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Summer holidays

(22 Posts)
Libby10 Tue 10-Sep-13 18:12:17

This summer DP's ex moved - she now lives 90 mins away by car/train. Since her move we have had both SSs with us during the university hols. SS1 is now back but SS2 doesn't start until beg October.
SS2 was supposed to be spending a fortnight with his mother. He left today but is coming back this Saturday (this is to fit in with her plans).
SS2 is 21 and so there is not much we can say / do. I just find it frustrating that DPs ex can just give up any responsibility for SSs over the summer. I wondered what others do.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 10-Sep-13 18:51:35

A lot of parents go away and leave their adult children home alone - he is, after all 21, and therefore isn't either parents responsibility any more, he has more or less left home completely!

If Mum has decided that he isn't welcome in her home on the dates previously agreed then perhaps he could go back to his Uni town early if it's not convenient for him to stay with you either? Plenty of students do that - I stayed in my Uni Town for several summer breaks as that is where the work was!

Libby10 Wed 11-Sep-13 09:47:28

There's no problem leaving him alone if we go away.
It's more that he does need somewhere to stay during the summer holidays - he's moving to a new student house this term and it doesn't make sense for him to pay extra to stay up when he doesn't need to.
It seems strange to me that his mother seems to have washed his hands of him when students are still regard as dependent on their parents to some extent when they are at uni.
I just wondered what other people do.

Petal02 Wed 11-Sep-13 10:19:55

Libby, I was interested to read your post as this is something I’ve been thinking about. DSS starts Uni in a few weeks’ time – we’ve paid for accommodation for 41 weeks of the year (which seems to be the norm). When he comes home in the holidays the expectation is that he’ll stay at his Mum’s – which is where he lives now – and will visit us during these times. As things stand at the moment, we couldn’t leave him unsupervised in our house if we went on holiday, he’s not responsible enough, but if the ex were ever unwilling/unable to have him during the summer break we’d have a problem.

Libby10 Wed 11-Sep-13 10:53:36

Petal - I assumed that SS would be spending more/some time at his mum's. We seem to have ended up having him most of the holidays by default. We still live in his home town so I can understand that he might want to spend more time with us so he can see his friends but I really don't understand why his mother seems to have washed her hands of any responsibility for him over the summer holidays.
I know they are adults but financially they are still dependent to some extent and they do need somewhere to stay over the holidays.

Petal02 Wed 11-Sep-13 11:56:50

Libby, has the ex actually said they can't go back to her house over the holidays, or have the boys just chosen to come to you instead? I agree that students still need somewhere to stay over the holidays. But having an unexpected addition to the household from May-September must have been interesting ..... !!!!

Libby10 Wed 11-Sep-13 12:18:10

DP's ex moved this summer and so we had the SSs before then and we went on holiday for 2 weeks with them. At that point the plan was that SS would go to his mums for 2 weeks when we got back. He contacted her to arrange this which was when she changed her plans. He would have stayed longer with her if it had been an option.
I just wonder if this is going to be the pattern for all holidays from now on and suspect there's not much for us to do if that is the case.

Petal02 Wed 11-Sep-13 13:24:53

If the ex simply won't have them, I don't know what else you can do. What does your DH think about this?

allnewtaketwo Wed 11-Sep-13 14:35:30

I was off travelling/working when I was a student, what on earth is wrong with them these days

Petal02 Wed 11-Sep-13 14:40:07

I don't think step-adults do normal things like that ........ !!

(However I'm sure there are exceptions).

Libby10 Wed 11-Sep-13 15:54:03

DH is torn - he never wants his children to feel unwelcome but it does seem off that his ex has done this knowing that we are going to look after him and university hols are a long time. After years of arguments over arrangements we had thought we had got to the end of it so DP doesn't want to speak to her about it and its unlikely anything would change if it did.
Personally I think it is really unfair that one parent can just do this but I guess it goes with the territory or perhaps we are the only ones in this situation.

PS - I feel I ought to stick up for SS - he did try to find work over the summer but didn't have any luck and even if he had he would still need somewhere to live.

Petal02 Wed 11-Sep-13 16:10:02

Libby, I sympathise as we could easily find ourselves in a similar position. The ex has made noises about down-sizing once DSS goes to Uni, and DH has wondered if she’ll down-size to an area nearer her parents (miles away from us).

So whilst all this is hypothetical at present, it would present DH and me with a problem. Obviously, as with your situation, DH wouldn’t want his son to feel unwelcome, and we both appreciate he’d need somewhere to stay over the holidays. But even DH would struggle if he wanted to stay the whole summer. I’m just hoping that even if the ex does decide to move, that her house takes a VERY long time to sell ……… !!

