How much driving around is reasonable?

(35 Posts)
purpleroses Sun 24-Mar-13 09:51:40

DSD (15) has a boyfriend she's been with about a year. Since September he's moved to sixth form so they only get to see each other at weekends. We live in the centre of town, near to the school that they both went to (and near his sixth form) but his family live more than half an hour's drive away in the middle of nowhere.

The BF used to get lifts in to ours a fair bit from his parents, and we ran DSD out there sometimes so they could see each other. But lately his parents have apparently been refusing to bring him over, or give DSD lifts to or from his. She says they don't approve of the relationship and think he should concentrate on his studies. This seems a bit harsh to me, as he's lower sixth age and doing well at school as far as I gather. Definitely not a tearaway.

Anyway, it's meant that DSD is desperately pleading for lifts to and from his so they can spend time together. This means a round trip of over an hour twice in a day. We have other DCs too who need our time, and DP is understandably reluctant to keep doing all the driving. But we both feel a bit sorry for DSD if we say no. Also feel a bit miffed that BF's parents couldn't be more helpful - as we live in the nearest town to them where you'd assume they might have some reason to drive into anyway, whereas they've chosen to live in the middle of nowhere.

And no, there isn't any public transport option available (only with a six mile cycle ride first - which BF could do at a push I guess, but DSD obviously can't do if she's coming from this end, so wouldn't have a bike with her)

Would you do that level of driving to help out a teenage relationship?

Can he not come home with her after school at least one night a week and then you drive him back to his later? It all sounds rather sweet and tbh yes I would do the driving BUT not both days of the weekend. Would you allow hom to stay over with you - downstairs and with morion sensors activated on her bedroom door obviously grin

TheFallenNinja Sun 24-Mar-13 09:59:33

Not much really. Love will find its own way.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 24-Mar-13 10:00:39

They want him to concentrate on his A levels, presumably with an eye to going to university.
I'd help out with lifts at the weekend, and encourage the to use fb and skype to communicate. It's not really fair for you to continuously undermine his parents.

purpleroses Sun 24-Mar-13 10:20:46

DSC are with us every weekend, but in the week they stay with their mum who's about an hour's bus ride in the wrong direction, so DSD can't have BF back there. They do come here occasionally after school but we're not always in (DP is never in til 8pm) and don't tend to encourage it. Normally they only do that if they've got something they're going out to later.

Re staying over - bone of contention really - I don't see why not (we have a sofabed downstairs he could use) but DP is not keen. Not sure whether BF's parents would be up for this either. Would help a lot though when she wants to go out with him in the evening, and then wants him taken back home late in the evening when it's dark and difficult driving where he lives.

Nebolous - I don't think we're undermining them confused. He's not been banned from seeing her, his parents have just stopped doing anything to help him do so. They do use Skype and FB quite a bit I think (and endless texting)

SirChenjin Sun 24-Mar-13 10:23:56

When you say twice in the day, does that mean just on a Saturday or Sunday, or on school days as well?

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 24-Mar-13 10:31:48

I know that they haven't banned him, it is quite hard to prevent a 17 year old from doing most things they choose to.
Why do you think they have stopped helping him see your DSD? Probably because they are aware of the need for concentrated study, and that his AS levels are not far off. Is he taking 4 or 5?
It's a lot of work in a short time frame, and by filling the gap that they have created, you are nullifying their efforts.

auforfoulkesake Sun 24-Mar-13 10:40:49

I would have thought him staying, particularly as you have a sofa bed, would be an ideal scenario

auforfoulkesake Sun 24-Mar-13 10:41:50

can you talk to his parents and agree on lifts?

HeathRobinson Sun 24-Mar-13 11:02:14

I think helping on one weekend day would be reasonable. Not both.

I think his parents are, rightly, concerned about the impact of this relationship on his A levels. There is a lot to revise and not that much time left to do it.

purpleroses Sun 24-Mar-13 12:18:32

SirChen - not week days, as she's with her mum then (though her mum doesn't driver her to BFs). It's just one or other day at the weekend usually - though she often wants lifts to other places on the other day too, with our without BF.

