(94 Posts)
Libby10 Wed 27-Feb-13 17:57:30

Hi everyone

We have always had a very rigid rota right down to organising bank holidays a year ahead in January. Now all the SKs are over 18 this has seemed more and more bizarre - especially as it continues during the holidays. Now we only have on SD aged 18 at home. When she started 6 form DP suggested we move to EOW but her mum wasn't keen. DP left it but asked again at the beginning of this year when she asked about bank holidays. She agreed and we started the new rota at the beginning of this month. SD has always been happy about this when asked.
This w/e SD asked if we could go back to the old rota. When DP asked why she was quite evasive but it became clear that it was her mum and her mum's BF who have been complaining - DP thinks the problem is that his ex's BF is unhappy because she didn't ask him before agreeing to the move. I really don't want to move back to the old rota - EOW suits us much more. DP is unhappy that his ex didn't speak to him directly rather than through SD and just said that we should give it a bit longer before deciding. He has said that if SD keeps asking we should change back but I am really not happy about this as it seems we've got caught up with an argument that is nothing to do with SD and the rota.

Viviennemary Wed 27-Feb-13 18:09:56

I don't quite understand why you have the rigid rota for older - children that is over 18's. What was the arrangement before it changed to EOW. So at the moment you have your SD at home all the time apart from EOW. But you need a rota that suits everyone at least most of the time.

Libby10 Wed 27-Feb-13 18:17:14

Before we used to do 50:50 over a fortnight so 5 days one week and 2 days the next. EOW means we have her for the same time but is more manageable especially during the holidays when her 2 older brothers join the rota. I never imagined the rota would last this long and EOW seemed a way of easing the SKs into a more relaxed routine.

Petal02 Wed 27-Feb-13 18:31:32

Will reply properly when dinner is over, but this is a subject very close to my heart. Why on EARTH do older teens, especially once they're as old as 18, need an access rota? Who benefits?????

Petal02 Wed 27-Feb-13 18:49:56

One quick question: how old are the other 'children' - you mention there are older brothers? This is really scaring me, as I have DSS18 who still has rostered access, the arrangements are a lot better than they used to be, but we still have to do the same times each week.

purpleroses Wed 27-Feb-13 19:00:26

Alternate weeks at each house must be a bit of a pain for DSD though - however old she is - unless you live very nearby as it means there aren't any days of the week that she's always at the same house, whereas the 5-2 -2 -5 split that you used to have would presumably have meant there were fixed weekdays that were always at yours and fixed ones with her mum.

Is she going off to Uni this autumn? If so, why don't you just stick to what you had til then? Agree that once they're all at uni a fixed bit of each holiday time at each house would seem sensible, with less chopping and changing.

You seem a bit unclear what you want though - if you want to treat the DSC as adults, then your DP does need to negotiate with them directly, not via their mum all the time.

Petal02 Wed 27-Feb-13 19:29:09

Why is any sort of rota required Libby? If the girl is 18, with older brothers, why can't they pop in and out depending on what other things are going on in their lives? Surely a strict schedule can't work for them? Although I can understand why the ex might want it - if she's anything like my DH's ex, she''s hellbent on ensuring that our lives are restricted by non-flexible arrangements, and she also insists that DH does a very specific amount of parenting each week, she views any sort of flexibility as an opportunity for DH to shirk his responsibilities.

Libby10 Thu 28-Feb-13 07:32:14

The boys are both in their early twenties. DP's ex lives very close and so there is no problem with SD seeing her mum whenever she wants - DP has told her this.
DP asked SD first about changing the rota. She was fine with it. He has talked to all of them about not feeling they need to have set times to see him. He won't be offended.
Petal - I don't think its to ensure DP doesn't shirk his duties. My view is that DP's ex has always been very protective of her own time away from the kids. Even to the extent that when the boys have been home from university on our weekend they have always stayed with us - again DP has said its fine if they also want to stay with their mum instead but they always fall in with what she wants to do.
I find it completely bizarre that we are still doing this with young adults. Last summer when they were all home really reinforced this for me. DP is very sensitive about ensuring that they don't feel unwanted but this message really needs to come from both households.
I prefer EOW just as a means of breaking the pattern of the same fixed days every week.

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 14:23:25

My view is that DP’s ex has always been very protective of her own time away from the kids

I suspected this might be the case. So in order to protect this time, she insists that adults (I’m not calling them children, because they’re not) live by a rota? Wow. It’s definitely a similar principle to DH’s ex; we’re paying maintenance til DSS18 finishes his A levels in June, but the ex has always insisted that as maintenance payments were calculated around an specific, fixed arrangement, that any less contact on DH’s part would be “chargeable.” Therefore if the rota arrangement is strictly adhered to, she can ensure that she doesn’t have to have DSS for any more time that she’s paid for. It really is a “time is money” situation, however if we ever take DSS away on holiday with us, it’s not like we’d ever claim a maintenance rebate (god forbid) but even the slightest reduction in contact on a particular week can result in the ex threating to get maintenance reassessed.

