Dating a man with kids? Why kids don’t always come first

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I meet most men that I date online. 

It's very common for guys with kids to write in their dating profiles:

“My kids come first,”

or

“My daughter is the center of my world!”

I get where you're coming from.

You want a potential mate to know that your life includes the giant presence of a kid or four.

You also want women to know you're a devoted dad.

Got it. Roger!

But this message can get messy in relationships, and kids are one of the main reasons that second and third marriages suffer such high divorce rates.

Here are common questions when it comes to dating a man or woman with kids:

Should a man put his girlfriend first?

Quick answer:

At first, no.

But once the relationship becomes a serious, long-term commitment, the relationship should come before the kids' every whim. However, child wellbeing is first.

More details:

Dating with kids: Challenges of dating a single parent

When it comes to relationships, I'm fond of saying, “You never really know what goes on between people.” 

But there are a few couples in my life who I look to as models of the kind of marriage I'd like one day.

People who really enjoy each other. Respect and support one another.

In these families, the parents put their relationship before the kids. They are the dynamic centriforce around which the family's life orbits. And everyone thrives as a result.

There is lots of research to suggest that a happy marriage is the cornerstone of well-adjusted kids.

Celebrity sex therapist Laura Berman, Ph.D., writes in her relationship guide, The Book of Love:

“No matter how sacrilegious it sounds, you need to put your relationship before your children. A strong relationship provides security for your children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be. What could be more important?”

That's a tricky proposition for single parents. If you're not in a committed relationship, it is very easy to make your kids the prominent focus of your life.

After all, they can be so demanding — not to mention fulfilling.

Plus, if you've gone through a divorce or another crisis that landed you as a single parent, you are no doubt concerned about giving your kids extra care and sense of security.

Do these statements ring true to you? …

When to tell a date you have kids

“My boyfriend puts his child before me”

This is so common and can be a tricky situation. Especially early in the relationship, when you crave more time with your man, he prioritizes his children, and you feel left out.

Do you feel like your relationship is at a crossroads? I recently got a psychic reading from Keen, which allows you to pick from hundreds of mediums, tarot readers and psychics for a live reading. Jenn, the medium I chose, assured me my relationship would get over this rough patch. Try Keen now, first 3 minutes free >>

“Dating a man with kids and feeling left out”

Perhaps he wants to mostly keep his kids separate from his romantic life, or his taking slower to blend his relationship with his home life. Or, maybe you expect more from the relationship than is healthy. Or, maybe you each want different things from the relationship.

Consider filling your own life with meaningful friendships, a career, hobbies and fitness. Perhaps your boyfriend will invite you into his homelife if you are less clingy. Or, you will each realize you want different things from the partnership and go your separate ways.

eharmony review — are this site's claims of the highest rates of marriage, and the lowest rates of divorce legit?

“Boyfriend not bonding with my child”

There are so many reasons why a boyfriend/girlfriend does not bond with the other partner's child. These include:

  • The child is jealous of the new partner
  • The partner is jealous of the child
  • Their personalities just don't jibe—just like two adults do not naturally get along, this can be true for a child-adult relationship, too.

Here are some tips:

  • Be patient. Once both the partner and child realize there is enough love to go around, everyone may calm down and connect
  • Find ways for your boyfriend or girlfriend to spend one-on-one time together. Focus on everyday tasks (rather than big special outings or treats), like a grocery store run, washing the car, or cooking together. Once you remove yourself, they have a chance to create their own bond
  • Keep in mind that children go through phases they quickly grow out of, as do adults. Likewise, relationships have ups and downs and seasons.
  • Seek outside perspectives. Ask friends with blended families for advice, and ask them to watch how your new brood interacts — and be open to feedback. Consider therapy.

Why you don't have to tell your ex about your new relationship

“My boyfriend's child is ruining our relationship”

Or, his kids start to manipulate him and have an upper hand in the family — and he lets him.

Men, just like moms, can feel the pressure to prioritize children above all else. Maybe he feels guilty that he is not with his child's mom, or that he left the relationship, or he wants to be a better father than his own dad.

Or, maybe he is using his child as an excuse not to get close to you. This may be a conscious decision — or it could be percolating at an unconscious level. We all have ways we sabotage relationships out of fear of intimacy.

Dating red flags — and when to call it quits

Best online therapy sites for 2021— Costs, free therapy, pros, cons

How do you date someone with a child?

Deeper information can be found to this question in these posts:

14 tips for men who want to date a single mom

Benefits of dating a single dad — and how to date a man with kids

Looking for a serious relationship? Our No. 1 recommendation is eHarmony, which is consistently rated the most trusted dating site, and is designed specifically for those looking for meaningful, long-term connections. A+ Better Business Bureau rating, and claims “Every day, an average of 438 singles marry a match they found on eHarmony.” 3-month free guarantee with eHarmony.

