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I really need some advice please(39 Posts)
I have name-changed.
Not sure whether this is the best place for this as it relates to a teen but here goes.
Backstory - DT2 (aged 17) has been seeing her boyfriend for almost 6 months now. He is a few months younger than her so is still 16 (turns 17 in summer).
He is a really lovely lovely boy. He lost his dad when he was younger in very traumatic circumstances and has been living with his mum, stepdad and younger sister aged 13.
Over the past few months he has been spending more and more time at our house and staying over. This hasn't been a problem at all, they are very close but very sensible and each ensure that they have their 'breaks' from each other etc. It's an absolute pleasure to have him.
It has recently been apparent that things have not been very good for him at home at all. His relationship with his mum has pretty much broken down. She is pretty vile to him and the stepdad seems to encourage this. Lots of shouting, swearing, blaming him for everything that has happened in her life. The very first time I met them (popped round for a coffee) they both spent their entire time telling me what a disappointment he was.
Well it has all come to a head and as from today he has now moved in with us.
I don't really know why I am posting this or what it is I need to ask I suppose but I just need to chat this through. I feel utterly heartbroken on his behalf but right now we need to focus on making him feel welcome and settled here.
I do have some questions:
Legally, where do we all stand? He's 16. What if his parents insist he returns home? What if he doesn't want to? Could myself or my husband get into trouble? Can they make him return home?
He has been skipping a lot of time at college recently and is on a last warning there for poor attendance (he is a very bright boy but I'm not in the least bit surprised that he has been skipping lectures given what he is going through) but college have absolutely no idea of his difficult personal circumstances. I want to contact them, explain to them that from now on we will be making sure that he attends everyday. But I think they need to know what he is going through so that he can get some support. Some understanding and mentoring. Who will attend his parents evenings with him now? Help him with University applications? We are willing to do it (very willing) but do we have this right?
Financially - we now have an extra mouth to feed. It's ok and I think we will manage. But is he entitled to some form of financial support? His college bus fare has to be paid in advance. We will pay this if we have to but it's going to be tight. He works long hours at Macdonalds, so does have some money coming in but I really don't think that a 16 year old should have to take responsibility for himself financially. Plus with A2's coming up and end of year exams, he could do with cutting back his work hours.
He has been left in the past to make his own doctors appointments, travel arrangements etc
I just need someone to point me in the right direction, to help him settle in, to make sure he's ok and that we haven't forgotten anything.
I'm trying to think of all the things we naturally do for our own children as this will help me to try and figure out what we need to do for him.
I feel so sad and angry on his behalf.
Sorry, this is long. Thanks for getting this far!
I think you should probably take some advice from Social Services, or at least the CAB re benefits etc. Is his mother still in receipt of child benefit for him?
You're doing a great thing but the question you didn't ask is "what if he and your DD split up?". And they're young, that may well happen. He couldn't realistically stay with you then, could he?
Thanks Hassled, we have thought of the splitting up scenario and it is really worrying.
I am already worried about the impact that this is having on DD. He has been spending an awful lot of time with us these past few weeks and everyone seems to be very relaxed about the situation but everyone needs 'downtime' and their own privacy.
She seems fine about it at the moment but no-one really knows what is around the corner. Yes, they are very young but I couldn't just ask him to leave in that scenario. He would have nowhere to go
Maybe you should spell it out to her that just because he's living with you it doesn't mean she's tied to him - that if they did split up, you'd find a solution. And try Social Services - they should be able to point you in the right direction.
what you are describing is termed a private fostering arrangement and you do need to make children's services aware.
Thank you wellcovered.
What will social services do? I take it that they will offer him support?
Moved in with you? Does he have his own room?
I think you need to talk to his mother.
No, he doesnt have his own room.
He and my daughter are 1st year a level students. They are in a relationship. They share a room?
His mum knows he is here. He told her. She didn't try to stop him and doesn't care. She doesn't care about him. She hasn't been in touch with me. She has my mobile number and knows where we live.
Hmm, a difficult situation. You're doing a great thing but be aware that it can end very badly. A friend of mine once had a then-girlfriend move in while he was doing his A Levels. She dumped him but continue to live there and fell out terribly with all his family. I would have a discussion with both of them and set clear boundaries and expectations.
