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How would you feel about this?

(18 Posts)
Pollyanna9 Mon 15-May-17 09:40:36

Sorry, this is encyclopaedic in length but wanted to give all the facts at once so congratulations to all who kindly start – and manage to make it – to the end! I'd suggest a glass of wine to help you through smile....

DS is 17, will be 18 in early July. He’s a lovely lad, very quiet, not a person who enjoys physical activity or has any particular aptitude for it, he’s sensible, thoughtful. He’s quite young for his age iykwim.

He’s had a couple of under 17 driving lessons but due to my finances I cannot pay for him to have regular lessons at the moment.

Part of me would of course love him to have the independence afforded by having a car and driving but at the same time to some extend I also can’t see the point. At the moment he goes to his dad’s by train and I drop him to and pick him up from the station and the only other journey he makes is to and from college which he does on foot as it’s only 15 minutes away. If he goes to Uni as he’s planning it’s quite likely to be centrally located in a city with what will be expensive and probably unaffordable city centre car parking he’d probably never be able to get a space on campus so would probably end up not being able to use the car that often and having to walk or use public transport anyway.

Apparently (and I was completely blindsided by this) it’s all systems go to get him a motorbike! XH has not spoken to me about it at all. XH did tell me some months back that I needed to start giving DS driving lessons out of ‘the money he gives me’ and I said no can do buddy, that £ goes on bills and the extortionate expenses associated with having two teenagers – I believe he thinks that the money he ‘gives’ me is all spare cash – it most certainly isn’t.

XH clearly thinks DS is being terribly badly treated and that I am withholding this opportunity from him (for my own selfish needs presumably) but that’s not the case. Also to bear in mind that I’ve just had four months with no child support because XH was out of work and I’ve got to rebuild my already meagre savings back up in case of unexpected household expenses etc and because a. at the moment he’d not really need to use the car on a daily basis when he could walk to college as he does now (which doesn’t attract expenses like insurance, MOT etc) b. even with a car I wouldn’t be happy (initially) with him travelling 1.5 hours to his dad’s and 1.5 hours back as this is a long drive for someone who’s a new driver (and who by the way gets migraines and we’ve not experienced how this affects him when driving, let alone riding a motorbike – he is very bright light sensitive) c. I don’t know if this apparent rush to get him a form of personal transport is around DS being able to transport himself to and from his dad’s so that dear father doesn’t have to pay for train tickets/pick him up from the station – I’ve no idea – this was totally unexpected conversation when I picked DS back up after he saw his dad this weekend and for DS and how he was speaking he was talking about the CBT test and how he’d be getting a 125 motorbike.. it seems to have all been decided.

The other issue is the financial – who’s paying for the bike, the CBT, the running costs? I have about £2k in a bank account for the purpose of buying a car – never was it discussed of having a motorbike (and in bad weather he’d not be able to use it anyway). I hold the purse strings on this account and I know I will be vile mom of the century if I say no I’m not buying you a motorbike. This money was left to DS by a v good friend of his family who passed away and I’ve been holding onto it and me and DS had discussed it vis a vis a car purchase.

Would the answer be to buy him a car and take him out for lessons in it myself – I could commit to the buying a car bit (obviously secondhand) and could give him a little bit of money to go towards local fuel but seeing as DS doesn’t have a job and can’t contribute anything to the party (other than what his dad might give him – which is completely unknown) I kind of don’t feel that he’s (DS) at the right point yet – if he was having to drive to a job and he could pay his insurance himself for example, it would be a whole different kettle of fish.

Why don’t you take him out for mom lessons in your car I hear you ask – well, it’s on HP so technically I don’t ‘own’ it and if God forbid we had a massive accident in it and it was written off I’d still have to make the monthly repayments plus have to have another set of repayments for a replacement car and I just can’t risk it. The GAP insurance only covers you for me driving, not anyone else in terms of if it was written off.

So, do I contact XH about this – we’ve (I’ve) enjoyed virtually no contact with him at all for months now (yahoo!) but I’m not sure I can leave this issue alone – what do people think??

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Mon 15-May-17 09:44:47

Personally I would tell the exh as he is so invested in ds getting a bike he can sort it out. .
Keep the nest egg for a few years til ds realises a car is a better option. .
(my ds had a bike for 4 years totally uneventful - bought a car and had a near -
death crash within a year) he is riding a cycle these days!!

JaxingJump Mon 15-May-17 09:48:59

I would absolutely categorically never buy my child a motorbike and would do everything possible to avoid my 17yr old getting one. He can wait till he can afford it on his own, hopefully never, but at least a bit older. They are very bloody dangerous (I say this as someone who has ridden one plenty) and a 17 yr old is bad enough in a car learning how to drive well. Motorbike riders are regularly killed due to other people's fault so it's not even about him being a good and careful rider.