Great examples of couples who put their kids second in dating 

A couple years ago, a guy I went out with, read my blog before we went out, and mulled my opinions on putting your kids behind your romantic partner.

 Over cajun food, he described what sounds like a remarkably happy suburban childhood headed by parents who enjoyed a 40-year marriage, five kids, and two successful careers.

My date has only the fondest memories of watching his dad court his mom on their weekly date nights and annual parent-only vacations — in addition to the family road-trip.

Staying home with the babysitter was tons of fun. “My dad made it clear that his relationship with my mom was the center of everything, while he was also the best dad ever,” he said.

What could be a better example of the benefits of putting your romantic partner first?

How to choose pics for online dating profiles

What if you don't have a romantic interest to start with?

This Modern Love column in the New York Times (which I read religiously and am only slightly bitter about the fact the editor Daniel Jones has rejected more than a dozen of my submissions over the years BUT NEVERMIND!) highlighted an essay by Aylete Waldman about the fact that she puts her husband and their fantastic sex life above their four kids.

The most interesting thing about the essay was the resulting shitstorm of controversy which landed Waldman on a much-viewed Oprah episode during which a hostile audience nearly attacked her.

Yes, that essay is a decade old, but it warrants a revisit because parents — mothers most especially — are still expected to make our children the center of our worlds, and always put kids first. Waldman wrote:

I do love [my daughter]. But I'm not in love with her. Nor with her two brothers or sister. Yes, I have four children. Four children with whom I spend a good part of every day: bathing them, combing their hair, sitting with them while they do their homework, holding them while they weep their tragic tears. But I'm not in love with any of them. I am in love with my husband.

It is his face that inspires in me paroxysms of infatuated devotion. If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children.

I love that Waldman challenges the institution that admonishes women for anything other than full-time adoration of their kids.

Waldman's work includes many of the points I've made here on this blog:

Many of you lapped up my essay about the fact that I don't live for my kids — and that is my biggest gift to them.

Putting kids before all else makes them neurotic and robs me of my potential to live the biggest, fullest life that I can — and model for my children that such a life is possible.

Putting kids first makes them neurotic and robs me of my potential to live the biggest, fullest life that I can — and model for my children that such a life is possible.

I've urged parents — single moms in particular — to prioritize their health above all else, including family time.

After all, you can't be an energetic mom now if you are overweight, and you are even more likely than single moms overall to burden your children in your old age if you don't care for your wellbeing now.

That despite my attempts to live said full life, I've found myself hugging my kids too much because I'm lonely — and that is entirely unfair to my son and daughter. Alas, I am only human.

I plan to read Waldman's essay collection, Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace, which promises to dig into the societal pressure moms face to put their children into the laser-sharp focus of their universes.

Liberating music to my ears! 

But Waldman has a husband she is crazy about. I don't.

14 tips for men who want to date a single mom

Benefits of dating a single dad — and how to date a man with kids

Takeaway

Give yourself permission to stop feeling guilty. 

Focus on research that finds that kids don't need nearly as much time with their parents as we think they do. 

A University of Maryland meta study of 34 papers found that after age 2, it makes literally zero difference how much time parents spent with their kids. In fact, researchers found that the pressure to spend so much quality time with children stresses moms out so much that it may actually make us worse parents than if we just focused our time on our relationships, health and making more money, and less on frontal-lobe development and deep connection with our children. That is right: We are spending TOO MUCH time with our children.

U.S. moms of 3-to-11-year-olds spend an average of 11 to 30 hours each week either fully engaged in activities with their kids, or nearby and accessible when needed. And for kids in their early teens, moms are there between 11 and 20 hours each week. On average, in 1975 moms spent just over 7 hours per week with their kids. We are spending more time with our children, yet feeling more guilty and stressed.

Want to date? Go for it — AND DON’T FEEL GUILTY!

Schedule one date per week — with guys from Tinder, your boyfriend or your husband (or, if your relationship permits — all three!) Get started today and choose your online dating platform >>

Not into online dating apps? Consider a matchmaking service. Read: It's Just Lunch matchmaking service review

Need a sex life? NO GUILT FOR YOU – ONLY BOOTY!

Do what you have to do.

Need to hit the gym?

HIRE A SITTER AND DON’T LOOK BACK!

Looking forward to that business trip even though you have to leave the kids at home?

KILL IT!

I’m not worried you'll neglect the kids. If you are like the professional moms I know, the pendulum swings way in the other direction — and you’re far more likely to neglect yourself.

Dating someone new? When should single moms introduce a boyfriend to the kids?

Should a man put his girlfriend first?

No. But once the relationship becomes a serious, long-term commitment, the relationship should come before the kids' every whim. However, child wellbeing is first.

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

765 Comments

Kids must come first.

Why?

#1 Kids did not ask to come to this world. It was your decision to bring them to this world. You decided instead of them. So you are responsible of your kids. This responsibility / decision must override every other responsibility / decision.

