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To stop funding (adult) ds's idiocy?

(112 Posts)
Yestotallyunreasonable Fri 19-Aug-16 10:35:09

Ds (19) is a uni student and I currently top up his uni loan. (For those who haven't got student dcs, believe me the loans do not cover living expenses. DS's loan was less than his hall fees.) He studies a subject related to health.

I'm anti- smoking (which ds well knows) and he has always claimed to think that his friends who smoke are idiots. He says How can they be so stupid to waste their money on that shit? Don't they know what it does to their bodies? etc bullshit etc

Lo and behold, facebook photos of ds on holiday tagged by friends show him fag in hand, cigs in pocket, smoking away. (And funnily enough I notice he immediately unfriended me so I guess he's hoping I haven't seen the photos.) angry

I'm trying to work out a reasonable approach before he gets back from his holiday. I'm wondering if cutting the money I give him to support him at uni is fair? Why the fuck should I give him my hard earned cash to pay for his disgusting stupid money wasting habit? Is this hysterical overreaction? Too little too late? Measured and sensible? confused

Things to bear in mind:
- He's adult, independent and I can't stop him if he chooses to smoke fucking idiot
- He has a part time job and is doing very well on a tough academic course.
- Despite his job and my (term time) financial support he is still overdrawn and struggled to pay for this camping holiday with friends.
- He has signed a rental agreement to share a student house next academic year. He has to pay half rent over the summer and without my help won't be able to pay for september.

WWYD? Please tell me.

GerryAndPerry Fri 19-Aug-16 10:40:16

How about asking him how much he spends on smoking over week and deduct that from what you give him. Not going to financially cripple him but makes a point?

Yestotallyunreasonable Fri 19-Aug-16 10:45:27

Yes, but that would involve honesty Gerry. I have no doubt he'll claim it was the first time he'd ever touched a cigarette.

SmilingButClueless Fri 19-Aug-16 10:46:20

I'm almost as anti-smoking as they come, but think YWBU to stop supporting him if this means he won't be able to pay his rent. Would be different if he didn't have a part time job.

Would you still be thinking about stopping support if the photos showed him chugging down several pints? Because that's still discretionary spending.

You would, however, not be unreasonable to not help him out over and above what you already do - so if he's short of funds and can't do something, tough.

You would also NBU to give him (several!) lectures on the evils of smoking ;-)

But at the end of the day, he's an adult. He decides what to spend his money on - whether that's cigarettes, drink, takeaways, gym membership, a better phone... As long as he's paying the bills he has to pay, I don't think you should really interfere.

Yestotallyunreasonable Fri 19-Aug-16 10:46:41

Perhaps I'll cut by a tenner a week (approx the cost of a packet).

AbyssinianBanana Fri 19-Aug-16 10:48:37

If that's the first time you've suspected, could it not just be a holiday thing? Have you ever smelled smoke on his clothes? You can usually tell if someone smokes a lot. Otherwise, what's the difference in indulging in a pack of cigs or 2-3 pints of beer? Neither are good for you.

LurkingQuietly Fri 19-Aug-16 10:50:02

Just the flip side of this: I was a non smoker for years and years who always smoked on holidays! Never touched one in this country but chuffed away on hols. No, I don't know why!!

Anyway, if he's on holiday, it seems like he has a fair bit of disposable income. I certainly wasn't going abroad whilst at uni, so cutting his money probably won't stop him smoking: it'll stop him eating more likely!

Olives106 Fri 19-Aug-16 10:51:07

It might not be the first time, but it might not be habitual either. For years from the age of 18 I used to smoke about 3 times a year, always when out drinking or partying. Since the smoking ban and growing up a bit, it's now more like once a year. I've never been a regular smoker.

Actually, come to think of it, all the regular smokers I know are HCPs, I think it's to do with the stress!

Maybe ask him about it? Also, unless he's on 30 a day, which you'd surely have noticed by the smell, his expenditure on fags is likely to be quite a small part of his general expenses.

Cut him some slack, and if you're really worried about the smoking, I'd tackle it with him from a health rather than a money perspective. Realistically, as a young guy, he's probably going to spend some cash on things of which you disapprove or which are a bit silly. Of course there's a limit, but basically once you've handed the money over it's his not yours, unless you're trying to use it to control him.

When I read the title of the thread I was imagining all sorts of excesses involving drugs and goodness knows what, not a sneaked fag on holiday!

AGruffaloCrumble Fri 19-Aug-16 10:51:30

If he's on holiday he obviously has spare money.

timelytess Fri 19-Aug-16 10:53:49

change tack. pay his hall fees and let him use his loan for living expenses.

doctoratsea Fri 19-Aug-16 10:54:05

Yestotallyunreasonable, this reminds me on another thread I recently posted on about giving money to people and what they spend it on... my point being, if you give money (and believe me I know what you are saying about student loans and the shortfall to pay rent, as I do exactly the same, for now 2 DD's) it is given unconditionally?

