Paying "keep" if you're a non resident child

(77 Posts)
theredhen Fri 14-Jun-13 17:22:54

What do people do once step children are out at work but only live with you part of the time?

We have two resident children who I want to pay some keep to us when they start work. However we also have non resident children, the eldest being 17 years old who still abides by the contact rota as she always has done with no sign of any change. I fully expect her to adhere to it if and when she starts a full time job. I also am sure that her mum will expect keep to be paid at hers. Not sure what she would do about her daughter who lives with us.

So, what to do? Should we charge her a pro rata rate? That seems the fairest option to me. I think not asking for keep will just send her the message that she's a "visitor" and not part of the family.

brdgrl Sat 15-Jun-13 09:18:49

I agree, petal, and I think also that young adults who are not earning should be trying, and should if they cannot contribute financially because of their earning level, could contribute in other ways.

I do think that there is a variation on the 'vote with one's feet' dilemma here, though...if one parent household is willing to have the young adult living there without paying, the other parent household will find it difficult to implement. Similarly, if the first household demands a disproportionate amount from the young adult, then it becomes really impossible and punishing to the young adult to have to pay again.

It is very easy for me to see what makes sense, but harder to see how to get there, OP. What about the idea of non-financial contributions?

theredhen Sat 15-Jun-13 09:31:31

I think I'm liking the idea of dsd1 buying and cooking a meal when she's here.

It would teach her that in our home she has responsibilities too without physically taking money from her.

It would also soften the blow for our resident children.

The downside is that she might start going out a lot more on the day she is supposed to be cooking!

Thinking about charging keep pro rata in each house. What happens if the young adult has an extra night one week in one parents house, it could get silly with trying to work things out.

I would like to put the keep away for the resident children and give it back to them when they leave home but obviously we won't be able to do that for dsd1 if we ask her to buy and cook a meal once a week.

bamboostalks Sat 15-Jun-13 09:51:19

What a nonsense and how petty. Paying to maintain a relationship with a parent. Just see if she even gets a job and how things pan out. She may meet a boyfriend, move in with friends, go travelling etc. Why look for dramas? My dsd visits us frequently and has even stayed and you know we don't look to take money off her for that. Weird behaviour.

theredhen Sat 15-Jun-13 09:59:50

Bamboo my dsd doesn't "visit", she has two homes. smile She also has a full sibling and a step sibling who live with us. How is working out what is fair looking for a drama?

allnewtaketwo Sat 15-Jun-13 10:22:54

The young adult choosing to stay over at dads though is not a necessary ingredient in "maintaining a relationship with the parent".

If your adult, say from 18 onwards, chooses to maintain 2 homes, then surely it is obvious that in doing so, there is a doubling up of accommodation costs to accommodate that choice. If, for example, someone wants to maintain 2 separate homes as an adult (say a flat in one town, and a flat in another) then this incurs costs. Adults, even young ones (and especially those earning full time) have choices. As an adult, choosing to live (even part time) with a parent is a choice. And staying over x nights a week isn't necessary to maintain a relationship.

Petal02 Sat 15-Jun-13 11:17:34

staying over with a parent x nights per week is not essential to maintain a relationship

Absolutely Allnew. An adult does not need to 'overnight' with a parent(s) to maintain a relationship, heaven forbid! If a young adult is away at Uni, in the forces (dare I mention the forces again?), working abroad, or in fact doing anything which means they don't live with their parent(s), then of course they can still maintain a positive relationship!

I'm very close to my parents, but haven't lived with them since I was 19.

purpleroses Sat 15-Jun-13 12:08:20

My parents made it clear that they would charge me keep if I returned to live with them when I finished university (I had vague plans to save up some money and go travelling). I doubt they would have charged me as much as I actually ended up paying by renting myself a bedsit instead, but the message I took from what they said was very clearly that they didn't really want me there. I think I'd only charge keep to a DC or DSC if that was a message I wanted to give them.

Petal02 Sat 15-Jun-13 12:18:55

I suppose it depends how the message is delivered. My parents made it clear that once I started earning, a contribution was expected towards household costs, but I didn't feel unwelcome or pushed out, just that earning equated to paying my way.

brdgrl Sat 15-Jun-13 14:32:07

I suppose it depends how the message is delivered.

