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To have taken this action with ds

(128 Posts)
SEmyarse Sun 06-Nov-16 09:09:07

I honestly don't know but I seem to have become heartbroken over doing what I thought was the right thing.

Ds is 20 and we have always got on like a house on fire. We've always chatted loads about everything. Maybe the background is a little relevant - I fell pregnant with him at 19 to a man that was severely disabled and terminally ill. I was told he probably wouldn't live to see the birth but he actully lived until ds was 9. Yes, I was incredibly silly falling pregnant in this way, but I've spent the whole of his life trying to do what was right by him. I ended up in a major legal battle to try to get his father living with us (took 5 years) and then another 5 years handling a very extensive care package to enable us to live together. I very definitely did this because I considered it the right thing to do for ds, but I'm not sure now due to other factors. We also had a second child - dd1.

After his dad died I remarried and had a third child, and despite all the early trauma in his life ds coped very well and got on great with his step father.

The only issue in his life was complete lack of motivation - ever. This became apparent throughout secondary school. He just wouldn't do anything, regardless of consequences. We regularly had teachers tearing their hair out with frustration (as was I) that work was never completed. He had many and varied sanctions, but nothing ever made a blind bit of difference (and I was rather cross with the school that they often gave him more and more chances, which undermined things).

My mother also paid for driving lessons for him. He took a few and despite saying he really wanted to drive, just stopped booking them. I have no idea why since he often expressed frustration that he wasn't driving. My mother was furious and after 18 months transferred them to his cousin who passed quickly. Ds expresses jealousy of his cousin.

So he left school with some great grades (from the subjects that had held his hand) and some completely missing subjects where he didn't complete coursework (one piece took 3 years and still didn't get done) and even an exam that he didn't turn up for.

Knowing how completely unmotivated he was I encouraged him to go to college to do a practical subject, but as soon as they met him and had his references from school explaining he's an extremely bright lad they persuaded him to take a-levels. He presents extremely well and can charm the birds from the trees.

His first year at college, he spent in the snooker club and on the skateramp. He decided to restart telling me he'd realised the error of his ways and changed. He went back to his old school and restarted at 6th form. This was worse, and he did nothing, and I started getting phone calls to say he was now disruptive, playing the clown. This was embarrassing, he was the oldest kid in the school. I told the school I would talk to him but that was realistically all I could do, if he was disruptive then they should ask him to leave. They didn't, they gave him chance after chance, and even after he got CEU grades when he was supposed to get CCC, they let him back on the course. All teachers say he was capable of As.

When he got a part time job I asked him to pay a small amount of rent in the hope that it might click that there were things in life that had to be done. He has always been expected to help out around the house also. He did these things without grumbling but without exception had to be asked to do them.

In April this year he dropped out of 6th form and was immediately given full time hours at his job, and also a promotion. I assume this means he works hard at his job (it's a cafe). I explained to ds that if he wanted to work in the cafe long term that was fine by me. He said that's absolutely not what he wanted to do and he wanted a career. I said that was fine, but because of history of not ever doing anything that I would have to be quite pushy with him. He would have to pay a more proportionate share of living costs (which he agreed was fair) and come up with some kind of plan of what he was going to pursue if he wanted to live here relatively cheaply as a step up into something else. I gave him until the end of July to tell me what the plan was, and if there was no plan that he would have to move out by the end of October. He agreed with this totally. Apart from anything else his sister's could do with separate rooms.

Things domestically went down hill. We had to chase his rent every month. He stopped doing anything around the house. He stopped communication about food so after many wasted dinners we stopped including him in dinner arrangements. He stopped doing even the small amount of housework he'd been doing. His room descended into squalor, and he only stayed here about 2 nights a week. If I ever tried to tackle any of these subjects he told me there was no point because he was moving out soon. He even refused to clear up when I had a landlord inspection.

July came and went with no response, so in August I had a chat with him and he confirmed he intended to move out at the end of October. I said I was going to have to be hard and strictly enforce this, because we were getting nowhere. He said he understood it was for his own good, he agreed he would carry on taking the mick otherwise. I cried, he could see I was extremely upset at having to ask him to move on. Despite the problems we chatted all the time and he got on great with his sisters.

So end of October, I could see no action of any kind and with a week to go he went to Budapest. He had 3 days left when he came back and he told me he'd got something sorted although he kept muttering about a room in a crack house. He said it was only for 3 months until he went to Australia. He's been talking about this for a while, but as with everything else I didn't believe it would happen. I was determined to stand firm and do what I thought was right for him and make him stand on his own feet at last. My husband thought maybe we should extend till after xmas but I was determined not to kick it down the road again, I didn't think we were doing him any favours.

At the last minute, it turned out that he's actually been offered the room at his friend's house (who's already gone to Australia) for zero rent. Apparently the other mum's of his friendship group think me getting him to pay his way was utterly unreasonable at his age (20) and were queuing up to take him in. He has now expressed (as never before) that he thinks I've treated him badly.