We even had a ridiculous situation once, whereby DSS went away for the weekend with the school, which coincided with an access weekend, but we had to make up the time we’d missed – the ex wouldn’t let DH “get away” with an extra child-free weekend.

And whilst I understand that every ex-wife should have some child-free time and an appropriate amount of maintenance, it’s when this is upheld to the enth degree, even when children grow into adults, that is becomes unhealthy.

DP has talked to all of them, about not feeling they need to have set times to see him

And this is surely the best way forward with young adults? Can’t they be ‘based’ at one house, and then visit the other parent on an adhoc basis, depending on what else is going on in their lives (or the lives of their parents)? Just out of interest, what’s the worst that would happen if your DP turned round and said we’re simply not running any sort of rota any more? The ex can’t enforce it, I doubt the children would put up much resistance and then you could have a more age –appropriate arrangement?

DSS18 is about to take his driving test, and as we’ve already bought him a car, DH is firmly of the view that once he’s fully mobile, there’s absolutely no need for any sort of rota, as he’ll be able to make his own way to see us, without needing lifts. God knows what the ex will make of this, she’ll probably implode, but this will finally be the end of the rota.

You really shouldn’t be in a rota situation with over-18s.

allnewtaketwo Thu 28-Feb-13 14:56:47

I would put money on DSS1 (now 17) adhering to the rota while he's at university.

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 14:59:12

Allnew - are you expecting DSS will choose a Uni close by, so that he won't need to leave home (and can therefore continue with the rota during term time)?

Libby10 Thu 28-Feb-13 14:59:28

Petal - I agree completely. When I got together with DP it never occurred to me that we would be doing this once the kids reached 18. I always assumed they would vote with their feet/make their own arrangements by this stage. It is nothing to do with money as this was all agreed by court order and not subject to how many nights DP or his ex had the children.

I can guess what would happen if we just said we won't have a rota any more. In the past we have had tears/tantrums/the full works whenever DP's ex has not been able to "her" time away from the children which is why we ended up with such a rigid rota. I also feel its a way for DP's ex to maintain a presence in our lives as we have to agree holidays etc.

My gut feeling is that SD will be swayed by what her mum wants. DP has said that we have to have an arrangement that works for everyone and EOW is at least a step in the right direction so hopefully we can hold on to that at least.

Libby10 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:02:47

Allnew - both SS just fall back into the rota during the holidays. They aren't close by but as I said earlier - it applies even when they come home for the odd w/e.

purpleroses Thu 28-Feb-13 15:09:33

If her mum's that keen on her own time, and money doesn't come into it, would it be better to suggest that DSD lives with you most of the time, and just visits her mum when it suits her?

Seems a bit odd for a mum of an 18 year old to be craving "her" time. I can understand it better with small children - she might have somethign she wants to go to on a fixed night of the week, and like to keep that day child-free, but with an 18 year old, would have thought they could each live their own lives. Is the relationship rather strained between DSD and her mum maybe?

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:16:38

It’s also a way for the ex to maintain a presence in our lives, if we have to agree holidays etc

I totally understand that dynamic.

Seems a bit odd for a mum of an 18yr old to be craving ‘her’ time

I quite agree, but why should the OP and her DP run their lives to indulge the ex?

Libby – at what point do you expect this to end?

Libby10 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:55:16

At the moment I can't see it ending until they have finished university and wonder what will happen if any of them want to live at home after that.

DP wanted to split the summer holidays more flexibly last summer. We took the SC away for a fortnight and the ex went away with her BF for a week but she still insisted that we do the rota for the remaining weeks. Her "her" time has always been sacrosanct - I don't really get it either now they are all able to fend for themselves much more easily.

DP has suggested a range of alternative options to the SC and reassured them that he won't be upset if they wanted to spend less/more time with us. In the end we always seem to end up with the pattern that suits his ex. It's a real shame as I feel that by continuing to treat them as children we are not giving the opportunity to make decisions as young adults.

Has anyone successfully stopped a rota like this.

allnewtaketwo Thu 28-Feb-13 16:00:15

Yes Petal, I'm 99.99% sure he will go to a university within 5 miles of his house and that his life will be much like it is now. Living at home and coming EOW to ours like the judge said when he was 6.

I have somewhat of a plan though - DSS2 will be 16 in 3 years. Until then DSS1 will "feed off" the strict access arrangements for DSS2. But DSS2 is a different character and more questioning of silly rules his mother makes. I think when DSS2 is 16 there is a good chance we can agree with him that strict EOW arrangements are no longer required and he can come around more flexibly. That would have the benefit also of a natural end to DSS1's strict EOW visits (by which time he'd be 20 hmm)

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 17:03:13

it’s a real shame, as I feel that by continuing to treat them like children, we are not giving them the opportunity to make decisions as young adults

Absolutely. For years, on the (very) rare occasions when DSS wanted to partake in any activities or anything social or extra-curricular, these things could only happen if they fitted in with the rota. If anything fell on an access weekend, he wouldn’t tell us, as his mother has brain washed him to think that access weekends should be intense, 1-2-1 contact, not “interrupted” by any normal teenager activities. The only exception that springs to mind was a weekend away with the school, when he was approx. 13. God knows how that was allowed to happen.

