Got to pick your battles ...... But WWYD?

(111 Posts)
Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 18:08:08

DSS, who is 18 1/2, is taking his driving test next month. DH has been happy to agree that once he's got his licence (he already has a car) that we can finally discontinue with the access rota, as DSS will be able to transport himself to/from our house as and when he wishes. I was delighted, I've lived by a rota for far too long, and the thought of normality is wonderful.

However DH said something strange last night; that he wants DSS to have a key so that he can come over whether we're in or not. This niggled me slightly, I'd expected DSS would visit us when we're home, I've never got my head round all this "in absentia" visiting, I don't see the point. But my main, overriding concern is that DSS has a terrible track record when it comes to switching things off, closing windows, locking doors and is completely incapable of sorting out pets (would you shut a dog in the lounge when you go out?) and can't master our very simple burglar alarm. The thought of him letting himself into our empty house, and then leaving without locking up, or with the gas hob still lit, or the French windows still open ....... Well it's scary.

I appreciate its normal to be home alone at the house you live in, but I'm uncomfortable, essentially on fire/flood/security grounds, of having him hang out at ours when we're out.

So you have to pick your battles, so I'm proposing to suggest the following to DH: I accept I might have to give in gracefully regards DSS having a key, he's 18 and it is indeed his fathers house. But I want DH to have a proper conversation, not a Disney joke, about taking care of our home, and if we have any problems, that the privilege of a key is rescinded (assuming the house hasn't burnt down).

In return for this, I request that if we're going on holiday or away for the weekend etc, that we don't leave DSS to secure the house (I couldn't relax on a beach wondering if DSS had left the bath taps running) and that he doesn't visit our empty house while we're away, as there's no point. Does that sound reasonable?

I really don't want a huge row with DH over this, I know he wants DSS to feel welcome, but this needs to be balanced with the need to protect our home, and my peace of mind. And (I shan't say this to DH) I understand why you need key for the house you live in, but don't think it's mandatory for any other houses. Not when the 'child' in question has been repeatedly irresponsible with basic household procedures.

Can I reiterate I'm not suggesting we reduce visits, just that they take place when we're in, and that he doesn't cause damage to our home.

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 18:35:44

I can see why you would have concerns about him having a key if he isn't very reliable or safety conscious. If you need to could you put a checklist by the door so that he doesn't leave the house without making sure that everything on that list has been done?

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 18:39:20

I'd be ok with a checklist, assuming DH didn't think we were belittling DSS. So if we did that, would it be reasonable for me to insist that it's DH and I who lock up etc before holidays, and that DSS doesn't come over while we're on holiday? I thought that would be a reasonable compromise?

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 18:45:23

I think so. If it was me I would give him a key to a door that could also be bolted from the inside. When you go on holiday you could then bolt that door and tell him he won't be able to come over while you are away because you need to make sure the house is secure.

mumandboys123 Sat 06-Apr-13 18:53:30

presumably he hasn't yet burnt down his mother's home? or anything else untoward?

it is reasonable he is asked to be careful in locking up, setting alarms, making sure the dog is in the right room etc. as long as you remember that with the best will in the world, we all make mistakes. I am very safety conscious due to being burgled whilst at home some years ago - but that didn't stop me going out for 11 hours recently and returning home to find the front door not only unlocked but also ajar! No one inside, nothing gone, so it was my fault. You also need to agree the consequences with your DH prior to anything actually happening - because you can't make empty threats or it'll be you who looks daft if your DH then goes back on it.

You can't really have it both ways.

And he's not visiting in absentia. It's his home. Or at least, it should be.

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 19:00:13

I know that all families are different but when I left home at 19 my mum took my key off me. I went round when my parents were in. When I say parents I mean my mum and my step-dad. I didn't live there so I didn't need or want a key.

MirandaWest Sat 06-Apr-13 19:02:53

Does he have a key to his mothers house?

Fenton Sat 06-Apr-13 19:04:10

It all sounds very reasonable to me, considering the full picture.