#2 Kids are vulnerable. You must protect your kids even from your spouse if they are abused.

#3 Kids need you to survive. But your spouse can survive without you. You can divorce / leave your spouse but you cannot abondone your kids.

#4 If you do not raise healthy kids whole society pays for this. Neglected kids use drugs and join gangs more. Neglected spouses only divorce. :)

#5 Kids are the future of society. They are the alonest key to eternity.

#6 Romantic love is conditional. Yes there are exceptions but we do not continue to love our spouse after he / she leaves us.. But we continue to love our kids after they leave us. We even continue to love our kids who can start to hate / dislike us when they become teenagers. :) This is unconditional real love what makes us human. How many romantic love can stand 20 years of one-way sacrification? So maternal love deserves to be put first.

#7 Kids can give you grandchildren and a larger family.

#8 When you get old your spouse will also get old so you may need the support of your kids.

#9 With your kids are a piece of you will continue to live after you die.

#10 You should teach your kids that they should not put themselves over everybody else. How can parents as role models teach their kids this if they put themselves over everybody else in a family? Kids do what their parents do.

#11 If you have two kids what must be more important? Your spouse or your two kids? Ethically two humans must be more important than one human. So you can priotirize your spouse over your kids only if you have one kid. :)

#12 Finding a new spouse takes mostly 2 / 3 years. But raising a new kid takes 20 years. :)

In response to some of these criticisms, I was lucky enough to grow up with wonderful parents who loved each other eeeply. People here are saying you can leave your spouse or survive without them- they are missing the point. Leaving your spouse creates instability. Make the relationship and the marriage work. THAT is stability. THAT is what children need. Children should not be prioritised over a relationship to the point that the relationship suffers. If the parents aren’t ok, whether biological or step parent, then no one in the family is ok.

Parents who have kids must think twice before divorcing. And even if they decide to divorce the reason must not be something like those: My spouse neglects me because of our kids. I want to be number 1 but my spouse make our kids number 1. I am jealous of our kids.. My spouse does not make sex with me so much anymore. How old are you? Are you nine years old?

And There are lots of single parents who raise great kids. Relatiionship is not a must for raising kids. A single parent that does not have a relationship can also provide stabiliity for kids.

And what kind of a parent can be ok if his / her kids are not ok? A parent must not be ok if his / her kids are not ok. This is what being a parent is. A parent must put kids first. Raising kids require sacrificaiton. If you don’t want to sacrifice for your kids do not have kids. Live child-free.

In a perfect world where both parents are wonderful parents and do not neglect the kids there is not any problem. But life is not perfect. My father was a selfish man and neglected us. So my mother had to put her two sons first. And divorce did not affect us negatively. Because neither my father nor their marriage was stability for me and my elder brother. Our mother was our stability till the begining.After divorce my mother did not have a serious relationship. So from my own experience i can tell that : A single parent without any relationship can also provide stability for the kids. I had a happy chilhood. My school grades were good. I owe this to my “single mom”.

Why won’t you publish this? What is democracy?

It is not marriage that is stability for the kids. Can a marriage with poor parents be stability for the kids? The stability for the kids are good parents who priotirize their kids. And if you have kids your relationship will suffer especially at first five years. There is no way to avoid this without neglecting your kids. After having kids you cannot continue to live like you do not have kids. Kids need sacrification and relationship may / will suffer because of this sacrification. Parents who have kids must be strong enough to handle this.

Emma please research the “superior academic successes” of chinese-american students in USA.

It contradicts with your statement ” it makes literally zero difference how much time parents spent with their kids.”

Chinese-American parents spent more time with their kids than white-american parents and as a result of this kids of chinese parents have a “superior academic success” when compared with the kids of white-american parents.

Your statement “it makes literally zero difference how much time parents spent with their kids.” is not correct.

And how correct is it to compare 1975 & 2020?

In 1975 most mothers were full-time mother and accessible 7 / 24.

In 2020 most mothers are part-time mother because they work.

This explains the increase of quality time spent with the kids.

Criticism #1 :

Blog’s statements :

1) “when you crave more time with your man, he prioritizes his children, and you feel left out.”

2) If you priotirize your kids your boyfriend / girlfriend / spouse will feel left out

So these are also “true statements” :

1) “when you crave more time with your man, he prioritizes you, and his kids feel left out.”

2) If you priotirize your boyfriend / girlfriend / spouse your kids will feel left out and have a traumatic chilhood. :)

Criticism #2 :

If you want a serious, committed relationship, that relationship has to come first.

So this is also a “true statement” :

If you want to rise rise healthy kids your kids have to come first.

Blog focuses only on best cases but there are lots of worst cases Parents who put their relationship first easily sacrifice their kids for their relationships. Most child abuse cases continue for very long years because there is a silent parent who let abuse continue becase he / she puts relationship first and kids second so naturally sacrifice kids for relationship.