He has been indoctrinated to believe that life follows a rota, that the rota is non-negotiable rather like night follows day, To be honest, he’s become quite institutionalised by it.

I managed to get an amendment to the EOW arrangement about six months ago, although we still have an arrangement which means that DSS has exactly the same visiting schedule, week in/week out. He took up a part time job in his home village, which is quite some way from our house, and still wanted to do this job on access weekends, which meant that DH used to spend hours driving him to/from our house for the start/end of his shifts, whereas if he’d been based at his Mum’s on those days, he could literally just walk round the corner. So basically it was either cease the part time job to accommodate the rota (and believe me, we came close to this) or tweak the rota to accommodate the job. So DSS now comes to us Thurs evening til Sat lunch time week, rather than Thurs evening til Sun evening EOW. It’s “little and often” rather than a four day stay each fortnight. Neither DSS nor the ex were particularly happy about this, but DH (unusually) stuck to his guns.

Allnew – fingers crossed your plan works out, but how insane that your eldest step son will still potentially be following the rota age 20 …….

allnewtaketwo Thu 28-Feb-13 17:17:45

Yes and he has zero inclination to get a part time job so there's no break like that. Apparently he's too busy following DH around asking what he's doing next

thelionessrichie Thu 28-Feb-13 18:14:43

This is ridiculous. 18!?!?! I had my own home at that age. FFS. Why doesn't the adult have a key to both residences and nice freely between the two..?

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 18:25:18

Yes, it is indeed ridiculous. But it's how to challenge it successfully that's the issue - for years the rota was revered like the bible in our household.

Libby10 Thu 28-Feb-13 18:49:44

They all have keys to both households but like Petal we have not been able to break free of the rota.
Unless it comes from the SC and/or both households can agree a more flexible set-up you seem to end up in deadlock.

allnewtaketwo Thu 28-Feb-13 21:43:35

It's got nothing to do with keys. In our case, DSS1 is institutionalised by the rota. Not helped my his controlling mother and his utter compliance. She will simply not "allow" him to see his father outside of the rota. Keys or no keys.

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 22:14:37

Keys wouldn't help us either. It's simply a combination of the ex insisting on the rota, DSS clinging to the rota, and DH not wanting to rock the boat. He's always had a misplaced fear that any conflict may mean less contact - however experience has proven the reverse to be true; if we upset the ex she tries to "punish" DH by insisting he has extra weekends with DSS. And DSS just wants to cling to his Dad, and any upset makes this worse.

So no amount of keys will remedy this.

theredhen Fri 01-Mar-13 07:22:38

This is starting to happen to us. dsd1 aged nearly 17 is sticking to the rota when I thought she might be being more independent.

I naturally thought her social life would be taking off now but it seems to have slowed to snails pace, shes refusing offers of party invites and just sitting at home instead.

I think she's actually got a very difficult task, by telling her dad she's not coming this Friday night for example, she fears upsetting him (it won't, he promises me) if she then says she'll come next Tuesday instead, she risks incurring the wrath of her mum. I think she's been hanging on for her younger sister to start doing it but then she moved in with us and threw the whole thing out.

I believe dsd1 is being held back by living to a rota and I do honestly think that when she goes to work next year, she'll finish work on a Friday and come to ours til Monday morning and just sit around looking bored instead of getting on with HER life rather than that of her parents.

allnewtaketwo Fri 01-Mar-13 07:39:24

Sympathies redhen, didn't realise you have this too. DSS1 has no concept of a "his own life" that is separate to that of his parents. It hasn't occurred to him at all. DH has tried to get it across to him, but he either just doesn't get it (possible due to his mothers brainwashing) or he's not interested (also possible as he's very apathetic). Or both.

Petal02 Fri 01-Mar-13 08:44:10

I believe DSD1 is being held back by living by a rota

Yes - and I don't believe the rota has done DSS any favours either. When he visits us for access (although I hate using that term in relation to an adult) this is his 'distraction'; its almost become his hobby and his social life, which, in my opinion, has inhibited 'normal' teenage social development.

theredhen Fri 01-Mar-13 09:12:57

I know there's a bit of distance between you and your dp's ex so I think that has always been used as an excuse for sticking to a rota and for inhibiting his social development.

Dsd1 lives near to us and can still see all friends she sees at mums but she's choosing to do less and less. Mum actively encourages her boyfriend to stay over every free night she's at mums and she's lost touch with all her old friends. So she's lost when she comes to us, no friends and no boyfriend. Dp tries to encourage her to go out but she often turns down invitations and hasn't had a friend over for a long long time now.

I think she's realised that her peers are getting their own lives and moving on whilst she is still stuck in a rut. If she had the freedom from the rota, the same school run (she chose to stay at school rather than go to college because thats what suited mum) maybe she would feel more free to be independent.