I would understand him having a key so that on occasions when he's due round but earlier than your return to the house he doesn't have to wait out in the car for example.

But to visit the house when there's no-one there, - that's seems unnecessary - especially since his visits originally stemmed from contact time with his father - why on earth should you have to facilitate contact visits to his father's house.

Geordieminx Sat 06-Apr-13 19:06:21

I'm 30, moved out 14 years ago and still have a key to my parents house, and they mine.

It is his fathers home, he should be able to come round as he pleases. It's his home too.

Fenton Sat 06-Apr-13 19:06:28

That's a good point BlancheHunt, - I wouldn't let myself in to my parents' house after I left home, - unless they were expecting me or had asked me to in order to house-sit, water plants etc.

Where does it say he has "left home"?

I'm 45. I still have a key to my parents house.

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 19:07:55

Yes, he has a key to his mothers house. We know she's not especially happy about leaving him unsupervised though, probably for similar reasons to us. She doesn't have pets or a burglar alarm, so two less complications, but I doubt she wants appliances left on or windows left open.

Take the emotive "step family" slant out of the occasion, and ask yourself if you'd be happy with an irresponsible non-resident teenager in your house in your absence ......

bamboozled Sat 06-Apr-13 19:08:03

I think I'd be a bit hmm if my DH said he didn't want my girls, his step daughters coming to our house when we weren't there- I'd feel really hurt, like all the struggles that it takes to knit a new family together with a variety of step kids/parents etc would have been in vain.
Not having a pop at you, just saying it as it is. Could you not ask a neighbour to pop in and check, having left him a checklists as he is a bit random. If then he makes a cockpit, you need to revisit the rules, but not to show him you trust him with being responsible for your (all of your) home without giving him the benefit of the doubt is a bit harsh..

bamboozled Sat 06-Apr-13 19:09:31

I'm 41 and still have a key to my parents house, as do my 2 brothers and my sister - I'd be heartbroken if they asked for it back...

Fenton Sat 06-Apr-13 19:10:25

Yes, I've always had a key, - I left home at 18 and was a bit of a boomerang for the first couple of years around dinner time, - but still I truly no longer viewed it as my home, it was my parents' and as such not mine to let my self into uninvited.

And to be honest, if DP lived with me and said I couldn't give my kids a key (my two eldest are 23 and 21 and still have keys) there's only one person I'd be taking a key off. And It wouldn't be my kids.


Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 19:12:58

The trouble is, we've already had problems with him, when access visits have taken place in an empty house. So it's not like we haven't given him a chance to prove he's responsible.

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 19:14:35

That's the point though isn't it? All families are different. What you are comfortable with someone else might hate. Take the step-family issue away as it's not really the issue. My best mate has a key to her dads. I haven't got a key to my parents. Are either of us wrong? Of course not. It's just what the individual owners of the property in question are comfortable with.

bamboozled Sat 06-Apr-13 19:15:19

My brothers meet up at my folks house to watch the rugby together - even if my parents are abroad and my sister and I are inclined to pop round to see them and help them eat my parents crisps
We are all married and have our own homes/families but my parents house is something special to us all..
Maybe we are a bit Waltons-like nut my parents love that we do it....

I'm really sorry but if I were your DH I'd be saying.

My house
My kid
My decision

I know that will get me flamed on here. But no way would I let DP be involved in that decision.

I am aware we aren't married and he doesn't live here and maybe I'd feel differently then. But I can't imagine denying one of my kids a key.

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 19:19:52

Freddie, but it isn't just DH's house, it's my house too. I'm ok-ish with DSS having a key in case he calls round to see us and we're delayed due to traffic (or whatever) but feel weird at the thought if him just arriving when we're not in. I have my parents door key, but would never just 'hang out' at their house when they're not there. That would seem really intrusive.

It's still half his. And if he wants his son to be able to,come and go as he pleases then that's what should happen.

In my opinion.

