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(94 Posts)
Libby10 Wed 27-Feb-13 17:57:30

Hi everyone

We have always had a very rigid rota right down to organising bank holidays a year ahead in January. Now all the SKs are over 18 this has seemed more and more bizarre - especially as it continues during the holidays. Now we only have on SD aged 18 at home. When she started 6 form DP suggested we move to EOW but her mum wasn't keen. DP left it but asked again at the beginning of this year when she asked about bank holidays. She agreed and we started the new rota at the beginning of this month. SD has always been happy about this when asked.
This w/e SD asked if we could go back to the old rota. When DP asked why she was quite evasive but it became clear that it was her mum and her mum's BF who have been complaining - DP thinks the problem is that his ex's BF is unhappy because she didn't ask him before agreeing to the move. I really don't want to move back to the old rota - EOW suits us much more. DP is unhappy that his ex didn't speak to him directly rather than through SD and just said that we should give it a bit longer before deciding. He has said that if SD keeps asking we should change back but I am really not happy about this as it seems we've got caught up with an argument that is nothing to do with SD and the rota.

Pendipidy Sat 02-Mar-13 22:38:22

As a step mum to younger ones than yours i hope i never have this problem!

As i see it, dsd.s mum cannot make you do anything. Just sit down with the kids, tell them they are old enough to come and go as they please and they don't need to stick to eow. You say it needs both parents agreement but it actually doesn't, just do your own thing whenever you want to and if you are expected to be in, go out!

If you go along with it and don't change your behaviour and expectations, then their mum Will just carry on as it suits her. She probably can't believe you have gone on with it for so long. Just stop indulging everyone and act like a normal family, not a blended / step one. Regular families don't all stop and entertain grown kids if they turn up. Why are you?

allnewtaketwo Sat 02-Mar-13 22:39:34

What do you suggest doing yukeheart, about 17+ year olds sticking like glue to a rota? Genuinely interested. Because short of telling DSS1 he can't come, I've run out of ideas, and clearly that's not a goer.

MajaBiene Sat 02-Mar-13 22:44:15

Can your DH not say no to him - I'm not entertaining you, I want to go to B&Q on my own. If he's taking a younger sibling with him though it's a bit unnecessary to exclude the older one surely?

allnewtaketwo Sat 02-Mar-13 23:18:18

DSS2 would have no interest in going to b&q, or following DH around the garden. He's good at entertaining himself.

DH has told DSS1 he should be seeing friends, doing things, etc etc, but it falls on deaf ears. He clings to the rota and has nothing else to go. So even when DH does his own thing, DSS1, when not following him, will literally sit on the sofa looking bored. It's nauseating to watch. Then when DH goes out, DSS1 will jump up to go too.

allnewtaketwo Sat 02-Mar-13 23:19:46

Unnecessary to exclude the older one - well that's one way of looking at it. But when he's say 20 and still at it? Where does it end?

MajaBiene Sat 02-Mar-13 23:22:09

Nauseating that he sits on the sofa? I think your issue is that you just don't like him and don't want him at your house rather than the rota.

theredhen Sun 03-Mar-13 07:03:30

Makes, I'm sure all new means its nauseating that all he does is sit on the sofa when she wants her dss to be out in the world developing himself.

I want my bio and step kids to develop and grow in their own way. I doubt some kids (like some adults) are meant to be out partying all the time but there are plenty of ways of building your own life without sitting on the sofa waiting for a parent to entertain you.

allnewtaketwo Sun 03-Mar-13 07:26:25

Nauseating that he's with physically attached to us following our every move, and I mean literally, or else when DH asks him to stop, he literally sits watching. It's one or the other, 14 hours a day when he's here. He doesn't do anything else. At all. So yes that's nauseating, after 11 years, and with no end in sight

allnewtaketwo Sun 03-Mar-13 07:34:35

I've seen threads on here from parents about their own very young children following them around, and they're finding it wearing. Just this week such a thread, referring to a 4.yo who can't entertain himself at all and the mother is getting desperate. I can't think a single person would find that good or enjoyable in a 17 year old.

