Adult step children(22 Posts)
I wonder if I can ask for some impartial advice as I feel my emotions are too involved for me to be objective anymore. I have an older husband with 3 grown children and we have a 7 year old together. My youngest stepdaughter moved into our basement flat 4 months ago at age 24 to find work down south. She brought a friend with her out of the blue and they are both still here, living at our expense. They have a sort of job maybe a few times a month and have not offered to contribute to bills once. I laid down the law last month and said they needed to pay towards their bills, as they have the whole flat to themselves plus they take 2 showers each a day and use our washing machine and tumble etc. however they haven't worked enough so have no money to pay. Now added to that the sd took things she wasn't supposed to and either lost or broke them and then took my bike without asking and left it outside a shop so it got nicked. I'm making her pay for the replacement but obviously have had nothing yet in 2 months. I then said no access to house unless we were there they should treat yes as neighbours. I then found a load of texts saying I was a bitch and a witch etc etc that this was her dad's house and she should be free to do what she liked. It's a joint mortgage we both work full time. I got really upset and withdrew then that was 2 weeks ago. Now my husband wants her to stay and I want them to go but I realise this May be unfair how do I work it out so I'm not miserable and he's not miserable. Oh yeah and they both smoke in the garden which I hate!!!!!!! I really can't abide it, I would never rent to a smoker usually. I need help. Tell them to go, let them stay until what .... We run out of money or I leave? I just don't know anymore.
They sound like they are taking the mickey. Your house too, so perfectly reasonable to establish ground rules. Sounds like DH may not be supporting you properly on this. I maybe would pick my battles though, and try and ignore the smoking in the garden. I don't think its unreasonable to state you can't/won't subsidise their living by them living rent and bill-free. It may come to them finding somewhere else to go unfortunately. Presumably DH can see it can't carry on indefinitely?
OP, this sounds like a horrible situation. I agree with the comments about needing support from your DH.
If she moved to find work and is apparently not finding any, could/should she move back? Alternatively if she is the youngest, could one of her older siblings put her up?
The problem is she is immature selfish and a nightmare but we brought her sister down to live with us a few years back when she went off the rails and now she is wonderful so he wants us to do the same with the youngest. I feel I have to keep her here as he still feels guilt for leaving when they were 9, 12 and 14. He wants to build a relationship with her that he has with the middle one. He keeps saying would you throw our son out if he was a pain too. I don't know what I would do as my son is only 7 and hasn't got a friend in tow. Dh is always having a go at her but it does no good. Now I'm the witch upstairs and he's good ol dad. We tried to have a conversation tonight about what to do but he made a snarky comment and I blew up and stormed off. If she wasn't his daughter I'd ask them to leave tonight.
Ps thanks for responding and giving it some perspective. Her mum sent her down here as she was sick of her behaviour, her sister said they won't have her cos she's a nightmare.
Well you could at least tell the friend to go! No family guilt there send her packing.
The friend thing is unacceptable - it sounds as if she didn't ask if her mate could move in. That's really poor. Why should you be funding a complete stranger, who is possibly distracting DSD from job-hunting etc? I'd get the chum turfed out - surely your DH can see that is reasonable?
It's amazing how your DSD has no money to contribute to bills but can afford cigarettes....
On a more serious note, with her track record and lack of respect I'd be a bit concerned about the security of my home, especially as you don't know who she's inviting there during the day.
I'd tell DH that unless he sits DSD down, reminds her that it's your joint home and sets out (and enforces) some rules then you will cancelling your direct debits for all household bills and he can fund your life, too.
I don't think this is a step child issue. She sounds like a pain generally and even her own mother and siblings think so!
The friend is actually more responsible than the sd. Yeah the security worthies me as the out their flat door on the latch and go away for weekends leaving it open. The cigarette thing and money is my theme tune lol. They also get drunk too and come in loudly at four am. I just don't know what to say when they don't contribute. Can I honestly ask dh to say ok you haven't paid and kept up your side of the deal so go.? That's where I'm struggling I think. What should the consequences be?
