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AIBU by restricting ss 14 access to the house?

(34 Posts)
ohyikes Fri 22-Feb-13 23:04:59

Dp's son 14 was trusted with having a key to let himself in to the house on the weekends that he visits. SS had lost the house key the first time and Dp cut him a new one without consulting me. I was upset by this but decided to keep quiet. Ss lost the key again and same story, Dp cut him a new one again without consulting me.

Ss is careless and always loses things. Once he left his phone on the bus and Dp's solution was to buy him a new one. I didnt think that was ideal so I advised Dp to ring up the transport authority to see if they had it in their lost property section which they did. Same story with the sports shoes Ss left on the bus. We went and collected them from lost property.

I don't think he deserves another key because he is irresponsible and knows that his father will replace anything he loses. It's also our safety he's putting in jeopardy. What if someone picked up the key and followed him home? They would know where we live and have easy access to the house.

I am pregnant and have a ds of my own and it annoys me that dp has no regard for this by handing out keys everytime his son loses them. Ss is only here every fortnight. We are here all the time. If someone were to break in to the house, we are the ones who will be most likely at risk.

AIBU for not wanting ss to have a key until i'm satisfied that he has learnt some responsibility?
Dare I say anything to dp because it'll end up into an argument like everything else to do with his kids. I'm pregnant and I really don't need the stress right now so I really don't have the luxury of arguing until he gets my point.

AllDirections Mon 25-Feb-13 19:25:15

That's very reasonable Scootee

Mmmm, maybe I should let DD1 have one more chance! But it's the fact that she's not at all remorseful about losing two keys already and the fact that she wouldn't take any more care with a new one.

I agree though that if a bio child has a key then so should a step child. It's about more than needing a key, it's about a sense of belonging.

Scootee Mon 25-Feb-13 15:13:47

I would allow one last key to be issued on the condition that it is clipped inside a bag with something like the thing suggested up thread. With the warning that this is the last key.

Ds1 lost his house key several times when he first went to senior school, and after the first couple of times, we dealt with it by changing the lock barrel (which is cheaper than changing the whole lock, but means a new lock so the house stays secure), and making him pay for the replacement out of his allowance.

I would recommend you say to your stepson that, if he loses his key again, you will be forced to change the locks, for the sake of everyone's security, and he will be bearing the cost. And tell him your children will be facing the same penalty as and when they are old enough to have keys, if they don't look after them. That way, you are treating them all alike, and not making him feel like a visitor to the house because he doesn't have a key, iyswim.

purpleroses Mon 25-Feb-13 14:58:56

Petal - Can only speak from experience I guess, but neither DP nor I have ever had to do anyting artificial to "convince" our DCs that they have two homes. My DCs are 5/7 with us, and his 2/7 with us. If anything the reverse was true with my own DCs who have repeatadly correctly my use of langage if I say "home" when they think I should say "my house" or "dad's house" - they tell me quite firmly that they have two homes so find it an unhelpful word for me to use.

And DP's DCs very definitely feel that our home (which they stay at at weekends) is their home as well as their mum's. We've not forced this, but we have tried hard not to send out signals that it's not really their home. They each have a bed, space that is their own, some posessions, wash things, etc. Not the same as at a house they go and visit.

DSD2 was given a key recently at the same time as my DS (same age) even though she doesn't actually need it, but she wanted it. She asked for it, she enjoys having it (thankfully, she looks after it), and it's clearly important to her in the message it gives out. I'm personally quite happy with the feel of things being that they live here at weekends, rather than they've come to visit - makes it feel more relaxed and not like we have to entertain them all the time, or always be in to greet them. We live in a town with lots of places within walking distance, so it's easy for everyone to come and go if they have keys.

freddiemisagreatshag Mon 25-Feb-13 14:58:15

I don't have double standards confused

Petal02 Mon 25-Feb-13 14:50:49

I agree, Redhen.

However whilst it seems quite acceptable for a bio/resident child NOT to have a key, if you dare suggest that a step/non-resident child can't have a key, then you're making him/her unwelcome.

We should be used to these double standards by now!

theredhen Mon 25-Feb-13 14:15:16

If my ds never ever had a need for a key to our house, he wouldn't have one and he lives with me full time.

My ds isn't a visitor, it's his (only) home.

If a kid doesn't need a key, they don't need a key. Step child or resident child.

Petal02 Mon 25-Feb-13 14:00:51

I’m in the same situation as Redhen – DSS18 spends two nights per week with us, he’s always collected by DH when he visits, so he doesn’t need a key.

But as regards making someone feel like a visitor by not giving them a key: (just bracing myself for a flaming) DSS is a visitor. He doesn’t live with us. He lives with us mother, and visits us each week. Most children with separated parents live with one parent, and visit the other. It’s just the way it is. It’s quite artificial to pretend that the child lives at each address, because the majority of such children don’t see it that way. DSS is quite relaxed about living with Mum, and visiting Dad. I wouldn’t insult his intelligence by trying to convince him that he lives at two separate addresses.

theredhen Mon 25-Feb-13 13:49:18

My DSD who lives with us a third of the time aged nearly 17 doesn't have a key. The reason behind this is she is ALWAYS picked up by DP or myself and driven to our house. Therefore, she doesn't need a key.

freddiemisagreatshag Mon 25-Feb-13 13:09:57

I think not giving him a key is making him feel like a visitor when it should be his home.

