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14yo dd's boyfriend visiting - how to manage for all of us.Long,sorry.

(20 Posts)
greenearrings Sun 23-Sep-12 16:23:28

I am a lone parent of 5- dd16,dd14,ds11,dd10 and dd2.
We live in a small terraced house with no garden and all share bedrooms ,2 to each,except for ds.
Dd met a boy through friends and they are mad about each other. He is a lovely lad ,very polite and helpful,no trouble to have around at all. I have spoken to Dd 1 and 2 about boyfriends and sex,they are happy to ask advice and chat to me about most things. dd1 has had a bf who was allowed to stay over occasionally on a Saturday when the younger two were at their fathers' and dd2 could sleep in one of the other beds. dd1 stayed at his parents house some nights. He was her first sexual partner and she asked lots of questions before they dtd ,and we arranged contraception. They split up after 6 months and she hasn't met anyone since.

This lad is 17 ,and is dd2's first bf. however,she is underage and obviously things are different. she says they will not have a sexual relationship until she is old enough,but that she would approach me if things got near to that,so that we could talk about it. I have spoken to her and her bf and said he can sleep over now and again,but must sleep on the sofa. This has been ok,although dd2 has tended to linger after lights out and had to be told to go to her room. My bedroom is next to the sitting room,so I can hear what goes on.
My problem is,this lad lives 2 hrs away. Dd2 is expecting him to stay over from fri to sun every other weekend. This happened the weekend before last by default,and again this weekend. In between,dd2 went over to his parents house.
To be fair,they spend their time walking our dogs,sitting in the living room watching films or coming out with me to the shops or wherever. They hold hands and smooch when they think no one is looking.I am happy for her to have a nice bf,and want them to meet up safely,rather than fib to me and hang out elsewhere. i am sure they are playing by my rules in my house and have spoken to his mother who has the same rules at hers.
However,the house feels crowded. We are pushed for space and not well off. he is another mouth to feed .And,because they are not allowed upstairs to the bedroom dd2 shares with dd1 - who wants her space up there anyway,they are always on my sofa. They are pleasant and appropriate - no snogging or anything if I'm there. But we only have one room,and ds tends to show off to bf,requiring me to step in more than i would if we were on our own,plus I find it tiring having a visitor who is not a child ,yet also not an adult around for my whole weekend. I work full time. this is my only family time with the dc.
If I say he can't come,they will probably meet up elsewhere,where I won't know what is happening. I want to sugest a compromise,as I really need time to unwind at weekends - especially in the evenings,and am used to choosing the tv prog,film etc.I feel over run with teenagers with just the one extra!

Miltonia Sun 23-Sep-12 16:34:19

How is the BF getting to your house and how is your DD getting to his? All that must be costing a lot of money. I think a relationship like this should be a Skype one and you see each other at holidays and half terms. How is everyone going to get their homework done when they are going away or having a visitor every weekend?

It sounds very stressful and not a good idea for anyone. You can't relax in your own home and neither can your other DCs. I would be horrified if my 14YO wanted to do anything like this.

Coconutty Sun 23-Sep-12 16:39:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnyFucker Sun 23-Sep-12 16:46:05

I think your dd is too young, and the bf is too old for her

I get what you are saying about keeping their activities under your roof, so you know they are safe but if he lives 2 hours away, how would they meet up anyway ?

I think you are being far too accomodating and think it highly unreasonable you are having your own privacy and family finances hijacked in this way

You shouldn't have to facilitate their "relationship" to his extent (and to the rest of the family's detriment). If she wants a serious bf who lives 2 hours away, I would actually tell her that she has to wait until she is old enough to facilitate it for herself, tbh

AnyFucker Sun 23-Sep-12 16:48:05

this extent

has this 17yo lad no idea of personal space and actually how much of a simple "physical space user-up" ie.in your face nuisance he is being ?

he must be quite, quite shameless, and I would eb at screaming pitch after the first few hours, never mind every other weekend !

