Conflicting opinions(19 Posts)
Need some objective opinions about something DH and I are disagreeing about if possible please. DSD is almost 17, she enrolled in a college course when she left school after GCSE's but gave up on it within a few weeks. Since then she's just drifting which is worrying me and DH but her DM (who she lives with) doesn't seem bothered by. Without wanting to come across as critical of the ex she hasn't set the best example work ethic wise and I suppose we're worried DSD is following in her footsteps. So, we have a voluntary arrangement for child support and DH is now suggesting that we stop paying anything as, technically, we no longer have to because DSD is not in full time education or on an apprenticeship. His reasoning is that the ex may well start to encourage DSD to get herself sorted with a job or college place if we withdraw financial support. I can see his point but am worried on two counts, one that the ex would struggle and I wouldn't want to put any parent in that position, and two that it will cause trouble between us and the ex and I would prefer to stay on good terms. So, WWYD is what I'm asking I suppose, do we carry on paying child support when we don't technically have to or stop and hope it results in the ex giving DSD a kick up the bum to do something with herself?
If you are on good terms can you not speak to her mum and work through it together?
If not then I would do what you're suggesting, in the long run it'll help dsd massively.
Well, the payments are, at some point going to stop...so if the EW is depending on this part of her income, she's eventually going to have to manage without it!
so if the EW is depending on this part of her income, she's eventually going to have to manage without it!
the ex has a 17 year old young person to care for full time - a young person who isn't yet in work. The OP has recognised this - nothing has actually changed for her in terms of who she has to support so withdrawing child support, even if not legally now payable, will only have a potentially massive, negative impact on the mum. And associated fall out with the ex and OP. Presumably, the ex has already lost tax credits and child benefit which will be having a massive impact on the household as a whole anyway.
OP - why not talk to mum? or at least, get your DH to do that? You are making a good point as at 17 years old, she needs to be doing something. It will need to be worded very carefully so as not to be criticism of mum, however. Very difficult.
Yes, but it has to stop eventually, and if the DD doesn't earn a lot when she starts work I don't suppose she will be contributing much to the household budget! But yes, at 17, she has to do something!
It is difficult cannot the ex is not easy to talk to and extremely sensitive to perceived criticism so approaching her is not a prospect me or DH relish. I think speaking to her about DSD's future generally without mentioning the money side of things is our best next step though, trouble is getting DH to agree with me. My relationship with the ex is better than his tbh and I would be willing to talk to her but me and DH would need to be on the same page with this, he would be completely within his rights to cut me out of the decision altogether and just stop paying her so there's no point me taking it on myself to speak to her without his agreement that it's the best way forward. All this is complicated by the ex being crap with money, she'll post pics of her new tattoo or designer handbag on FB and then text us pleading poverty and asking for extra money for basics like food or gas and electric. It's been like this for years so I can see why DH feels the way he does, he's always paid child support at above the CSA rate and helped out with school uniforms etc without being asked, he's a good dad but we struggle financially and I think he's worried now that we're contributing to DSD ending up with the same attitude to money and the need to support herself as her DM which I can understand. It's all complicated by the personalities and relationships involved which is why I posted the original question in fairly black and white terms, just to try and get a sense of whether stopping the payments purely because we don't legally have to keep paying it and hopefully giving DSD a kick to do something with her life in the process was the right thing to do in basic terms. The nuances of our relationship with the ex just blur the issue further for me so I really am finding it difficult to see what's right here.
Why did she give up the college course? Was she able to explain properly? Isn't it compulsory for young people to be in education or training up to the age of 17 now?
The job situation is very difficult for her age group now, very different to how it was when you and your H were her age. She should probably look at alternative college courses or apprenticeships.
Maybe look at getting some advice about the options which are open to her now. Colleges usually have careers guidance people who can explore her options with her.
I think this is something you need to tackle with the daughter, rather than her mum. I know that's easier said than done. Your H may have to resign himself to months of nagging her and supporting her with researching her options and not taking no for an answer.