Nebulous - DSD says they've stopped helping him because of his studies. He is doing 5 A levels - including Double Maths, so that is a heavy workload I guess, though as I said, he's lower sixth, and seems a nice lad, sensible and DSD isn't exactly drawing him into wild parties, etc. I'm not entirely sure that's the whole of it though tbh - I'm not certain whether there's things DSD isn't telling us. There's been a few issues here with them locking themselves in her room, under bedclothes, etc - so it's possible BF's family are concerned about the fact that she's still underage (16 in the summer). I'm just guessing though. She's a nice girl, polite and pleasant to adults, so can't see any obvious reason why they don't approve of her. Especially as they used to be OK about things, even when BF was doing GCSEs. It's just recently they've been unhappy.

We can't talk to them and agree on lifts really - we don't know them at all. ie don't know their names or their landline number. I don't think DSD would want us to start treating her as a younger child and arranging things with BF's parents really.

Ah. Sounds like they do want to discourage the relationship maybe because they're concerned about the implications of a sexual relationship. I think people always assume parents of daughters fret more but in fact it's a potential concern for all parents.

I think you are right about the reason his parents are concerned. Five A levels is a large workload.

We can't talk to them and agree on lifts really - we don't know them at all. ie don't know their names or their landline number. I know it's hard but iI think it would be worthwhile trying to have a chat with his mother. Northernlurker is right about parents of boys being equally concerned. If I suspected my 17 year old son might engage in under age sex I would definitely be worried.
You might be able to reassure her parents that they will be suitably chaperoned in your home.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 24-Mar-13 16:17:13

Underage girlfriend and locking themselves in her room under the bedcovers?
As the parent of an 18 year old boy, that would really worry me, no point in stunning A levels and a RG uni if he's got a sex offender's label too. People can be very inflexible about that sort of thing, especially if it ends in pregnancy.

A year, and you don't even know his parents' names? Have you had any normal conversations with him? Chatted to him over dinner? Gone out anywhere with them? Have they had sex?

With 5 A levels including maths, what's he planning on doing next year when applying to uni? Perhaps they are also concerned that he won't choose the best ones for his subjects, just the ones close enough to see his girlfriend.

But you could continue to keep dropping her off at his house, and see if that pushes his parents into communicating with you, or if it merely causes problems between him and his parents.

auforfoulkesake Sun 24-Mar-13 16:59:29

just take turn in the lifts and fair enough I would be putting my foot down at this moment in time. come the summer when the exams are over I am sure things will be back to normal. but AS levels are important

purpleroses Sun 24-Mar-13 18:48:19

We've had plenty of normal conversations with the BF nebulous - he's joined us for dinner, etc many times. But you don't ask "so what are your parents names then?" really do you? And certainly not "and what's their phone number?" confused.

I doubt he'd be planning to try and study close to home just to keep up the relationship, DSD is bright academically too, so will likely be going away just a year later anyway. Though I'm just guessing here.

It's particularly hard to try and talk to the other parents when she's not even my daughter. DP doesn't really do the talking to other parents thing. But nor does he really liaise effectively with his ex about it (I've no idea whether his ex has ever spoken to the BF's parents), and nor do I feel it's really my place.

Sounds from what people are saying here that my hunch about them possibly being concerned about her age and the seriousness of the relationship could be right though. Might try and see if I get the chance to push DSD a bit on what the problem is with her BF's parents and see if she'll tell me a bit more.

SirChenjin Sun 24-Mar-13 19:20:44

I would certainly ask what the BF's parents' names are, yes, especially after a year. I'm really surprised that after all this time you don't know more about the family.

You don't think he's maybe using the lack of lifts as an excuse not to see your DD and do more studying?

chocoluvva Sun 24-Mar-13 22:05:55

Please don't undermine the other set of parents by finding ways round their rules. He is their son and they are entitled to do whatever they think is in the best interests of their son.

My DD went out with a boy whose mum used to tell her that she'd try to get my rules bent and that I was being over-protective. This was purely for the benefit of her DS. I still feel angry with her for making it very hard to parent my child the way I wanted to.

