Threads

See more results

Topics

Usernames

Mumsnet Logo
Please
or
to access all these features

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

OP posts:
Report
Please
or
to access all these features

youarenotkiddingme · 25/10/2017 15:32

Some excellent thought provoking posts here.

I see friends DCs (teens) with a variety of different upbringings. I've seen the effect of "putting child's wants above everything else" but I e also learnt in past ew days why friend friend did this. I never judged but it makes more sense now - although I still don't agree with or think she's doing her kids a favour!

Basically her kids ultimately get what they want. Bags packed for them still at 12/13. Food cooked when they want- no expectation to be home at mealtime. Driving to local co op because they want a specific dinner not what's already in house. Days out cancelled or plans changed because they've decided they want to do something else. Stopping at shops to buy new outfit for trip out because they have nothing to wear. (They had clothes weekly). Nowadays they are quite often up at 10.30 weekends and holidays and being taken somewhere at 11 with money to spend. Picked up and ferried about. Sleepovers most weekends since they were 8 ish and some days taken shopping, lunch out, swimming and an evening activity. And it isn't afforded - friend has extended mortgage and consolidated debt every 18 months the whole time I've known her.

Yet these 2 kids with no responsibility to do any chores or attend family meals or sort our own clothes etc are not happy. Both have anger/anxiety/social/behavioural problems between them.

And guess what? My friend is really unhappy too Sad

Please
or
to access all these features

yeahforfriday · 25/10/2017 15:36

MAnchesterGin, your school playground is full of kids wearing 700 pound coats?!!! Where do you live? Blimey, I live in a pretty upper middle class area but can pretty much guarantee that not a single one of the 600-odd kids at our local school wear 700 quid coats. I think some of this is a class thing though, if people have a lot of money they do not feel the need to show it off, if people don't then there is a certain bracket of people who would eat dry pasta themselves each night so that their kids can be dressed in designer (and often the moms to).

I see it from both sides but I think it depends what you mean by putting kids first.

I would put my DS and my DSC's emotional welfare and needs above my own but actually having recent issues with DSD who we have mistakenly raised as an entitled madam who with hindsight should have been told no more often I can see where we went wrong. Also DS - I did too much for him and even now at Uni he is struggling because I was to quick to do everything for him (some I think was guilt because I have always worked so compensated when I got home by doing everything for him and the DSC's every weekend. The thing is though some may just be genetic because the youngest is not entitled and is capable yet raised the same.

Also I think that your take on it sometimes will depend on the age of the children. When they are young you can't always imagine not putting them at the front of everything, days out, tv shows etc. Some because you want them to have good memories and experiences and some (tv shows) just to get some peace.

The older they are the more you realise that they are going to go off and live their own lives and do their own things and then you have to re-establish your self and your relationship (I think this could be why a lot of couple split when children leave home as they have centered their whole lives around children and find they have little in common now with their spouse).

Please
or
to access all these features

KarateKitten · 25/10/2017 15:40

I think there is a lot of anxiety around parenting these days and people do seem to pander a lot to children where I would tend to put my foot down and let them get on with understanding their own feelings, other people's feelings/needs and subsequently decide their next move in the context of not being 'handled' all gently. I want them to be responsible for not just their actions but also their feelings. I think parents on here seem to take on their kids feelings for them a lot, afraid of damaging their sensibilities.

I agree with you OP but it's not popular to let kids cry or not let them feel like they're the centre of the universe. I personally think it leads to insecure and anxious grown ups, who haven't learned how to cope well.

My kids health and happiness is a priority, best served by me and DH being healthy and happy too, but I don't make them as people a priority in all instances.

Please
or
to access all these features

snash12 · 25/10/2017 15:41

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!

FlexiTimeCheekyFucker is what happens!

Please
or
to access all these features

RoseM83 · 25/10/2017 15:45

A child's welfare is the same thing as a the child coming first, because their well being comes before yours, always. We always strive to do what we think is best for our children, no matter how hard it may be for us.

Please
or
to access all these features

Winosaurus · 25/10/2017 16:52

RoseM83 no they are not the same thing... they are to reasonable sensible people who have balance in the lives. I’m referring to kids who get what they want, when they want. Not what they need.

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

kittensinmydinner1 · 25/10/2017 20:21

A good loving, supportive marriage/ltr is the foundation upon which happy children live. (If you are lucky enough to have one) A shit relationship does the absolute opposite. Material wants come a long way down the list for a happy childhood.

I absolutely agree that the parents relationship should be prioritised. If that is strong then the parenting is a lot easier.