We thought she had to be in education til 18 too and DSD has kept our questions at bay by claiming to be pursuing an apprenticeship with a company she's done occasional work for, that's wearing thin now though and she's struggling to answer mine and DH's questions. Asking the ex what's happening will doubtless be seen as us criticising her parenting and opens up a whole host of uncomfortable subjects such as how she's getting round DSD not being in education when she should be. It's possible she hasn't notified the appropriate people that DSD has left college and may even be fraudulently claiming CB and CTC for her but I don't know how she would get round all that with the relevant authorities tbh. We ask DSD what's happening with the apprenticeship etc every time she comes but she's getting more and more evasive which is adding to our concern, I think that's what's prompted DH to come up with the idea about stopping child support to try to force some progress. It's hard as we bear little influence only seeing her twice a week, her DM is the one who could have greater influence as she is with her all the time but I can't see that happening as things stand, especially if I'm right about the benefits situation. DH has just said he is going to talk to the ex, express his concern about DSD's future and lack of direction atm and see what she says so we'll see what comes of that. We've been talking about it all evening on and off and he has relented a bit from his original stance of just stopping the payment so I guess that's progress. Don't think there's going to be a quick fix for this situation though so I may have to ask advice on here again, thanks for all your input so far
Just realised I didn't answer your first question Hedda, sorry. She just said she wasn't enjoying the course and that it was badly organised although it all sounded worrying familiar as she used to say similar things about subjects she wasn't doing well in at school, it was always down to badly organised teachers/departments then too. We knew it was the wrong course for her tbh and did try to steer her elsewhere when she first said she was applying for it but, again, we have little influence unfortunately.
Can you give ex some notice of the payments stopping so she can prepare? That may then open up a discussion. She must know it's on the cards soon?
I think the issue is beyond talking to the mum but building a good relationship with DSD. It shouldn't be about asking her questions so she feels interrogated and inevitably on the defensive, but opening up discussions about her goals, interests, purpose in life etc....
Discussions need to have a positive tone rather than an accusatory one. Did you express interest in the detail of the apprenticeship she wanted to do, have you looked for other similar ones and told her that you came across it and thought of her.
I think withholding money is a very bad idea at this point but would mention it with DD and explain the rules and that she is legally expected to still be in education and that at some point, maintenance is expected to stop.
Swing, why would talking to the daughter about money issues be better than talking to the mother? Presumably DD will mention this to her mum, who might expect to hear that sort of thing from her ex?
I would stop and I did.
When dd1 dropped out of college after a few weeks, I said that unless she either got a job or an apprenticeship she would have to move in with her df.
She didn't take me seriously so I packed her stuff and dropped her off.
Harsh I know but low and behold she had an apprenticeship set up with in two weeks. She then moved back in. She was on a very low wage and I let her keep it all.
she has worked her backside off for three years now and is going travelling this summer. When she gets back she will be jobless and I'll will support her for a short while while she gets in her feet. The difference is this time she has worked hard and is doing something worth while.
op I'd let your Dh deal with this.
It surprises me sometimes at threads like these as 17/18 year olds are still treated like young people and coddled.
Yet if a mother came on and said my 16 year old is having sex she would be told to mind her own buisness.
I had a new baby and worked part time at 16.
Questions about her plans and ambitions are always asked conversationally, no interrogations just genuine interest and encouragement. DH is going to ring the ex tonight and discuss our concerns so we'll see what she says. That's a good idea about finding some leads for DSD to pursue swing I'll get on to that today, thanks. I have at least managed to persuade DH to try some other strategies before he stops the payment and talking to the ex will prepare the ground if he does eventually end up going that route so that's better than where we were last night. I'm pretty sure on reflection that the ex hasn't notified anyone DSD has left college and is trying to 'fly under the radar' so to speak regarding her needing to be in education or work and also CB and CTC which I think is why she's not putting DSD under any pressure to sort herself out. Hopefully realising DH has concerns might prompt her to have a rethink and start encouraging DSD to get something sorted. She's bright and talented so it will be a crying shame if she doesn't make the most of that.
I don't think taking away maintenance will help, but it may be an opportunity to bring up when it will stop. Maybe even giving his DD some control over money, give her responsibility say for her clothes, spending money - and spell out that rest is for her mother to house and feed her, until she's 18 but that this will stop, ask DD how she thinks she will contribute to her mum after this? Will she work? Will she study?
I would absolutely stop paying maintenance. Possibly not immediately but you could certainly say, "unless you're back in full time education by 3 / 6 months, it will stop and you will have to get a job" or something to that end.
Swing, why would talking to the daughter about money issues be better than talking to the mother? From my perspective it's about teaching this child to take some responsibility for her future. It's about her understanding that she can't expect (via her mother) to have this money to make up for her lack of looking after herself, whether by starting to support herself, or being engaged in an activity that means she will be able to do so in the near future.
Just to add, if her mum is really preventing her from being pro-active about her future just so she can continue to claim benefits (which I very much can believe), then it is even more essential that you do help her realise how important it is that she does something with her life asap.
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