Criticism #3 :

How can you compare 1975 & 2020?

In 1975 most mothers were full time mothers. So they were always accessible. Quality time was not required.

In 2020 quality time is required because both parents work. This is the main reason why parents try to create extra quality time for their kids.

Criticism #4 :

if it makes literally zero difference how much time parents spent with their kids then spent “0” time with your kids.

And spend your whole time with your romantic partner / spouse and let your kids grow by themselves.

Criticism #5 :

What does child’s well being mean? This is not clear. Emotional well being? Physical well being? ……

How can child’s well being be first when you put child second? This is mission impossible.

And why did you need to indicate that : “child wellbeing is first.”?

You are also aware of that putting kids second is “problematic”.

Celebrity sex therapist Laura Berman, Ph.D., writes in her relationship guide, The Book of Love:

“No matter how sacrilegious it sounds, you need to put your relationship before your children. A strong relationship provides security for your children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be. What could be more important?”

She is a sex therapist. So she naturally cares sex life of partners not kids’ emotional health.

In a step family only “biologic parent” provides security for the kids. Kids trust their biologic parent not relationship. Your kids have seen the end of the relationship of their biologic parents. So your kids have learnt that relationships can end. How can you wait them to trust something that can end?

And i answer that “cliche” question : What could be more important than demonstrating how a loving, respectful partnership?”

Demonstrating your kids how much you love and care them is much more important than demonstrating a loving, respectful partnership. So your kids feel themselves “secure”, “loved” and “important”. What can be more important than this for your kids’ emotional health? Do you really believe that your kids will feel secure when you put them second especially in a step family? If you do this they will propably have abondonment issues.

And putting kids first is not being the slave of your kids. My mother was a child first mother. But she did not even let us drink coke. What is the most important thing in your life? For my mother her kids were the most important things in her life. But she did not revolve around us or serve us or buy whatever we want. We did housework after school, obey the rules of our mother and could get only birthday gifts. She tought us to be happy with less. Instead she gave us her love.

My mother’s biggest gift to us was that : We always felt loved, important and secure.

Being a parent comes with a lot of self-doubt. Am I doing this right? Someone else could probably do it better than me. Are my kids happy? Are they too spoiled? Did I adequately answer that question about the strange person, that I’m going with? There is time we spend together as families and then there is quality time we spend together as families. If we would perform this quality time properly, we shouldn’t have no doubt about how we spends our own, adult time. If we’re doing something together, even for an hour a day, our kids are more than happy. If you don’t know what to do and what is the perfect togetherness activity, start to play chess with your kid. Regardless of the child’s age, chess develops concentration, increases patience and positively affects the intellectual and emotional development of the child. One thing your child will appreciate most is that playing chess is also great fun. The rules of chess are very simple and children can learn them already from around the age of three. Not everyone can or wants to become a professional chess player but everyone can use chess for learning. For this purpous I can recommend a book (net-bossorg/chess-puzzles-for-kids-by-maksim-aksanov) with bunch of great exercises, which will help you and your kids to be better in this :)

As a functional person, I must say this is the most pathetic article I’ve seen written by someone who clearly has low self esteem and makes poor choices in life. An adult jealous of your child clearly exhibiting neurotic behavior and should not be around your child. That is not normal and that person needs professional help
That’s just a precursor for child abuse and “waiting it out” sounds like you’re hoping for everything to work without putting in the effort you don’t mentally, emotionally, or physically damage your kid. Thank goodness after years of my mother putting her boyfriends first, I have the confidence to know I can go without companionship for years and enjoy it! Just reinforces my beliefs some people ought to not have children.

After divorce my father always put his new wife first. We used to see him really very rarely. Because his wife was jealous of us. So we could not benefit from our father’s romantic relation.. There is not a “scientific rule” like that : Your kids will benefit from your romantic relation. You cannot put your responsibilities as a parent behind your romantic partner. For instance you cannot continue to make sex while your baby is crying. Or what if your romantic partner forces you to abondone your kids? Some jealous partners do this as my fathers wife. Putting your kids behind your romantic partner is ethically a very disturbing idea. A “contradictory” footnote like “However, child wellbeing is first” does not fix this.

Emma has given two perfect and happy families as a sample which raise happy kids by putting them second. But only two samples do not tell the truth. Only statistics tell the truth. Yes women mostly put their kids first and emma ciriticizes women for this. Thanks god most men ( not all men ) do not make this big mistake and selfishly put their kids second. And what do the statistics tell? When compared a greater amount of men than women choose to “adondone” their kids when they remarry. Perfect samples can not change the truth. Statistics tell that : Yes putting kids first increases failed romantic relation rates. But putting kids second increases children abondonment rates. Which is worse?

As a society what should we put first? Romance & sex or our “kids” which is our future?