greenearrings Sun 23-Sep-12 17:03:12

Thank you. This all fits with my feelings about the situation. They have railcards and go by train.It is a 2 hr ride on a local route ,but would only be a 20 minute drive,although obviously neither of them have cars,and I am not available as a taxi,nor is his mother.
I think this is the sad reality for her,that the relationship is unrealistic due to the distance.
It is also a lesson for me in facilitating friendships. we used to live in a very isolated ,rural place when the dc were small,and friendships tended to involve a lot of sleepovers due to journey times.
This is a transition for me in trying to work out the boundaries for a different type of friendship.
And another stage in speaking up about what I want for myself,rather than sacrificing everything as I overcompensate for what my dc don't have in terms of not being in a two parent household.

AnyFucker Sun 23-Sep-12 17:33:59

I thought there might be a little bit of "single parent guilt" colouring this smile

AnyFucker Sun 23-Sep-12 17:35:21

I should add the word "misplaced" to that

KillerRack Sun 23-Sep-12 22:10:56

I was a bit hmm at the age gap too.

I wouldn't really be facilitating this,plus it may be a good thing having to date 'outside the home' will leave less time and opportunity for antics.

Plus I'm wondering slightly what a 17 year old wants with a 14 year old surelys she's too immature for him on a few levels? I don't mean any criticism of your DD just thinking on practical terms.

flow4 Sun 23-Sep-12 22:24:09

You sound like you are handling it well enough, to me. I think there are some situations, esp in the teenage years, where there isn't a 'right' way to do things... You have to feel your way to a course of action that works for you/your DC/your family as a whole.

This set-up might be OK, if it suited you all, and felt 'right' to your particular family circumstances (...If you were an especially sociable family for instance... And even the age gap, if your DD is particularly mature...)

But it doesn't sound like it is working for you. If you can pin-point what doesn't feel right (and wanting some private time with your DCs is one thing that stands out) you can maybe make some changes/compromises. You're probably right that it won't last; but your DD will always appreciate that you took her first relationship seriously smile

greenearrings Sun 23-Sep-12 22:32:37

Well,his 17th Birthday was this week,and dd will be 15 next month,he is lower 6th form. I am ok with this side of it, they are both quiet and shy people,but all my dc are pretty emotionally self aware in lots of ways,so the maturity balance is probably ok.

However,we have had a long chat this evening and have agreed no more sleepovers as it's too much for me and her sibs. Compromised on Saturdays during the day every other weekend at his or here,and rest of time will have to be texts or skype - although she will have no extension to her allotted time for pc access,so that will be limited.
As I said,this crept up by default,really. I think because we used to have a much larger house,so having friends around was never really a big deal space-wise, and because the dc are now able to get about on public transport and can therefore organise social stuff without lifts. And now ds is at secondary school with dd1 and 2, life is taking a different shape in the evenings -I enjoy their company,but miss my quiet time,and have to send them to their rooms or go off to mine to get privacy/peace and quiet. It was definitely easier when we had another room downstairs.
But this has been a good lesson for me.

SomeoneThatYouUsedToKnow Mon 24-Sep-12 00:01:00

All sounds very reasonable to me. smile. Good work greenearrings

SecondhandRose Tue 25-Sep-12 22:43:31

If he lived around the corner would he stay the night? No he wouldnt so there is no reason for him to stay the night just because he lives a long way away.

In the words of The Specials song 'too much, too young' and you know what happened to the girl in that song.

14 is too young for her to be in a serious relationship IMHO. Sorry. Surely there is more to life than that for her?

justbreathe Wed 26-Sep-12 06:46:53

Congratulations on being a single mum to 5, working full time and managing to have reasonable discussions with your teens. I'm impressed !

LarkinSky Wed 26-Sep-12 06:53:54

Hear hear JustBreathe, I'm also v impressed!
Sounds like you negotiated a good compromise as well.

KillerRack Wed 26-Sep-12 15:25:27

14 is too young for her to be in a serious relationship IMHO. Sorry. Surely there is more to life than that for her?