His dads priorities are fucked up. He's more concerned about his lad looking cool I think.

sevilleorange Mon 15-May-17 09:52:13

DS is 18 and I would shudder at the idea of him on a motorbike. We live in a busy bit of London and I've seen enough awful accidents not to want him to be part of it. They are very vulnerable on the roads. Does your DS actually want to ride a motorbike? I think it has to be his decision ultimately as he will be an adult.

If public transport is enough to get him around, I don't think there's an urgent need for him to learn to drive or get his CBT. I've offered to pay for driving lessons and a car for DS but he isn't interested, and it has no real impact on him getting around as public transport is good here.

I think it's a good idea to get a run around car and give him lessons in that, but at some point it's probably better to pay for a few lessons as the instructors know the up to date syllabus and driving test routes. It'll be handy for him for jobs in the future but I don't think there should be any rush to get his licence.

tissuesosoft Mon 15-May-17 09:53:39

With the car- are you able to pay the £1800-3000 insurance for it? I think maybe your DS should look into getting a job to partially fund a car/bike. Maybe if you were able to buy the car/bike, your ex pays the insurance and DS pays for road tax and petrol

Pollyanna9 Mon 15-May-17 11:16:22

Thanks all - really helpful responses.

Justmade
I'm glad you said this because I think I'm sitting here thinking that I've got no choice (to some extent) but to drop this money on DS - as i say, not knowing how the finances are intended to be constructed it's difficult to know whether there is that expectation that the bike would come from that money.

Jaxing
Yes, i agree his dad's priorities are fucked up - nothing unusual there. We know our kids right, and I just know he is NOT a natural bike rider - whereas in a car I already feel that he will be a very careful and considered driver because I know how he is - the thought of him on a bike just isn't forming a picture in my mind (if that makes any sense)

Seville
Does he want to ride a motorbike? Not before his dad talked to him about it he didn't - never ever mentioned it or had any interest AT ALL. Sadly this is probably / would probably be the only actual 'thing' that dear old dad has done with his son aside from a few fairly bland trips out so I wouldn't be surprised to hear that DS is keen because it's a bit of a project for them to be involved with together? But I'd have to ask DS this as that's an assumption - for all I know he could be terrified of the thought / hasn't thought it through

Tissues
That's just the issue - no I can't! Someone else would have to pay it - I could just about afford to give him a little bit of petrol money for local journeys but that would be absolutely it. I agree, something like this he should be involved with financing it - and he refuses to go look for a job (not laziness, confidence/comfort zone related).

I've got to communicate with XH haven't it...

BlackeyedSusan Tue 16-May-17 14:24:09

ds needs to fund it all himself. if you give him the money remind him there is no more for a car. (ask him to think about the pros and cons of both forms of transport and do some research into safety/costs etc ability to transport stuff to uni etc)

he has to fund petrol etc. if he is old enough for his own transport he is old enough to fund it.

and no you do not have to speak to ex. he can sort it all himself. he may go ahead if you complain just to annoy you.

lizzyj4 Wed 17-May-17 16:07:22

If your DS isn't really that keen on motorbikes, I don't think he'll use it for very long. They're not for the faint-hearted.

One of my sons has had bikes since he was 17; he's come off a couple of times (on ice and mud) but nothing too serious thankfully. I hate them and still worry when he's out on a bike, even though he's a very good, confident driver and on the downward slope to 30.

I'd tell your ex. that he needs to fork out for the bike, if he thinks it's such a great idea, plus the insurance, CBT, and all the associated safety gear (which costs a small fortune in itself, leather jacket, helmet, leggings, gloves, boots - even if you buy budget items, you're looking at several hundred pounds).

The money you've saved will be more useful put towards a car in future, when your son realises being on a bike means being freezing cold, cut up by car drivers, etc.

teaandakitkat Wed 17-May-17 16:16:25

Bike- What would happen if you just ignored the possibility, would his dad actually put the effort into making it happen or would the idea just fizzle out? That would be the best outcome really. Just say 'oh that sounds interesting' when he mentions it but don't help him or offer to pay anything towards it.
I think it's fine to say that you don't want to use the savings on a motorbike. Even though you won't be popular. But if you say he's a sensible kid I'm sure he'll understand eventually.

Car- I sort of think driving a car is a bit of a life skill and I probably would be encouraging my kids to learn when they are 17 or 18, even though we live in a city and they don't really need to drive. Could he use the savings to pay for driving lessons? Or is he not really interested? He might be able to drive your hp car once he's passed his test? I'm not sure how these things work.

