Got to pick your battles ...... But WWYD?

(111 Posts)
Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 18:08:08

DSS, who is 18 1/2, is taking his driving test next month. DH has been happy to agree that once he's got his licence (he already has a car) that we can finally discontinue with the access rota, as DSS will be able to transport himself to/from our house as and when he wishes. I was delighted, I've lived by a rota for far too long, and the thought of normality is wonderful.

However DH said something strange last night; that he wants DSS to have a key so that he can come over whether we're in or not. This niggled me slightly, I'd expected DSS would visit us when we're home, I've never got my head round all this "in absentia" visiting, I don't see the point. But my main, overriding concern is that DSS has a terrible track record when it comes to switching things off, closing windows, locking doors and is completely incapable of sorting out pets (would you shut a dog in the lounge when you go out?) and can't master our very simple burglar alarm. The thought of him letting himself into our empty house, and then leaving without locking up, or with the gas hob still lit, or the French windows still open ....... Well it's scary.

I appreciate its normal to be home alone at the house you live in, but I'm uncomfortable, essentially on fire/flood/security grounds, of having him hang out at ours when we're out.

So you have to pick your battles, so I'm proposing to suggest the following to DH: I accept I might have to give in gracefully regards DSS having a key, he's 18 and it is indeed his fathers house. But I want DH to have a proper conversation, not a Disney joke, about taking care of our home, and if we have any problems, that the privilege of a key is rescinded (assuming the house hasn't burnt down).

In return for this, I request that if we're going on holiday or away for the weekend etc, that we don't leave DSS to secure the house (I couldn't relax on a beach wondering if DSS had left the bath taps running) and that he doesn't visit our empty house while we're away, as there's no point. Does that sound reasonable?

I really don't want a huge row with DH over this, I know he wants DSS to feel welcome, but this needs to be balanced with the need to protect our home, and my peace of mind. And (I shan't say this to DH) I understand why you need key for the house you live in, but don't think it's mandatory for any other houses. Not when the 'child' in question has been repeatedly irresponsible with basic household procedures.

Can I reiterate I'm not suggesting we reduce visits, just that they take place when we're in, and that he doesn't cause damage to our home.

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 18:35:44

I can see why you would have concerns about him having a key if he isn't very reliable or safety conscious. If you need to could you put a checklist by the door so that he doesn't leave the house without making sure that everything on that list has been done?

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 18:39:20

I'd be ok with a checklist, assuming DH didn't think we were belittling DSS. So if we did that, would it be reasonable for me to insist that it's DH and I who lock up etc before holidays, and that DSS doesn't come over while we're on holiday? I thought that would be a reasonable compromise?

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 18:45:23

I think so. If it was me I would give him a key to a door that could also be bolted from the inside. When you go on holiday you could then bolt that door and tell him he won't be able to come over while you are away because you need to make sure the house is secure.

mumandboys123 Sat 06-Apr-13 18:53:30

presumably he hasn't yet burnt down his mother's home? or anything else untoward?

it is reasonable he is asked to be careful in locking up, setting alarms, making sure the dog is in the right room etc. as long as you remember that with the best will in the world, we all make mistakes. I am very safety conscious due to being burgled whilst at home some years ago - but that didn't stop me going out for 11 hours recently and returning home to find the front door not only unlocked but also ajar! No one inside, nothing gone, so it was my fault. You also need to agree the consequences with your DH prior to anything actually happening - because you can't make empty threats or it'll be you who looks daft if your DH then goes back on it.

You can't really have it both ways.

And he's not visiting in absentia. It's his home. Or at least, it should be.

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 19:00:13

I know that all families are different but when I left home at 19 my mum took my key off me. I went round when my parents were in. When I say parents I mean my mum and my step-dad. I didn't live there so I didn't need or want a key.

MirandaWest Sat 06-Apr-13 19:02:53

Does he have a key to his mothers house?

Fenton Sat 06-Apr-13 19:04:10

It all sounds very reasonable to me, considering the full picture.

I would understand him having a key so that on occasions when he's due round but earlier than your return to the house he doesn't have to wait out in the car for example.

