Real Life MMD: Should we keep paying for son's extras?



  • Rachel021967
    Rachel021967 Posts: 1,015 Forumite
    I wouldn't cut back on the visits. It may be the one thing he looks forward to in his day. As said theft is rife on a mental health ward. Name everything so that if they do go walkies he has more chance of getting them back. Also report the missing items to the nurses. They are extremely busy so cannot be reasonable responsible for their patient's belongings but maybe able to narrow down the culprit. Giving him a copy of the CD is also a good idea.
    Just playing devil's advocate here, but are you really worried about the money or are you slightly miffed about the time and attention your husband is giving his son?
  • bus3jr
    bus3jr Posts: 2 Newbie
    From experience with my own Mother I think it would be ok to reduce your weekly visits to around 4 or 5 days a week and arrange for another family member or friend to visit when you don't or can't make it. With regards to the 'extras' that he asks for, if possible explain that you can't afford to get everything but you will try your best to get to him things that he needs. It may be hard to say no but essentially it is the time you spend with him that is most valuable. I suggest low cost treats such as a chocolate bar or a magazine. As others have said before me have a word with the nursing staff and ward manager to help keep an eye on your son in laws possessions. Keep visiting, stay positive and just try your best to balance your finances. I hope he gets better soon.
  • Skintslimmer
    Skintslimmer Posts: 518 Forumite
    I'd go with the low cost treats, make use of charity shops and car boot sales, and the labelling and CD copying ideas already mentioned :)
    Nothing tastes as good as riding a horse feels
  • PasturesNew
    PasturesNew Posts: 70,698
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    You could also look at - there must be others going that way some days. And/or other similar sites where you could give lifts for cash.
  • scotsbob
    scotsbob Posts: 4,632 Forumite
    "and I think we should stop, but my husband's adamant we must keep paying up. What should I do?"

    If he was your blood what would you do? It's not up to you, it's up to how a father wants to care for his son.

    Furthermore, slippers aren't a "treat."
  • MissMills81
    MissMills81 Posts: 18
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    This must be a very difficult and worrying time for you, I hope your son recovers soon,

    I do think that it is perfectly reasonable for you to set a realistic budget for what you can afford to pay for treats and nor do I think that you should feel guilty about doing so, your post has said that your son loses some of these items due to his illness which suggests he perhaps is not in a position at the moment to appreciate the value of these items and/or take care of them therefore it is not unreasonable to want put a limit on replacing these.

    Obviously there will be certain essential items that should he lose them will need to be replaced but I do think that for non essential items you should follow some of the advice given on here and use car boot sales, charity shops etc or keep the treats small. Your company and commitment to spending time with him is the most valuable thing you can give him and during this time.
  • Hayley21
    Hayley21 Posts: 13 Forumite
    I'm sorry to hear about your situation, I know how stressful it must be and I really hope that your husband's son starts to feel better soon.

    I agree with most of the advice so far. I have been in hospital a couple of times, and it is really difficult - my family lived too far away to travel to see me more than once a week, and financially it does put a strain on everyone. From experience, I would definitely say that having visitors was probably the thing that made the biggest difference - being in hospital is horrible at the best of times, let alone when it is due to mental health problems. Your freedom is taken away, you feel vulnerable/fragile/lonely, it's really boring, and mental health wards in particular can be stressful and scary. If possible, I would continue to visit as much as you can, within reason. Although I do think it's reasonable to visit less frequently, maybe 2-3 times during the week, and for longer periods on weekends, and phone on the days that you don't go.

    Some of the best things I was bought were things that last a long time or were good distractions - puzzles, sudoku/crossword books, art and craft stuff, dvds etc. It was also nice to have things from home - blanket/dressing gown, photographs, nice toiletries, letters or cards from family/friends. As said above, I would label things as clearly as possible, inform the staff, and try to minimise the cost of buying new things. It's a little cliched, but it is the thought that counts.

    Hope that helps, all the best.
  • bennett2kuk
    bennett2kuk Posts: 93 Forumite
    Tricky situation, obviously I haven't been through anything like this so can't comment from a 1st person perspective. But knowing how much I care for my 1 year old son he would be my ultimate priority and I would go without to make sure he was ok. No matter what. Especially if he was in a bad way.
    The situation should remedy itself in time. I know it would be hard with him not being your son but if you care for your husband then you must respect his wishes for his children.
  • cuba2008
    cuba2008 Posts: 40 Forumite
    jockanese wrote: »
    I can't believe i'm reading this. What a selfish, awful thing to ask.
    If it bothers you that much don't go to visit your husband's son and let your husband visit alone. The savings are your husband's too, and in life if you have children, no matter what age, they will come first. Especially in a time of need like the one your stepson's in. And no, I don't have children.

    It sounds like you're trying to trivialise his condition; have you any idea how fragile his state of mind will be and how he'll be clinging to things like visits and the gifts your husband takes him.
    To have a breakdown and be taken into hospital is a serious matter.
    This may sound harsh to some but I'm failing to see how anyone can justify such a post.

    Jockanese, I don't think there was any intention to trivialise the situation but we don't know how much strain financially this is actually putting on them. The costs are already eating into their savings, which may well be a few thousand or only a few hundred. The problem is there is always one in a marriage who is the sensible one where finances are concerned and the other who likes to spend with no real idea what is available - I say this from experience (my husband likes to spend). You and others seem to have assumed that, because it's the lady's step son she has taken a harder line than she would if he were her own son. She and her husband still have their own bills to pay and travelling that distance every day must be costing a fair bit on top of the gifts. I would go along with others and keep the cost down by buying small gifts from charity shops and taking copy cd's in whilst retaining the originals so if her step son does lose them they can let him have replacements. I would also suggest cutting down the visits (especially if it's going to be long-term) to maybe every other day, but perhaps staying longer.
  • I note you call him your 'husbands son'. If it was your own child I really don't think you would have posted this at all. You never stop being a parent and that means taking care of your kids no matter how old they are when they need you. This man needs support and love and regular contact with his father.

    On the practical side, when you buy things for him, put his name on it. yes, it's like primary school all over again but saves the expense of replacing things.

    Tie in the trip with a stop at the supermarket on the way back etc so it's saving an extra trip later.

    Check to see if you/hubby are entitled to any extra benefits. Look at buses/public transport as an alternative. Sometimes a weekly pass works out far cheaper than petrol and parking.

    Don't whatever you do, try to come between a man and his son when he's ill. Your job is to be supportive! Stop being tight. You can't put a price on a child in need.
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