Strongertogether Mon 25-Feb-13 12:31:51

I agree, I don't think he needs a key if he's just visiting EOW. Just make sure one of you are in when he arrives on Friday evenings, seems pretty simple.

Petal02 Sun 24-Feb-13 10:27:21

Yikes, I'm with you on this one. An EOW arrangement does not necessitate a key.

AllDirections Sun 24-Feb-13 09:51:42


My 16 year old DD doesn't have a key because she's lost two. I replaced the first one because really any of us can lose a key but twice I think is just being irrespsonsible.

Now she has to negotiate when someone is going to be home. She can use the key that my next door neighbour keeps for me but she has to return it immediately.

My 12 year old DD has a key, no problems at all with keeping it safe.

freddiemisagreatshag Sun 24-Feb-13 09:47:57

Hecate- that's what I've done for DD - I got a long chain with a clip on one end and a key ring on the other and she loops it to the belt loops on her skirt/trousers/puts it inside her bag and then she's got no chance of dropping it.

this is the one I linked to it's like the one she has but we got it locally

HecateWhoopass Sun 24-Feb-13 09:42:41

Or one of those loopy spring things attached to a compartment inside his bag?

HecateWhoopass Sun 24-Feb-13 09:42:03

what about attaching it to a long chain that he can wear under his clothes round his neck?

Or a belt attachment?

mumandboys123 Sun 24-Feb-13 09:39:09

Lemon....seriously? 'suffer the consequences'? At 13 years old, the child needs to be able to come home from school and let himself in whilst his parents are still out at work. He shouldn't be walking the streets, surely? Won't that just make him angry and upset and not want to be with his dad? Won't that cause a problem with mum? What would you be saying if his mum said 'well, I don't get home from work till 5pm but he's lost his key so he can suffer the consequences and wait till I get home?'

I would personally suggest some 'bigger' consequences to his carelessness - removal of a priviledge he likes, removal of pocket money to make him pay for it, that kind of thing. And at the same time, trying to provide him with the means with which to keep it safe would recognise that he's not the most careful of people - a heavy, clunky keyring might help him recognise it's missing from his pocket or bag or hear it when it drops to the floor? or as someone else as said, something which stops him having to remove it from his bag ever?

And of course, your partner could have a quiet word to make sure that everything is OK in his son't life and there's no underlying bullying going on...

brdgrl Sun 24-Feb-13 01:42:24

My DSS has lost I think six keys this year, and I totally understand where you are coming from. I am not at all comfortable with that number of keys being unaccounted for. Especially since it is not unheard of for teenagers (I don't mean him, but maybe someone else at his school, for instance, picking up the key when he's dropped it or left it somewhere) to break into houses of people they know. I can't feel 100% sure that the lost keys are at the bottom of a storm drain and not in someone else's hands, IYSWIM.

I am not sure what to do about it myself. We've told him that from here out he will have to pay for replacements, and I hope that will help him to be more mindful. I would not, personally, be in favour of him not having a key, because among other things that creates new problems of having to be home to let him in every time, which would be at least as much of a hassle for DH or I as for him! And I am definitely not ok with having a hidden key outside (although maybe you would consider that option? Or one left with a neighbour who is likely to be home when he'd be coming around?).

I think you need to weigh up whether it is one of the battles you want to fight, or one you want to let go.

JakeBullet Sat 23-Feb-13 18:15:43

I DO understand where you are coming from...okay the risk is small as there is no identifying info on the key but even so your partner needs to have a word with him about keeping the key safe and explain the risks albeit small.

LemonBreeland Sat 23-Feb-13 18:13:15

I think whether he lives with you full time or not is irrelevant. If my dc lost a key that many times I would take it away and make them suffer the consequences of needing me or dh to be home for them.

allnewtaketwo Sat 23-Feb-13 18:12:05

Oh yikes, I'm with you

herladyship Sat 23-Feb-13 18:10:58

Get a keysafe? smile

freddiemisagreatshag Sat 23-Feb-13 18:10:32

ohyikes - you're pregnant. And I'm trying to be kind. You are really really overthinking this.

ohyikes Sat 23-Feb-13 18:08:31

Well I try to take on a parenting role for all the kids. Don't get me wrong, i'm not trying to replace their mother but if I didn't step in half the time, the kids would take over the house and do as they please and I am not having that. We have rules set and I don't expect the SK's to get special treatment. My point is dp should not let his son take things for granted the same way he shouldn't as well. Something as simple as having a chat with him about being responsible can go a long way and it would be for his own benefit.

Maybe not consulting as such but I feel it should have been part of normal chit chat between partners. He talks to me about school reports, birthday and christmas gifts and other things that his son loses. Why should this be any different? I just feel that I should know what goes on as this is my home and I am his partner.

I don't think the key has the address on it but what if it drops while he is trying to pay for
the bus and some creep picks it up and follows him home. In this world we live in today you just never know. It wouldn't hurt to be extra careful. I tend to think of all the possible scenarios.

Someone please tell me you understand where I'm coming from.

Booyhoo Sat 23-Feb-13 12:45:39

can i ask why your DP should have consulted you before having new keys cut?

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