Post # 1
…is a sentiment that I’m hearing a lot of on some of the recent threads. It’s an unavoidable statement, both here and in the real world. And I am angry and sad.
I am in no way bashing the love that women have for their children – I’m honestly not – but how far does this go?
I’m hearing a lot of things about supporting your children regardless of what they do, of how nothing will ever come before your child.
But how far does a parent’s love go?
Whenever I see this sentiment expressed so broadly, all I can remember is the day that I found out that a woman knew that her son had sexually abused me for years, and said nothing, to protect him.
Maybe this will change if I ever end up being a parent, but I just can’t imagine putting my child first, in opposition to things that I know are wrong. Argh.
I’m not baiting, or trying to cause an argument. I am just genuinely curious as to how far this goes.
I also just wanted to get the build up of anger and sadness out, without threadjacking…
Post # 3
My dad was sexually abused his entire childhoold until he was 17 years old. If my child ever hurt anyone in this way, I would in no way stand behind him/her, IMO that is wrong and as a parent you should teach your children right from wrong and this is absolutely WRONG.
I have a two year old and I think when I say thigns like this I really actually mean ” Nothing will ever come before the safety and well being of my children.”
Post # 4
@Nellop: I do not think that the woman doing nothing about her son hurting you, was putting her son first. Sure in the short-term it’s keeping him from jail, but it is NOT the best for him, because he needs to be taught right from wrong, and by failing to do that, she is hurting him.
Post # 5
@Nellop: You love your kids unconditionally, that doesn’t always mean that you love what they do, the choices they make, the people they become….it’s not your choice and it’s not within our power as parents to dictate those things, it’s THEIR life….all we can do, is love them, even through the horrible things.
I certainly do not put my children over EVERYTHING in my life…that’s absurd and leads to entitled brats…but they do know that I’m always here, I’ll always listen and I’ll always love them, no matter what.
Post # 6
@Omgbunnies: I don’t have children, but I also view the statement in that light. Sometimes doing what is best for your child, or putting them first, means that you have to let them pay the consequences of their actions.
Post # 7
@Nellop: I am not a mother, so I can’t say for certain, but like my mom has always said… she’d disown me if I ever did anything REALLY bad. And I was the most planned baby in the world lol.
So I carry that same sentiment. Just because it’s my child, I won’t condone it if they do something really horrible, like you describe. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to know your child is doing something like that, though. I think I would protect my child to a certain extent, but not if I knew he was molesting little girls or something.
Post # 8
I love my adult son unconditionally but would never make such a blanket statement as “Nothing comes before my children”, in my case, child. Quite honestly it bothers me when women do, there are times when they will and times when they won’t. My step mother in law constantly makes this statement and I know how much it hurts my Father-In-Law. She says she will always put her children first, no matter what.
Post # 9
I am so sorry you had to go through that.
When I hear that statement, I think of it like this: If my husband or another family hurt her (which I seriously doubt) I would report them to the authorities. I would not let my child continue to be hurt by that person.
When it comes to your situation, I agree with the other PPs, you have to let them be responsible for their actions. To do that you can’t always protect them. Hopefully my daughter will never do anything so bad that I will have to disown her though.
Post # 10
Just prefacing this with I do not have children yet so I don’t know how I’d truly feel/act in situations involving my future children, however at the moment I believe that you can love your child unconditionally no matter what they do but still realize they need to be held responsible for their actions.
I don’t think loving your child unconditionally means you don’t tell the police they are committing a crime. That is a personal choice and doesn’t mean all women would do the same thing with their children. I’ve never been in the situation but I can’t imagine not turning my child in for committing such a heinous crime.
Again, I’m not a mother but I can’t imagine saying nothing could come between me and my child. You can love someone but not like the things they do.
Post # 11
I think there’s a difference between loving your children unconditionally and protecting them from the consequences of their actions. The latter is rarely the right path to take, I think.
I haven’t had children yet but I interpret this statement as a mother wanting to protect her children.