Libby10 Sat 02-Mar-13 11:42:19

That's really sad Redhen. My DP has also reassured the SC that he won't be hurt/upset if they want to do their thing but the message seems to need to come from both households. It's worrying when the rota extends beyond school years - perhaps it be more common in future.

Petal02 Sat 02-Mar-13 11:53:54

I recall DH's solicitor once telling him that rota's only really came about when the CSA introduced their method of calculating maintenance, ie by establishing how many nights per week a child spent in each household. Prior to that, fixed access only usually happened when it was court ordered, as the only way of ensuring a father saw his children.

I doubt it was ever intended to become a blue-print for life across separated families.

yuleheart Sat 02-Mar-13 11:56:12

My DSD, once she reached 16, was allowed to decide when she visited us / stayed at mums etc.

At 18 she was living at uni, making her own decisions. Neither set of parents actually benefited/were favoured in any of this decision making, it just shows she prefers to spend the majority of her time with her friends/boyfriend/working/uni life.

I don't understand why 'mum' can't still have her 'me time' if adult children are in the house.

Petal02 Sat 02-Mar-13 12:34:32

I suspect quite a few ex-wives like to keep the rota's going, because it guarantees them a fixed allocation of child- free time per week.

MajaBiene Sat 02-Mar-13 12:43:00

Does it really matter to you/your DP what the rota is though?

What is actually the issue? Surely with adult children you can just make your own plans and they can join in or not if they are around - you don't need to plan activities around the children confused

For instance, if you are going on holiday for a week when it is your "access", the adult kids can use their own key to let themselves into the house when you are away. Or if you wanted to invite them to come with you they could, and they could decide if they want to come or stay with their mum/in your empty house.

I mean, no married couple with children in their late teens/early twenties plans their time around their kids.

allnewtaketwo Sat 02-Mar-13 13:05:58

You're rightma'ama, but that would not take onto account young adults who have become so institutionalised by the rota that they actually expect as adults to spend the time being physically welded to the parent, having no separate life of their own. DSS1 expects that he comes here for DH to have "access" to him. I can't see his view or behaviour changing at all to be honest. The concept of us doing normal stuff while he comes and goes at the weekend just wouldn't happen. He arrives here expecting to be entertained, and does literally everything with DH. That means that normal adult life simply can't take place because of the rota

Petal02 Sat 02-Mar-13 13:40:28

But why would DSS need to visit our house when we're in holiday? I don't visit my Dad's empty house when he's away. Surely access is about the parent/child spending time together, not sitting in empty houses just to be rota-compliant?

MajaBiene Sat 02-Mar-13 13:43:14

But it doesn't matter, if you're not there. Your DSS has two homes, so surely he can choose when he wants to be in which - does it matter if he chooses by rota or not?

MajaBiene Sat 02-Mar-13 13:45:18

allnewtaketwo - well that is a different problem to a rota! An adult shouldn't expect another adult to entertain them regardless. Surely your DH needs to change that behaviour if he doesn't like it?

allnewtaketwo Sat 02-Mar-13 16:01:26

The behaviour has resulted largely FROM the rota though. The judge said, when he was 6, that his father could have access to him EOW. He has become somewhat institutionalised by it over the last 11 years to the extent that he cannot think outside of it. So as sure as night follows day, he comes EOW, for "access".

No DH doesn't like it. What do you suggest?

allnewtaketwo Sat 02-Mar-13 16:05:51

And I'm not convinced that "2 homes" applies to adults.

Take DH's sister. She lived with her father until the age if 35. Should MIL have kept a room dedicated to SIL until she was 35, do she felt she had 2 homes?

MajaBiene Sat 02-Mar-13 16:12:19

If your step children don't have a home with you now but just visit occasionally, then I guess I can understand why they see the "access" weekends as time meant to be spent together.

If your DH doesn't like entertaining/spending every minute with his son, why doesn't he stop? "I'm going out, see you later".

allnewtaketwo Sat 02-Mar-13 16:18:35

Because there is a younger sibling. So the 17yo trails along as he has nothing else to do (we only live 2 miles from his house, with plenty of public transport). The 17 yo is free to come any time during the week, but for various reasons sticks to the tots and believes it is DH's job to entertain him during that time.

If DH goes out, the 17yo goes with him. If DH goes into the garden, he follows him. B&Q, he follows him. You get the gist.

allnewtaketwo Sat 02-Mar-13 16:19:39

Sticks to the rota not the tots!

Even spellcheck does not like the rota grin

Petal02 Sat 02-Mar-13 16:30:59

I'm not convinced that the "two homes" theory should apply to adults either. I can completely understand why a young child may need to feel he/she has a home with both mum and dad, but by the time the child is an adult, surely they are old enough to comprehend the "I live with mum and visit dad" reality?

As with Allnew, when DH and his ex split up, an arrangement was put in place, and followed by the letter until 6 months ago. And even then, the change in arrangements had to be carefully calculated to ensure that the correct amount of access was continued, to the exact hour.