I bet at 14 shes really excited that she has a bf older and staying , as long as she see's friends too I suppose.

KillerRack Wed 26-Sep-12 15:27:01

But yeah I think you are too facilitating , obvs you are doing for the right reasons but I would make up some sort of excuse and say like it may have to be every other weekend or something.

for your own sanity grin.

theredhen Wed 26-Sep-12 17:50:52

Op this Sounds very familiar to me.

Dsd1 has a boyfriend who lives 2 hrs away, same sort of age gap although she is 16 now but it started when she was 14.

Dsd mother has bf over fri to mon in her weekends and therefore we are the baddies for not doing the same. Dp frightened to say no but dsd seems to want to travel to him on our weekends anyway.

I also have 5 kids here and another body on the sofa is so bloody annoying especially when they're snogging! sad

It's been good to read your replies!

greenearrings Thu 27-Sep-12 22:27:10

Thanks for the replies smile
As I say, we have reached a compromise which they have both been fine about discussing,agreeing with and understanding the reasons.

As with lots of situations,it seems so simple now! Last weekend I was particularly fraught with doing a job application/cv which meant ,aside from the stress of it,I needed to spend a lot of time on my laptop at the kitchen table,trying to concentrate above the usual noise. And it was raining.

And this is a new stage for dd2. For those who feel she is too young for a serious bf,well, I'd rather she was trying out her new feelings with a steady lad than going on dates. And I don't believe my not allowing her to have a serious bf would help her learn to manage her feelings, switch them off nor enhance the relationship i have with her - and her sibs.

SecondhandRose ,I think that's a rather judgey and unpleasant view.

I trust her re sex. I have brought them all up to be thoughtful,emotionally aware and considerate. Possibly this is why I was quietly angry and upset last weekend when she didn't mind read my feelings about the situation!
Anyway, we are square on it all now,thankfully.

And i really do feel the lack of space is more of an issue. I have never worried about having open house to friends of all dc's ,both exes/dc fathers,my friends,relatives and assorted visiting dogs. (anyone like to quote a song about me,now?)
We have only been here a year,and it is a teeny tiny house, unfortunately. And they are ,of course ,all growing taller,bigger,louder and have more ,and bigger,clothes,coats shoes bags and school books by the day! And dd4 is a full on 2yo - who is surrounded by adoring and very articulate big people....
I am a mh professional,so work is pretty full on,although I am grateful to be working in a culture which fosters empathy,acceptance, tolerance and emotional awareness. It's the culture I hope we have at home here.

Thanks for the compliments,too smile

mathanxiety Fri 28-Sep-12 01:26:03

I would be adamant that she should be trying herself out with dates and a large friendship circle rather than a serious bf at 14, but frankly at 14 I would be expecting my DCs to be up to their ears with homework and extracurricular activities at weekends rather than getting stuck into relationships that are more than friendships.

Don't overestimate the sensibileness of teenagers of 14/15 when it comes to sex, or any other big decision. She has already proved you wrong once.

Be careful with the open door policy that you do not get the rep of being a doormat or pushover because that is the rep your DDs will have too by extension and that is not a good thing. Have you ever read "Are You Somebody?" by the late Nuala O Faolain (Irish autobiography). She describes the home she grew up in, where boys felt bold enough to proceed in through the hall and beyond the stairs. It was not a happy childhood or a happy home. Believe me, there are teens out there who will take a mile if you give an inch.

I am not advocating a reign of terror, or creating an unfriendly atmosphere, but if you are going to keep an open door then you need to open your mouth too and make sure nobody is left reading your mind. If you don't feel able to lay down the law then you are not ready for the open door. You need to maintain boundaries both physical and social here.

Do not sacrifice your own authority in your home for the sake of popularity with random teenage strangers, or aim for the feeling that people are comfortable in your house on the basis that this makes you a better parent. It is far better for teenagers to feel just a little uncomfortable in your house.

While openness with your DCs about sex, etc is admirable, be careful that they are hearing the message that you think you are giving them.

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