It’s important you read the article above. I agree and disagree. As with anything so black and white and lecture-y.
Often when I see these arguments they assume that one mutually excludes the other. If your partner is important your kids can’t be, if your kids are important your marriage can’t be - who said there has to be a “most” anyway?
You can put yourself first and still respect your children. Children learn respect by experiencing respect bestowed to them. They learn to treat those smaller and weaker than them with compassion and understanding. A good thing, I think.
You can put your marriage first AND still parent in the nighttime hours which may look like letting a kiddo sleep in your bed. Because you and your spouse set out on this mission together and having a common goal of raising a child to the best of your ability is in fact bonding and nurturing to the marriage. That said you still need time together and a healthy sex life and as a dear friend of mine has said before "If your sex life is over because you can only have sex at night in your bed you had problems before cosleeping." Get creative together, that too is bonding!
Priority and urgency are 2 separate things. I am my first priority, (read why here) then my marriage because if those 2 things aren't on point then all 3 (kids being the 3rd) suffer tremendously. BUT my children often have more urgent needs. And in that moment it may appear to a man looking in the window that they are the center of the world. And I'm ok with that, because I made them and promised them I would care for them. I also happily leave them with grandma and grandpa so my husband and I can date. It takes both, in my opinion. But let’s remember we’re talking about the oxygen mask analogy - yes I need to put mine on first, but that doesn’t mean I ignore my kids’ needs because they aren’t important. (Connection and attention ARE biological NEEDS of humans.)
There's so much focus on "I'm better than you, you're lesser than me" and I run a home where everyone is a human being and deserves to be treated as such. Wants, needs, desires all are considered and each situation is handled differently. "I can play blocks AFTER I make dinner because that's my focus right now and that's how I take care of the family as a whole." "Sure I'll play blocks with you because you're more important than me putzing around on facebook." "Dad is going to his Tennis class so he won't be able to build that tonight. Tennis is how he takes care of his body and his mind." "Dad will happily build with you tonight, work is done and dinner is done and now we can hang out." BOTH realities exist here in our home.
Children ARE entitled to food and clothing and shelter and attention and understanding. They didn't ask to be born, we made that choice and we made certain agreements when we chose to have a child.
The goal IS to raise a productive member of society but making them feel less than and unimportant and insignificant only leads them to go out and decide who is insignificant to them, less than because somebody has to be for you to feel important...think racism...no I don't think their era did better. Instead treat children as if they are important and valuable and they will find value and importance in others without feeling threatened.
No your kids don't need straight As or a million after school activities. Simplifying life is important actually. Let them be bored, let them get creative, let them make up a game with a stick and a pine cone if you don't want to be forced to 3 practices a night and games every weekend. Or you can see a passion for a sport in your child and decide to commit fully to it as a family. Your choice, both are valid, you decide what is best for your family, but know that you're good parents whether your kids are in organized sports, music etc or not.
Gratitude is a learned habit. Find and express gratitude to your children for what they contribute to the family, their joy, their laughter, their brutal honesty, their constant learning opportunities, their willingness to forgive all of your shortcomings. Talk to them about gratitude and they will start to express it. Remember kids under age 9 haven't mastered empathy and it's not a bad sign if they forget to be grateful, just remind them and do family volunteer projects so they can see a different world, of course they don't know, they have no way to know. It doesn't make you "better" or them "bad" they are just learning which is what they came here to do. And the entitlement issue that is brought up is BECAUSE parents treated children like they were insignificant, and those children became adults with little to no emotional connection to their parents but as parents themselves they wanted different. The problem was they never had a model of how to connect to their kids. I mentor moms daily who don't know how to talk to their children or connect with them because it was never done for them. Those who don't find help mistakenly think that connection means to just make them like you and do that with lots of stuff or permissiveness. Throwing money at the problem because they never had an example of how to connect and develop a strong bond. And those children have the same struggle because they have lots of stuff but are still missing the connection and they don't even know it. They act entitled when what they really are saying is “I NEED genuine emotional connection, importance, and significance” and it’s misconstrued and misunderstood and the parents hear “I don’t like you” and feel guilty and buy more stuff and the child may have gotten what they said they wanted but not what they were REALLY saying they NEEDED and it’s a vicious cycle. The opposite of creating entitlement isn't aloofness and ignoring our kids, it's focusing on the connection even more and cutting back in the "stuff" that will never replace mom and dad. Remember, a day will come when you WANT your child to come to you and talk to you instead of feeling all on their own dealing with situations WAY over their head - they won’t. They will NOT come to you at 14 if they can’t come to you at 4. If you want them to speak to you about the BIG stuff, (sex, drugs, pregnancy prevention, alcohol, bullying, eating disorders) TEACH them that you value what they have to say and remember to a 4 year old, and 7 year old and 11 year old - that game, that toy, that worm - IS big stuff. Value it now and they will know you value it later. Simply put, yes, make time to have adult conversations with your partner. AND time to have kid conversations with your kids. You CAN do both, and all of you will benefit from it.
We're all people and when we treat each other better, everything starts to get better. As my friend Lindsay Ransom (birth worker and gentle sleep expert) says, “Peace on Earth, starts at birth.” We can’t expect to make children feel bad for 18 years and all of a sudden they magically start to be “good” on their own. We teach them every single day how to treat us, themselves, and everyone else in the world. While I think this author means well, I think he misses some pretty huge points. > How do you want your kids to treat you? Treat them that way. > How do you want your kids to grow up and treat their partner? Treat them that way (and your partner that way now) > How do you want your kids to treat people in need? They are in need, treat them that way now. This is the pattern as I see it. And I hope I’ve explained well enough so you can feel confident cuddling with those kids, talking to them as if they are the most interesting person in the world, and truly cherishing these short years you have with them!
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