Author Topic: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.  (Read 4403 times)

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Danika

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2012, 04:44:17 AM »
Any young woman worth her salt is going to show him the door the very first time he does something like this - even if it is to his parents. In fact, especially if it is to his parents. I would strongly discourage my DDs from dating someone with that kind of lack of respect personally. It's on a par with pulling up to the kerb and honking for a date, to me.

POD. I dumped guys for that when I was single and I end friendships with people like that still. It's highly disrespectful of someone's time and money.

If you do let your son RSVP in the affirmative, tell him that each meal at this event will probably cost around $XX amount. And that if he ends up a no show, he needs to write a nice apology letter to the hosts and send a check for $XX to reimburse them for the meal that he wasted.

Sharnita

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2012, 05:58:28 AM »
I think that people will probably m=notice that yife more or less endorses this behavior and it will reflect on both of you.  ANd to be honest, it should reflect on on her if/when he does it. 

AmethystAnne

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2012, 12:40:57 PM »
I think this may be one of the very few situations where it is okay to not present a 'united front' with your wife. I would be content with saying (this is very rough, I'm sure you can come up with MUCH better wording) "Your mother wants to give you your freedom, and I fully support her in that. However, as a father to a son, these are the etiquette expectations on a young man that I think it's important for you to learn."

Honestly, this kind of flakiness can impact on his life personally and professionally and I think as a dad you are within your rights to say something. You could present it as a 'guy thing' if it goes over better with your wife. For example, say he meets a great girl that he really likes. Any young woman worth her salt is going to show him the door the very first time he does something like this - even if it is to his parents. In fact, especially if it is to his parents. I would strongly discourage my DDs from dating someone with that kind of lack of respect personally. It's on a par with pulling up to the kerb and honking for a date, to me.

Anyway, on the OP. I would rsvp no, and I would tell him why. If he is an adult then he is old enough to feel the consequences of his actions. If one of those consequences is that his father is afraid that he will embarrass the family and is not willing to vouch for his good manners to an outsider then he deserves to know.

I was thinking along what Iris wrote, but didn't know how to phrase it.

A smart person looks to see how his/her future spouse treats his/her parents, especially the parent of the opposite gender.

Kiwichick

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2012, 02:10:39 PM »
I'd tell your son that you realise his mother is fine with him breaking promises he makes to her, but you aren't, nor are you happy he breaks promises made to you. If he makes a promise to you, you expect him to keep it.

Lynn2000

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2012, 02:51:36 PM »
Since everyone in the family was invited on the same invitation, here are the options that come to mind:

1) RSVP yes for everyone. Put the squeeze on Ron as the date approaches to make sure he knows he must show up. More work for you, and if Ron doesn't show, it reflects badly on your family in general.

2) RSVP yes for everyone, not including Ron. Suggest the organizers contact Ron personally (provide email/phone) and check with him, since you don't know his schedule these days. If he says yes and doesn't show, I think it reflects more pointedly on him. But, it makes more work for your hosts, and perhaps suggests your family is not very cohesive anymore.

3) RSVP yes for everyone EXCEPT say no for Ron. Then you have to explain to Ron that due to his general flakiness lately, you're not going to risk him failing to show and make your family look bad. Since he says he wants to go, this is not going to be popular. A very tough-love approach.

Personally I am leaning more toward #2; it respects the autonomy of Ron's adulthood, rather than simply answering for him and then having to police his behavior. I hesitate only because making more work for the hosts seems slightly rude. But, if they know him already they may not mind, and you might be able to phrase it in a positive way (he would really like being contacted directly like a grown-up) instead of negatively (I refuse to take responsibility for him anymore).
~Lynn2000

nuit93

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2012, 08:53:51 PM »
Snappyit, please ask your wife to come to this thread.

Snappyit's wife, you are enabling your son's rude behavior.  This is doing him a grave disservice which will have an adverse effect on his career, social and family life.  No one will trust or respect a man who does not keep his commitments, big or small.

Giant POD to this! I wouldn't stay friends with someone who pulled something like this regularly. Even if they weren't doing it to me, I wouldn't trust them with anything too important because they've already shown themselves to be a flake.

OP here.

Thank you, everyone, for your comments.  I found the original invitation tonight and reread it. The RSVP date isn't for a couple of weeks yet, so I've decided to wait until the day before the deadline day to respond.  I'll ask Ron again that day or the day before, and remind him again that our hosts will be telling the caterers that he's coming (if, indeed he still says he still wants to come).  I know he respects and likes our hosts, so I'm hoping that'll be enough to get him to keep his word about coming.

