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Are we in the wrong here?

(58 Posts)
Tiggs2 Fri 22-Feb-13 12:42:50

Hello all, I am just after some advice/ opinions on this matter please. We have a 20 year old son who is on his second year at uni, and staying in a rented house monday to friday, then home at weekends. He works minimal hours on a Sat and Sun, then spends the rest of the time with his friends. He usually manages to get late morning or afternoon shifts so that he can stay out all ours of the night. We don't see much of him at all because he comes back over on a Friday evening but goes straight to his mates till the early hours, then he gets up on the Sat, goes to work and then goes out from there so generally we see him for about 15mins on the Sat, and maybe 20 mins on the Sunday night just before he goes back. He drives a car so generally he has all his freedom to do whatever he wants and we don't ask questions, but we have had to bail him out with money a couple of times. All we ask of him is to try not to disturb us as I am a light sleeper anyway. We have one rule though that when he stays here during the week, he doesn't come in too late as his dad has to get up at 6.30am and likes to wait for him to come home, so weekends are fine but not Sunday to Friday. Lately though when he is staying home during the week, he is stopping out for longer and once it gets to Midnight the stress levels start to rise here as we want him home so we can relax and go to bed. He has stayed here the last couple of Sunday nights and is supposed to get up Monday early, in order to go to Uni, but because he has stayed out so late ( after 1.30am) he stays in bed here until lunchtime, telling us lessons are cancelled or something simillar. There is now a row brewing because he came back over last night, we didn't see him, and when his dad text him to ask that he come home at a reasonable time, he said just carry on to bed and he won't disturb us when he comes in! His dad reminded him again that with it being midnight, and a Thursday, that he should be back home and that we would be having talks tonight. He then didn't come home at all, but stayed at a friends without letting us know! Our son wants to move home in May, and I am dreading it because he will just carry on as he is now, putting his social life before everything. When I mentioned all this causing problems he replied that he is 20 and not a kid anymore so if his friends stay out late then why can't he? We don't ask anything of him, be it rent, jobs, etc and always send him back to Uni with plenty of food, so are we being unreasonable?
P.S We can't ever see him doing a 9 to 5 job!!

zukiecat Fri 22-Feb-13 13:52:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mrsambition Fri 22-Feb-13 14:15:55

Lol totally OTT, go to bed he's an adult! this is how young men behave, just be glad he's not bringing the lads round for a few beers & the girls round for ........! Chill out

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 22-Feb-13 14:22:22

A bit of unreasonableness on all parts IMO.

Your husband really needs to stop waiting up for him, that's just silly and is treating your son like a child. Indeed, it's facilitating him STAYING a child. Your DH "likes to see that [DS is] ok and has everything, especially if we haven't seen anything of him all weekend." Seriously, if your 20 year old can't do that for himself by now then it's high time he learned.

You say "We want him to try and be responsible" - well, stop bailing him out financially and start bawling him out when he disturbs your sleep by forgetting his keys. He says he's an adult, treat him as such - no bailouts, and consideration for others expected.

"Our son wants to move home in May, and I am dreading it because he will just carry on as he is now, putting his social life before everything. When I mentioned all this causing problems he replied that he is 20 and not a kid anymore so if his friends stay out late then why can't he?"
OK, so he wants to move home. That doesn't mean that you have to let him, and certainly not on HIS terms. This is your home, he claims says he isn't a kid, so as an adult he can either pull his weight of find somewhere else. Perhaps he and his friends can share? And I really do suggest floating that idea to him - if he and they want to live a particular way that's fine, but they can pay for it themselves, not sponge off their parents. Under no circumstances should he be living rent-free come May. You need to make that clear. Very clear.

"He has stayed here the last couple of Sunday nights and is supposed to get up Monday early, in order to go to Uni, but because he has stayed out so late ( after 1.30am) he stays in bed here until lunchtime, telling us lessons are cancelled or something simillar. "
Again, you need to step up a bit here. Tell him you will not be lied to. Maybe suggest he shouldn't doss stay at yours'on Sunday any more as it is obviously interfering with his studies. Make it clear that if he isn't going to actually go to Uni, then you expect him to leave and get a job. And yes, tell him he's being childish.

