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Joined: Oct 2009
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On the �Meeting his kids� thread and several others, I�ve read much echoing of the sentiment that you should let your kids know that they are first, not the new partner. I�m wondering if you think that stance should change after marriage?

I ask because my mom took the opposite stance: After she remarried, there was a time she chose something for him over me (I forget what it was- a school event, maybe). I complained and she said that her first loyalty was to her new husband. That made me even madder, and she explained that "one day you will grow up and leave me. But he will be by my side forever."

Obviously I wouldn't take that stance while DATING, but my mom and step-dad have a very strong marriage, and I think their dedication to one another is a huge part of that strength. I didn't like it at the time, but in a few days I got over it like kids always do. And I felt loved by both mom and step-dad, so never gave it another thought while growing up.

How do you all feel about that? Do the kids continue to be first after marriage? Or does priority switch afterward?


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Daisy,

Good question. Like I said in my thread the x did a lousy job with this, and my kids are older and have never been first with the x and his wife. She has a sister living with them that had just had a baby and my kids witnessed that their dad spent more time with someone elses child as opposed to his own.

I believe that there would have to be a balance worked out with the spouse, and both be agreeable to the balance. I could see kids pitting a parent against the new spouse and making them choose or the new spouse pitting the parent against the kids.

I know in the situation that I am in right now, there are times when I struggle about the lack of time together as his kids do take up a great deal of his time. But we are finding it fun to be creative in isolating time that we can see each other, so for right now we have found a balance.

Last night, we were on the phone talking and his 2nd son stopped by to see dad and I heard him say hi blah, blah and I said I will talk to you later, we said good bye and hung up. He called back later and said thank you, I said for what and he said for understanding and being so good about allowing his kids to be first. I asked why wouldn't I be, he said that someone wouldn't be as they always have to be # 1. Guess I am different!


Ok I guess that is my 2 cents worth on the subject!

Dawn


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I don't think of it as "who's first in line."
The kids were and are my primary responsibility. I am responsible for them in a way that I was not for my second husband. (While we were only married a short time, we lived together as a family for the year we were engaged.) Mike knew and accepted that the kids were OUR first responsibility.

But, in the order of things, the kids are dependents. They do not dictate priorities or schedules. That is something the adults do. And adults get the best bedroom. This actually came up a month before we were married. Because Mike and I had two to four nights without children, we were able to get a lot of couple time in.

The whole thing though hinged on me picking the right partner.
Mike agreed with me about our duty to the girls.
Mike and I also shared values so 85-90% of the time we were in agreement about what to do. That meant that I rarely had to choose who to support.
Finally, Mike earned the right to have a say in the girls' lives by being there and sacrificing for them and supporting them. The man helped with homework for heaven's sake.

In the early stages of dating, say the first year and a half, I didn't have Mike around the girls much. They were able to get used to me dating without being in competition.


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I understand what Daisy's mom meant, but I also look at what GreenGables' said...both make sense. Maybe it really is striking a balance. It wouldn't be right for a spouse to be disregarded merely because there happens to be kids, but neither is it right for the kids to always feel second fiddle just because mom or dad remarried. Maybe sometimes one needs to be put first and sometimes the other does. Don't we do that in our first marriages anyway? There's times the day is just for the kids, maybe it's their birthday or another special event...but sometimes it goes the other way. Still, the man is the head of the household, much as people don't like to hear it anymore. The important thing is to pick the right one to start with, not someone who is an inconsiderate tyrant.


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I think what Daisy's mom said is correct to me. It is biblically supported as well.

As a man, we are supposed to love our wives as we love our own bodies and be willing to die for her. I think working together to solve problems related to children (whom you both should love) is much easier than dying for someone.

That being said, anyone you should choose to marry should love and want the best for your children, so there should be very few choices which need making.


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I really think that the "kids first, partner first" debate only becomes an issue when the partner is making unreasonable demands on the parent of the kids...such as making the parent choose them and thier want/desires over the needs of the kids.

For example my bf is great understanding that my son's needs come first. Not necessarily his wants, but his needs. In other words my son needs to see his mother. Therefore I do not "go out" or leave DS with a babysitter to go with my BF out somewhere. BF comes to the house and we spend time together...all three of us. And our "alone time" is after DS is in bed and we can snuggle on the couch or when DS goes with his father for weekends etc. BF gets this and is willing to work within this system. However when it comes to DS wants over BF wants there has to be a balance. BF might be watching a TV show or the news when he is over at my house. DS decides he wants to watch a movie...out of courtesy of the fact that BF is watching soemthing already and to teach my son patience and courtesy for others I tell him "not tonight, please play with your toys, help mommy, or read a book". Choosing my BF's wants in this situation does not hurt DS and in fact teaches him respect, courtesy and patience.

I think it all has to be a balance. When the demand is unreasonable by the partner the kids should come first. When compromise is possible it should happen and sometimes kids need to learn that they don't get everything they want right now.


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I agree with Melissa, one should definitely find an even balance. Submitting to their every need is highly unnecessarily and will fail to teach them proper respect of others time and space. On the flip side, they are still your kids, and you love them greatly and want to spend time with them.

More importantly, the new significant needs to understand his or her role in yours and your childrens lives as well. This part is most crucial, because theres no reason to date someone who doesn't understand family values and how important and time consuming actually being there to raise your children can be.

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I have never agreed with the kids first statement. I think that it does need to be a healthy balance. The guy I am dating recently had this talk and he made a very profound statement, he said, "My marriage ended because of "kids first rule", the kids need to see a happy healthy relationship between partners as well, and it is good for the kids to see that their mom/dad balances out their relationships with the kids and with their partners and makes time for everyone important in their life."

What if you had another baby? You always find time no matter how many kids, so it makes sense to find time for everyone you love too. To me this means taking each case of what's going on in your life individually., and that is whether you are married or dating an important person.


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Originally Posted by Anna2000
"My marriage ended because of "kids first rule", the kids need to see a happy healthy relationship between partners as well, and it is good for the kids to see that their mom/dad balances out their relationships with the kids and with their partners and makes time for everyone important in their life."

Well said, that seems like a great way to sum all of this up. It is important to see parents not leaning one way or the other, that is not spending too much or too little time specifcally with the kids or the spouse, as they will learn a lot simply by observing the way we live our lives, which is just as important if not moreso than what is taught to them directly.

Last edited by backonthemarket; 06/07/10 04:32 AM.

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