I'm not going to invite my wife to join us here; she doesn't enjoy Internet groups and, honestly, I suspect she'd be annoyed that I asked outsiders for comments about our family.  I think she'd think I described her attitude toward our son fairly.  She has said several times that Ron's 18 and an "adult" now and that we need to back off and give him lots of freedom to come and go as he pleases.  Actually, when I think about it, Ron knows what his mother's attitude is, and that may be part of why he feels free to break promises with us, because he knows she clearly doesn't mind when he does that to us.  I'm thinking that if Ron believes me when I explain that our hosts will be stuck paying for his dinner even if he doesn't attend, he won't want to do that to our hosts.

Anyway, my wife said to me that if Ron does say he wants to go but then is a no-show, that her opinion is that will reflect on Ron, not on us, because Ron is an adult and is responsible for his own actions now.

And to the people who asked about invitations, this was a printed invitation that came inside an envelope addressed to "The LT Family".  The hosts invited us all together in one invitation, so I'm thinking the socially correct thing to do is for me or my wife to reply for us all, since we're on the same invitation...  (It's for a ceremony and dinner honoring their teenage son, who knows all our sons, so that's why they included our children.)

Thank you again for sharing your opinions.

He may be an adult in the legal sense and free to come and go as he pleases, but part of being an adult is honoring your commitments.

TootsNYC

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2012, 09:12:28 PM »
I would not RSVP for him, and I'd tell him why.

And then I'd use this an an opportunity to have the conversation that is LONG overdue. You are his parent--you have an obligation *to him* to teach him about proper etiquette and the basic rules of courtesy.

Which are, you do not lie, and you do not break commitments.
  And that when you want to change your plans, you communicate with the people who are counting on you.

Then, I'd suggest you also look at the dynamics w/ him, and make sure that you guys aren't pressuring him into giving you an answer that "makes you happy in the moment" even if it's not accurate. I've been in the position of overseeing deadlines at work, and I find I have to make this speech often:
  "When I ask you when something will be done, please don't give me an answer that isn't accurate. Don't try to make me happy--tell me the truth. Because I will make PLANS based on your answer. And they will be very different. So be accurate, even if you think it will make me unhappy. That's actually quite easy to deal with."

Kids (and adults, actually) often feel that they have to give people the answer that pleases them, an they don't feel comfortable saying, "I don't really know if I'll be home--I want to play it by ear."

Dindrane

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2012, 12:14:22 AM »
Honestly, I agree with everyone who says that whatever Ron does, it will reflect on you and your wife. He's only 18 -- people don't flip a switch when they are legal adults and suddenly have no connection with their parents anymore.  On top of that, he's still living with you.

I agree with your wife that Ron needs to have more autonomy from the family now that he is actually an adult and preparing to leave home, but that doesn't mean he can behave the way he has been. Having more autonomy means that he is freed from normal family expectations like being at home for dinner every night or other things of that nature. It doesn't mean that he is suddenly allowed to do whatever he wants even if it means breaking promises and commitments.

In the real adult world, it's often true that you can do whatever you want (at least in terms of social engagements), but only until you commit yourself. Then you are, well, committed unless an emergency conflicts. And it is not an emergency that something else you'd rather do comes along.


CluelessBride

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2012, 01:45:35 AM »
It's possible that at least part of Ron's flakiness is due to a miscommunication or differing expectations. What you may see as a promise to be home for dinner, he may view as a default if he doesn't make other plans. 

DH and I have a default most night of eating dinner together at home. But if one of us has work come up or a friend calls last minute to make plans, the default changes (this happens probably at least once a week). Usually whoever changes the default calls, but more to inform than to ask for permission or apologize. And sometimes the nature of the change in schedule makes even a call not feasible. Neither one of us considers these changes breaking plans, because we didn't really have plans - we just had our default lack of plans.

Some nights, we do have specific plans (e.g. an appointment, a date night out, a special dinner we are cooking at home, etc). On the extremely rare occasion that those plans have had to be cancelled, its for something unavoidable like a work emergency. And the cancellation is accompanied by an apology.

It might be worth a conversation with Ron to clarify his expectations and your expectations. He might not realize that he's making a commitment to you.

blarg314

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2012, 02:28:52 AM »
Given that this is a catered event, I'd RSVP no for Ron and tell him why.

Otherwise, you and your wife *are* partially responsible for the wasted catering costs if Ron doesn't show up, because you know very well that he likely won't but told the hosts that he would.  If the invitation had come to him directly, it would be his responsibility.

And even though Ron is an adult, I do think that him not showing up will still reflect badly on you (his parents) because of the circumstances. You sent back his RSVP, and you're the ones who will have to explain to the hosts that he has decided not to show up when you arrive at the event. They probably won't think well of him either, but he won't be there to deal with any consequences.

Parents are frequently considered responsible for the behaviour of their minor children. Ron is technically an adult, but it sounds like his position in the family is still very much like that of a child.