I think the whole point of this thread, is surely young adults would no longer wish to stick to an arrangement that's more suited to much younger children? Shouldn't they be too busy with friends/opposite sex/ social life/study etc to need the structure of a rota?

It does institutionalise them. They can't think beyond the rota. As far as DSS18 was concerned, school work kept him busy, he had a weekend away once a fortnight (ie access weekend) and sadly that was enough for him. He had no interest in life outside the rota. University is going to be the most enormous shock.

Petal02 Sat 02-Mar-13 17:04:09

PS - I agree with Allnew that normal adult life cannot continue when access is taking place. A couple of examples: we can't paint the landing, shop for kitchen tiles, see the vet for boosters etc etc, because access is supposed to be intense 'Daddy time' for DSS, and any 'normal' activities would dilute this. If DH and his ex were still together, there's no way they would suspend reality EOW, this sort of rubbish only takes place in separated families.

When DH and I first lived together, I wasn't supposed to have friends or family around on access weekends, DSS wasn't particularly keen on it, and if course it meant he had to share DH's attention. I soon knocked that on the head (after all, it would never happen in a bio family) but it illustrates how 'access' was viewed as sacred, ring-fenced time, purely for DSS - I din't think DH could ever have lived with a lady who had her own children; their lives would have needed to fit exclusively around DSS, it would never have worked.

Libby10 Sat 02-Mar-13 18:06:56

MajaB - in our case I think the problem is not what the SC choose to do. They all do plan their own social stuff when they are with us and we do the same. The problem is that we are unable to break the rota without their mother's support.
If we went away for a week when SD was supposed to be with us, DP's ex would effectively make us swap that week. This is one other aspect of the whole rota thing which I find really annoying - even with adult stepchildren, we still have to go through DP's ex before we can plan holidays and I do believe that is another reason why she favours keeping the rota.

Petal02 Sat 02-Mar-13 18:15:53

Libby, it's completely ridiculous that you have to make arrangements with the ex, and swap weeks, when you go on holiday. Your DP needs to grow a pair!!!!

MajaBiene Sat 02-Mar-13 18:19:38

So how does this happen Libby?

You tell you adult step children that you are on holiday next week - does the ex phone you and say "SD has to come to yours the week after"?

Why not just say - "SD has her own key so she can come and go as she pleases"? Why speak to the ex at all now?

Petal - who polices the no painting the landing/seeing the vet stuff? Your DH or his son?

purpleroses Sat 02-Mar-13 18:24:39

Can't you just plan holidays anyway? If DSD chooses (aided by her mum or not) to swap around to spend an extra weekend with you when you get back, so be it. But her mum cannot stop you going on holiday and tell you you are required to "look after" an 18 year old surely?

NotaDisneyMum Sat 02-Mar-13 18:25:42

libby are you DSC refused access to their Mums house during Dads weeks?

yuleheart Sat 02-Mar-13 20:17:12

Why do you have to 'look after' an 18 year old?

Why can't she stay at home on her own?

Why isn't your DP standing up to his ex?

I've been a stepmum for 20 years and whilst there have been some disagreements over access arrangements when DSD was a child we have never allowed DSDs mum to dictate what happens in our house and what we do when we have DSD.

DSDs mum did not tell us when we 'had' to book our holidays.

When DSD was 18 she was left at home when mum went on holiday, she had the choice to come and stay with us but wanted to stay on her own (and have friends round/party) but knew she could ring us if there was a problem and we would have gone over or she could have come to us.

Why would you have to stop having a 'normal life' just cos your stepchildren are visiting, why would you not take them to the vet with you, take them to visit relatives or sit them down with a DVD whilst you painted the stairs?

I'm sorry but I just don't get this extreme rota stuff, someone needs to grow a pair.

Pendipidy Sat 02-Mar-13 22:38:22

As a step mum to younger ones than yours i hope i never have this problem!

As i see it, dsd.s mum cannot make you do anything. Just sit down with the kids, tell them they are old enough to come and go as they please and they don't need to stick to eow. You say it needs both parents agreement but it actually doesn't, just do your own thing whenever you want to and if you are expected to be in, go out!

If you go along with it and don't change your behaviour and expectations, then their mum Will just carry on as it suits her. She probably can't believe you have gone on with it for so long. Just stop indulging everyone and act like a normal family, not a blended / step one. Regular families don't all stop and entertain grown kids if they turn up. Why are you?

allnewtaketwo Sat 02-Mar-13 22:39:34

What do you suggest doing yukeheart, about 17+ year olds sticking like glue to a rota? Genuinely interested. Because short of telling DSS1 he can't come, I've run out of ideas, and clearly that's not a goer.

MajaBiene Sat 02-Mar-13 22:44:15

Can your DH not say no to him - I'm not entertaining you, I want to go to B&Q on my own. If he's taking a younger sibling with him though it's a bit unnecessary to exclude the older one surely?

allnewtaketwo Sat 02-Mar-13 23:18:18

DSS2 would have no interest in going to b&q, or following DH around the garden. He's good at entertaining himself.