I am heartbroken. I was only trying to do this to help him - genuinely. I almost couldn't bear the thought of him not being around, we've been through a lot together, but I was determined to do what was best to help him grow up. If I'd known this was going to happen I wouldn't have asked him to move on.

SEmyarse Sun 06-Nov-16 09:09:47

Oops, more epic than it looked in the preview.

ElspethFlashman Sun 06-Nov-16 09:15:30

I don't understand the problem?

He was given notice and got a place sorted.

We'll see how long he gets away with his grubbiness there .

PosiePootlePerkins Sun 06-Nov-16 09:15:43

YANBU. He is an adult. You have done your very best by him and he has made his choices. At some point he is going to have to take some responsibility for his life. As heartbreaking as it must be for you, you now have to let him go and make his own mistakes.
Ignore the comments from his friends parents (if they are true). You are doing the right thing. flowers

PotteringAlong Sun 06-Nov-16 09:16:39

No, you were completely in the right and entirely acting in his best interests.

Tenementfunster Sun 06-Nov-16 09:18:04

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. You've been understanding and firm when required but with love. Let the other mum find out that he's pretty lazy. I can't see you've done anything wrong. You're trying to help him be independent.

LittleReindeerwithcloggson Sun 06-Nov-16 09:20:21

You've done the right thing op. He is an adult and needs to stand on his own two feet. Sounds like he is trying to make you feel guilty and let him stay for nothing, please don't! He will soon find out how much you did for him. All we can do for our children is to love them, care for them ,help and support them and prepare them for adulthood and to make their own way in life. Sounds like you have done all that. It's his turn now to make it work.

TheAnswerIsYes Sun 06-Nov-16 09:20:25

YANBU. You are doing, and have always done, the best that you can for him.

Let him know that you are always supportive of the choices he makes for himself and be there for him but it is time for him to stand on his own two feet and not rely on you.

Good luck.

TheAnswerIsYes Sun 06-Nov-16 09:21:27

PS don't worry about what other parents think. They will soon realise when he is treating their place like a doss house

JustSpeakSense Sun 06-Nov-16 09:23:41

The other Parents who are apparently queuing up to have him have not lived with him for 20 years.

Wait and see how eager to help they are when he stops being so charming and they realise how difficult he actually is to live with.

I think going to Australia would be very good for him, he needs to grow up.

babyapril Sun 06-Nov-16 09:23:55

flowers l really feel for you. It is one of the toughest things - parenting a teen/ young adult.
Your heart just walks around with them - hoping they are okay.
I don't have any advice . I just hope it works out for all of your family.

BasinHaircut Sun 06-Nov-16 09:24:55

OP stick to your guns. I have a friend who at 33 still lives at home and has - to be frank - a train wreck of a life because her parents never made her take any responsibility for her actions and still to this day facilitate her.

It's a shame because like your son she had so much potential but it will never be realised because if the cushion they provide.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Sun 06-Nov-16 09:28:23

Well done on sticking to your guns. You are doing the right thing. What he's doing is manipulation, and if his friend's mothers think the sun shines out his arse,then that are all in for a surprise!

I paid rent aged 18 wish I worked full time in a year out before university. Not a lot, but enough to feel I was contributing. It was a perfectly reasonable request from my parents and in fact set off other people in my friendship group being asked by their parents to pay rent too!

Keep going, OP, you don't want him aged 40 living in your spare room and never achieving anything.

SEmyarse Sun 06-Nov-16 09:28:33

I'm actually worried that he WON'T treat it like a doss house. Presumably he can behave otherwise his work wouldn't have promoted and given him a payrise.

I can believe that the other mums adore him, everyone adores him, and he has the added bonus that he once saved one mum's life when she badly cut herself and collapsed while he was there. There seems to be a general different outlook to me amongst them. The ones I know well enough admit to taxiing their 'kids' everywhere, cleaning up after them, wouldn't dream of charging rent and encourage partying to what I would consider excessive levels. They're all also a lot wealthier than me, which shouldn't matter, but seems to make the difference of opinion a lot more significant.

QuiteLikely5 Sun 06-Nov-16 09:32:40


What is it that he is specifically upset about?

There are two sides to every story and you've so far only said his intelligence is great but it would appear the boy has had a negative label attached to him from a young age?

He has lived up to that label.

You seem never to have any confidence in anything he attempts - so why should he?

SEmyarse Sun 06-Nov-16 09:35:04

I agree with whoever said that going to Australie would be a good thing. Anything to experience life has got to be a good influence.

Like I say though I never believed he'd sort it, and we also had an argument over it because I assumed it was a travelling experience where he would get bar work etc to fund his way round, apparently he has no intention of working and this is why people think he should live rent free to save up.

birdsdestiny Sun 06-Nov-16 09:37:14

I think you need to let him go. I think he will sort it out. When I was 20 I had dropped out of 2 universities and ended up in a low paid job. But in that job I found what I loved to do. Worked my way up, took qualifications etc. It's sometimes hard to know what you want at that age . But he needs to work that out for himself. His behaviour around the house, rent is not acceptable and you did the right thing. In terms of his job and career direction I think you just have to leave him to it.

