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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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LostInTheTunnelOfGoats · 27/10/2017 07:11

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

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BetterGoNowMary · 27/10/2017 07:31

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

I agree, as someone who grew up with a similar mother. I love her dearly but the whole thing is claustrophobic.

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Wiggles9408 · 27/10/2017 08:49

I honestly don’t see how it’s unhealthy at all, my siblings and I have such a great connection to our mum and so do our little ones. I don’t feel like it’s claustiphobic because as adults we all choose to see our parents a lot and I think that’s a great reflection of the relationship we have with our parents. My mum came from a house where her mum worked and went out at the weekends and they had a nanny when they were younge and then during my grandparents relationship breakdown my mum took care of her younger sister so I think she went the complete opposite from her upbringing and wanted to just be a mum first and foremost.

I’m not saying that at 16 when other people’s parents were away for the weekend so we could party I wasn’t like ‘MUM JUST GO OUT!’ Because I didn’t want her to know we were drinking San Miguel in a park hahaha BUT now as an adult and a mum I look back and I’m grateful my mums always been there and I wouldn’t change that.

Note; we are not a weird cult of home schooled children - but i like to think as someone who was raised by a mum always putting us first that I’m definitely not entitled or void of empathy 🤣

Families are made of different people, individuals so what works for some families won’t work for others, every friend or boyfriend I’ve ever had over are like ‘it’s crazy how close you guys are!’ But i guess that dynamic just works in our case 😁

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KarateKitten · 27/10/2017 09:07

Some people value their friends with very good reason. You can have a very close, loving and supportive family without being in each other's pockets. I think the outcome is where you can judges if it worked or not and for Wiggles mum, it worked. But I know many families where the kids are safe and secure in their families live and support but also view each other as independent beings who get to enjoy their own lives without having to refer back to the family unit for everything. Both work.

The success is in the foundation, not the execution.

I think the pandering to children style leaves serious cracks in the foundation. Choosing to be with your children as your preference is not equal to pandering by the way.

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JustDanceAddict · 27/10/2017 09:13

Totally depends on the context.

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Darlingsof · 27/10/2017 09:23

YABU - for overgeneralising and not separating needs from wants.

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Autumnskiesarelovely · 27/10/2017 09:31

Definitely not always first.

Of course in many ways they do. They should have our respect, love, nurture and care. However they can have all this and still not be top priority, we aren’t slaves or second best to them.

Especially in step families, way way too much power given and it breaks up their parents relationships. That’s so unhealthy all round. Again, the kids should still be respected, cared for by step parents. But that doesn’t mean having any deciding votes on their parents relationships. Like we don’t with their relationships!

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Autumnskiesarelovely · 27/10/2017 09:34

wiggles your relationship sounds great with your family. However I can’t see how it depended on you always coming first. You can surely be close, warm and communicate really well with your mum without having to come first.

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RedForFilth · 27/10/2017 09:36

I just parent in a way that suits myself and my son at the time! I don't have a rigid formula for parenting, I don't know anyone who does. No need to fall over yourselves defending your parenting and judging others if you are confident in your choices.

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Samesituation · 27/10/2017 09:43

I agree with OP in our house My own DC and SC we promote that Everyone is equal and just as important as each other. (We have had long standing issue with DH EW telling SC that in our house they will always be second best - WTH do people do that ???Angry ) Anyway we treat everybody the same. Needs and wants have to be separated IMO and I personally think these days children expect to have everything they ask for and do not always appreciate that they have everything they need, a loving family and extended family, a stable roof over their head, that is warm, running hot water, food on the table, decent clothes and shoes, education, able to celebrate birthdays and Christmas without worrying about them. Yes they all have toys (latest gadgets in case of SC) - so, if with any spare cash sometimes, if nobody NEEDS anything do I treat me or DH rather than the DC - yes I do !!!

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Oblomov17 · 27/10/2017 09:49

I agree with pp, Utopia :
"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."

I see this a lot. Women living through their children. Wanting to be their 'besties'. The pendulum of parenting has swung too far to this side and I hope that it re-balances over time.

But, also, This generation of children are quite entitled. even my 2 ds's are. And all their friends. And they are nice children. but very entitled. They wish for nothing and don't realise how lucky they are.

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bigmouthstrikesagain · 27/10/2017 10:05

I think what "putting your child first" looks like is very subjective. If you feel uncomfortable with that concept you will view your parenting choices very differently to someone who is entirely happy with that sentiment. I reckon I parent with an odd blend of responsive and benign neglect. If an observer saw that I talk to my middle daughter on the phone every day as she walks home from school, while I am meeting my youngest daughter in person (but not able to talk to her properly as I am on the phone), is that neglect of one and pandering to the other? I would say it was responsive.