DH has told DSS1 he should be seeing friends, doing things, etc etc, but it falls on deaf ears. He clings to the rota and has nothing else to go. So even when DH does his own thing, DSS1, when not following him, will literally sit on the sofa looking bored. It's nauseating to watch. Then when DH goes out, DSS1 will jump up to go too.

allnewtaketwo Sat 02-Mar-13 23:19:46

Unnecessary to exclude the older one - well that's one way of looking at it. But when he's say 20 and still at it? Where does it end?

MajaBiene Sat 02-Mar-13 23:22:09

Nauseating that he sits on the sofa? I think your issue is that you just don't like him and don't want him at your house rather than the rota.

theredhen Sun 03-Mar-13 07:03:30

Makes, I'm sure all new means its nauseating that all he does is sit on the sofa when she wants her dss to be out in the world developing himself.

I want my bio and step kids to develop and grow in their own way. I doubt some kids (like some adults) are meant to be out partying all the time but there are plenty of ways of building your own life without sitting on the sofa waiting for a parent to entertain you.

allnewtaketwo Sun 03-Mar-13 07:26:25

Nauseating that he's with physically attached to us following our every move, and I mean literally, or else when DH asks him to stop, he literally sits watching. It's one or the other, 14 hours a day when he's here. He doesn't do anything else. At all. So yes that's nauseating, after 11 years, and with no end in sight

allnewtaketwo Sun 03-Mar-13 07:34:35

I've seen threads on here from parents about their own very young children following them around, and they're finding it wearing. Just this week such a thread, referring to a 4.yo who can't entertain himself at all and the mother is getting desperate. I can't think a single person would find that good or enjoyable in a 17 year old.

In fact, I've seen threads by mums of teenagers on the boards, whose behaviour sounds similar to DSS1. The mothers are desperate. But if course it must be because they don't like them hmm

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 08:19:15

We are having the same problem

Stepson is 17 and doesn't live with us. We have him stay over exactly the same nights he used to as a child. He has no life outside home life. Doesn't seem to socialise, have any hobbies and is sat in with us on a Friday night. Well he sits in his bedroom with DH panicking that he's left him on his own upstairs.

Anyway I'm currently on mat leave and due to childcare and the days I'll be working when I go back, I have told DH that we will have to change is rota so he comes different nights.

This hasn't gone down well at all with my DH who doesn't seem to understand that a 9 month old childcare takes priority over a 17 year olds. We can't leave our 9 month old daughter at home in the morning while I'm at work and he drops his son off at college!!

So my DH has sat him down and explained that he will have to comfort different nights when I go back to work (still with rota though)

I would have thought by now that the rota would stop and he would come and go when he pleases at 17. He doesn't need a routine at that age surely.

Dadthelion Sun 03-Mar-13 08:22:13

A lot of advice on here and in other places pushes the strict access rota rather than being flexible.

I think it's better to be flexible personally.
I wonder if this is a bigger problem that is not reported?

Libby10 Sun 03-Mar-13 09:02:47

To answer some of the points. DP has said to all the SC that we are happy to go along with they want to do. They go and talk to their mum and come back and say they are happy with the current arrangement.
Short of telling them we don't want them to come around I'm not sure how we can break this pattern.
If we went away for a week and told SD we would have a phone call from the ex saying that SD doesn't want to be on her own and that ex would be happy to swap. We could just say not and force the issue but we have had years of tears and tantrums over issues such as this and would rather avoid them. It just makes it harder for the SC.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 09:13:57

libby This sounds like an issue with your DPs boundaries with his ex.

How come he accepts his ex's word that their DD doesn't want to be alone - his DD is 18, and he can't protect his DCs from their Mums unreasonable behaviour for the rest of her life.

Arguably, if he knows his ex is unreasonable, then his role as a parent is to teach his DCs the skills to deal with that - not shelter them and appease her in order to protect them - they're not young children any more and will face difficult and unreasonable people throughout their lives - including their Mum!

There's a great website that might be a good starting point for your DSD - I can't put a link because I'm on my phone but if you google 'daughters of narcissistic mothers' you'll find loads of info that will help your DSD cope with her Mum now that she is an adult in her own right.

Libby10 Sun 03-Mar-13 12:49:10

Thanks NADM - will take a look. The trouble is we talk to the SC and explain why we're happy for them to do their own thing and they genuinely seem happy with everything. Then they go back to their mums and come back wanting to do more or less what she wants to do.
We have been given a range of reasons for this and each time we knock one down another one springs up.
We've always tried not to criticise their mum to them and I'm not sure if it will help now as SD is very defensive about her mum. Perhaps we do need to be more forthright about making changes and see what happens.

MajaBiene Sun 03-Mar-13 12:52:13

If the ex calls though asking for a swap, why not just say that the SC have their own keys, they can come and go as they please and you won't discuss it with their mother?

If the SC say we won't come this week, we'll swap to next week, just reiterate to them that they can come whenever they want.