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 19:28:27

Bamboozled, but I assume when you leave your parents house, they can trust you to lock up properly and not leave the hob on? That's half the point to my post; if DSS were responsible, it wouldn't be such an issue.

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 19:41:08

At what point though does your parents house stop being your home? At 18, 20, 30, 45, never? I don't consider my parents house to be my home. I would never just come and go as I please. And I would never feel a need or right to be here when they were away, exceptional circumstances excluded. There is no need at all for me to have a key.

Op, I don't intend for my eldest DSS to have a key at any point. If he wants to behave and be treated as a young child then that has consequences. Equally i can't see him ever having a need to access the house when we're out. I simply wouldn't trust him with the alarm code for example.

bamboozled Sat 06-Apr-13 19:45:24

Me and my sis, yes, my brothers - useless oafs, not really. One bro overflowed the bath there last year - he had jogged round and thought he'd have a bath before he went home, yes my parents were hacked off, but its only material stuff, no one died. My Dad says he is so lucky,(his words, not mine) that all his children pop round really regularly and feel so at home, unlike their friends who get a phone call once a week.
But no one can dictate how another family behaves, so you have o make your own blueprint - but back to my original post - I would be gutted if my DH didnt want OUR (but by blood only mine) girls to be able to have a key to our home.

DeskPlanner Sat 06-Apr-13 20:34:17

I know this isn't AIBU, but you are NBU.

DeskPlanner Sat 06-Apr-13 20:37:40

I have a key to my parents house, but I would never let myself in and hang out.

formerdiva Sat 06-Apr-13 20:49:15

What Freddie said.

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 20:54:39

But to Freddie's point. So if you jointly own something, it's ok to take it upon yourself to share that with someone else even if the other joint owner disagrees, particularly upon grounds of safety/security? Would that apply also to a jointly owned car etc?

It should be his HOME.

That's what makes it different. In my opinion.

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 20:59:53

Why is it his home though? As an adult I have never considered my parents house my home. When does it stop being his home exactly?

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 21:02:14

I'd be interested to hear opinions if we altered this scenario a little: supposing I said to my mum that she could let herself into our house, anytime she wanted ...... DH would definitely get the sympathy vote! Mum's got a key to my house, but she would NEVER just let herself in to 'hang out'. There's no need!

He's been coming to the house on an access Rota for years. He hasn't moved out of his mums has he? He's not living independently of either parent.
It should always have been his home. Seems like he has always been a visitor.

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 21:04:12

Allnew makes a good point. And as DSS has never lived at our house, or considered it his home, I don't see why he now needs 24/7 access to the premises.

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 21:04:28

So what if he lives at mums house until he's 45. Will dads house still have to also be his "home" because he hasn't moved out of mums house?

Can you not see the difference? He's barely an adult. My mum has a key. She would never let herself in. My 23 year old son has a key. This is his home. He can let himself in any time.

And he lives away at uni. And this is still his home. As is his dads. And he has keys and come and go from either as he chooses

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 21:05:56

BIL lived with his dad until he was 36. I'm pretty sure neither he nor his mother considered him still to have a home at her house until that time

formerdiva Sat 06-Apr-13 21:09:02

Ah - is it one of those posts where you ask for opinions and that get irritated if someone disagrees with you? Looks like you very definitely view your DSS as a teenage visitor rather than an extension of your family.

He's not 36. He's barely an adult.

I feel sad for him. I couldn't do it to one of mine.

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 21:09:40

No I can't see the difference. Why does he suddenly need a key now he's an adult, when there's never been any call to have one. It's not like some rite of passage into adulthood. He doesn't live there and indeed has stoically insisted on visiting only for very strict access visits. He himself clearly doesn't see it as a home either. Suddenly adorning him with a key wont change any of that. What on earth is the point?

Then we shall have to agree to disagree.

Incidentally, because they do an activity within walking distance of my parents house all my boys have keys to their house. And my mother has had hordes of random young men turn up to use the showers and get fed.

