Mum wants to know if it’s unreasonable to charge ‘disrespectful’ teen rent

Sometimes teenagers can be a right pain in the you-know-what – and you just don’t know what to do with them.

Does tough love work? Do you need to take a softer approach? Nobody really knows and we’re just muddling through.

A frustrated mum took to Mumsnet to discuss the situation she is in with her daughter.

She complained that her 16-year-old daughter is currently treating her home like a drop-in centre, rather than treating it with respect.

She was considering charging her daughter rent, but didn’t know whether that was unreasonable.

She wrote: “My daughter is 16, 17 in September and finishes school this month. Well, I say finishing school, but she has only attended twice through the whole of year 11.

“She suffers with mental health quite badly but the last 12-18 months she has given me hell.

“She stopped coming home, I never knew where she was, she was doing drugs and disrespecting me and the home in every way possible. I had heavy social services and police involvement. She’s extremely rude to me at times. We don’t really have a relationship anymore.

“She’s settled a little now, has a weekend job, ‘only’ smokes weed now. Barely comes home still but I know where she is. But she treats home like a drop-in centre and I find it so disrespectful.

“She’s not going to college, she has no plans. She’s going to go full time at her weekend job and will be earning more money than me as a single Mum with a another young child.

“Is it fair that I charge her maybe £30 a week ‘rent?’ The way I see it is if she doesn’t want to stay at school and wants to be an adult then she needs to get used to the real world. She has no outgoings, all her money goes on takeaways and weed.

“Her answer is she’s barely here. But she comes here sometimes at midnight to sleep, or in the day to use the bath and do some washing. It’s basically a base or somewhere to go when she can’t stay with her boyfriend.”

People took to the thread to express their sympathy for the mum, with many backing her decision, but saying to ensure the teen knows why she’s being charged the small amount.

One wrote: “Absolutely charge her rent, if she can afford weed and is using your house like a hotel, then I definitely would.

“She might realise her priorities (one way or another), but it’s not fair for her to treat you or your home like this. It sounds hard for you, I hope you’re ok.”

Some disagreed though, with someone writing: “Personally, I think 16/17 is very young to be charging rent/board.

“Especially if she’s ‘hardly’ there. It does sound like you’re just wanting money from her. It would be different if she spent every waking hour at home, using the electricity and gas everyday.

“Have you spoken to her about how she treats the home with disrespect? And I don’t mean in a nagging way, but a chilled sit down conversation where you can both agree and compromise.”

Others backed the mum for wanting to charge her daughter rent, and came up with a sensible solution regarding what to do with the money.

Someone wrote: “Full time education or real rent, not token rent. It’s not about the money, it’s about helping teens understand the life choices they are making.

“If she has a full time income and no responsibilities she will have no idea what budgeting is really like. She also needs to start covering her own expenses.

“You don’t have to spend all her rent and you really shouldn’t. Since she obviously needs help, I might use some of it to help her get into privately funded therapy and if there is anything left, put it into savings.”

“My initial reaction was that 16 is too young…however reading it all I think you would be very reasonable to charge her rent.

“She’s working full time earning money. And if she pleads that it’s just sooooooo unfair I would say that as long as there is weed money, there is rent money”, one fumed.

“If you do charge rent, make sure she understands why”, one mum suggested.