Yes, I know my view on this is very much shaped by the way I was raised, and my parents always expected, and made it quite natural for us to expect, that after 18 we would be expected to be self-supporting./ They did help us out, with gifts and with loans, after we were 18, but these were just that - gifts and loans - not parental obligation, IYSWIM.

We were a poor family. My mum worked two jobs while I was a teenager. I worked too, from 16, and all the way through university. The idea my mum would go out and get a third job, or that the family should struggle more than they already were, so that I could be 18 or 19 or 20 and live at home for free - that just wouldn't have occurred to any of us.

I felt loved and supported by my parents. Honestly, I find the other side of this as bizarre as can be.

Petal02 Sat 15-Jun-13 15:04:11

Excellent post Brdgrl. But unfortunately there seems to be a whole generation of young adults who wouldn't flinch if mum had to take 2/3/4 jobs just to keep them in the style they'd become accustomed to.

And whilst plenty of young adults from together families are guilty of this, the offspring of Disney parents are probably going to be even more prone to it. They've been conditioned that everything goes their way, otherwise they cease visiting til the situation is remedied to their liking.

glasscompletelybroken Sat 15-Jun-13 15:31:16

When I left school and started work at 16 I paid my parents a percentage of my wages - as did my older sister. I earnt less then she did and it was a fair way of deciding what we paid as it meant we were both contributing but both had a reasonable amount of money left for ourselves.

When my own children left school and started work I used the same system. I didn't spring it on them - it was something we had talked about as a family and they knew from young teens that this would be the case. They grew up understanding that everyone has to make a contribution. I think this is the key whether you are talking about step- kids or your own. It needs to be something that is discussed as a family so that everyone is aware of what will be expected.

I also think it does depend a lot on how much time the step-child is staying with the NRP. if it is just eow then I don't think I would bother asking for a contribution. But anything approaching 50% of the time then I would.

They are not kids at this age but young adults and they need to learn about financial and family responsibility.

Fraxinus Sat 15-Jun-13 19:19:07

Petal 2. While I don't really disagree with you, I might phrase it differently....

Unfortunately many parents have brought their children up to expect a lifestyle that their parents cannot really afford, and that they are unlikely to be able to maintain independently when they first reach adulthood.

catsmother Sat 15-Jun-13 20:37:01

I too paid keep to my parents when I started work at 17 - and had been brought up to expect to do this. It wasn't a big deal - or something I resented - just a fact of life in my family. Both my parents themselves had paid their mothers keep as well - they both lost their dads at a relatively young age ..... so everybody contributing what they could was seen as natural. In addition, I personally felt that making a contribution actually afforded me a greater amount of "power" - for want of a better word - and freedom, as paying meant I was recognised as an adult and therefore given the privileges that went along with that such as staying out late as although I always told them what I was doing out of courtesy there was no possibility of them objecting as they might have done before I started work.

I certainly never felt that my parents asking for keep indicated that they didn't want me there - not at all. My parents noticeably struggled when I was growing up and as me and later my sister started contributing - as well as buying our own clothes, entertaining ourselves, transporting ourselves and so on - it meant the financial pressure on my parents eased somewhat and they were finally able to start making a few home improvements, treating themselves etc. I didn't resent that, because I knew that if I lived elsewhere it would have cost me a great deal more.

I ended up leaving home at 19 but when my relationship broke down a few years later my parents offered me a place to stay - and again, the keep requirement was, IMO, not something they suggested to put me off going back there, but something I was only too happy to pay as I was very grateful to be given the opportunity to move back at what was a low living rate so to speak while I saved enough to get back on my feet again, and, a couple of years later, move into my own flat.

I think I would have felt very embarrassed even if my parents had suggested that I pay no keep - because I knew full well they'd have then been subsidising me. I guess however that if you've grown up in a "wealthy" family and have never wanted for much then perhaps you do take things like that for granted and see nothing wrong in allowing your parents to subsidise you even though you're a working adult. Again, personally, even I was well off I think I'd charge keep just so kids get into the mindset that life usually isn't a free ride and to prepare them for most people's reality of having to pay bills, budget, be sensible with money etc. ...... I know some better off parents do just that for those reasons, but save the money as a surprise fund, e.g. for a deposit, for the future.