I am a sm and a m . My children’s welfare and well-being is enormously important. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing them happy. However this does not mean they get all they want or dictate my relationship.

A pp stars up thread that her dcs got the ‘veto’ on a relationship. No way would I be taking relationship advice from my children. I am the parent. It is my job to know that the person I am married to is a suitable person to parent my children with me. The kids do not dictate that.
We are seven kids 4 Dsc ( 2 live with us) and 3 of mine. Holiday decisions are made by us. -the parents -with a few options floated for discussion and agreement. Days out are a mixture of our choice and theirs. (Although as all now teenagers we are pretty much left to our own devices- but it is certainly the way it was.)

Step children go through a huge upset when parents split. We owe it to them to ensure we re-set that stability with a good remarriage. That takes work and sometimes means - sorry kids dads been away at work and we need a few hours to ourself. Supper is in the oven. We’ll see you later. !

Please
or
to access all these features

mistymumma · 25/10/2017 20:33

But they should come first, surely? You had all the time before children to put yourself first, and you will have the time again when they are older. I hardly think around ten years to put your child first is going to kill you... or maybe it will, in which case you shouldn't have had children. If all I had was a tenner in my back pocket, and it was a choice between buying myself something that I had been wanting to buy, or something my daughter wanted, I absolutely would buy for her first before I even thought about myself. People speak of making yourself happy as well as your child, but to be honest, there is nothing in this world that makes me happier than my daughter does, so it's a bit of a no brainer really.

Please
or
to access all these features

JayDot500 · 25/10/2017 20:39

Erm, my kid comes first. Always. But I tell him 'No' when I feel he needs to be told, and no, he isn't allowed to get away with crap behavior. I don't understand what some people are getting at when they talk about entitled kids being the same as kids coming first Hmm

Please
or
to access all these features

Puppymouse · 25/10/2017 21:11

I think there’s a happy medium here. I do sometimes say to DD “the world doesn’t revolve around you.” Or “Mummy needs quiet time you need to play by yourself for a bit.” I encourage sharing and waiting patiently while I finish something or eat something she’d like. I don’t automatically deny myself things because of her.

However she is the most important thing in my life, closely followed by my animals. And rightly or wrongly DH knows he isn’t my top priority. But part of that is because they don’t understand as much so I see them as more vulnerable.

Please
or
to access all these features

ohreallyohreallyoh · 25/10/2017 21:56

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

Many years post divorce, I am still single. Mainly by choice. I am open to relationships but yes, my children and their needs are my priority. Their father makes his relationships his priority, there is much swapping and changing, some mourning of relationships lost cos dad didn't go the distance with yet another girlfriend. I am the constant in their lives, the stability, the rock. Your suggestion is that I should have a relationship to show my children how it can be. Except, with the best will in the world and very bitter experience, I know forever means as long as it takes for something to change. There are no guarantees. I would prefer my children didn't experience instability with both their parents. If that makes me a martyr and subject to playground gossip, so be it. Better than called a slag and the subject of playground gossip, eh?

Please
or
to access all these features

KarateKitten · 25/10/2017 22:20

Actually if there was only one bag of crisps left and I knew my kids wanted it, yeah, I'd eat it. They don't need to come first every time. I'll have been putting them first most of the day so if I want to hide in the utility eating the crisps they would have loved, I'm not going to feel bad about it.

If they wanted a toy and I wanted a nice candle etc. I wouldn't necessarily buy them the toy.

My kids will never go without something they need but many of the examples on this thread are parents saying they get what their kids want first, as a priority over what they want. I don't subscribe to that.

Please
or
to access all these features

Tenroundswithmiketyson · 26/10/2017 09:42

Normally, I let the kids have it. I shouldn't be eating them anyway

Please
or
to access all these features

Tenroundswithmiketyson · 26/10/2017 09:43

Normally, I let the kids have it. I shouldn't be eating them anyway

Please
or
to access all these features

KarateKitten · 26/10/2017 10:38

Tenround, in fairness, neither should they. 😂 You'd actually be putting their interests first by eating the crisps and taking the hit.

Please
or
to access all these features

harlandgoddard · 26/10/2017 11:04

But kids need boundaries and need to know they aren’t centre of attention. It’s healthy for them. So by giving into their every want it isn’t actually putting them first, like a PP pointed out, that kind of parenting is for the parent rather than the child. My DD absolutely comes first and I can’t imagine having it any other way, yet I still leave her with family, don’t give in to her tantrums and FF over BF. None of those things did/do her any harm whatsoever.