Just don't acknowledge the rota thing at all.

allnewtaketwo Sun 03-Mar-13 16:09:41

I wouldn't be doing the swap. If we were away on an "access" weekend, then, given that DSSs mother insists on a strict rota, and DSS1 wants to adhere to it to the letter, then we just wait until the next "access" weekend. If DSSs want to visit in between they're welcome (but they don't, because theirs mother insists on the rota, DSS2 is too young to actively disobey her by coming regardless, and DSS1 complies with the rota come hell or high water, do it simply wouldn't occur to jump on the bus and come round anytime

Petal02 Sun 03-Mar-13 17:17:06

We no longer "make up" any missed access, and as our rota is now Thurs pm til Sat lunch each week, we simply wait for Thurs to come round and then start again.

I still don't get the " keys" suggestion though. There really is no point in DSS coming to stay at our house, as per the rota, when we're away, simply to be rota-compliant. Firstly, it would mean his mother having to drive him over to our empty house, secondly access surely means the parent/child spending time together, not sitting in Dad's empty house, and thirdly - we wouldn't be happy with DSS being in our house in our absence. Because he doesn't live at our house he's not very familiar with our electrical appliances (ie the grill) and we wouldn't consider him safe (and I could imagine him running a bath, and then forgetting about it, causing a flood). He's not good with keys either, and we couldn't rely on him to lock up in his way out.

We're going on holiday soon, for 7 nights from Saturday-Saturday; DH has already made DSS aware if this. On the week of our departure, we'll have DSS to stay on the Thurs night, and that will be it. The ex enquired why we aren't having him on the Friday night, as we don't fly til Saturday. But we have a 7am Saturday flight from Birmingham, we're leaving the house at 2am on Saturday, and it would seem insane to drop DSS back home in the small hours, just to ensure the right quota of nights is achieved that week. Thankfully DH agrees, but this is how silly "extreme rota" can get. And don't forget DSS is 18 ......

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 17:35:40

petal in your case, despite your DSS age, he does need "looking after" though - he cannot take responsibility as the adult he is, and therefore, the rota is in place as it would be for a much younger child. He's not an adult "popping in and out of his parents homes when he pleases", he is an adult who requires supervision as he is unable to live independently.

I appreciate the frustration this causes, but there are a lot of adults who continue to receive care from their parents because they are incapable of functioning independently. I am sure, like me, you would find this more palatable if there was some form of diagnosis/label to explain the reasons why an adult is not expected to behave like one - but you may never get that. There are any number of reasons why it may be the case; SN is one of them, but it may just be that he has never been taught those particular skills. For instance, why isn't he familiar with the electrical items in your home? Does he not use them when he is there on regular contact visits? Why not?

I think the OP's situation is similar to an extent - if the rota is being maintained in order to prevent DD being left alone overnight, then she is not yet an independent adult, she is an adult who requires supervision. It is her parents responsibility to equip her with the skills needed to live as an independent adult.

Petal02 Sun 03-Mar-13 17:44:19

NADM, I take your point that some of the young adults discussed in this thread still need adult supervision to some degree. However I don't think this justifies the need for a strict rota.

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 17:56:04

Petal02 we have very similar situations!!

My stepson is unable to operate the oven, grill etc as my DH makes all his meals and snacks when hes here! He even asks if there is any ice cream on the menu. I do worry for these young men who's independence is not promoted.

Petal02 Sun 03-Mar-13 18:01:03

My stepson is unable to do basic house hold things, because he's treated like a hotel guest when he's here; DH waits on him hand and foot, so there's no reason for him to learn to operate the grill etc. it's quite different at his mother's house, as she's the resident parent there's no Disney stuff going on, so I gather he functions quite normally when he's at home, and stays there by himself when his mother is away.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 18:04:33

petal I agree supervising a child of any age doesn't need to be delivered to a strict rota, but if one parent decides what they are going to do then the other parent either fits in, or absolves themselves of the responsibility.

It's certainly not unreasonable for a step-parent to resent the fact that their partner is still adhering to a rota that is dictated by an ex in order to supervise an adult who is unable to take responsibility for themselves because neither parent has equipped them with the skills they need to do so!

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 18:05:11

Exactly the same petal!!

My stepson gives DH his toothbrush when it needs charging instead of doing it himself. He tells him when to brush his teeth for bed. The rota is stuck to religiously.
None of this is stepsons fault. It's that of his fathers.

allnewtaketwo Sun 03-Mar-13 18:50:15

I don't think an adult not being able to use an oven is anything to do with a parent jot having equipped them with the skills though. Particularly not where they can use an oven at home. And at school no doubt when doing food tech or whatever it's called. It's pure indulgence and laziness. If he lives out oh hone at university, there will be no-one "teaching" him how to use the oven in digs or halls. He will either have to get off his arse and have a go, be very hungry, or look like a complete idiot when he can't do it.

I wouldn't leave DSS1 unsupervised in my house for more than an hour or so. Nothing to do with being given skills to use a kettle/oven, but bro g so apathetic to acquiring normal levels of responsibility that he can't be trusted. He doesn't WANT to behave or be treated as an adult. Hence he has no interested in learning adult skills.

