or let them stop me for going out for no reason!

YANBU XX

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LyingWitchInTheWardrobe2726 · 25/10/2017 12:39

My kids - and my husband - are not my life. They are very important parts of it but I'm a person in my own right without them being an extension of me or me of them.

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Jojobythesea · 25/10/2017 12:40

I totally agree with OP too.

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gillybeanz · 25/10/2017 12:46

I totally agree with the OP.
We cover all needs like food, shelter, clothes, educational supplements, and quite a few wants.
My dsis has always worked and spent most of her wages on treating her dd out of guilt through working.
I don't understand it tbh, stay at home and save some money by not being guilty Grin My dneice is spoilt rotten with materialistic stuff, always has the best and is prioritised above everything else. Sad

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WillowySnicket · 25/10/2017 12:58

Ok firstly, googled the moncler coats. Blimey. Who would ever buy one?! Never mind for a child who (if anything like mine) roll down hills/in puddles/climbs trees and generally wreck clothes through sheer living. Anyway.

Second, I find this tricky. I totally totally agree about being desperate not to raise entitled children, and that they aren't the centre of the family.

However in practice, it is very divisive because one person's 'spoiling' is another person's need.

For example, I bf for a long time and through the night. I was knackered, so KNACKERED, but knew that it was a short season and I felt it was an important choice we had made. And I loved our decision. I got lambasted a few times by friends who said any night waking past 6 weeks old is pandering to the baby, letting them rule the roost and set the tone and put a strain on your marriage. I saw it as a vital emotional and psychological need, she saw it as an entitled want.

I see parents stopping every single conversation with anyone because their precious snowflake has interrupted and I think "gosh, just tell them to wait. They aren't the centre of the universe and we are in the middle of talking and they won't die by waiting for 2 minutes", but they might see it as giving their children a respectful platform to interact with as much right as any adult.

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YellowMakesMeSmile · 25/10/2017 13:30

I totally agree with the OP.
We cover all needs like food, shelter, clothes, educational supplements, and quite a few wants.
My dsis has always worked and spent most of her wages on treating her dd out of guilt through working.
I don't understand it tbh, stay at home and save some money by not being guilty grin My dneice is spoilt rotten with materialistic stuff, always has the best and is prioritised above everything else. sad


Yes, god forbid your sister want to work and buy nice things Hmm staying home doesn't make for a better parent it's not that simple.

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pallisers · 25/10/2017 14:44

I don't see many entitled non empathetic kids where I am.
I do see a lot of very stressed, very anxious teens though.

I agree with the general point that children shouldn't always be the priority. Still, increasingly motherhood is defined as essentially self-sacrificing.

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WatchTheFoxes · 25/10/2017 15:02

Yes parents should put their children's needs before any partner. No I wouldn't allow any partner who abused my children. If DH and I split up, I could happily stay single if necessary until the kids were "grown up" and longer. Any partner I did introduce would have to know they are my top priority, and they would have a right of veto on anyone moving in.

Completely agree.

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PoppyPopcorn · 25/10/2017 15:11

There does seem to be an attitude among many that being a parent means that you have no option but to do everything your little cherubs want. To be fair, most of this attitude comes from other parents who make passive aggressive comments about how they "couldn't bear" to leave their child overnight, or "don't understand" why/how a parent might ever want or need time away from their kids.

There are 5 of us in our family, 2 adults and 3 kids. We all have needs and nobody's needs are more important than anyone else's. Everyone has times where they have to suck it up and do things they don't particularly want to do, or times when they don't get what they want.

Too many mummy martyrs out there - yes I'll sit through Minions at the cinema with the kids, but no I won't allow the children to dictate where we go on holiday - they might love Butlins, I'd hate it, so we don't go.

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MsGameandWatching · 25/10/2017 15:14

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.

Yeah. Well that only works when you're decent parents alongside prioritising your relationship. If you're not and you use it as an excuse not to be e.g my Mum being violent towards me and my Dad turning a blind eye on the grounds that "me and your Mum are a team and you'll never get between us" then you're just selfish and probably don't love or like your kids that much and like having an excuse not to step up for them.

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smallmercys · 25/10/2017 15:20

IMO it's horrible being a parent in 2017. The media and marketing intrudes all over family life, and social media facilitates bullying. Hardly anyone can measure up either as a parent or a child it seems. As a society it feels like someone else is bringing up our children, I'm not sure many of us can even be 'good enough' parents anymore. Perhaps it's horrible being a child too.

YANBU and I despair.

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MrsPworkingmummy · 25/10/2017 15:29

@EveningShadows I'm secondary trained and you are absolutely right. Some parents' attitudes shock me to the core, and they completely fail to see the damage they are doing to their children.

OP I wholeheartedly agree with everything you have said. My DD is loved, wanted and provided for, but DH and I certainly make an effort to keep our marriage separate from the role of mum and dad.

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