As an aside - have you actually talked to Ron about how things work now that he's out of high school?  Or is this just based on three different sets of expectations (Ron, your wife, you) which are clashing. For example - tell Ron outright that he is not required to go to family invitations. He can say no, he doesn't want to go, but if he does say yes he is expected by the rules of etiquette and basic courtesy to show up. Or for things like dinner - telling him that if he expects to be considered part of the family for meals, he has to give advance notice about whether he will be there or not. If he isn't willing to do that, he's on his own for his meals.

I will say, though, that if you and your wife are giving him two different sets of expectations, he's going to go with the one that's easiest for him.  So he'll flake out on invitations, and not come home even though you've cooked dinner for him, but unless you've got a united front and consequences for his behaviour, you've got a snowball's chance in eHell of changing that behaviour.

bopper

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2012, 09:36:52 AM »
I would tell Ron that he has a choice: Commit to coming no matter what, or decline if he thinks something better will come along. Tell him to imagine that BestFriend calls him the night before asking if he wants to go out.  Can he say "Sorry, man, I have plans?" If not, then he should RSVP no.  Because the hosts have to pay for him and it is not cool to bail.

TootsNYC

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2012, 10:52:21 AM »
I would tell Ron that he has a choice: Commit to coming no matter what, or decline if he thinks something better will come along. Tell him to imagine that BestFriend calls him the night before asking if he wants to go out.  Can he say "Sorry, man, I have plans?" If not, then he should RSVP no.  Because the hosts have to pay for him and it is not cool to bail.

I agree, actually, and take back a part of what I said earlier. Talk to Ron. Make this a real-life lesson.

Honeypickle

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2012, 11:09:02 AM »
Please do not ask the hosts to contact Ron personally as suggested above - they have enough to do in organising their own event, without being dragged into your family problems. I really don't think that would go down well with them at all (I do note that the OP has never said that he would do this).

With regards Ron, I think you need to have a serious talk to him about the consequences of accepting. If he goes ahead and does bail at the last minute, he absolutely needs to feel some consequences of this. I like the idea of the apology letter and perhaps some financial "hurt".

However, I do think that there is a massive difference between a young man of 18 choosing to miss a few family dinners at the last minute (yes, even when his father has cooked something specially) and him failing to turn up to a formal catered event hosted by a family he presumably likes and respects. Remember what it was like being a teenager? I'm sure we all let our OWN parents down on occasion (especially if one parent is supporting those actions as in the OP) but there is a huge gap between doing that and letting down someone ELSE's parents.

I think the posts here are a bit harsh personally. I don't think being a bit flakely at 18 towards your own parents (whom you really don't want to socialise much with at that age) is really going to affect his marriage prospects or career in the future.

Mikayla

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2012, 01:33:15 PM »

If you do let your son RSVP in the affirmative, tell him that each meal at this event will probably cost around $XX amount. And that if he ends up a no show, he needs to write a nice apology letter to the hosts and send a check for $XX to reimburse them for the meal that he wasted.

I really like this.  OP, in your update, you mentioned your wife says your son is an "adult" and he gets to make his own decisions.  There's a huge qualifier to that.  Like many his age, he's still living under his parents' roof, and this subjects him to whatever house rules parents want to institute. 

So I don't think this is about the RSVP so much as it is about how the parents decide to "teach your children well". 



Winterlight

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Re: RSVP-ing for an "adult" offspring.
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2012, 01:44:56 PM »
Given that this is a catered event, I'd RSVP no for Ron and tell him why.

Otherwise, you and your wife *are* partially responsible for the wasted catering costs if Ron doesn't show up, because you know very well that he likely won't but told the hosts that he would.  If the invitation had come to him directly, it would be his responsibility.

And even though Ron is an adult, I do think that him not showing up will still reflect badly on you (his parents) because of the circumstances. You sent back his RSVP, and you're the ones who will have to explain to the hosts that he has decided not to show up when you arrive at the event. They probably won't think well of him either, but he won't be there to deal with any consequences.

Parents are frequently considered responsible for the behaviour of their minor children. Ron is technically an adult, but it sounds like his position in the family is still very much like that of a child.

As an aside - have you actually talked to Ron about how things work now that he's out of high school?  Or is this just based on three different sets of expectations (Ron, your wife, you) which are clashing. For example - tell Ron outright that he is not required to go to family invitations. He can say no, he doesn't want to go, but if he does say yes he is expected by the rules of etiquette and basic courtesy to show up. Or for things like dinner - telling him that if he expects to be considered part of the family for meals, he has to give advance notice about whether he will be there or not. If he isn't willing to do that, he's on his own for his meals.

I will say, though, that if you and your wife are giving him two different sets of expectations, he's going to go with the one that's easiest for him.  So he'll flake out on invitations, and not come home even though you've cooked dinner for him, but unless you've got a united front and consequences for his behaviour, you've got a snowball's chance in eHell of changing that behaviour.

I agree with all of this. You aren't going to get an improvement in his behavior if you two aren't on the same page. I think you and your wife need to sit down and agree on expectations, then talk to Ron.
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