For example we went out last night, and had to get a babysitter in for DS, despite DSS1 (17) being in the house.

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 18:55:43

My stepson wants paying a rather large amount of money to babysit! I suppose gone are the days when you would babysit your sibling for free.

I wouldn't leave him with her anyway she is too young.

allnewtaketwo Sun 03-Mar-13 19:00:39

Lol at money for overseeing your sibling!

To me, DSS1 wants to be treated like a young child. I can't do anything about that. But it has consequences. You don't get to have adult privileges when you insist in behaving like a young child.

Petal02 Sun 03-Mar-13 20:07:23

Allnew, my DSS also seems to want to continue living like a child. We've bought him a car, booked and paid for his driving lessons, but as soon as DH told him that once he's passed his test, he will be able to drive to/from our house (rather than DH chauffeuring him around) he's lost all interest. I couldn't wait to pass my test, and for the freedom I knew it would bring, but DSS wants to cling to his child hood, and by extension the lifts/fixed visiting.

allnewtaketwo Sun 03-Mar-13 20:10:41

DSS1 got driving lessons for his birthday ( not from us). I have no idea what the point is. He simply has nowhere to go. The bus goes straight from his house to ours in 15 mins and he hasn't taken it once. He doesn't go anywhere else.

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 20:17:33

Sounds exactly like my stepson, gets picked up and dropped off at college five times a week. No independence and doesn't have any hobbies/social life.

He's a nice young man but very immature because of how his dad is.

I'm about to blow a fuse about it all soon it's getting ridiculous now.

allnewtaketwo Sun 03-Mar-13 20:37:57

Nurse, vent on here if it helps. Some of us really know what it's like, you're not alone!

Petal02 Sun 03-Mar-13 20:42:32

Yep, keep venting! It's good to talk!

theredhen Sun 03-Mar-13 21:15:37

Interestingly my dsd has told me she "can't wait" to learn to drive. Like your step kids, I have no idea where she is actually intending to drive to as she refuses to go anywhere at the moment.

I'm clinging to the hope that driving lessons and hopefully a licence will make her more independent.

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 21:32:10

Another rant!!

I got asked to not wash my hair or give the baby a bath when stepson is here as it cut into father/son time!

theredhen Sun 03-Mar-13 21:35:26

Why on earth does washing your hair affect father and son time?

Petal02 Sun 03-Mar-13 21:48:21

Nurse, I once got into trouble for using the down stairs loo when DSS was in the building. God help the poor lamb if he finds out women have bladders ...... He plans to study medicine, its gonna be traumatic! Maybe the hospital could re-arrange its shift pattern in line with the access rota?

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 21:56:24

Oh dear petal this gets worse!

He doesn't like it as he has to help bath the baby or look after her while i wash and dry my hair, which cuts into time with his son. He asked me to do it when his son isn't staying over.

MajaBiene Sun 03-Mar-13 21:57:04

So are your DHs the problem here, rather than the children? I cannot imagine my DP behaving in this way towards his (now adult) daughter.

Petal02 Sun 03-Mar-13 22:01:03

Maja - Disney dads certainly don't help!

Petal02 Sun 03-Mar-13 22:05:39

Nurse, just seen your latest post: he's not prepared to help out with the baby just to indulge DSS17???? I've heard it all now.

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 22:13:36

He does help out with her but would rather do time consuming tasks when stepson isn't here! He moans how his son his sat in his bedroom on his own. Nothing stopping his son coming downstairs to spend time with us.

yuleheart Sun 03-Mar-13 22:38:13

Then surely the problem is the parents - both mum and dad - have not brought the children up to be independant?

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 22:51:32

Yes the problem definitely is with the parents

OH hasn't spoken to me properly for 4 days now. Just gone downstairs and he is busy writing a list of activities he can do with this son such as paintballing etc.

theredhen Mon 04-Mar-13 06:37:12

Nurse, I feel sorry for everyone in your family! Your dss who isn't being brought up by his father properly. I feel he's being failed massively. His dad should be teaching him independence not clinginess. Your dd is being taught that her brother is golden child who gets what he wants. Your dp obviously has attachment and seperation issues when it comes to dss. And poor you having to live through all this crap!

I think the problem is not helped by a vicious cycle of dp doing his best Disney impression, you getting frustrated and resentful of dss because of it, which in turn makes you feel you want to force some normality on dp and dss (like the holiday). The more you push for dp to behave more appropriately, the more Disney he becomes!

Have you thought about counselling to try and break the cycle?

Petal02 Mon 04-Mar-13 12:18:19

I think the problem is not helped by a vicious circle of DP doing his best Disney impression, you getting frustrated and resentful of DSS because of it, which in turn makes you feel you want to force some normality onto DP and DSS. But the more you push for DP to behave more appropriately, the more Disney he becomes!

Redhen, that’s exactly how it can be in our household, you’ve summed it up really well.

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