I also believe (they certainly used to) that at least the 2 oldest have a key each for their other granny's house as well.

bamboozled Sat 06-Apr-13 21:26:39

Allnew - where did you read 'stoically insisted on visiting only for very strict access visits' or are you reading more into this?
Petal do you have other children?

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 21:28:27

In the OPs other posts bamboozled

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 21:37:32

Freddie - you say 2 of your children have keys to their gran's house, but would they let themselves into her house when she's out, just to hang out??

And someone just asked if I have other children. No, I don't have other children.

bamboozled Sat 06-Apr-13 21:40:59

Wow, why did you even bother to post this - have just l

Three do to my parents. Yes they would and they have. Without asking first. They have taken friends there too. The only thing mother and father have ever complained about is lack of hot water when they all shower. And there was a ticking off about replacing grandpas beer and not emptying the fridge, and they haven't done it since.

Two definitely used to have keys to their other granny's house. I assume they still do. And they certainly used to just go there.

It wasn't ever a problem.

bamboozled Sat 06-Apr-13 21:43:40

Looked at your other posts as realised from Allnew that youhad obviously been posting before about your relationship with your step children ,
The comment that you don't view stepchildren as visitors, more like intruders pretty much sums it up -
Am stepping away quietly now as this is a thread I don't want to be part of.

Actually, DD2 is 11 and when she goes to secondary school, the plan is that (due to where her school is) she will have a key as well. So that she can go there if required.

DD1 doesn't have one. But she's angling for one. On grounds of unfairness.

And mrs U who never had any children and lives next door but one to my parents has put herself forward as yet another emergency contact and school picker upper. And I wouldn't be surprised if they end up with a key to there too grin

But you know. This isn't about a grandparent. This is about his fathers home. Which should be his home too.

And if what bamboozled said is true then I'm wasting my breath.

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 21:49:48

If I had brought up a child, had a real input into their value system, sense of responsibility, respect etc,. Then of course there would be no issue with trusting them with a key to my home. In the case of a non resident child, it is very often the case that there has been no such opportunity, and that indeed the way they have been brought up/developed is very different. In my own experience, my DSS has brought up to be utterly completely and totally dependent on adults. He doesn't see himself as a grown up with reponsibilities. It's actually frightening, but there is no way I could entrust him with a key or my alarm code. He thinks like a small child and acts like a small child. He thinks he visits our house to be entertained lie a small child. Nothing whatsoever will convince him otherwise because it suits his mother for him to be completely dependent and she has enforced this dependency his whole life. Sorry, but no such "adult" can be trusted with a key to my house.

No one with their own resident child can or will ever understand this because the idea of a child with a complete different value system to your own, with free rein over your home, is utterly alien to them

nenevomito Sat 06-Apr-13 21:58:21

To be fair to Petal there's a long running backstory here that has been going on for years. I know sometimes how it can read when you don't know the full details, but you need to suspend what you know about your family and try instead to understand that's not the situation that Petal is in.

In your family you probably have an easy going relationship with your children who are happy to move between houses and who are able to handle responsibility and change. That's not the reality for Petal.

Her reality is of a DSS who is not responsible, has difficulty managing by himself and has always insisted in a very rigid schedule, even as a young adult.

If you had a child who couldn't be trusted to take care of your house while you were away, would you be happy for them to be left there alone? No, you would arrange for them to be elsewhere, or have someone look in.

Take the emotive 'step' out of the argument and stop layering your own reality onto the situation.

MrsBombastic Sat 06-Apr-13 22:00:59

I think you are being totally reasonable; proceed. wink

allfornothing Sat 06-Apr-13 22:16:23

Lol@ all the 'he's an adult now' comments. Barely 18, still at college dependent on parents. Poor kid.

Thank The Lord my parents never had this viewpoint or I'd never have survived.

Btw- since when did heading off to uni equate to 'moving out'?! They are not even remotely the same thing!

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 22:27:08

In what way is 18.5 barely 18?