Libby10 Wed 11-Sep-13 21:43:24

It never occurred to us that his ex would behave this way - so at least having it on your radar might be a good idea.
We'll see what happens at Christmas and take stock then.
I had hoped we'd got past all this but it does make you wonder when will it ever end.

theredhen Wed 11-Sep-13 22:37:23

I'm rather relieved that dsd1 has chosen not to go to Uni.

I fully expected ex w to not have her in her house in the holidays if she's not receiving maintenance or child benefit for her. sad

brdgrl Thu 12-Sep-13 00:16:16

At 21, I wouldn't still feel responsible for summer digs for a university student. 'Somewhere to stay' can be a summer sublet or shared house. Was in my day! Nothing wrong with a student staying at the parental home if that suits everyone, of course, but at 21, she's really not being an irresponsible parent.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 12-Sep-13 09:37:28

brdgrl I agree - its not like he's just finished his first year and may have been chucked out of Halls of Residence for the summer; isn't he keeping the same student house as last year? Surely he had to pay for it over the summer?
Things must have changed an awful lot in the last decade or so if final year students are so dependent on Mum and Dad.

Petal02 Thu 12-Sep-13 09:41:57

Redhen – once DH stopped paying maintenance back in June, i also thought the ex would try to despatch DSS to us as often as possible, but to my surprise it hasn’t happened. Which makes me think that, providing the ex doesn’t move away, DSS is still likely to be ‘based’ at her house over Uni holidays.

Brdgrl – I agree totally that at age 21 there’s no reason why at student shouldn’t get a summer let, or go abroad working or travelling or just generally do something independent over the summer. I think the problem arises if they ask to come home, and get a refusal from their mother, so therefore ask their Dad. In a ‘together’ family I could easily imagine Dad saying no, or at least saying it’s not convenient to stay from May-October, but when you’ve got step/Disney dynamics then things are a little different ……

Libby – what does your DH think about this? I know you’ve said you’ll see how the land lies after Christmas, but if there’s no change, is your DH likely to put his foot down? I realise he can’t force the ex to do anything, and as Brdgrl points out the ex doesn’t really have any obligations as such, but that doesn’t really help you, does it?

Libby10 Sat 14-Sep-13 13:33:35

According to the student loan company students are not regarded as independent if they are younger than 25 or permanently estranged from their parents. It does depend on where you are studying but the student loans don't cover all their live costs and I think it is the norm for students to live at home during the holidays.
In our case, it is the fact that DP's ex seems to have decided that she no longer has to accept any responsibility for them. DP has always provided for his children and we have always had them 50 per cent of the time. I'm sure if a mother wrote saying her ex refused to help meet living costs over the holidays there would be a lot of negative comments about the father. This seems to me another instance of double standards and I'm not sure what we can do.
Petal - DP is going to speak to SS1. As you say there is little we can do. If she doesn't want to have her children stay for longer than we are going to pick up the pieces. I don't know why we should expect her to change her behaviour now they are older - it just seems more surreal having the same issues when the "children" are adults.

Petal02 Sat 14-Sep-13 13:57:15

Libby, you're right about the double standards.

If, hypothetically, you said to the boys that they could stay with you between certain dates, but not any longer due to granny visiting/building work etc, is it likely they would speak directly to their mother and ask if they could stay with her? Given their ages, they should be able to 'negotiate' with her themselves, it's not like having smaller children where things have to be arranged for them.

mumandboys123 Sat 14-Sep-13 14:30:18

Far from double standards, I can recall posts where if a PWC suggests it is reasonable that the NRP makes some kind of contribution to the family home given that they have some kind of moral obligation to keep a room for their child whilst away at university, they are labelled money grabbing and who knows what else. The OP simply doesn't want the inconvenience of her step son over the summer so of course, mum is 'bad' because neither does she or because she can no longer afford to without the support of maintenance and/or tax credits. Whilst I am some way off this, assuming I remain single, I can envisage a time when I will have to tell my children that they no longer have a home with me because I will simply have to downsize to keep myself going. No doubt their step mum at the time will be slagging me off and labelling me a bad mother as a result....

Libby10 Sat 14-Sep-13 17:54:05

Petal - we have left it to SS to make arrangements separately but the default seems to be us if she only wants him to stay for a few days.

Petal02 Mon 16-Sep-13 11:46:59

I think this illustrates the dilemma of “at what age should a step-adult cease living across two households.”

And whilst I can understand that the ex might have wanted to downsize/move away/no longer wish to have her sons to stay over the holidays, it might have been helpful if she’d mentioned this in advance. It’s rather inconsiderate to do all that on the unspoken assumption that the other parent can pick up the slack.

Because if the OP had also wanted to move away/join a kibbutz etc etc, then the actions of the ex rather limit the options available to her and her DH. Although I do suspect that by the time a young adult is 21, it’s not the end of the world if they have to make alternative arrangements over the summer.

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