And i do not believe this assumption : Your kids also benefit from putting second. Are you kidding? Than why do not let your partner also benefit from being put second? This way you can teach your kids only selfishness. Because their role models are “selfish parents” who put themselves first of all.

This blog is a selfishness manifest. Emma you did not invent a new thing. Selfishness is as old as human kind.

I hope you publish this comment. :)

Experts about child abuse tells that : ( https://www.phillyvoice.com/child-abuse-single-parenting-divorce-marriage-new-partners-advice/ )
1) If their parents find new partners, children are 40 times more likely than those who live with biological parents to be sexually or physically abused.
2) A new partner should never discipline your children.
“Think of them as an aunt or uncle, not a parent. They should never be an authority figure in relation to your child,” Markham says. “There is just too much opportunity for abuse of power. I know so many situations where mothers let their new husband discipline a child, only to end up terribly regretful afterwards.”

So in a step family :
1) Your kids should revolve around you not your relation as blog advices.
2) Your partner does not have any legal / moral responsibility of your kids. And yes there may be exceptions but your partner will not love your kids as much as you love your own kids. So “A truly wonderful relationship only multiplies the love available to your kids” argument is not always correct. The love that your partner takes from your kids may even be more than the love that your partner gives to your kids. So your “wonderful relationship” may rob love from your kids.
3) Being the nucleus with your partner is emotionally abondoning your kids. How can your kids continue to trust you when you put them #2 and leave them emotionally by being the nucleus with a stranger?

Blog does not empathize with the kids and does not take account the “great child abuse problem”. 1 / 5 girls are sexually abused ( mostly by partners ) till 18 years old.

Life is not perfect.

Case #1 ( A very possible case ) :

You love your new spouse and there is not a conflict between you and your spouse. But there is a serious conflict ( there is not any kind of abuse ) between your new spouse and your kids from your previous marriage. And you can not resolve this conflict. You should choose either your kids or your spouse because it is very apperent that they can not live together.

Whom would you choose?

If you are marriage-first you choose to save your marriage and leave your kids to their other biological parent or grandparents. Writer of the blog probably added “Child’s well being must be first” statement for the cases like this. But i know someone who choose their spouse and leave their kids to their grandparents by deceiving themselves ( because they want to deceive themselves ) with this argument : This is also good for my kids i protected my kids by sending them from this psychologically corrosive environment. But it is very apperent that this is not good for your kids. Child first is very clear : Your kids must be #1 and it is very apperent that you must choose your kids over your new spouse. But you may also say that it is correct to leave your kids in this case. Sorry you cannot do this because for your kids it will be a great trauma.

I never thought of child first approach as devoting all your life for your kids. A child first parent must also live his / her life. Because if you are not happy you also cannot make your kids happy. While i was a kid seeing my mom unhappy would also make me unhappy. You cannot mimic like you are happy. Kids understand that. So your own happines must be as important as your kids happiness. You should sometimes priotirize your kids sometimes yourself.

What i understand of being child first is that : Your kids must be sure of that if you are forced to make a choice and leave either your spouse or your kids you will choose them and you will leave your spouse. Or you will protect them against your abusive spouse and divorce your abusive spouse whom you also may love for protecting them….. When you must sacrifice your happiness in the circumstances like these you will not hesitate to sacrifice your happiness for your kids.

So you can also be child first & live your life & be happy at the same time. These does not contradict.

And according to me writer of the blog does not ask the correct question :

Correct question is “not” that : Why do we spend so much time for our kids which are our future as society. Correct question is that : Why do we spend so much time working as modern slaves for the companies polluting the world and our future as society.

I don’t agree at all. That is why kids get molested. I know so many survivors of molestation that mothers put their mates first. It leads to broken children. Non biological parents are often selfish and really only care about the children as to how they look in public.

Emma,

Women say the exact same phrase “My kids come first”. It’s not a gender thing, it’s just both sides say it.