But to visit the house when there's no-one there, - that's seems unnecessary - especially since his visits originally stemmed from contact time with his father - why on earth should you have to facilitate contact visits to his father's house.

Geordieminx Sat 06-Apr-13 19:06:21

I'm 30, moved out 14 years ago and still have a key to my parents house, and they mine.

It is his fathers home, he should be able to come round as he pleases. It's his home too.

Fenton Sat 06-Apr-13 19:06:28

That's a good point BlancheHunt, - I wouldn't let myself in to my parents' house after I left home, - unless they were expecting me or had asked me to in order to house-sit, water plants etc.

Where does it say he has "left home"?

I'm 45. I still have a key to my parents house.

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 19:07:55

Yes, he has a key to his mothers house. We know she's not especially happy about leaving him unsupervised though, probably for similar reasons to us. She doesn't have pets or a burglar alarm, so two less complications, but I doubt she wants appliances left on or windows left open.

Take the emotive "step family" slant out of the occasion, and ask yourself if you'd be happy with an irresponsible non-resident teenager in your house in your absence ......

bamboozled Sat 06-Apr-13 19:08:03

I think I'd be a bit hmm if my DH said he didn't want my girls, his step daughters coming to our house when we weren't there- I'd feel really hurt, like all the struggles that it takes to knit a new family together with a variety of step kids/parents etc would have been in vain.
Not having a pop at you, just saying it as it is. Could you not ask a neighbour to pop in and check, having left him a checklists as he is a bit random. If then he makes a cockpit, you need to revisit the rules, but not to show him you trust him with being responsible for your (all of your) home without giving him the benefit of the doubt is a bit harsh..

bamboozled Sat 06-Apr-13 19:09:31

I'm 41 and still have a key to my parents house, as do my 2 brothers and my sister - I'd be heartbroken if they asked for it back...

Fenton Sat 06-Apr-13 19:10:25

Yes, I've always had a key, - I left home at 18 and was a bit of a boomerang for the first couple of years around dinner time, - but still I truly no longer viewed it as my home, it was my parents' and as such not mine to let my self into uninvited.

And to be honest, if DP lived with me and said I couldn't give my kids a key (my two eldest are 23 and 21 and still have keys) there's only one person I'd be taking a key off. And It wouldn't be my kids.

Sorry.

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 19:12:58

The trouble is, we've already had problems with him, when access visits have taken place in an empty house. So it's not like we haven't given him a chance to prove he's responsible.

BlancheHunt Sat 06-Apr-13 19:14:35

That's the point though isn't it? All families are different. What you are comfortable with someone else might hate. Take the step-family issue away as it's not really the issue. My best mate has a key to her dads. I haven't got a key to my parents. Are either of us wrong? Of course not. It's just what the individual owners of the property in question are comfortable with.

bamboozled Sat 06-Apr-13 19:15:19

My brothers meet up at my folks house to watch the rugby together - even if my parents are abroad and my sister and I are inclined to pop round to see them and help them eat my parents crisps
We are all married and have our own homes/families but my parents house is something special to us all..
Maybe we are a bit Waltons-like nut my parents love that we do it....

I'm really sorry but if I were your DH I'd be saying.

My house
My kid
My decision

I know that will get me flamed on here. But no way would I let DP be involved in that decision.

I am aware we aren't married and he doesn't live here and maybe I'd feel differently then. But I can't imagine denying one of my kids a key.

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 19:19:52

Freddie, but it isn't just DH's house, it's my house too. I'm ok-ish with DSS having a key in case he calls round to see us and we're delayed due to traffic (or whatever) but feel weird at the thought if him just arriving when we're not in. I have my parents door key, but would never just 'hang out' at their house when they're not there. That would seem really intrusive.

It's still half his. And if he wants his son to be able to,come and go as he pleases then that's what should happen.

In my opinion.

Petal02 Sat 06-Apr-13 19:28:27

Bamboozled, but I assume when you leave your parents house, they can trust you to lock up properly and not leave the hob on? That's half the point to my post; if DSS were responsible, it wouldn't be such an issue.

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