Author Topic: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?  (Read 8591 times)

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JaneJensen

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Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« on: November 27, 2012, 12:06:41 PM »
  So there's this situation in my family- a distant family member has had a baby out of wedlock and is having a rough time of it. She lives with her parents but is struggling with all the woes of such- being on state assistance, paying daycare, two really crappy, jobs, ect. Her parents are supportive in that they let her live there for free and such, but her other struggles are met with " well you made this bed, lie in it"

      So I really don't know my niece well, I haven't seen her since she was a wee one herself, but have been following her struggles online. ( she openly shares a lot)  I don't know what it is about her situation exactly that has captured me, but I see myself in her. I could have been her back in the day. I had that kind of misdirected life as a teen and only by sheer luck did I not end up in her exact situation.  So because of that, I keep thinking I want to help her.  She wants to go to vo-tech school but it's impossible with two dead end nothing jobs and bills, and well you all know the endless cycle of that. I want to offer for her to stay with me for free and then she can use her student grant for a school in my town ( larger town, bigger better schools too). I would offer to babysit for free as well, or she could use state funds for daycare if she preferred.

So I was telling my friend about this idea and her response was " why in the heck would you want to do that? " cue horrified look.
 She went on to say that my idea was "wierd" and creepy and I barely knew this girl and why would I want to butt into other people's lives?
My take on it, is the girl is 18, and so far she's had a rough road and maybe she needs some help. No one was there to ever help me at that age, and I know how THAT feels. Yeah, I don't know her, but she is related to me, and I'm in a position to help her, so why not?
My friend thinks it's WAY overstepping boundaries and this girl has parents and other family and it's up to them to help her, not some distant aunt and I'm a huge busybody for even thinking about getting involved.

So...is it wierd or creepy I want to help this girl? I mean I haven't even offered and now because of my friend I'm rethinking this whole thing. Thoughts? Rude or no?

Yvaine

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2012, 12:09:18 PM »
My first instinct is that this is really sweet, especially if you're 100% sure she really wants to go to school. And especially if it's presented in a low-pressure sort of way. It also sounds like it could be the beginning of a really good book.  :)

BeagleMommy

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2012, 12:14:45 PM »
I think this is a very kind-hearted thing to do.  Just be sure to be aware if she starts running wild (i.e. not attending school, leaving baby with you for longer periods than planned, staying out all night, etc.).

Make sure she knows your expectations and you know hers right from the start.  Put them in writing if you have to.

rashea

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2012, 12:15:20 PM »
I think your heart is in the right place, but, I think you would be wise to get to know her a bit first. You're about to offer someone with known issues to live in your place and use you as unpaid babysitting. How will you feel if she uses that babysitting to go out drinking? How will you feel if she doesn't pass her courses? How will you handle the increase in bills? What if you don't end up getting along? You're getting a roommate, and that's not a minor amount of stress added to your life.

I'd start with emailing her and showing support. Get to know her. Find out what she'd like to do, and if her expectations are realistic. I might even ask her to come up with a plan and "sell" it to you. She wants to go to school, so she should pitch that to you as a potential investor.
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amylouky

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2012, 12:15:25 PM »
I'm not sure what you'd be providing that her parents aren't already providing.. free babysitting? Or were you going to help out with her other bills so that she didn't have to work?

While I also think it is sweet, I do think it would be overstepping. I'd be miffed if a distant relative that we barely knew stepped in to "rescue" my child in such a situation. I know it seems harsh for her parents to take the "your bed, lie in it" attitude, but they are her parents, and it's their decision to make. It sounds like they are trying to teach her a life lesson by making her own her choices, and it's not your place to step in to that because you feel sorry for her.

I think if you want to help, you should contact her parents and ask. If you want to extend the offer for her to stay with you, it should be made through them. I know, I know.. she's 18 and a legal adult, but she is still their child. If she were 25, I'd feel differently.

Texas Mom

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2012, 12:16:21 PM »
Your intent is to be helpful.

I would not offer any assistance at this time - wait at least 6 months.

I assume you have family in the area where she lives.  Go for a visit, make contact with her and spend time getting to know her as a young adult.  After you get to know her, you will know if this situation is something in which you wish to involve yourself.

If there are no major red flags (other than the fact that she's young) and your gut/heart agree that this is the right thing to do, extend the offer.

lowspark

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2012, 12:17:34 PM »
I don't see anything rude about it! I think it's extremely kind and generous.

I will say this though. Don't offer it unless you are really really 100% sure you want to do this all the way. It's a situation of letting someone you don't know well come live in your house for an extended period of time, and with a baby. What happens if you don't get along? If she invites friends over that you don't like? If she doesn't pull her weight in household chores? If she stains your carpet? Etc. The baby aspect makes this exponentially more fraught with potential for conflict.

If you're serious about this, I'd at least try to get to know her first, to get a feel for what kind of person she is and how well the two of you mesh before making this kind of offer.

OK, I'm not a fast enough typer and am repeating what's been said but there it is.

cookiehappy

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2012, 12:18:38 PM »
I don't think your wanting to help your niece is weird or creepy.

Perhaps you can spend some time with your niece to get to know her, see her outlook on life, see how she views assistance (you don't want to be in a situation where you kindness is taken for weakness).  Then, if you feel comfortable, talk with her parents and see their take on it.  You know your family dynamic better than we, so I say go with your gut.

