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

edited 17 May 2011 at 8:15PM in Money Saving Polls
74 replies 27.2K views
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  • CloudaneCloudane Forumite
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    The "husband's son" bit is telling. I don't mean that in a judgemental way, but obviously he doesn't mean quite as much to you as your he does to your husband. In a sense we're seeing two extremes, the "I'd spend everything I have, heck I'd probably give my life, to make my son happy" side of the father and the coldly logical view of the stepmother. (No offense)

    As is almost always the case, the middle ground is the place to be. There's no need to shower him with expensive gifts, but don't abandon the poor lad either! I don't think hubby would thank you for it either.

    Sit down together and talk about it reasonably and come to a compromise. Probably it'd mean focusing more on what he's likely to find the most important - people being there for him and showing that they care. The best gift anyone can have.

    bezman summarises it the best:
    bezman wrote: »
    Hi,

    This is my first post on this forum, apologies if I speak out of turn.

    As a mental health patient thats been dipping in and out of hospital stays for the last 20 odd years I feel qualified to throw my opinion into the debate.

    Stop bringing the gifts. Take something cheap and simple like a newspaper or a packet of his favourite biscuits. The cd's,slippers etc will always go missing. Either due to theft or your son genuinely losing them. The gifts offer a very brief temporary distraction, what really counts and makes a difference are your visits. These provide him with love, one-to-one attention and a valued break from the monotony / routine of a mental health unit. These visits will do far more to aid his recovery than a cd. This has always been the case for me and the vast majority of my fellow patients.

    Just be there for him as a loving non-judgemental stable figure and he will get through this.

    I wish him all the best.

    One of the most insightful and heartfelt posts I have seen for some time and every word seems spot-on.
  • Augustus_the_StrongAugustus_the_Strong Forumite
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    annie123 wrote: »

    Savings are there for, amongst other things, emergencies and what you have at the moment is an emergency.

    If it were you in the hospital you wouldn't want your husband saying, "I'm sorry I cant visit you or buy you little things, those savings are for emergencies/holidays etc and you're not worth more than them" would you?

    I think this is right. However, the daily visits must be taking it out of you both, never mind the cost. Is it necessary to visit every day? the son isn't a child.
  • edited 18 May 2011 at 2:26PM
    zebra0zebra0 Forumite
    8 Posts
    edited 18 May 2011 at 2:26PM
    It is good to save money, but I wouldn't stop the gifts completely. It might be good to get something that engages the mind, e.g. to do with existing interests or hobbies. E.g. a science magazine like "Focus" is thought provoking and might take his mind off his current surroundings, even for a short time. An MP3 player / CD player would probably be invaluable in combating boredom, and music keeps the mind active. Newspapers / current affairs magazines too? The more support and contact from people (family and friends) the better. Can anyone else be encouraged to keep a friendly contact? This does not have to be a visit, but could be a card or phone call. As long as he is okay with this as well.

    It is worth always keeping an open mind and questioning the advice of professionals. Mental health issues often don't fit into a neat diagnosis, and labels may be given which are not helpful. It's better to look past any labels and keep an open mind. There is a good book about this called "A Dose of Sanity" by Sydney Walker, a psychiatrist and a neurologist. What is referred to as a diagnosis is often only a descriptive label. The term "diagnosis" suggests that the cause or causes are known and understood, e.g. as in diagnosing diabetes. Also there are good books by the nutritionist Patrick Holford, e.g. "Optimum Nutrition for the Mind", and a very good book about Omega 3 (especially fish oil) for treating depression, called "The Natural Way to Beat Depression" by Dr Basant Puri. These are all available on Amazon I think.
  • pennypinchUKpennypinchUK Forumite
    383 Posts
    Doubtless you're torn between wanting to support your husband by continuing with the extras and sensibly thinking about your/your husband's financial future. This sounds like a case for good old, honest talking between you and your husband, and possibly with his son. Is there any compromise that can be made? Perhaps continuing to pay for extras, but scaling back?
  • astonishing !
    what should you do?
    how about have the grace to leave your husband so he can find someone with some decency?
    a forty mile round trip is nothing for a hospital visit for a son who is mentally ill and slippers are not extras!
    let's hope you are never ill in hospital and looking forward to one ray of sunshine a day in the form of a visit from a close relative.
    utterly utterly selfish to a ridiculous degree you should be ashamed of yourself !
  • droniddronid Forumite
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    Well there are a lot of assumptions made on here from what is a very short not very detailed question! There is no indication if you or your partner are working or retired or if you have plenty of money or none.

    I’m sorry to hear you are in this situation; it’s very difficult I know.

    Essentially it’s about what can be afforded isn’t it? If you cannot afford to buy things, no amount of wishing will help and selling a kidney isn’t the answer, son or not.

    Your son (step-son, whatever) obviously needs your presence more than your presents. So the priority is the visits. If it’s proving taxing on both of you then you need to be able to discuss how much time you can use before tiredness or stress end up preventing you from visiting. I am not in any way suggesting you reduce your time visiting but it has to remain in the realm of what is possible.