In fact, I've seen threads by mums of teenagers on the boards, whose behaviour sounds similar to DSS1. The mothers are desperate. But if course it must be because they don't like them hmm

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 08:19:15

We are having the same problem

Stepson is 17 and doesn't live with us. We have him stay over exactly the same nights he used to as a child. He has no life outside home life. Doesn't seem to socialise, have any hobbies and is sat in with us on a Friday night. Well he sits in his bedroom with DH panicking that he's left him on his own upstairs.

Anyway I'm currently on mat leave and due to childcare and the days I'll be working when I go back, I have told DH that we will have to change is rota so he comes different nights.

This hasn't gone down well at all with my DH who doesn't seem to understand that a 9 month old childcare takes priority over a 17 year olds. We can't leave our 9 month old daughter at home in the morning while I'm at work and he drops his son off at college!!

So my DH has sat him down and explained that he will have to comfort different nights when I go back to work (still with rota though)

I would have thought by now that the rota would stop and he would come and go when he pleases at 17. He doesn't need a routine at that age surely.

Dadthelion Sun 03-Mar-13 08:22:13

A lot of advice on here and in other places pushes the strict access rota rather than being flexible.

I think it's better to be flexible personally.
I wonder if this is a bigger problem that is not reported?

Libby10 Sun 03-Mar-13 09:02:47

To answer some of the points. DP has said to all the SC that we are happy to go along with they want to do. They go and talk to their mum and come back and say they are happy with the current arrangement.
Short of telling them we don't want them to come around I'm not sure how we can break this pattern.
If we went away for a week and told SD we would have a phone call from the ex saying that SD doesn't want to be on her own and that ex would be happy to swap. We could just say not and force the issue but we have had years of tears and tantrums over issues such as this and would rather avoid them. It just makes it harder for the SC.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 09:13:57

libby This sounds like an issue with your DPs boundaries with his ex.

How come he accepts his ex's word that their DD doesn't want to be alone - his DD is 18, and he can't protect his DCs from their Mums unreasonable behaviour for the rest of her life.

Arguably, if he knows his ex is unreasonable, then his role as a parent is to teach his DCs the skills to deal with that - not shelter them and appease her in order to protect them - they're not young children any more and will face difficult and unreasonable people throughout their lives - including their Mum!

There's a great website that might be a good starting point for your DSD - I can't put a link because I'm on my phone but if you google 'daughters of narcissistic mothers' you'll find loads of info that will help your DSD cope with her Mum now that she is an adult in her own right.

Libby10 Sun 03-Mar-13 12:49:10

Thanks NADM - will take a look. The trouble is we talk to the SC and explain why we're happy for them to do their own thing and they genuinely seem happy with everything. Then they go back to their mums and come back wanting to do more or less what she wants to do.
We have been given a range of reasons for this and each time we knock one down another one springs up.
We've always tried not to criticise their mum to them and I'm not sure if it will help now as SD is very defensive about her mum. Perhaps we do need to be more forthright about making changes and see what happens.

MajaBiene Sun 03-Mar-13 12:52:13

If the ex calls though asking for a swap, why not just say that the SC have their own keys, they can come and go as they please and you won't discuss it with their mother?

If the SC say we won't come this week, we'll swap to next week, just reiterate to them that they can come whenever they want.

Just don't acknowledge the rota thing at all.

allnewtaketwo Sun 03-Mar-13 16:09:41

I wouldn't be doing the swap. If we were away on an "access" weekend, then, given that DSSs mother insists on a strict rota, and DSS1 wants to adhere to it to the letter, then we just wait until the next "access" weekend. If DSSs want to visit in between they're welcome (but they don't, because theirs mother insists on the rota, DSS2 is too young to actively disobey her by coming regardless, and DSS1 complies with the rota come hell or high water, do it simply wouldn't occur to jump on the bus and come round anytime

Petal02 Sun 03-Mar-13 17:17:06

We no longer "make up" any missed access, and as our rota is now Thurs pm til Sat lunch each week, we simply wait for Thurs to come round and then start again.

I still don't get the " keys" suggestion though. There really is no point in DSS coming to stay at our house, as per the rota, when we're away, simply to be rota-compliant. Firstly, it would mean his mother having to drive him over to our empty house, secondly access surely means the parent/child spending time together, not sitting in Dad's empty house, and thirdly - we wouldn't be happy with DSS being in our house in our absence. Because he doesn't live at our house he's not very familiar with our electrical appliances (ie the grill) and we wouldn't consider him safe (and I could imagine him running a bath, and then forgetting about it, causing a flood). He's not good with keys either, and we couldn't rely on him to lock up in his way out.