CalleighDoodle Sun 06-Nov-16 09:39:07

australia could be the making of him. Independence and travel. This is a good outcome op.

GnomeDePlume Sun 06-Nov-16 09:42:47


I have sympathy as my DS at 18 is similarly unmotivated. I feel like he is a 14 year old boy stuck in a man's body.

I was talking with a colleague about this. She said her DB was very similar. No direction, no idea what he wanted. Her memory is of him spending 2 years sprawled on the sofa.

On the plus side he did eventually wake up and start getting on with his life. Is now in a good job, married with children. Nothing specific happened he just grew up.

madwomanacrosstheroad Sun 06-Nov-16 09:42:47

You have described my son, only he is only 17 and still arsing around with his a levels the first time round. I do think you are doing the right thing. I have made it clear to my son that if he drops out of full time education I expect him to get a job and pay keep and I have been told that I am unreasonable. He has appearantly developed the view he lives in a hotel. I think if they do not want to grow up they will a bit of a push. What is the alternative? He also needs to learn/experience that his actions have consequences for him and he is the one to deal with them.

Lilaclily Sun 06-Nov-16 09:42:52

You only have his word about what the other mums think presumably, id take it all with a pinch of salt and let him get on with it

ElspethFlashman Sun 06-Nov-16 09:45:24

If the other mum is so stupid that she'll take on an entitled manchild so he can "save up", then best of luck to her.

LittleMissMarker Sun 06-Nov-16 09:46:21

Aw - sounds as if you've done everything a loving mother could.

My advice? Stop worrying about your son and stop judging yourself. You are clearly a very goal-oriented person with a strong sense of what is "right" for yourself and for the people you love and a huge amount of energy and commitment to make things happen. Which is wonderful - but the downside is that is that sometimes if other people are less goal oriented and less energetic and committed than you are then that can backfire a bit and although they might want to live up to your ideals in theory, in reality they might sometimes let you make all the effort while doing less and less for themselves. Not everybody has "a plan" and although you meant well, talking about the long term and deciding that you were going to "push" him was probably a blunder. It's a tricky balance for any parent but it sounds as if he needs to needs to make more of his own decisions and work through the real-life consequences for himself. You didn't need to say anything expect "congratulations" when he was promoted at work - working in a cafe doesn't even need to be "fine by you" or "not fine by you".

Really, all's well. You have raised a DS who is capable of earning a decent living right now. Sure, he'll make mistakes. And he wont always do what he should when he should. But in the long run he will be fine. Be ready to help (within your means and energy) when he asks and otherwise let him get on with things. It is good that he is moving out. Well the "crack house" thing sounds dodgy and if you are really worried you could offer him three months support with rent so he can rent somewhere that isn't a crack house (athough he may be exaggerating for effect anyway). But after that he's on his own, crack house or wherever he chooses. He can earn a living in the cafe, pay his own rent, clean his own house, cook his own meals. Or live in a pigsty for a while if he chooses.

At the last minute, it turned out that he's actually been offered the room at his friend's house (who's already gone to Australia) for zero rent. Apparently the other mum's of his friendship group think me getting him to pay his way was utterly unreasonable at his age (20) and were queuing up to take him in. He has now expressed (as never before) that he thinks I've treated him badly.

Oh right this is his version. Tell him to stop being silly - he's a good age to move out and he's very lucky to have a free room offered. Of course you'll miss him when he moves out but you'll still be seeing him, inviting him home for meals now and again etc. You're doing fine and so is he. You can afford to be breezy and confident and happy about it.


happypoobum Sun 06-Nov-16 09:46:48

I totally understand OP - please don't beat yourself up over this. I am sure in five years time he will be thanking you. This will probably be the making of him.

Either he will learn to take care of himself properly now, will take responsibility for keeping his room clean etc, which he clearly wouldn't have done if he stayed with you. Or, the other parents will realise what they have taken on and he will learn the hard way that he has to shape up.

I know it's hard but he is 20, not a little boy. Keep in friendly contact, but don't ask too many questions about his domestics.

SEmyarse Sun 06-Nov-16 09:47:53

I would disagree that he's always had a negative label attached to him at all. If anything he's always been golden boy. He was always picked for every play/sport/representation at primary school, and even when he started lacking engagement at secondary his teachers would always look out for him. In fact I would say he became friends with many of them, although they were frustrated in him.

Both my mother, and his paternal grandparents spoilt him rotten. I've really struggled with the fact that they're not remotely as keen to take out and treat his sisters.

My whole philosophy has always been that he could do literally anything. He used to do some voluntary work with disabled children which he was fantastic at, loved and could easily do as a career. He said he wanted to join the fire brigade, but refused to look into it, and previous to that the police force which I organised a cadet place for with very convoluted travelling arrangements to get him there. He's very talented at sport, and could work in that. Basically his people skills are amazing.

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