You'd "never have survived" if your parents considered you an adult at 18? Good god

BenjaminButton172 Sat 06-Apr-13 22:27:30

Is the problem him having a key or is it him not locking up and things?

My mum has a key to my house and has never used it. I have a key to my mums house and i have used it. Most of the time it is when she is in and someone knocks at the door ans she cant b bothered to find her keys.

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 22:44:04

It would be really helpful if, rather than going off at a tangent, people could comment on the compromise I plan to suggest to DH, which is contained in my original post.

And yes, the bigger issue here is that DSS can't be trusted to lock up etc.

nenevomito Sat 06-Apr-13 22:49:57

I think the compromise is a good one. He gets a key but loses it if he's irresponsible.

fair dos.

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 22:56:52

I think the compromise is fine, but....... It's pretty likely your DH sees the whole key thing as some sorts of "symbol" rather than a practical matter? I'm just trying to picture the conversation in my house. DH would accuse me of coming up with potential problems where there are none. But I think on balance you should still go ahead and say what you suggest

flurp Sat 06-Apr-13 22:59:59

Oh Petal - From your other posts I can imagine him sticking to his rota whether you are at home or not!! Turning up on his scheduled days and staying in his own!!
Seriously, I agree that he should be allowed the key but definitely not while you are away until you can trust him to be responsible!

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 23:15:25

Allnew, you're absolutely right, I'm sure this whole key thing is about symbolism, and I doubt DH has given the resulting practicalities/impracticalities any thought.

allfornothing Sat 06-Apr-13 23:30:55

Er... Yes allnew, 18 years is barely an adult and seriously, we could use the letter of the law to say that an 18 is an adult, but any sane person knows that that rarely makes them necessarily dependent/capable/ able to fend for themselves.

Am I the only one who thinks hitting 18 does not somehow instantly turn a child into an adult?

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 23:34:03

You're splitting hairs allfornothing. Regardless of age, the OP's DSS by the sounds of things can't be trusted to act responsibly when left in sole charge in the home. Call him child/adult whatever, it makes no difference to the specific problem the OP is posting about.

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 23:35:35

And shes absolutely not asking him to "fend for himself" hmm. Quite the opposite. Nor did anyone suggest this confused

The compromised suggestion sounds workable, although I do like the suggestion that the key be for a door with internal bolts for when you are away.

The key is symbolic, and I don't think anyone would be surprised if he continued to stick to the rota, whether you both were in or not!

It sounds quite fair as a solution, and gives him s chance to demonstrate any new found maturity and responsibility.

DontSHOUTTTTTT Sun 07-Apr-13 00:57:04

I think your compromise sounds ok.

I am surprised you find it 'strange' that your DH suggested his son have a key to his your house. I think it would be very strange or him not to have a key. It's meant to be his home too. It should never be a privilidge that he has a key sad . It's a shame you still view him 'coming over' as 'visits'. It sounds so formal and unwelcoming.

I remember from your early threads that you don't much like your DSS but they can really grow up and change at this age. Just because he has a bad track record at remembering to lock up/turn off lights or whatever does not mean that he won't grow out of it very quickly.

I hope everything works out.

brdgrl Sun 07-Apr-13 01:04:58

I think what you are proposing is perfectly reasonable.

I have two teenage stepchildren. One we can trust to lock up, care for pets, turn off the stove, etc....One we simply cannot, which has been clearly demonstrated. They live with us, and they of course have keys. But one stepkid we could leave at home alone for an overnight or weekend, and one we could not. Not because of age, or any measure of affection,. but because of temperament, maturity and ability. This might change by the time my stepkid is 18 - but if not, he won't be having unsupervised access to the house while we are away.

brdgrl Sun 07-Apr-13 01:08:07

Sorry, but having a house key is a privilege - no matter what the family composition or age of the child/young adult. I grew up in a 'traditional' two-parent family, and having a key was not an automatic assumption..if I'd shown I couldn't handle the responsibility, I would not have had one.

allnewtaketwo Sun 07-Apr-13 07:56:23

Dontshout, just our of interest, when, as an adult, do you consider that the house stops being his "home"?