"We don't ask anything of him, be it rent, jobs, etc and always send him back to Uni with plenty of food, so are we being unreasonable?"
Yes, you are being unreasonable, but not for the reasons you might think. You should be asking him for rent. You should be insisting he works to fund himself. You should be letting him decide what's his financial priority, whether to eat or socialise. These will help him to actually grow up, rather than find it far too easy to stay an adolescent. He needs to grow up, and you and your husband need to step back and let him.

gameday Fri 22-Feb-13 14:28:00

Your DH sounds more upset that DS is ignoring you both - and I can understand that. Maybe sort that out by scheduling a meal together or something? Don't charge him rent to live in his own home, though. I hate that concept. DO have him contribute to food bills (or better yet do some of the shopping himself) and help out generally. But no curfews; he's an adult. As long as he's doing well on his course and not getting into debt, then he's not doing badly. If you stop bailing him out financially, then he'll have to pick up more work hours.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 22-Feb-13 14:44:52


He's a adult treat him like one.

midastouch Fri 22-Feb-13 14:52:20

YABU my mum and dad made me be in by 11pm when i was 19/20 yo, i still think its totally ridiculous!

NopeStillNothing Fri 22-Feb-13 15:17:53

Yabu. He is at uni AND has a job. Seems like he is doing ok to me. A curfew for a 20 year old is ridiculous!

MimiSunshine Fri 22-Feb-13 15:21:55

Ok, I think your son coming home in the early hours and disturbing you is out of order. Its not about a curfew its about common decency, he should respect that he isn’t in uni halls where its (barely) tolerated (I screamed bloody murder at someone who dared to wake me up when in uni accommodation).

However you say you want him to be responsible in your last post, but yet you seem to be still treating him like a child. I had friends at uni like your son and their parents did them no favours. I’m guessing you are paying his way at uni or at least his fees, as you say he’s moving home to rent free accommodation so he can keep his loan. Why exactly, what will he need it for if its not to pay to live somewhere?

Don’t get me wrong, my parents paid my fees and helped me out occasionally when I was penniless and literally starving, but I also worked part time and paid my own rent so my begging off them was literally last resort and I hated doing it.
You need to decide, do you want your little boy back home or do you want him to grow up? It sounds like he’s never at uni and I doubt he’ll be bothered to drive in once he’s at home again full time. Stop picking up after him, stop letting him treat your home like halls and give him some ground rules and responsibilities, however will he ever stand on his own two feet if no one makes him learn?
Personally I don’t think its unreasonable to expect not to be woken up in the middle of night during the week, I live in a house share now and one housemate used to wake the others up by coming home late during the week, they were told and they had to change their behaviour when they came in i.e. using the downstairs bathroom and not turning on the stairs lights as it flooded into the bedrooms. Inconvenient for them yes, but not as much as disturbed sleep for 3 other people.

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 22-Feb-13 17:03:23

Sorry, I agree with the others. He's 20. You cannot treat him like he's 16. Neither should he be disrespectful or rude of your property, time or love.

Presume he had a mobile? Then he can keep in good contact with you. He should out of politeness keep you informed, but you cannot now enforce a curfew.

You need to work out new house rules together. You are working on rules that used to work but everything has changed. You need to move along a bit, all of you. He's tasted freedom at Uni, but he cannot be rude to you.

He will eventually work, else why be at Uni? No holiday these days, he's paying now or later!

littlewhitebag Fri 22-Feb-13 17:10:27

My DD is 20 and at Uni. We see her the odd weekend as she doesn't come home much during term time. Last two summers she lived at home and worked locally. She came and went as she pleased. I certainly never waited up for her or gave her a curfew! I did ask that she be quiet as she came in. Perhaps your son needs to get a job where he is at Uni then you wouldn't need to be worried by when he comes in?

MrsBombastic Fri 22-Feb-13 17:13:21

I do understand...

If he is moving back in rent free then there needs to be ground rules, if he can't stick to them he needs to move out and pay his way.