The consequences should be..... If you afford drink and fags you can pay something, both of you!!
I would start making noises about letting it out, make get estate agent round, move things along that way. The situation cannot continue.
I'm sorry to be the voice of doom and gloom, but if you can't get your DH on your side in this, you may as well save your breath to cool your porridge.
If he won't kick her (and her friend) out, then I agree with a pp that you should withdraw any funds for household expenses EXCEPT your share of the mortgage. That you should pay. Then I'd buy myself a medium sized safe and stash any valuables in it (jewelry, credit cards, etc) and NOT give DH the combo, just to make a point. I'd hide the laundry supplies and anything else they use but don't pay for (loo roll, dish soap, etc). If I was the last to leave for work, I'd probably turn off the water, too! Those things may seem small and petty, but they also serve to make life a little less 'comfortable' for her.
A thought. How long did you have the sister with you before she straightened up? Perhaps you should tell DH that that's how long this one should be allowed to stay.
Could your dh make an agreement that they contribute in other ways if they have no money? Housework, shopping, childcare?? They sound very self-entitled. And I agree the friend should definitely be the first to be kicked out especially if nothing about their behaviour and attitudes change immediately!
If they are leaving the door unlocked your house insurance won't cover it if there is a break-in..
My husband would tell them to go if I said that he had to but he says it would destroy his last chance to build a relationship with her. We had the other daughter with us for 5 years on and off but she paid us for staying with us and looked after her brother so I could run one night a week etc. I think I'm going to say he needs to tell them after Christmas if their debts aren't paid re their share of the bills and the money for my bike then they will have to go home to their mothers.
He can still build a relationship without being taken for a mug along with his wife.
I have great relationships with my adult dc and they paid rent as soon as they got jobs.
They chip in too if they need to come home for any length if time.
I love them but I'm not their meal ticket for life.
I agree. Thanks guys I'm going to stand firm. End of December it is and at the very least I want the bike paid for and if the bill payment isn't settled then they don't come to stay until it is
He can still build a relationship without being taken for a mug along with his wife.
How much time are DH and daughter actually spending together? What do they do together 1:1? If they are ships that pass in the night due to work and hangovers then there is no relationship being built.
I know lots of parents that leave are prepared to pay a very price for their guilt but perhaps he could find a way that does not affect you and your son?
It's often suggested on here that you write up a list of living expenses - rent, electricity, council tax, etc etc. Could DP do that and then sit down with his daughter and say this is what she needs to start earning, minimum. What are her plans to do that, by when and how is she going to find that job?
Get her signed on at the Job Centre, they'll give her some time to find the job of her choice then she'll have to take anything that comes along. Maybe give her an extra month after which make sure she knows you'll give her a train ticket home and change the locks on the flat.
And sod the friend.
Even if he wants to subsidise his dd, why would he want to subsidise her friend. Friend should be paying half market rate and a contribution towards bills. That's as an absolute minimum of what the pair of them should contribute.
He's really not doing her any favours by letting her live like this. As someone with a brother who is 30 going on 15, it's not going to help her long term. Subsidising living costs whilst she saves up for a deposit/undertakes postgraduate study would be one thing but this is just enabling her to escape the realities of the real world for no future gain.
Plus they've got no incentive to work more hours if doing so means they have to start contributing. Taking a percentage of everything they earn no matter how little it is would be a better approach.
I would no way accept this. They should either pay a proper rent and be decent tenants or move out. They should do what every other feckless 24 year old does and work a bit so they can rent a room in a shared house for £500 pcm or whatever.
Just say no. It sounds like your husband will have to stomach his guilt. I haven't heard of any 24 year olds being allowed to live at home. If her mum lets her back then she's a mug.
It also sounds like the 'job down south' thing was a red herring suggested by your husband so that he could feel he was providing for her.
She's not looking for one -- tell her the party's over. He needs to parent her properly and explain to her the real facts of being an adult.
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