I do worry that sometimes women who say this ‘forget’ their husbands after their children are born or use putting their children first as an excuse not to pay attention to their marriages. I hope that my husband remains a priority after I have children…
Post # 12
I agree. I think I would say “nothing will ever come before my children,” but by that I certainly don’t mean that I will bend to their every whim and indulge their every desire. I will do what I think is best to raise them to be the best people they can be. I will provide the love, discipline, and guidance to help them become their best selves. If they are breaking the law, hurting others, or generally being a nuisance to society, then my way of putting them first would be to do what I can to help them correct that behavior (in an age-appropriate way–for an adult, that might mean not enabling behavior financially or behaviorally or even reporting them to police.)
Post # 13
@MrsHRC: I think putting your children first can include providing them with an excellent example of a loving and committed relationship. It can include showing them what it means to selflessly love and give to another that is not the child themselves.
Post # 14
@Nellop: I wonder this too. My FI’s youngest sister is very disturbed. She lives at home right now as a college drop out and is constantly claiming its because of a fake illness. She has abused the family’s cats as well as put her own nieces, older sister, and mother through extreme emotional abuse. Their father is a nasty man.
Fiance and I want his mom to leave his younger sister and father, but we aren’t sure if this will happen because we understand that his younger sister is still his mom’s child. However, I’m not sure that if I was this girl’s mother and she was abusing me, as her mother, that I could tolerate it.
His mother has said before that she knows something is wrong with her, but then the next day she will deny it and has never sought to get her therapy. Now her daughter is a diagnosable psychopath and there is little hope – even WITH therapy.
I think if I was FI’s mother I might have to abandon my own child. Even though I would love her regardless, I can’t say I could deal with it. FI’s mother’s health seriously deteriorated when this sister moved back home.
There are many situations I could think of where I might consider leaving behind my own child, but I guess I’ll never know unless I’m in this situation. I wish that people would realize that unconditionally loving your child and being compassionate doesn’t mean protecting them from consequences of their behavior. Being compassionate is letting them deal with the consequences and being there for them through that. I don’t think that keeping your mentally unstable child away from therapy so that they don’t have to realize that they’re unstable is healthy. I don’t think that protecting your child from getting arrested is healthy.
You’re right though… do what extent does this go? Sometimes when people make statements like this they really don’t understand what doing the right thing for their kid is!
Post # 15
@canarydiamond: “Just because it’s my child, I won’t condone it if they do something really horrible, like you describe. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to know your child is doing something like that, though. I think I would protect my child to a certain extent, but not if I knew he was molesting little girls or something.“
@MrsHRC: “I think there’s a difference between loving your children unconditionally and protecting them from the consequences of their actions. The latter is rarely the right path to take, I think. “
+1 to both of these comments.
Post # 16
I agree with OP and PPs. Unnconditional love is different than always indilging or coming to the rescue of a child. I think of two examples I’ve seen:
I have a friend who has a daugher who is constantly in trouble. She was probably overly indulgent when her daughter was young. And lots of other factors. Her daughter has been arrested more times than I can count. She has spend time in juvie several times. Drugs, sex, fighting, the whole nine yards. My friend and I had a discussion and I think she has finally come to the understanding that protecting her daughter is no longer the best thing for her. She kciked her out of the house. Refused to pay bail. Refused to give her money. Told her she loved her but she wouldn’t support this lifestyle. And I think it was the best decision ever!
The other example I think of is a patient that I have (and I’ve had lots of similar ones, this one was recent and sticks in my memory). This patient is a little girl who was recently diagnosed with a genetic condition that is fairly serious, but now that we have the diagnosis we are treating appropriately and she’s doing quite well. But mom got so freaked out when she found out the diagnosis. When I met her she had onl been seperated from her daughter a couple times in the month since the diagnosis and only when dad was with the daughter. And this was a woman with a full time job and a private nanny. She was completely stressing herself out. She would sit up nights and watch her daughter sleep. She was a frazzled mess. My biggest point to her was that to take care of her daughter she needs to take care of herself. I really encouraged her to try to take a step back and stop being so overly protective of her daughter. I spoke to her several weeks later and the day before she had left her daughter alone with the nanny for half an hour while she went to the grocery. I was thrilled. She was starting to go back to some meetings at work. And you could just hear in her voice that she was calmer and more relaxed. She was so worried about her daughter she was making herself sick, which was bad for her daughter! It’s increibly common in kids with medical issues. But it can be so hard to convince parents that they need to take care of themselves.
Just some thoughts. It’s very natural for parents to be protective. And everyone wants what is best for their kids. The hard part is figuring out what will actually be best for the child…