15YO girls however polite and sensible do not always report things accurately - you do have to take some of what they say with a pinch of salt. BF's tend to come and go anyway - once he is 18 he'll be able to drink and may very well outgrow your daughter, as he wants to move in different circles.

My DD recently struck up a friendship with a boy (also 17) who lives in the country. I asked him for his landline number after about the third time he was here in case I ever need to contact her in an emergency.

I don't think the level of driving is really the issue- obviously if you have a) the time and b) can afford the petrol then you can drive as much as you like.

However, as others have said, you need to be careful that you aren't unwittingly undermining his parents by driving her over there. I would limit it to every other weekend, explain to her why his parents are so keen for him to focus on his studies etc and explain that ( unless you think it is..._ that it is not personal against her- it could be any girl and there would be the same issue ( this is what I have told my DD- see below). Tell her the mature thing to do is to both focus on studies for the next couple of months until exams are over- everyone will be more relaxed then with the summer to look forward to.

A word of caution though- we are in a similar position with my DD except she is the older one ( nearly 18) in a relationship with bf ( nearly 17). This has been for over 18 months now and in the early days bf parents loved her- now it has got more involved they are still openly very nice to her, but are doing pretty much all they can to kill the relationship dead in the water as they don't want him in a serious relationship.

Despite the fact he is doing very well at school, they both have a good attitude to their studies, voluntarily don't see each other in key exam periods, have a wide range of other friends/activities etc and I think have conducted the relationship in a really mature manner, Bfs parents just want him young,free and single. So DD and b/f have done all the things I said above, but b/f parents still have the same view!!! Which I think in the end will be counter productive as there may well start to be a point at which the b/f maintains the relationship just because it is "forbidden fruit".

senua Mon 25-Mar-13 08:57:57

If the parents won't drive, then why doesn't he? Has he started lessons yet.

purpleroses Mon 25-Mar-13 09:47:45

senua - he's just turned 17, and I think is about to start lessons. Yes that may change things - though his parents will still retain some control assuming he has to borrow their car to get anywhere.

schoolchauffeur - we can afford the petrol, but the driving does come at the expense of time spent with other kids, or sometimes means them being driven along, which isn't much fun for them. It was the feeling of unfairness about the driving, and uncertainty over how much is normal that led me to start this thread - but it has got me thinking about what is actually the problem from bf's parents' point of view. Will have a chat to DSD about that when I next get the chance.

Thanks all for your thoughts. I feel a bit like I've been flung into teenage parenting before I'm ready for it - my own DCs are a little younger. I want to support DP with his DD but sometimes feel we're both a bit clueless.

I thought of something else.
The January AS module results came out a couple of weeks ago. Many students got a shock. If this coincided with his parent's withdrawal of lifts it may be that he didn't do as well in his exams as he should have? Romance takes it's toll on studies.

lljkk Mon 25-Mar-13 14:01:11

5 A-levels shock. That's just greedy!!

Terrible his parents haven't tried to get to know you, too.

I don't think one day a week of lots of chaffeuring is so unreasonable, although I might ask her a favour in return like babysitting (seems reasonable to me!). It is temporary. I might compromise and have her use the bus for part journey, some days, she could text you when she needed picking up.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 25-Mar-13 14:03:47

Why the shock] lljkk?
5 A levels is the norm here for high ability students, it's why I asked the question.
His parents may have high expectations of him and be concerned about distractions.

lljkk Mon 25-Mar-13 15:47:42

One of us does not live in a normal community. I think it may be you.

purpleroses Mon 25-Mar-13 15:51:00

4 A levels is the norm at his school I think - but 5 if they do double maths which is always thought of more like 1.5 A levels. It's a private school so I assume as they're shelling out lots of money on him they probably do have quite high expectations. Can't help feeling that when I was 17 if I'd been told I wasn't allowed out for weeks on end because I should be studying, I'd probably have left home!

Interesting point about the timing of mock results though secret - thanks - I'm not familiar with A level timings so wasn't aware of that. It has just been the last few weeks that things have changed. Another thing I could pick up on with DSD to find out whether that is the reason.