Ylvamoon Wed 17-May-17 16:21:06

How about using the money for actual driving lessons? He might not be able to have a car right now... but once he is at uni and earning some money, he might well want one.
(Only speaking from experience... I did my driving license age 18 -was a present! But didn't actually get a car about 5 years later. After uni and moving to a more rural setting, where a car was essential! I would have never been able to take that first job, without my driving license ... obviously car shopping and driving it home is an other story. grin)

Pollyanna9 Wed 17-May-17 17:53:53

Yes I do want him to learn to drive and I also consider it a life skill. It's just that I seem to be getting rushed with this left of field idea - I start a new job in June. I've had a dreadful year money-wise and I wanted to get a couple of pay cheques under my belt and see how the finances stood and then I'd be in a position to pay for the odd lesson - and he could then go out in the car he'd actually be driving, and I'd be his qualified driver sat with him. Once he gains that basic understanding of it, then he could start having lessons - but at the moment I just need time to see how it all pans out with my earnings and getting through the probationary period and so on. If money were no object he'd have been doing driving lessons for probably the last six months or so.

Gear wouldn't be a cost as apparently he's tried on all his dad's stuff and that's been deemed suitable already....

DS says he's been thinking about having a motorbike for ages (using this money I'm holding for him) - which is news to me but I guess he might only have voiced that to his dad - but I wonder how much of this is because after his dad emailed me saying DS wants driving lessons and me replying saying I can't afford them (I couldn't at the time, even with child maintenance I was on a salary that meant I only just met my outgoings, without driving lessons on top).

owenjonesismyhero Wed 17-May-17 18:01:20

Safety aside....Your DP should stump up the cash if it means that much to him.
DS assist by getting a part time job.

Or, you could say if DS he pays half driving lessons from part time job you'll pay half (or whatever proportion you can afford) grin

DeanKoontz Wed 17-May-17 18:19:09

I don't think it's really up to you. He's old enough to ride a motorbike and will do if he really wants to. Presumably he can get a part time job to fund it. I'd just leave him too it and see what transpires.

I agree with a pp that using the money for lessons is a good idea. It's always a bonus to be able to drive, even if you haven't got your own car.

Pollyanna9 Wed 17-May-17 18:22:26

Yeah, good idea owen. I'm going to type out the kind of plan I think will work and that'll help me get it straight in my mind.

Gallavich Wed 17-May-17 18:25:22

I think you should talk to your DS. I would approach it that you won't stop him from getting a motorbike but that he can't have the inheritance money to buy one, and you will not fund his insurance or petrol or lessons.
If his dad is intending to pay all this then let him carry on with his plan (which is unlikely to come together since it will be prohibitive I expect) and if he intends you to pay, make it clear that's not an option.
You can't ban it sadly and getting into a row with the ex will probably make him more likely to pay for it than less

Pollyanna9 Wed 17-May-17 18:45:41

Yes, I think I can slow the process down a bit (which I do think is necessary - from where I'm sitting the idea seems to be going ahead at breakneck speed with not a lot of thought going into it) if I say that I'm holding onto the inheritance for when he gets a car unless he wants a car now in the which case he'll get that money which will buy a car for max £1,000 leaving a goodly amount for insurance and anything over and above that pot of money he (or his dad) will have to fork out for as well as running costs which DS needs to fund himself really. I'll take him out driving in it and then formal driving lessons can come a bit later when he's got a bit more comfortable with the basics of driving and has a job that can pay at least half of his driving lesson fees.

I think that's fair and appropriate for his age.

I don't want to get into rows with XH for sure - don't need the drama really.

DeanKoontz Wed 17-May-17 18:51:31

I think it's best to have driving lessons first. Master the basics with an instructor, then once he's confident, he can go out with you to practice. You can get into some terrible bad habits the other way round, which it will then cost you to sort out.

Pollyanna9 Thu 18-May-17 19:29:23

UPDATE:
DS had asked me if he could do a motorbiking taster session. I'd said no (and 'I'm not paying for it') and he's just informed me that he will be doing it on a coming weekend - dear daddy is paying for it. DS had also asked would I take him to it - I said no to that too because why would I take him to a motorbike taster session if I don't want him to have a motorbike and so his dad is going to drive up 85 miles here and 85 miles back to take him there himself (this venue is a 20 minute walk from our house so DS could actually just walk there). XH has ignored my email saying could we not discuss this - no surprise there. He's obviously cooked this up and is determined it will happen. I have already told DS that he needs to focus on getting a job so that he can pay for the running costs etc etc but of course now dear dad is paying for this taster session for him, thus teaching him nothing about the cycle of 'if you want something really badly you have to work for it'.

And if that were't bad enough, my (DD) 15 whom has not seen her 'father' since Xmas - he's got no plans to take her out, spend any time with her even though he's coming here and obviously going to pick DS up from the house where we all live. This will be devastating for her and I cannot believe that he's not said anything about taking her out whilst he's here. He is an utter, utter shit if he hasn't. He has said before that it was waaaaayyy too far for him to come to see his daughter - now he's going to be coming to see his son, and not include his daughter. Awful.

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