My parents definitely put their relationships (with other people) before me so maybe my view is clouded but I do think your kids should be your priority.

Please
or
to access all these features

MsGameandWatching · 26/10/2017 11:14

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

Are you sure that’s what’s going on? My ex H was an abusive man who made me miserable for a decade, he behaved in ways I never thought possible, did things that no one believed when I told them. I know what some people are capable of now. How can I risk that again? I think some women have been so badly burned they simply don’t have the emotional ability to engage in a relationship again. Not to mention the fact that my kids both have autism and can be challenging, how is it fair on anyone to introduce someone new into that situation? Then there’s the fact that romantic relationships simply are not the be all and end all for many, they’ve seen that, done that and have no desire to do it again. Some people don’t get that though so it’s easier just to say “oh I will wait for the kids to grow up”. If my children ever manage to be independent I will be buying a small camper van and touring the UK and Europe with my dog. I certainly won’t be out looking for a new relationship.

Please
or
to access all these features

JacquesHammer · 26/10/2017 11:31

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

But that's your definition of martyrdom. I am in a causal relationship. Won't be introducing to DD. Not interested in anything else. I'm happy, DD is happy.

Please
or
to access all these features

brasty · 26/10/2017 11:43

Yep. I am NEVER revealing my secret chocolate stash that only comes out when no one else is around. Sometimes what I want does come first.

Please
or
to access all these features

BetterGoNowMary · 26/10/2017 11:50

My son doesn't come first. You know what does? My mental health. That is my top priority.

If I'm not mentally healthy and sane, my son won't be getting his needs met. So for me that's the most important thing.

It's partly why I sleep trained him which I get MASSIVELY judged for by the attachment parenting sect, but I was losing my mind through sleep deprivation and no, co-sleeping did not help at all as my son won't sleep anywhere but his cot.

Please
or
to access all these features

ImEoinMcLove · 26/10/2017 12:04

This is an interesting thread.

I was brought up as part of a large family & definitely had all my emotional needs met & felt very secure and loved. But we had very little money & days out were certainly not all child oriented etc.

I'm now a new mum to a 7 month old. I guess I'd be classified as a 'responsive' parent (all these bloody labels!) in that he's fed on demand and I've waited for a routine to develop itself etc. His sleep has taken a nosedive recently & we're now co-sleeping so we can get some kip. In short - the house is currently revolving more around the baby really!

I guess this thread has made me question at what age this should start rebalancing? i.e. at what age are your child's needs no longer the same as their wants? At the moment I feel a baby who's crying both wants and needs something- be it comfort, food, nappy.

But I think I do need to ensure as he grows that I'm meeting his needs but also being mindful of completely subsuming myself & my marriage, as I would like him to grow up with the same values I did.

Please
or
to access all these features

ImEoinMcLove · 26/10/2017 12:07

Crosspost bettergonow & that's a hugely important point.

mental health is crucial & if this sleep deprivation goes on much longer I think we will have to look at our options - I'm no good to DS if I'm on my knees

Please
or
to access all these features

BetterGoNowMary · 26/10/2017 12:17

mental health is crucial & if this sleep deprivation goes on much longer I think we will have to look at our options - I'm no good to DS if I'm on my knees

Yes and that's exactly it, and this is why I think it's daft to "label" any kind of parenting. You simply parent the child that you've got, at the end of the day, and kids all respond differently to different things. Even from tiny babies they are very very different. As are people. Some of us can cope with long term sleep deprivation. And some of us can't. No shame in either!

Please
or
to access all these features

BetterGoNowMary · 26/10/2017 12:20

I'll never forget one of my friends, who suffered a relapse of bipolar disorder after the birth of her DD, being absolutely guilted into continuing breastfeeding by various people. It's a well documented fact that bipolar sufferers need as much sleep as possible and let's not pretend that breastfeeding doesn't affect that.

Friend continued breastfeeding her baby, continued getting no sleep, which resulted in a total breakdown and she had to be hospitalised for three months while she recovered. Don't tell me that didn't affect her child more than stopping breastfeeding would have.

Mental health is SO important. As someone who grew up with a very responsive mother who did NOT ever put her own needs first, I can't stress it enough.

Please
or
to access all these features

VioletCharlotte · 26/10/2017 12:22

I agree OP. My children's needs have always come first, but not their wants. They're in their teens now and both pretty independent and respect that I have a life too.

I have a friend with a 5 year old who does nothing for herself. She missed out on nights out as her child insists her laying with him as he falls to sleep and screams blue murder if she goes out without him.

It's not healthy to be a martyr to your child.

Please
or
to access all these features
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?