I'm with you on the smoking idiocy (even being an ex-smoker myself) but agree with the final paragraph of SmilingButClueless

Yestotallyunreasonable Fri 19-Aug-16 10:54:21

No, it's not the first time I've suspected. I haven't smelled smoke on him much at all (and believe me, dh, I can smell a snaky fag for days afterwards) but I've seen fags on him before when he was packing for a music festival. I hoped that that time was a once-off festival thing.

This time by unfortunate coincidence, ds2 was sitting next to me looking at the photos so I can't unsee it IYSWIM.

OTheHugeManatee Fri 19-Aug-16 10:57:37

He's an adult, he can choose to smoke if he wants to but you can choose not to fund it.

You can't expect him to tell the truth about how much he smokes, so a reasonable guess is that he smokes 10 a day (a fairly sensible average if he smokes now and then normally but more on social occasions). 10 Marlboro Lights is £4.99. £5/day for 365 days is £1825/year, or just over £600/term.

So dock him £600/term until he can prove he is no longer smoking. If he wants to continue smoking he can make up the shortfall himself. I think if you feel this strongly about it, it's your prerogative to make different decisions about what you do with your money.

Yestotallyunreasonable Fri 19-Aug-16 10:59:05

This holiday is a camping trip in the UK but no doubt involves plenty of alcohol as well as other pleasures. hmm

I'm so torn because I really agree with those of you saying it's his choice what to spend his money on but I feel like I have to say and do something on principle.

bramblesandblackberries Fri 19-Aug-16 11:00:07

How would he prove he's no longer smoking?

I hate smoking, I really do, so I sympathise, but he's a young lad and they are pretty famous for doing daft things grin

doctoratsea Fri 19-Aug-16 11:01:35

Of course you should say something, as it is clearly a concern for you, as it would be for me. Whether you then choose to do something, may be determined as a consequence of your discussion?

LuckySantangelo1 Fri 19-Aug-16 11:01:48

Is it just holiday smoking? I don't do it these days but used to love having a few cigarettes in the evening on holiday, with a glass of wine. Cigs are hugely cheaper abroad.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Fri 19-Aug-16 11:03:17

Assuming you give him a fixed amount of money per month, I wouldn't do anything.

He's learning a good life lesson here. He spends on cigarettes and a holiday and he goes overdrawn. So he will have to live on cheap bread for a few weeks to make up the shortfall or get work that fits around his studies, or get a bigger loan, all assuming you say no if he asks you for more money.

I don't think you should get into judging the detail of what he spends on. Surely everyone does stupid shit at uni, just nowadays your mum might see it on FB.

Set a regular payment. Give him the regular payment, with no strings other than passing exams. Give him no other money and let him work it out for himself.

Do not bail him out or lecture him. Treat him like an adult family member: have sympathy for his money troubles but leave them firmly on his own shoulders.

CatThiefKeith Fri 19-Aug-16 11:04:55

Are you sure it was a cigarette he was smoking op?

Fuckingmoles Fri 19-Aug-16 11:07:59

.. my point being, if you give money (and believe me I know what you are saying about student loans and the shortfall to pay rent, as I do exactly the same, for now 2 DD's) it is given unconditionally?

^this. I

Yestotallyunreasonable Fri 19-Aug-16 11:10:06

Keith no I'm not sure it was a cigaterette. But there was a series of photos and he was the only one holding it. It wasn't being passed around.

I tried to go back and check again when ds2 had gone and he'd blocked me

AntiquityAgain Fri 19-Aug-16 11:10:27

I'd keep giving him the money I would normally and tease him about being a hypocrite!

Shizzlestix Fri 19-Aug-16 11:10:49

I think you should have a chat about it. He obviously smokes, whether it's on occasion or full time is irrelevant. As a student, to be able to afford a holiday is a bit confused, I certainly never could and worked my arse off over summer to boost my bank account for September. I don't see why you should fund his holiday, smoking, drinking, music festivals etc. Does he work?

YelloDraw Fri 19-Aug-16 11:15:17

Surely everyone does stupid shit at uni, just nowadays your mum might see it on FB.


Pretend you haven't seen it! Let him make mistakes and grow up without having you analyse everything on FB.

Trifleorbust Fri 19-Aug-16 11:15:42

Tricky one. He is an adult, so he is entitled to smoke if he wants. However, you are not obliged to give him money because, again, he's an adult. But you could just as easily be making a fuss about him having a few drinks or buying a pizza - are you really prepared to say you'll only support him financially if he spends money in accordance with your wishes?

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