What are we doing next Dad?(82 Posts)
DSSs (17 and 14) come round every other weekend, as per strict access schedule since they were young. Court order has of course now expired for eldest but rota unchanged in practice.
DSS2 is lovely child to get along with, has his own interets, hobbies etc. DSS1 is a whole different ball game. Every other weekend in life, before he comes round "What are we doing this weekend Dad?". When he's at ours, "What are we doing next Dad". So, so wearing and frustrating from a child/young adult this age.
Half of the problem is that when at his mother's house he does absolutely everything with her. Food shopping, gardening, out walking, looking after the younger children. So he's 100% occupied by her. Doesn't ever see friends outside of school. No hobbies of his own. No part time job. No learning difficulties, does well at school. But socially and emotionally you would draw the conclusion that he's quite under-developed. His mother imo has encouraged this dependence and she is very strictly controlling of him. Actively discouraged friends when he was younger, still not "allowed" to do a very long list of stuff for no valid reasons etc etc etc.
So when at our house, when he's not 100% "occupied" by a parent, he is at a complete loss as to what to so with himself. Hence the constant "what are we doing next dad?". DH hasn't been a Disney type and for years has been trying to turn this question back and ask DSS1 what he would like to do, what ideas he has himself for the weekend. But it falls on deaf ears.
When I spoke to people about this, say 5 years ago, people said "He'll grow out of it", "He'll develop his own interests". But he hasn't. I personally can't see him changing in any sort of medium term future. I am completely envisioning a 20 odd year old coming round and asking "What are we doing next dad".
BTW he doesn't "have" to come over. DH has had various conversations about him about this, and he definitely wants to come round. So that's not the problem.
So - what do you think DH should do about the constant "What are we doing next Dad?" questions? Any ideas?
I'm hoping his mother will put a stop to it. I don't imagine she'll let him defer tbh. She feels very much defined by his achievements, so I can't see her being happy with him being a bum for a year.
But in any case he fully intends that when he goes to university it will be here and he will continue living with mummy. DSS2 will still be doing the rota, so DSS1 will tag along to. Hence at a minimum he'll be doing rostered access visits until say 22, as per the court schedule written when he was 6.
Structured access at age 22 is a VERY scary thought. Although no doubt Bonsoir will suggest you should provide Butlins-style entertainment til then.
My slight worry is that DSS will accept a place at his 2nd choice Uni, and then he may still live at his Mum's house. I'll cross that bridge if I come to it.
He'll really need to apply to a course that doesn't interview on application. Not sure how many do/don't these days
I have a 17 year old DSD and she'd be HORRIFIED if I had to suggest things to when she is with us. She goes to college, books her own holidays (and goes on them with her friends), works out all the things she needs to do - and then asks me for lifts!
Groundhogday I really feel for you (as I always have done for Petal). It must be so bloody frustrating. My 7 year old has more get up and go than your DSS.
I have no advice I'm afraid - because I'm of the "Just bloody well get out from under my feet and DO something" school of thought - but you have my sympathies.
Hmm, I have an old friend who has been coming to stay with me for long weekends about twice a over the last 10 years.
Whenever she comes, she HAS to know exactly what the blow-by-blow plan is for the weekend, including getting up times, bedtimes, activities etc. If you say 'I don't know, shall we just see what we feel like doing tomorrow?' she is visibly nervous and uncomfortable.
She is happy to lounge around for a bit but only in an'organised' way, eg its been scheduled as such.
Its obviously some kind of disordered need for control/planning. Yet she is also uncomfortable being the one actually making the decisions herself. I have always tried to be sympathetic but her last visit drove me so crazy that I don't think I can face it again in the near future tbh.
Reading your post about your DSS made me think about her. Is he obsesssed with having a plan for the whole weekend laid out at the start? I wonder if its some kind of OCD thing.
I agree with the poster who suggested introducing independent challenges for him like organising a meal or day out.
One thing I learned from bringing up three children is that there is no switch which automatically turns on to 'adulthood' when they are 18. One of mine continued to need personal development support for a few further years, partly, I suspect, because of the fall out of our break up when she was younger. She's great now, just lovely, and the extra few years of helping her to become happily independent were well worth it.
I know others thought I should have expected more as she was legally an adult. But adding teen support that little bit longer can be the difference between rearing a successful adult and one who never quite gets off the ground.
One thing which helps is to gently hand things back to them with a love-bombing vote of confidence, 'I know you're a smart person, someone who can sort this out... I have every faith in you that you can do it... The kind of loving family-orientated person you are makes me know you can find a way to do this...'
(Even when you don't!)
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