Observing functional relationships by their parents — who may be married, or in relationships with others teach kids how to have functional relationships of their own. Or isn’t that important too? I mean heaven forbid that a child or teenager should come second, ever. The parents are divorced for a reason. Carrying on as if that previous model worked without adjusting for a new reality doesn’t make sense to me. Putting kids first sounds good. But reality is adults can and should have lives with more dimension than work, and doting on kids 24/7. How else do kids learn self-reliance and independence otherwise? If the original marriage had been solid and functional that relationship would have had more than two dimensions. I don’t get it why a widow or divorced parent must martyr to the lives of kids. Not every woman should end up living in a guest room of her son’s house because she chose to put him first from birth through death and folds his underwear as an adult, and the underwear of his kids and wife since she never bothered to live her life and move forward. Stop being so thin-skinned when you read these responses. We are better people when we are able to be flexible not rigid and can accept changes in our lives that benefit the many not the few or the me, or the I. i am not talking about people who bring dangerous people into their lives. Not every person a divorced or widowed parent invites into their lives is bad. The boyfriend or girlfriend deserve some dignity and respect too. I love the initial story of the dad who spent time one on one with mom. He was right on. Parents are people too and teaching kids to be mindful of good boundaries, self-care and commitment are powerful and loving lessons, particularly when taught to kids by their father. This is the only life we have, and as unpopular as it is to say I am sick of the worship of those who have children, as if every decision they make is somehow better simply because they invoke that their kids come first, to the point they become nothing more than cupcake bakers and shuttle drivers. Come on. Get real. If you are down for a life like that you are missing out. And you are no better than the rest of us, who live larger and do more. We don’t look down on you. Am sick of the parents who look down on everyone else, because their “kids come first.” Get real and get our their and live. Everyone will congratulate you, your kids will, your grand kids will and so will your communities. Widows don’t get walled up with the dead any more, and divorced people are no longer stigmatized. Kids need all the examples we can give them of how to live with character and joy.

My mom also lived her life. She had a career and a relation lasting 4 years after her divorce. We loved her boyfriend & her boyfriend loved us. But he left my mom for his own reasons. And after that relation she did not want to have another relation. If she wanted to have a new relation or remarry as her sons we would happily support her decision. And infact she has two guest rooms not one in the home of her two sons. She travels & have holidays with us & relatives & friends and she does not feel alone. Because we care her happiness & support every decision of her. And I do not believe marriage / relation education. You cannot teach your kids how to love someone or how to make sex. Kids must learn these by themselves. Maybe they will be trans / gay or will not want to marry or maybe have a very different type of relation in the rapidly changing World. And even if marriage / relation education is required “love” and “being cared” is much more important than marriage / relation education for children. My mom’s decision of putting us first did not make her a loser. She maybe does not have a spouse ( she could also have a spouse we would happily support her decision but she did not want to ) but she lives with her two sons of her who care her happiness. She also has relatives & friends. Putting your kids first does not mean you will be misarable & alone &…. My mom is the proof of this. But to be honest i should confess that : I am not an american I write from turkey in the middle of west & east. So i am the combination of west & east. Mostly west but not only west. In my culture “especially mom who created & raised you is really important”. And My mom raised especially me as a feminist – male who deeply believe gender – equality. So i think those way(s) : do not leave your mom ( parents ) alone & respect woman & do %50 percent of all house work and raising kids & live your life and be child-first. If men would stop complaining about lack of attention after birth and do 50 % percent of house work & raising kids than it would be easier to be kids-first. For example i as the father left the job and took care of the kid for the first year after the birth so my wife could rest after pregnancy.

Well said sister! That was an eloquent reply to all these stepchildren who are posting hate about how selfish it is not to put the kids first. There should be enough love to go around but when these parents with ‘guilty dad syndrome’ make the children’s every desire the center of their worlds-that’s exactly what they get. Them and their child-alone-because what partner wants their household run by a child’s whim or tantrum? When these kids get out into the world they wont be treated as the center of the universe and need to know how to handle it. Coddling and catering helps noone. I’m just grateful you had the cajones to say it.

Putting kids first is not “household run by a child’s whim or tantrum” or treating the kids “as they are the center of the universe”. This way you raise narcist and unhealthy kids. A child first parent must never do this. You must teach your kids that they cannot get everything they want. They should respect other’s needs & desires & boundries. Putting kids first is putting “raising emotionally & physically healthy kids who gets enough love that they need” first. And yes there are lots of selfish parents who puts their marriage / relationship first and sacrifice their kids for their own happiness / marriage. There are so many child abuse cases in which there is an enabler parent who puts his / her marriage / happiness first and who goes bilnd with the child abuse. Child first approach is mostly required for protecting vulnerable kids. But not only this. Child first approach tells that : Marriage cannot be more important than kids health & happiness. If your kids are abused in your marriage you must divorce. If your kids are unhappy in your marriage and if you cannot solve the problems that makes your kids unhappy you must divorce. You cannot put your kids second and sacrifice your kids’ happiness for your own happiness / marriage.

You must give your kids “a happy chilhood” which is very vital for emotional health & strength. This is what child first approach is.

Putting kids first is not about desires of kids. My mom always put her kids first. But she would not even let us drink coke. There were strict rules. We as her two boys would help housework . So we never felt ourselves as the center of the universe. Because our mother was at the center of the universe. She was the queen: But we always knew that we were the most important things for her. So we always felt secure.

Yes i know i treated like an internet troll. I apologize for this. And this is my last comment.