I know there isn't a one size fits all solution for this issue ..... but whatever you personally feel is the right thing to do, I do think it imperative that all the children - both "part" and "full" time are treated the same so far as keep is concerned. I agree that maintaining 2 homes e.g. by having a dedicated room in both places, and with regular overnight stays, does not make you a visitor. To me, you become a "visitor" once you're living independently, i.e. not with either parent ..... because then, it's very unlikely you'd keep a room specifically for yourself at either parent's house, and although you might stay with them occasionally if you've moved quite a distance away, it'd be rare that you did so on a regular or prolonged basis.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 16-Jun-13 09:11:54

In addition, I personally felt that making a contribution actually afforded me a greater amount of "power" - for want of a better word - and freedom, as paying meant I was recognised as an adult and therefore given the privileges that went along with that

It is for precisely this reason that many parents, step or otherwise, don't ask for a contribution to the household finances.
They are more comfortable keeping the DC in the child box, even when they are independent adults!

theredhen Sun 16-Jun-13 20:02:26

I think it really depends on how you view "keep" in the first place irrespective of whether you're a parent or a step parent.

Personally I think it's a good thing that teaches them the value of money. However im not sure I agree on the third of wages thing that gets bandied about or on the fact that they can pay their parents a tenner and then think they have the same rights as the home owner. grin

I have never intended on giving my ds a free ride for years and years. I don't want him to feel pushed out but I don't still want him living at home at 40 either! I therefore have the same feelings on my step children when they become young adults and what I feel is right. It's just a lot more complicated when you add in other parents, two homes etc.

dotcomlovenest Mon 17-Jun-13 13:42:01

Think it depends if they are paying at their resident parents homr already.
They would either need to pay less at the other home or not pay at yours.
17 yr olds don't as a general rule get paid a lot

NotaDisneyMum Mon 17-Jun-13 22:47:17

They would either need to pay less at the other home or not pay at yours.

So, if they pay a F/T rate of board (for want of a better term) at their RP home, then are they considered guests in the NRP home?

Bonsoir Wed 19-Jun-13 15:05:25

I think that when DC reach 18, living a split life between separated parents has to come to an end, personally.

theredhen Wed 19-Jun-13 17:10:14

But if a child has grown up with it, it's going to be very difficult to say "sorry mum/dad, I don't want my room at yours anymore, I'm going to spend every night at my other parents." I should imagine a lot if young adults wouldn't be able to bear the guilt of doing that, especially if their parents have always been warring, so stick with the rota until they literally get a place of their own.

allnewtaketwo Wed 19-Jun-13 17:16:18

"I think that when DC reach 18, living a split life between separated parents has to come to an end, personally"

Hear hear. Access visits are for children, not adults

HighInterestRat Wed 19-Jun-13 17:18:37

She's just visiting, seems overkill to charge her.

allnewtaketwo Wed 19-Jun-13 17:30:29

But she's not 'visiting', she lives with her father part of the time

Petal02 Wed 19-Jun-13 18:13:54

I agree that fixed visiting arrangements are definitely for children, not adults.

But as regards money - it doesn't matter whether the classification is "visiting for a few nights each week" or "living here part time" - it still incurs the same cost!

The difficulties of having any sort of formal visiting arrangements with a young adult, are considerable. We've managed to dispense with the access rota, but DSS still has to spend a very specific amount of time under our roof each week - to the point where it looks like we're going to have to pull out of a social event this weekend, which has been planned for some time, as DH had a work-related emergency, so he hasn't put in enough Daddy-time this week. Just ridiculous. Sorry - just feeling a bit fractious tonight.

allnewtaketwo Wed 19-Jun-13 18:55:26

sad Petal

theredhen Wed 19-Jun-13 19:12:35

Oh petal, that's just ridiculous. Can't you make the time up next week? Not that you should have to, but is that not an option?

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