When at my parents, I consider that I am visiting, not that it's my home. This has been the case since I was 18. It's absolutely never felt formal or unwelcoming, just a natural part of growing up and becoming independent as an adult.

If I had have been a step "child", would I have needed it to have been considered my "home" ad infinitium for some other reason?

SoupDragon Sun 07-Apr-13 08:10:06

Checklist: fine.
"don't come round when we are away: fine - sell this as a requirement of your insurance policy as you need to know the house is secure.

ask yourself if you'd be happy with an irresponsible non-resident teenager in your house in your absence

Absolutely horrible! He is family not some random teenager.

SoupDragon Sun 07-Apr-13 08:11:33

My parent's house felt like my home until they moved to a house I had never lived in when I was 30.

DeskPlanner Sun 07-Apr-13 08:20:00

I would take the key off him when you go away or get internal bolts fitted. I would be worried about him coming round when your away and leaving the hob on.

Some people are very responsible at 18, own homes, children, holding down a job for example and some are not. Petals ss is not, and until he is my concern would be my home.

Also and this may seem a stupid point but if it were me, I would like a vague idea of when someone is coming round in case I'm wandering around naked. This would include my own adult dc's. Disclaimer, I don't have adult dc's or sc, so I may be talking rubbish.

I wonder how many on this thread have or have had older teens of their own?

I just can't imagine cutting any child out at an arbitrary set age. DS1 was a dreamer and a bit vague. He needed more support and help with moving out. He's sensitive and caring. Academically he needed no support

DS2 on the other hand was and is as hard as nails much more confident and was ready to move and go to uni. But he had needed much more of a kick up the arse to work.

They are all different. But this is still their home. And I couldn't be with a partner who didn't consider this, or any other house of mine, their home.

My parents have moved since I left home. The house they're in now I never lived in.

And as to bringing mates round of course he should. I should be a home. Not a place he visits. Half of the rugby first XV have seen me in my jammies due to coming here.

If you've had this attitude legal ever since he was a wee boy (not reading other threads I didn't think that it was allowed to bring up history) I can see why he's welded to his dad when he's there. You're being awkward and difficult and I'm sure he can sense your dislike of him.

Petal not legal. Stupid phone.

DeskPlanner Sun 07-Apr-13 08:25:31

It is funny how everyone is different and I'm not saying that Petals ss shouldn't feel like this house is his home, its lovely that he does. But when I went away for uni and came back for the holidays, it didn't feel like my home anymore. I thought it would, but it didn't. I was still made very welcome, but it seemed different. Strange thinking about it to be honest.

But desk. He hasn't even moved to uni yet.

millie30 Sun 07-Apr-13 08:33:46

If my son, who lives with me full time, had form for being irresponsible with locking up and leaving hobs on etc he would not have a key. Petal seems to be suggesting a fair compromise to me.

I must be weird. My family must be weird.

My parents love having the kids drop in. There's a lot of fake moaning about eating the fridge in one sitting but they really do love it and the kids and them have had some great nights.

Even with dP, and he doesn't live here, they've never felt they had to ask to visit if they knew he was here.

I feel sad that Petal is missing that.

LIZS Sun 07-Apr-13 08:35:04

Does he have a key to his own home ? How does he treat that ? I think you are in danger of cutting off your nose to spite your face here. Allow him the key initially while you aren't going to be away for long periods and see how it goes. He should be capable of locking up and looking after pets at 18 , but if he hasn't had to he won't be. Tell him you have set the alarm and he can't go in unless he learns to do the same reliably.

They change so much at that age just because he did that a few months at doesn't mean he would do it now.

If it was me I would give the key, a lecture about responsibility, and let him come and go as he pleases. Any time.

Until he proves he can't be trusted and then revisit it at that point.

To do otherwise is terribly negative and rather horrible in my opinion.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 07-Apr-13 08:37:36

I'm with blanche - the key issue (excuse the pun) is that both adults (in this case the OP and her DH) agree.