Are you on speaking terms with his mother now? Has she spoken to you about taking him in?
I think I would also contact social services, he may be eligible for support from a variety of sources.
You are doing the right thing though, I think I would do the same.
I have just looked up Private Fostering Arrangements - it only applies to under 16's (unless the child has a disability).
I was in this situation 7 years ago. My son, then 15 went to live with his gf.
We signed a private fostering agreement and I then paid money every month towards his upkeep.
This was arranged by social services.
His gf mum claimed child benefit for him.
There is a whole back story to this but not relevant to your questions.
Thank you everyone, I am on speaking terms with his mum although untill now our conversations have consisted of me trying to be friendly and normal and her just being horrible (about him). She has nothing positive to say about him at all.
I have just checked childline website which states that a 16 year old can leave home if they wish to. They don't need parental permission.
We dont want any financial help. None whatsoever. We will manage.
I really think that the college should be aware though so that they can support him in a constructive way and maybe assist with his bus fare. If we have to cover this then we will, I dont want him having to worry about that.
And yes, both him and DD need to be knuckling down with their studies. Keeping to a routine, focussing on uni applications (although a bit of time for this yet) and also giving each other time and space and privacy when needed.
I will be getting him his own key and have told him he is no longer a guest in our house. He is family. I have showed him where we keep the hoover, he already knew where the fridge is
This is complicated and you need to speak to ss. He could claim support and housing through ss under the southwark ruling which is now Katy of the children act. I think he can still get some support allowance through that. You need to declare all this to ss and he should be assigned a community care worker. They should also help him with uni applications and college. You may be able to get his bus pass funded. In my authority the care leavers service do this but yours may be different. Also through this route he could access other accommodation and it might be helpful if he knew his options and if you all had a chat with a worker about whether him staying with you us sustainable and what would happen if it broke down.
If I spoke to the head tomorrow, in confidence. made them aware of his circumstances and possible need for support.
Would this be appropriate do you think?
I dont want to overstep the mark but I think they need to know. He is minimising everything atm and I don't want to push it.
I would ask the boy if he's ok with ou talking to the head and hopefully he will be.
Having 2 teenage DDs, I do think its an amazingly kind thing you are doing. However I also think you have to put your dd first. I feel a bit sorry for her tbh. I don't think a 16 yo should be sharing a bedroom full time with her boyfriend. I think she needs her own space, just to relax and be on her own. Do you have a spare room, so they can have space away form each other?
It's a lovely thing you're doing, but I feel a bit worried about your daughter now that you've said they're sharing a room. What would happen if they split up? How could your DD have her own space?
I agree that it puts your DD is a difficult position if she evens starts to think about wanting to break up with him, or just wants some space or privacy.
i do have a bit of experience of this situation, although second hand. A friend of dd1 did exactly the same thing with her boyfriend.
They were 16, he had fallen out with his parents and her parents welcomed him with open arms. She ended up feeling very pressurised to stay with him, even when the relationship was over. Her parents adored this boy and she didn't want to upset them or him. She stayed with him for 2 years. She didn't have a gap year, like all her friends, but went straight to uni, so she had an excuse to be away from him.
It broke my heart to think she carried on feeling she had to sleep with him, when she really didn't want to.
This whole thing has been initiated by DD pretty much (him gradually spending more and more time here and now moving in)
Of course we want to help him but we have been totally guided by her and we wouldn't have agreed to it if we felt that she was unsure or worried.
But that doesn't stop me having the same concerns as the rest of you. If they split up, i don't know what we would do to be honest. We would still want to try and support him if needed but her needs come first.
I have had a chat to them both and explained that (as in any normal relationship), couples need as much time apart as they do together. Hence my 'you are family not a guest speech'. Until now he would only be where she was in the house but if he is going to live here then that has to change. They both need to feel that they can move freely around the house and be independent of one another. Whether he will be able to do that, well I just don't know.
We are all talking about the fact that he has 'moved in' when in fact the situation could change very quickly. He could even reconcile with his mum and move back home. Who knows?
I'm worried about him and the implications for us here (just trying to be realistic) but I hope that over the next few weeks, things will settle. he will settle and we will all carry on more or less as normal.
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