    As to the presents, others have commented that slippers are not extras. Well they are if you have to replace them daily. If they’re going missing buy cheap, heap ones which will do the job and mark them up. He will need them so don’t waste money on ones for more than a couple of quid. Music, well the burning of CD’s is a wise move. If he reads, get down the charity shop for books which are great at times like this but the big problem is going to be inactivity. There’s often not much to do in those kinds of environments so a pad of paper is a good idea, something he can doodle think and plan onto. And it’s cheap. Is he asking for any other higher cost presents?

    Others have put down good ideas about transport. As with all these things planning is often the best answer to get the most bang for your buck (or time).

    I hope the situation improves for you.

    And to anyone who’s thinking of assuming that this is by some evil stepmother, remember we only have the barest bones of the circumstances and you may be assuming that the people involved have the facility to spend what they like to get what they need. As many people on this site know, even what they must do can be constrained by what is physically possible. If they had only £50 per week for bills food and other general living, no amount of cutbacks will allow them to visit daily. They are in a difficult position and behaving like things must happen might end up with them unable to afford a car at all leaving them no way to visit the son.


    I could make it better myself at home. All I need is a small aubergine...

    I moved to Liverpool for a better life.
    And goodness, it's turned out to be better and busier!
  • This topic rang so many bells for me. 5 years ago, our daughter, then 17, was badly injured in a car accident, and was rushed to hospital in a coma with serious head injuries as well as other physical injuries. When she came out of the coma (after about 3 weeks) she could do nothing - could not recognise us, move, eat, talk, read, walk etc. Only through intensive therapy and rehabilitation over an 8 month period was she able to partially recover some of her facilities and leave hospital (for which we are eternally grateful to the medical staff).

    During that period my wife and I visited her every day, often twice a day, travelling 30miles each way. Her mental condition during much of that period was that she had lost all of her learned behaviour, had no memory, short-term or otherwise, and was in many respects an infant and then child again. She frequently lost things and demanded others, and she absolutely depended on our presence for any peace of mind at all, or to make sense of what she was going through. I can well imagine a similar situation for patients having suffered mental breakdowns.

    So my response to the dilemma is this - time and money should not be a factor you should consider cutting back on. You have to do all that you can for your loved ones. Yes, take the precautions suggested by others here, but don't stint on the visits or support. In the long run, it will be worth it.

    I totally agree here, its not the money thats the important thing, its the son. Imagine how his quality of life is and how his day would be without your visits. Your husband should put his son first, your okay, you can look after yourself (thankfully), his son cannot. How would you feel about your husband if he deserted his son.

    This is what savings are for. Your lucky most people dont have the luxury of savings, we live day to day and dont have a pot of money (however big or small) we can just dip into. You need to be thankful you have this money to dip into and also that you have a good caring husband and that you are of sound mind and not in the position your son in law is.
  • happyinfloridahappyinflorida Forumite
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    Not being rude, but you can tell from the way you're writing this, that it's not your son suffering. Sorry if that hurts but would it really do you in to be a little more sympathetic & helpful? Your husband is probably struggling like mad with this & instead of supporting him, you're moaning and trying to stop him from buying things his son needs.
    Buy stuff on Ebay - it's so much cheaper, or look online for sales. I recently found my husband some new slippers on John Lewis' website reduced to £6 & they're brilliant - I got 2 pairs for him as they were so cheap! Didn't pay for delivery either as they send them to your local Waitrose free of charge (we haven't got a JL near to us).
    If he's mentally ill is he receiving "Disability Living Allowance"? He could be entitled to that. If he's not applied for it, you can fill in the forms on his behalf and there may be places local to you that can help you with filling them in - check on the internet for this too. He should still be getting that I believe, so that's an income that can be used to help pay for things if he is getting it or if he gets it in the future.
    I hope everything works out for you all.
  • In what way is it a struggle? You say you have savings, so have money to pay for the trips. If it's possible to get a coach there it could be cheaper than paying petrol costs. It doesn't matter whose child it is, they need your help and you're in a position to give it. When you have no money left then he will have to understand that it won't be possible for you to buy him things any more.
  • JoannaS_3JoannaS_3 Forumite
    103 Posts
    astonishing !
    what should you do?
    how about have the grace to leave your husband so he can find someone with some decency?
    a forty mile round trip is nothing for a hospital visit for a son who is mentally ill and slippers are not extras!
    let's hope you are never ill in hospital and looking forward to one ray of sunshine a day in the form of a visit from a close relative.
    utterly utterly selfish to a ridiculous degree you should be ashamed of yourself !

    Wow I think that's pretty disgusting of you to be honest!!

    This person is reaching out for HELP as she is strained emotionally and financially and this is all you have to say?!! Can't be nice living in your world where you only see the bad in people! Maybe take a deep breath before you reply next time!!
    Debt owed £4000, Saved (to pay back) £300, only £3,700 to go!!

    My best money saving tip: Good manners cost NOTHING! So please be nice to each other! :happylove
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