He is an adult, he needs to act like one, you need to treat him like one.

Sunday night or not just tell your DH to just go to bed.

The problem is here is that he is not a child and this is what 20 year old men do.

Parents either put up with it or chuck em out, those are your options I'm afraid.

I left home at 18, had a full time job and moved into a house share, if he is studying PT maybe this is what he needs to do and p.s stop bailing him out financially, he needs to learn stand on his own 2 feet!

I have 6 girls and NONE of them will be getting away with this..we've had this convo already with the teenagers.. you are either studying full time at uni in which case by all means come home rent free on weekends and we will help you financially as much as possible or you moved out, get a job and work full time.

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 22-Feb-13 17:15:10

I don't want you to feel upset. I do think he should pay his way once he moves home. Else he should move out. He's 20, he's a man. He needs responsibility, even if your rent is cheaper than a flat!

cheeseandchive Fri 22-Feb-13 17:16:06

Regardless of whether you're being U or not, I think there's two ways you can approach this when he moves back;

1) He doesn't pay rent so he can save to pay off his student loan and, as a consequence, he accepts your rules (about curfews/help around the house etc) and maybe agrees to a 'payment plan' eg. a minimum amount of money he will save every month to pay off his loan. This means you can be generous to him, but he needs to prove that he won't just squander the opportunity you're giving him.

2) He does pay rent (or some kind of financial contribution, set by you and DH) and, as a consequence, is free to make all his own decisions about curfews/food etc.

I don't think that a 20 yr old should have a curfew enforced by his parents, but if you are going to be generous enough to allow him to live at home rent-free then you are entitled to expect him to adhere to house rules for as long as he does so. I think setting out expectations clearly (and discussing and amending where appropriate) will help avoid arguments in the future.

Xales Fri 22-Feb-13 17:33:10

I think if I am getting out of bed every morning to go to work to support a 20 year old living for free the least they can have the decency to do is not come in a.m. and disturb me.

I hear the key in the door, shoes off, walking up the stairs,bathroom lights, toilets etc.

If they want the freedom to do that then they can rent a room elsewhere.

If they want to stay for free they can accept that at least nights before working days they need to come in at a reasonable hour.

andubelievedthat Fri 22-Feb-13 17:34:17

My own parents were similar in that respect , peer pressure is far greater a persuader than mum and dad ! anyhow as i was approaching the end of my time at uni my father asked re my plans? i was like "dunno see what turns up,something will," " where do you intend to stay "was his next Q ? at yours ,said i>he pointed out that as i would be no longer at FE,i was therefore an adult and he expected me to support myself ,not expect him and mum to ,he said i was entitled to stay at his home but i would be paying a fair rent every wk and yes ,as it was undoubtably his house ,i would live there by his rules ,no doubt re that <so i thought about that ,got a job and flat share and everyone was happy campers !(my parents were lovely btw,but very down to earth,realists)best wishes

Mintberry Fri 22-Feb-13 17:54:32

There are (albeit a minority, in young mum threads) of parents using this site at that age!

CockyFox Fri 22-Feb-13 18:18:25

Not sure who is in the wrong here, but is he your eldest or only child?
I am the oldest and had a curfew of 10:30pm as a teenager abd the week before I turned 18 she told me as an adult I could be home by midnight or leave home, I was 18 on the Monday and moved in with my then boyfriend (now husband) on the Thursday.
She learned from her mistakes and my siblings were and are allowed to come and go as they pleased as long as they tell her if they won't be home so she doesn't worry - the still live at home in their late 20s.

somewhereaclockisticking Fri 22-Feb-13 18:41:49

Actually I disagree with the majority of posters here. I say your house your rules. I know that no matter how old my child is, if he/she lived at home I would probably end up listening to hear when they came home - as a parent you worry constantly and if they live/stay at home then you are more aware of what they're up to. People say treat him like an adult but as an adult he has to respect other peoples' wishes and you wish for him to return home at a sensible hour for your peace of mind. Not coming home at all without letting you know leads you to imagine all sorts of things. Nobody would allow someone to come and stay and then waltz in and out of their home whenever they felt like it . It's inconsiderate to the people who live there and all you are asking is for him to be more considerate. you are a light sleeper so chances are you could be woken up and in a sleepy state not remember who is in the house or not at that time. My dad always said his house his rules so I moved out at 19. Your son has the same choice.