If it turns out you don't want her living with you, but still want to help her, offer the babysitting.

Sometimes the younger generation does need a "hand up" to get themselves on track.  If your niece is taking two positive steps toward a better future for her and her child, I see nothing wrong with taking an extra step to help her.

I wish her all the best.

Redwing

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2012, 12:19:00 PM »
I think the fact that you want to help her is wonderful, extremely caring, and unselfish.  I would caution that the "rules" of this arrangement are carefully discussed and agreed on.

Again, mostly I think it's wonderful of you.  Helping her to attain a better life for her and her child cannot be a bad thing, in my opinion.

cicero

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2012, 12:19:30 PM »
it's not rude and it's not creepy.

this isn't some little girl that you randomly picked out off the internet. this is a relative of yours, someone you know, and you would like to reach out to her. I think that is wonderful.

Having said all that - you need to tread carefully. while it very well may be that her parents are not giving her the support and guidance they need, it may be that they are and she is not following rules etc. you don't really know.

Why don't you reach out to her - ask her if she would like to come to you for a weekend, and see how things go?


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doodlemor

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2012, 12:19:48 PM »
I think that you are extraordinarily kind, to contemplate taking two people into your home.  I don't think that this is creepy at all.

If you truly think that you want to do this, then put a lot of thought into it before you even speak with this girl and her parents.  You need to have a set of expectations for your new room mates from the very beginning.  You might want to fine tune things as you go along, but I think that there should be some structure from the very beginning.

I agree with the PP's who suggest that you move slowly on this - it really is a big decision.

CaptainObvious

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2012, 12:21:26 PM »
Your intent is to be helpful.

I would not offer any assistance at this time - wait at least 6 months.

I assume you have family in the area where she lives.  Go for a visit, make contact with her and spend time getting to know her as a young adult.  After you get to know her, you will know if this situation is something in which you wish to involve yourself.

If there are no major red flags (other than the fact that she's young) and your gut/heart agree that this is the right thing to do, extend the offer.

I completely agree with this.
I have a family member who is a single Mom and shares a lot of her misfortune on Facebook. I really felt bad for her and did offer to help her a few times. Then I started to notice that a lot of her misfortunes were of her own doing, and that she knew that if she told a good enough sob story, someone would "rescue" her. 


Jones

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2012, 12:22:41 PM »
I don't think it is weird and creepy. Are you familiar with "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm"? Rebecca is taken in by spinster aunts who want to help her family, primarily due to a sense of familial duty. They hardly know her and what little they know they don't like.

It could be that your niece feels trapped by her parents, is struggling in the same lifestyle she had prior to reaching out and getting a baby daddy. A big change could really help her turn that around. I would write up a renter's type stating no rent provided she attends school, babysitting must be arranged with XX hours of notice, etc.  It'll give her a sense of grown up responsibility and she won't be left wondering what the rules or catch may be.

(8 new replies, sorry if a repeat)

JaneJensen

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2012, 12:27:34 PM »
Thank you for all your really fast replies!

I was really doubting myself here so I'm feeling a bit better to know it isn't a weird idea. I have no "agenda" as my friend sort of eluded to as well. It's not like I'm getting anything out of it.  It just feels like this is one of the first times in my life I've ever had the chance to help someone and this situation is something that speaks to me. This girl, the things she talks about ( online, I know) is just.. so me at that age.  I just feel like if someone helped me back then it wouldn't have take me ten years to finish college.
   I have thought of all the technicalities you all mentioned above, I just didn't mention them in the OP to keep things simple.
I do like the suggestion though of getting to know her better. You could be right, she could be this wild child that likes to go out and party and I would never know it. Since it's the holiday season, maybe I'll offer to have her come out and see me for a few days or meet her halfway to her town or something.  Thanks for that idea, it's a wise one. 
I'll update if anything else happens.

VltGrantham

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2012, 12:28:48 PM »
Quote
Make sure she knows your expectations and you know hers right from the start.  Put them in writing if you have to.

If you choose to make this decision, definitely put it in writing.

I'd also have a talk with her parents first and let them know what assistance, specifically, you will be providing.  And as others have suggested, get to know her much better, in person, before taking the final step.

You could also ask them now, what help if any you could provide.

If you are in a position financially to help her out with necessities such as diapers, etc., that would probably be a big start and might free up some of her cash to help her improve her living situation somewhat.  If this help is gratefully received (and responsibly used) then if you are in a position to finance other things so that she could at least give up one of the crappy jobs, gain some skills, and perhaps attain a much better, higher paying position, that would be good too.

Also, just encouraging her to check out schools (especially those offering distance education and online options) would be a good thing too.

While I agree that she has parents who are helping her, I do not agree with the "you made your bed, now lie in it" when children are involved.  Tell the parents you'd like to help and ask for suggestions.

I do not think it is a creepy/weird idea at all.  My SIL got pregnant, quite unexpectedly, in her early 30's and the father (her boyfriend) abandoned her and the baby.  (She is now happily married with more children.)  She has mentioned a number of times that she was exceedingly grateful for the help she received from family, friends, and a local crisis pregnancy center.  She has also said how she didn't see how she would have gotten through it if she had been in her teens, with few, if any, job skills.  I see absolutely nothing wrong with helping.  I fail to see the nobility in suffering, struggling to make one's way, etc--unless the help offered is taken advantage of in an inappropriate way or someone feels entitled to it.