Some DCs never have a key to the home they live in with their parents - I didn't! Others have keys to both their parents homes and are free to come and go as they please. Neither is right or wrong.

petal you don't need validation for your position, and neither does your DH - but unless you can both compromise and reach a position you can both live with, then the resentment may well last into your DSS adult life.

DeskPlanner Sun 07-Apr-13 08:40:08

Good point Freddie. I was just thinking of myself at that age. Girls are ment to mature faster than boys, maybe that's the difference.

allnewtaketwo Sun 07-Apr-13 08:44:54

Freddie the OP has in no way suggested "cutting him out" or anything of the sort.

DeskPlanner Sun 07-Apr-13 08:44:58

Sorry but grin at key issue.

Sorry all new the "cutting out" was to the suggestion at that point in the thread, that at age 18 he should be standing on his own feet.

I apologise for not making it clear. I was posting from my phone. Which I realise is no excuse

I don't get this "they're 18 they're on their own they're adults now"

My 23 year old is graduating this summer and coming HOME. to here. And then going back to Uni to do something else. And this will be his HOME for as long as he needs it to be.

Am I weird?

i have a key to my mums but i knock on door ring/bell do not walk in same for my place she has key but I would not expect her to let self in.

but agree maybe more tricky as ss is still only young as such .does he have own room in house and stuff what was the access arrangements before .Did he stay EOw etc so its in reality his home to

Petal02 Sun 07-Apr-13 09:12:00

Freddie, no one is suggesting we 'cut him out' or reduce support or give him any less of anything.

I'm just very wary of giving him the privilege/responsibilty of a key, when recent events (dog shut in lounge, grill left on, alarm not set) have suggested he's not ready yet. I'm not taking anything away, I'm not taking a key off him, he hasn't got one yet.

As I said in an earlier post, we just need to strike a balance that accommodates DH's wishes and my wish to protect my home. And I occasionally walk round in my underwear so I'd like to know who's going to be walking through the front door. DSS has never considered our house to be his home, he's always lived with his mum and visited Dad, so I doubt giving him a key, or not, will change his views.

I plan to speak to DH today with my compromise, I'll let you know how I get on.

Petal02 Sun 07-Apr-13 09:14:25

PS - when I was younger, I was given a house key at age 15, my brother never got one. I was sensible, my brother wasn't, but my parents didn't have to factor 'step' issues into the equation. If you could be trusted you got a key, if not, then you didn't 't. Quite simple.

Petal I never said you had. I have apologised already if I gave that impression.

And, as I have also said, the firsts have seen me in knickers and vest top. Doesn't bother me. Might have bothered them but I doubt it. Well, maybe scared them half to death, but they still crash here.

I've also realised my family is weird. We seem to be rather more relaxed about that kind of stuff than many.

On the underwear thing. I never stopped being in my underwear. If they didn't like it they were free to stop coming round. It's not that different to a bikini or holiday clothes.

But then again, as I said, I seem to be too relaxed.

Petal02 Sun 07-Apr-13 09:19:22

Freddie, it would be a boring world if every household operated in the same way. I just hope your underwear is always pristine and matching smile !!

Absolutely not Petal grin

I love having them all round and I can't wait til the bigger ones are home from Uni for the summer and I never quite know how many bodies will be in the living room when I wake up.

DeskPlanner Sun 07-Apr-13 09:24:09

Petal have you discussed with your ss about abandoning the rota when he can drive ? I'd be concerned about him sticking with it and just driving himself between homes, instead of waiting for your dh to chauffeur him. He does seem very fond if a routine. You would know when to expect him at any rate.