TiddlyOmPomPom Fri 22-Feb-13 21:33:25

I honestly think YA both B a bit U.

I don't think you should actually give him a curfew, but he shouldn't treat his family home like a doss house. If he can't be bothered to spend more than 15 minutes with you, then tell him you'd rather he stayed at his house for the weekend too.
If he does continue staying and going out til late, then each occasion that he disturbs you means he stays away the following weekend.

He needs to learn to behave a bit more responsibly, it's pathetic that he can't even manage a text to let you know he'll be in v late or staying with mates.
If this isn't dealt with before May you're going to end up with a Kevin The Teenager 24/7!

quoteunquote Fri 22-Feb-13 22:00:45

buy some ear plugs, he is 20, holding down a job, and studying, maintaining friendship, be proud,

go to bed, let go and be pleased for him,

do you live somewhere you could build a additional space (something like this, we built a very insulated (sound and temperature) summer house with loo and shower, I find it a perfect place to keep the student aged offspring, you see them when they need to eat, or if you turn the internet off, it works really well.

We build a lot of these, as people children live at home for much longer these days, and it makes for very harmonious living,

SavoyCabbage Fri 22-Feb-13 22:07:04

Why is he coming home at the weekends? Is this the thing now. I wouldn't have had time to do that when I was at university.

He should be making a life for himself where he is at university.

If I was him, I would rather pay rent in May than be treated like a child.

FeistyLass Fri 22-Feb-13 22:16:33

YABU. He's an adult and you have to let him live his life and make his own mistakes. If he chooses to miss lectures then let him. He has to take responsibility for his own studying, his own successes and his own failures.

tbh my parents were incredibly strict until I turned 18 but after that I could come and go as I pleased. . . even on week nights . . .and I even had friends to stay over (although no boys allowed!). The other side of that freedom was that I paid rent from the minute I had a part-time job. And I think YANBU to ask him to contribute to the household.

I can understand you being upset that you don't see him much but you'll be seeing a lot more of him when he moves home. However, if you think you'll still treat him like a child then perhaps you should seriously consider if you want him to move home. It can be hard to cut the apron strings (on all sides) but it will be better for him.

notmyproblem Fri 22-Feb-13 22:39:12

Sounds like you're creating the perfect mummy's boy, OP.

You're afraid of offending him by laying down the law and telling him to obey your house rules or leave. He just does what he wants anyway, regardless of what you ask him to do. He hardly even sees you for more than half an hour over an entire weekend, so clearly you're just a free bed, roof and fridge for him (not to mention the car and extra money you bail him out with). So basically he does what he wants, when he wants, how he wants, and does nothing in return that doesn't suit him.

Put your foot down, TELL don't ask him how it will be in May, give him ample opportunity to get a job and a flatshare or figure out that he needs to live by your rules in your house and show some courtesy for the other people who live there.

Tough love. You're not doing him any favours letting him walk all over you. I'm sure he's a lovely boy and all that but he's also 20 and it's high time he learned to behave and live like an adult. Stop enabling him to remain a child or he'll still be living there in 10 years keeping you up at all hours worrying about him.

notmyproblem Fri 22-Feb-13 22:41:30

And this:
buy some ear plugs, he is 20, holding down a job, and studying, maintaining friendship, be proud, go to bed, let go and be pleased for him,

is a complete joke. Honestly, do people have such low expectations and standards of their kids that a 20 year old who manages to go to school and maintain friendships should be applauded as being a big success in life? confused

MikeOxardAndWellard Fri 22-Feb-13 22:56:36

Yabu. He's not a 15 year old kid, he's a 20 yo man. Of course he is not going to accept a curfew, how ridiculous, go to bed and lock the door for goodness sake. If you can't put up with him coming home at the hours he returns at, then tell him he must get his own place.

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