My mom was a single mother. She did not have a serious relation after her divorce ( her marriage with my dad was very bad ) so maybe she did not show me and my brother how a relation / marriage must be but she loved and cared for us. We felt secure & stable with her and i had a very happy chilhood. She did not want to remarry after we grow up so we did not leave her alone & she lives with us. I can easily tell that children needs love & being cared much more than “marriage & relation education” which is i think useless. Because dynamics in every relation & marriage are different. Your experiences will probably be useless for them also maybe they will not marry or will not want to have a serious relation. But i agree with the blog about that : You also have to live your life. My mom left me and my brother at grandparents 6 months for her career . But this did not affect us negatively. Because we always knew that we were #1 priority for her. She would not choose anybody & anything over us. Your kids can not feel secure & stable if they recognize that your lover & their step dad or career or something else has a higher priority than them. Our “stability” & “security” was our mom and that was enough for us.

This is an interesting article to say the least and brings up good points all around. I like what’s said regarding a relationship as a role model for your kids. I guess at the end of the day you have to do what makes you feel right inside be it putting your partner first or your kids. As a father to a son whom I see about 70-90 days per year I take every opportunity to see him which causes much distress to my partner who wants me to make quality time for her. If I spend quality time with her by taking a two week vacation together then I won’t see my kid during that break. It’s confusing and frustrating all around because in addition to spending time with my kid and my partner I also need to spend some time alone. So after reading this article I’m really wondering if it’s more important to show my kids what a real relationship requires versus spending time with him and if my own guilt will plague me if I do so. There is no easy answer and so in the end I’ll have to ask myself what’s best and listen to my heart…and my best guess is that I’ll choose my child before my partner because at this moment it feels like the right thing to do and there is no guilt involved.

Then you will lose the woman. Enjoy forever being single. Your kid will grow up and leave you behind, not a smart choice.

“Family first” approach is much better than marriage first approach.

Family first guarantees the happines of all family members : father & mother & kids.

Nobody is neglected & excluded.

It seems this article is written by a single women who is still single and titled her webpage single mommy so I’m not sure this is the right person to be taking relationship advice from.

Unfortunately I’ve had a few women become jealous of my child and my ability to parent might be intimidating as they’ve committed on how I go to far being a good father. They might not see my child but once or twice a month and it’s still is a problem.

1 of 6 children suffer from sexual abuse.

And biggest part of this abuse is from “STEP DAD”.

Generally these “monster step dads” are great lovers & kind guys.

Mostly women knows this but just because of that they are emotionaly or financially “dependant” on their spouse they prefer to deny and fail to protect their kids.

Also step-partners ( father / mother ) physically / emotionally abuse their step children 20 times more than their own parents.

Only you can protect your own kids.

So you must not be “dependant” ( emotionally / financially ) on your spouse.

Experts who works about child-abuse tells that :

“Never let your step-partner discipline your own kids”. It is your job to “discipline your own kids”.

If you give them this authority & power they may use this power to abuse ( emotionally / physically / sexually ) your own kids.

%95 percents of sex addicts are males.

As a 44 years old male i tell that : Never trust males so much.

If your children is telling that step dad is making something wrong “believe your child” even if that monster step dad seems like a kind & wonderfull guy.

This is the most ridiculous article I’ve ever read no a mother or a parent should not pick a boyfriend girlfriend person over there small young children who are innocent and can’t fend for themselves a single parent always puts the child first.

People should focus on the relationship because kids grow and have their own relationships when they are older. Man should focus more on their potential wife’s because it’s the partner who will stand by your side when old. Yes, you should find time for the children but they shouldn’t be the center of your world. As an adult you have the obligation to keep growing and learning about yourself, capabilities with your partner.

I also have obligation to raise & love & care my children. Children may feel abondoned & alone if i focus “only” on my potential wife. So i think there should be a “balance” and focus should be equally separated between kids & wife. This is also rewarding because a bigger family with children & grand children is better than just wife. When they grow children may not want to interact with me if i put “my happiness” over “their happiness”.

This is a selfish famiily model : Needs of parents should come before the needs of children. I do not think so. Needs of parents should not be neglected but needs of children should come first. Because they are “children”. Yes you can date nights with out children a day weekly and also go holidays with out children. Because you are mot a machine and you need to rest. But needs of children must come first. In a burning home if there would be only two options : Spouses save themselves / Spouses save their childen? Which would you prefer?
If “relation is more important than the children” than spoues should save themselves and thieir relations and leave their children to death.

emrah mutlu . No it´s not. On a primal level, your needs really do come first. You have very little to offer anyone around you if you´re not taken care of. When you´re in an airplane and the airplane begins to lose cabin pressure, you are told to put on “your own” oxygen, before you help anyone around you. The reason being, is because you’re no use to anyone if you are dead (or passed out). Typically, warnings like this are given because something similar has actually happened. Now, let’s say you have two small children with you (say age 2 and 4). And the masks drop down. Your instinct may be to put the mask on them immediately. Lets say you get them on your children, but then you pass out. They’re too young to know what to do. Nobody wants to go across the aisle because there’s dangerous turbulence. A few minutes goes by and your brain is starting to get damaged from lack of oxygen. Yeah, this is hypothetical, but the moral of the story is that you take care of your self first, because your no good to anyone when your dead. Heck, you’re no good to anyone when you’re miserable or depressed either.