We're going on holiday soon, for 7 nights from Saturday-Saturday; DH has already made DSS aware if this. On the week of our departure, we'll have DSS to stay on the Thurs night, and that will be it. The ex enquired why we aren't having him on the Friday night, as we don't fly til Saturday. But we have a 7am Saturday flight from Birmingham, we're leaving the house at 2am on Saturday, and it would seem insane to drop DSS back home in the small hours, just to ensure the right quota of nights is achieved that week. Thankfully DH agrees, but this is how silly "extreme rota" can get. And don't forget DSS is 18 ......

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 17:35:40

petal in your case, despite your DSS age, he does need "looking after" though - he cannot take responsibility as the adult he is, and therefore, the rota is in place as it would be for a much younger child. He's not an adult "popping in and out of his parents homes when he pleases", he is an adult who requires supervision as he is unable to live independently.

I appreciate the frustration this causes, but there are a lot of adults who continue to receive care from their parents because they are incapable of functioning independently. I am sure, like me, you would find this more palatable if there was some form of diagnosis/label to explain the reasons why an adult is not expected to behave like one - but you may never get that. There are any number of reasons why it may be the case; SN is one of them, but it may just be that he has never been taught those particular skills. For instance, why isn't he familiar with the electrical items in your home? Does he not use them when he is there on regular contact visits? Why not?

I think the OP's situation is similar to an extent - if the rota is being maintained in order to prevent DD being left alone overnight, then she is not yet an independent adult, she is an adult who requires supervision. It is her parents responsibility to equip her with the skills needed to live as an independent adult.

Petal02 Sun 03-Mar-13 17:44:19

NADM, I take your point that some of the young adults discussed in this thread still need adult supervision to some degree. However I don't think this justifies the need for a strict rota.

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 17:56:04

Petal02 we have very similar situations!!

My stepson is unable to operate the oven, grill etc as my DH makes all his meals and snacks when hes here! He even asks if there is any ice cream on the menu. I do worry for these young men who's independence is not promoted.

Petal02 Sun 03-Mar-13 18:01:03

My stepson is unable to do basic house hold things, because he's treated like a hotel guest when he's here; DH waits on him hand and foot, so there's no reason for him to learn to operate the grill etc. it's quite different at his mother's house, as she's the resident parent there's no Disney stuff going on, so I gather he functions quite normally when he's at home, and stays there by himself when his mother is away.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 03-Mar-13 18:04:33

petal I agree supervising a child of any age doesn't need to be delivered to a strict rota, but if one parent decides what they are going to do then the other parent either fits in, or absolves themselves of the responsibility.

It's certainly not unreasonable for a step-parent to resent the fact that their partner is still adhering to a rota that is dictated by an ex in order to supervise an adult who is unable to take responsibility for themselves because neither parent has equipped them with the skills they need to do so!

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 18:05:11

Exactly the same petal!!

My stepson gives DH his toothbrush when it needs charging instead of doing it himself. He tells him when to brush his teeth for bed. The rota is stuck to religiously.
None of this is stepsons fault. It's that of his fathers.

allnewtaketwo Sun 03-Mar-13 18:50:15

I don't think an adult not being able to use an oven is anything to do with a parent jot having equipped them with the skills though. Particularly not where they can use an oven at home. And at school no doubt when doing food tech or whatever it's called. It's pure indulgence and laziness. If he lives out oh hone at university, there will be no-one "teaching" him how to use the oven in digs or halls. He will either have to get off his arse and have a go, be very hungry, or look like a complete idiot when he can't do it.

I wouldn't leave DSS1 unsupervised in my house for more than an hour or so. Nothing to do with being given skills to use a kettle/oven, but bro g so apathetic to acquiring normal levels of responsibility that he can't be trusted. He doesn't WANT to behave or be treated as an adult. Hence he has no interested in learning adult skills.

For example we went out last night, and had to get a babysitter in for DS, despite DSS1 (17) being in the house.

Nurse1980 Sun 03-Mar-13 18:55:43

My stepson wants paying a rather large amount of money to babysit! I suppose gone are the days when you would babysit your sibling for free.

I wouldn't leave him with her anyway she is too young.

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