Oh, and we do get a few favours - mostly babysitting - out of DSD in return for all the lifts grin (but we can't do bus part way as the buses go right near our house - that's no the problem - it's the other end she'd need the lift from, so that would have to be BF's parents)

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 25-Mar-13 15:55:56

lljk! grin

It might not be...Normal for Norfolk?

purpleroses not mock results, real AS modules. So lower than expected grades would mean resits and lots of extra work.
IIjkk DS1 is doing five AS and probably four A levels. Not private school, just bog standard sixth form.

chocoluvva Mon 25-Mar-13 16:28:43

The thing is, your feelings about the reasonableness or unreasonableness of his parents' actions aren't relevant. He's their child not yours. They don't have to justify themselves to you or your DSD and you only have her take on it,

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 25-Mar-13 16:36:56

When you say double Maths, are you meaning Maths and Further Maths, OP?
Because that's a very challenging course in its own right, DD had to really pull out all the stops and she normally cruises.
Chocoluvva is right, you may say

'Can't help feeling that when I was 17 if I'd been told I wasn't allowed out for weeks on end because I should be studying, I'd probably have left home! '

but some teenagers see the logic behind the decision, and know it is for a finite, relatively short time for a good outcome.
Who knows, driving lessons may be one of the carrots on offer.

purpleroses Mon 25-Mar-13 19:02:02

Yes I mean maths and further maths. I guess I'd not really given much thought to how concerned his parents may be. DSD just seems to sail through everything - already has A* GCSE maths under her belt, predicted clean sweep of A*s at GCSE despite loads of clubs and activities and a busy social life, and doesn't appear to need much parental input into making sure she studies. So we really just let her be and organise her own life. But of course not all kids are like that. (My own DS certainly isn't!) And A-levels are harder than GCSEs.

Would seem fair enough that BF should cut down on socialising, but not to see your GF for two months (unless her parents will do all the driving) seems a bit harsh. And truth is I'm really not that clear on how welcome she is round there - so hard to know whether we're undermining them, or just helping them out by meaning DSD is the one doing all the travelling.

DP says he did say a brief hello to them when picking her up on Sunday, and noticed DSD was being ultra polite and meek around them - not sure if that's to try and get back in their good books for some reason.

chocoluvva Mon 25-Mar-13 19:25:16

Sorry, I posted too soon. I don't mean to come over all harsh, but you really don't know anything more than the things your DSD chooses to tell you. I don't doubt that she's polite and successful but a 15YO's judgement and perception of situations is likely to be immature. There could be any number of things going on in her BF's home - they may (rightly or wrongly) think your DSD is a 'bad influence'.... They might have different values from you about lots of things and not want the family influence 'threatened' by a young girl who will possibly have a different boyfriend this time next year.

I'll never forget my 15YO DD coming home from her BF's and telling me that his mum had told them that I was overprotective of her because she's my first child. Or his mum sitting beside me at a school concert asking if I'd "extend their curfew". angry

Also there's the principle of keeping things in perspective - your DSD and her BF will probably break up sooner or later. You might look back and regret all the trouble you've gone to then for a boy you might never set eyes on again.
Many parents feel that a 'serious' relationship at that age may result in their DC's missing out on other things;socially, academically.... Your family should not come second to the convenience of your DSD and her BF.

purpleroses Tue 26-Mar-13 21:42:05

Just been on FB - it says DSD "went from being in a relationship to single" shock

So looks like either his parents have stamped on the relationship, or else there was more to it anyway than his not being able to get lifts.

Poor DSD sad She's supposed to be going to his birthday party this week and to a festival in the summer with him.... She's at her mum's now. I'll have to wait til Thursday when she's here next to find out what's gone on. Guess you guys were right about teenage relationships not often lasting long. It had been a year though.

On the plus side, at least we'll have less driving to do confused

auforfoulkesake Wed 27-Mar-13 09:35:04

aw, may be it was all an excuse by the boy, hope she gets over him soonest. plenty plenty more fish in the sea

chocoluvva Wed 27-Mar-13 09:36:30

Aww sad It's horrible seeing your DC's (or SDC's, I'm sure) being upset by a BF/GF. Hopefully she'll surprise you by bouncing back very quickly.

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