No one has mentioned siblings, apologies if I missed it! But I have 3 children, practically speaking if I wanted to pander to them all, I would need a Tardis. They have to compromise and go along with things all the time, it is part of being in a family. I do not expect them to be happy about that always, and they are not, but I allow them to state their point of view, sometimes they will get a concession, sometimes it is tough. I have higher 'needs' children as the older two have aspergers, this means my NT youngest dd has been restricted by the needs of her older siblings. So we try to balance things out for her when we can.

Dh and I have occasional nights out together, I go out alone often, I volunteer, I am trying to find a job at the moment, life goes on. The children have altered the way we live, we chose to have them, we enjoy them and love them but we don't believe in child first above everyone, they are learning about understanding themselves, their place in the world, their privilege in being well fed, cared for and in a country with a decent education system, NHS etc. They are learning that sometimes the world needs to change for them (as young people with Autism), and they have to be responsive to others in return. It is a process but I am proud of my children as they are today, but I would not dream to suggest my way of parenting is right for all children, it is right for them and the only way I know.

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Tw1nsetAndPearls · 27/10/2017 10:21

I think the OP has created a straw man to argue against and make her feel that her way is best.

Putting the children first doesn't mean giving them everything they want and the number of people who do this must be tiny. I put my children first and this means that as well as making time to do things they they want that I make time to discipline them and do what I can to ensure that they grow into pleasant people that others want to employ, be around etc. Giving in to your children all the time for an easy life is the opposite of putting your children first.

As a single mother dating I ended a relationship with a man that I adored and had a huge spark with because I knew he was not right for my daughter. Instead I went for a man that on paper I had less in common with and perhaps lacked that initial spark with because I knew he was right for my my daughter. In the long term I know I made the right decision because we have a very very happy marriage.

My husband and I in the past have gone away for the weekend or even longer holidays on our own but for family holidays the children come first - although we will also do things that we want to do.

I suspect that people not putting their children first causes far more harm than the reverse

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nellieellie · 27/10/2017 10:23

I think there’s a difference between putting children first, and spoiling them. I do think the ultimate welfare of children should come first, but that doesn’t mean giving them everything they want. In fact, that is not good for their welfare at all. Children need to learn to think of others too - whether that’s their parents, their siblings, or others.

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ChiBox · 27/10/2017 10:58

I'm a heath care professional, We are seeing more and more children with minor health needs becoming ill because the kids are in charge and parents don't parent them.

These are the type of things we are seeing but not the actual story don't worry im not sharing patient details.

Things like not taking inhalers and coming in needing nebulisers and heavy treatments. Parents say 5yr old (no special needs) doesn't like the taste.

Not taking Antibotics because they don't like the taste. End up being admitted for 7days of IV antobotics.
while said child is in they are showered with big gifts. Parents are weepy and very full on about how ill their child is. They just need ivs not sickness or high temps. Completely shameless to the poor families with children with no hair, and very sick children.

Kids with no special needs having manual evacuation due to refusing medication and change of diet.

And loads more. It's a nightmare, I feel sorry for teachers.

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Tenroundswithmiketyson · 27/10/2017 14:42

That's not putting children first though. It's parents who can't be bothered with the hassle. My ds refuses his inhaler and if I have to make him have his inhaler i do

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Macaroni46 · 27/10/2017 14:57

Another teacher here. In my experience those children who have their every wish acted upon and who are given no boundaries are not actually that happy. I have taught children that literally have never been denied anything, who have never had the word “no” applied to them and whose parents are scared to do either of the above because they genuinely think that the child won’t love or like them anymore. These children, through no fault of their own, often treat their parents appallingly, asking for more and more. It Is also very hard for those entitied children to adjust to school (and everyday life) as they believe they are the centre of the universe, along with 29 others who potentially also believe this! I have actually witnessed parents leaving their child in a dangerous situation eg toddler climbing high up on play equipment meant for older kids because they don’t want to upset the child by bringing them down.
I personally believe that children need to be given clear boundaries and to have some decisions made for them. By pushing against the boundaries and having them enforced, children actually feel safe and loved. Why do some parents think that a child should never cry or become upset as a result of being told no or denied something. A parent can be loving and put the need of the child first without over indulging them.

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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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babybarrister · 27/10/2017 15:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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HonestlySomePeople · 27/10/2017 15:24

Well said.
I agree with you OP

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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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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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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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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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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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