I appriciate your response. Life is not always like an airplane accident. I surely put on oxygen mask firstly in this scenario. But in real life i firstly feed kids and eat later. Or better eat altogether. :) I am aware of the problems child-first approach may create. But marriage -first approach may create problems also. Some kids may feel excluded or they may not feel themselves as a part of the family or they may simply be neglected. Especially in a step family marriage – first approach may create trauma for some chiildren. Because one of the parents is stranger and worse competitor for the attention of the other parent. Step parent may be jealous of the kids from previos marrige or maybe simply they may not like them but do not confess this to even themselves or their partner. So maybe we should leave all kind of first approaches. or maybe a lighter version of child first approach. Why child -first? Because kids are “vulnerable”. They may need the support of child first approach. but as i said maybe a lighter version of child – first approach. Less-child-first.

There is scientific realilty : Females live longer than males. ( 7 years )

Also marriages does not finish just because of intensive parenting there are so many other reasons.

So even if a man / woman “priotirizies her marriage / spouse” at her last 10 years there will be only her children.

Around me there are lots of old women who does not have any spouse.

Either their spouse has died or they divorced.

But at least around me & relatives their children did not neglect them.

I am a 44 years old male :

My mother has divorced 25 years ago lives with me till that time.

We are a multi-genereational family.

Mom has a room in the house.

And i am very happy to live that way.

If you set the borders correctly you can succeed this.

With a little bit sacrifice you both live your life and also you do not leave your mom to loneliness & depression.

( But becuase she is my mom i make all the sacrifice not my spouse )

Because she has struggled too much for me in my childdhood i never leave her alone.

My mothers aunt ( just 5 years oılder than my mother).

Her spouse died of cancer 15 years ago.

She has two daughters.

She stays with them periodically and also take care of her grand-children.

In the summer she goes to her summery and make a 4 monhts holiday.

So putting all the aggs in one basket ( spouse / marriage ) is a fatal error i think.

Spouse may die / marriage can finish.

And also in a lovely family there should “not be priotirization”.

Everybody should be #1.

Nobody “especailly kids” should feel any “exclusion”.

I do set aside time for the special person but he has teen daughter that he places as first and everyday he has to be on call fro and for her because she says she’s bored . She already 18 , overweight , lives with him, and excepts him to take her out after he comes from work. So after they “‘go indie shopping “ last stop is my home where they know “if I have “ will get I nice dinner with homemade dessert. I as waitress and sitting / watching them have their personal evening conversation…… they later leaves, he send text : “ Thx you for the lovely evening”. Yeah , daughter happy !!! I’m feeling miserable . I’ve spiking to him about it ( we need alone ti e and do things together,etc) . he says he wants to avoid confrontation with her about it ! This I don’t understand …. I raised 5 teens and hell if they would rule my life like that . But he eludes by saying kids are different now a days ( my youngest is 26 … his is 18) how different can that be . I feel very disappointed and hurt.

Ditch him this will never get better unless he is hit with a reality check. His daughter is a leech and will drain you dry. Not worth it.

Good article but very misleading. A relationship should never come before your children! But guess what? A MARRIAGE should! A boyfriend/girlfriend is never more important than the children you made, created and brought into this world! A husband/wife has earned that #1 priority though.

Smh. No wonder there’s so many messed up kids from single parent households. Y’all actually think your boyfriend or girlfriend you JUST met should a priority over your child that depends on you. That is not your husband.

I like the way you think! I always put myself first. I mean, who is more important than I? I’m most at ease in a relationship without expectations. And, I like to date several women at a time. Single mothers are perfect, because they’re very forgiving, they’ll do anything I want sexually, they’re always available, because they never go out. They’re cheap to keep, so I have more money for myself.

They have more gratitude than single women without kids. And, they’re obedient. They’re OK with making dinner, and then doing whatever pleases me after her kids are in bed. If I have 2 or 3 on the line, I can always get my laundry done at a moment’s notice. And single mothers are willing to puf my needs before those of their children. I mean, they’re not ‘my’ kids.

I’m great with kids, though. Once my girlfriend’s oldest kid was arguing with her about bedtime. I have a deep, booming voice. So I stood up and loudly said, “Listen to her and do it” It’s like magic with kids. I was getting impatient to get some loving. I won’t mess around with a kid’s mom if (s)he might be watching.

And it seems like single mothers are in much greater supply than demand. My ex-wife hasn’t dated the ten years since we split. She still calls me complaining about needing to be close and loved by me. I tell her same thing each time, ‘Lose weight and I’ll come over.’ Some kids I meet are pretty cool, but I’m best at one-way communication, I say it, you do it.

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