I Have 4dc two of them in teens both at home (19 and 16) and ye sthey both have keys and yes ds2 planning uni and he will have a key when he goes to come and go as this is his home .but once moved out properly i would expect them to ring the doorbell first

DeskPlanner Sun 07-Apr-13 09:29:31

Everyone is different, I would hate to find a load of people lounging round my home if I wasn't expecting it. My parents wouldn't have liked the idea either. Your home life sounds lovely Freddie, as was mine growing up. Just different.
Can't speak about my own dc as we are a long way off the uni years she says while trying not to think of the uni years. Sob. grin

Well, I'm odd.

I'd never expect mine to ring the doorbell. Nor do my parents. Not to their home.

And DS1 has "moved out properly" to uni but I can't get rid of him he's coming back which is a joke

DeskPlanner Sun 07-Apr-13 09:38:09

Nobody is odd, we all have different ways of doing things. I always ring the bell to my patents, as they do at mine, despite us all having keys, doesn't mean where odd either.

BenjaminButton172 Sun 07-Apr-13 09:40:45

I think what we have established here is that every household/family is different.

Petal i can understand what you are saying/your worries. If my dd acted like your ss she wouldnt get a key whether it is her home or not.

If he does get a key i think some rules are needed along with consequences ie removing of key.

Hope all goes well with your chat to dh smile

not add Freddie were all just different .i would hate my mum to walk straight into mine

allnewtaketwo Sun 07-Apr-13 09:54:28

Agree everyone is so different about this type of thing. I personally hate anyone coming unexpectedly to the house and would never consider going not someone's house without knocking, my parents included. But it seems that these differences are acceptable only until there are step "children" involved, at which point your wishes stop being "differences" and apparently turn into evil stepmother traits of wanting to exclude the "children" and not liking them

Petal02 Sun 07-Apr-13 09:58:05

Well said Allnew, normal wishes/standards are construed negatively if applied in a step situation.

Well, I don't see it like that. Because he's not some randomer you don't know. He's your husbands child and it should be his home.

But I don't think we are ever going to see eye to eye on this. And it's supposed to be a supportive thread for you Petal, so I shall bow out.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 07-Apr-13 10:04:14

There are lots of posts from parents in the MN teen section asking for advice/opinions on exactly this issue - to be fair, there is a similar split of opinions; some people think that withholding a housekey from a DC is the ultimate rejection, others think that it's a privilege that has to he earned and can be withdrawn.

DeskPlanner Sun 07-Apr-13 10:07:22

I think the point that All and Petal are trying to make is that they wouldn't expect there biological children, if they had them, to let themselves onto there patents home when they had left home or gone off to uni. So why should the situation be any different for adult sc ?

Petal02 Sun 07-Apr-13 10:19:10

Thank you Desk planner, that's exactly my point. If a bio child were a liability, no one would criticise you for withholding a key.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 07-Apr-13 10:22:02

petal. There are posts in which parents are accused of rejecting their teen by withholding a key though.
It's not exclusive to step-parents; although I'm the first to admit the venom with which it is done here on the step- board is far more marked than anywhere else on MN wink

Petal02 Sun 07-Apr-13 10:23:43

Thanks NADM, that's interesting.

FrauMoose Mon 08-Apr-13 08:17:45

I have two stepchildren both now in my twenties. My stepdaughter has lived here on and off and has a key. Although there have been occasional very very minor issues about times when we've gone away and she's done stuff like disconnect everything round the TV in order to play Nintendo Wii, but not remembered to connect it all back, so we've spent hours struggling with the leads - that's just ultra-trivial stuff. If she was away, but planned/wanted to come back at a time when we were also away, she would let us know first about her plans.

My stepson is just not as tuned into other people's feelings - he's on the autistic spectrum. At one point he had a key because he'd lived with us temporarily, but we got back from a holiday which coincided with a university reading week - to find that he had decided to come back without letting us know. (He actually had only stayed a day because he had never listened when we told him about the hot water/heating etc and hadn't been able to make anything work.) The place smelled of smoke, though I think he tried to air it. Spouse and I are in agreement - for all sorts of reasons - that we wouldn't let him have a key again.

I think it is as much about the personality/responsibility of the young person with the key as about whether the relationship is a parental or step-parental one.

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