Author Topic: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?  (Read 8675 times)

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Sharnita

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2012, 12:29:05 PM »
You mention that no one was ever there to help you but is sounds like her parents are there to help her.  They aren't able to give her enough help to make the situation easy but they are there.  I think it could be a fine line situation where your intentions are generous and meant but some assumptions and implications might be a bit off.

Texas Mom

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2012, 12:37:28 PM »
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. 

I recommend going to her, even if you can't make it during the holidays.

You need to observe this young woman in her home environment before proceeding.

O'Dell

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2012, 01:30:42 PM »
Your question about it being rude or not...I don't think it's rude or busybody-ish to offer help. It would be busybody-ish if she has never mentioned wanting further schooling at all. If she has, and you are just suggesting a way to make it happen, then that seems fine to me. Whether it's wise to get involved or not is a another question. And how to go about it is another.

I think you should reach out to her as someone who has (almost) been there. Even if you never offer or she turns you down, your empathy and advice might be valuable to her.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2012, 02:04:59 PM »
I think its a lovely idea.  But like others I think the whole "come live with me" part is where things could get tricky.

I think if you do do this you might want to speak with a lawyer or financial adviser and set up a trust or something, sort of like a scholarship, for her schooling.  Set out your perimeters for what you will pay (perhaps she must have an attendance rate of 90% and maintain an above passing average, etc) and set it so that the payments will be made directly to the school, not to your niece.  This is a nice safe guard for you financially, but it also is a clear cut, in writing set of expectations for her.  And while I don't think your idea is creepy, setting it up officially like a scholarship definitely cuts back on any creepiness others might see.

GSNW

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2012, 02:16:41 PM »
I disagree with the post that said the offer needs to be made through her parents.  If the parents consider it and present the offer to the daughter, that really smacks of "We're shipping you off to live with Aunt X."  If she is adult enough to lie in the bed she made, she can make her own decisions about the ways in which she would like to accept assistance.

Having said that, I think the OP here is very generous and kind-hearted.  With the appropriate cautions about getting to know the niece, this is a very cool idea and could possibly set this young lady off on a path where she has a shot at an improved life for herself and baby.  I have great admiration for people who sit there and think, "I'm quite content, now who and how can I help?"

Raina

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2012, 02:21:39 PM »
Really like WillyNilly's idea of setting it up as a trust/scholarship type thing for schooling.  Also podding PP's cautions to be cautious (which I'm sure you are) because if you choose to invite her to stay with you, that is a major change for both of you, but also could impact your own future.

It is a very kind and generous thing you are considering, and you are incredibly caring to even think about doing it.

I'm torn though, because from your OP, it seems as if the parents can and are helping (not that they aren't able?) and that this is the way they are choosing to teach their child to grow and learn to be responsible for her choices.  In a tough love kind of way, if you will.  Sink or swim? Which is so hard because there is a child's life and well-being at stake here.  However, it seems that the baby is housed, taken care of, and the mother of the child is learning to reach for goals (school, better job).  I guess I sort of view it as their parenting choice too and her parents may not want interference/assistance in their perspective, except that the niece is also 18 now and technically an adult.  It seems like a really fine line to walk.

I would reach out to the parents and the niece, since if you did help her out, you would probably want to consider their opinion as well.  Perhaps they would be grateful to you as well, or have other views.  Perhaps as you get to know all of them better, you can make a more informed decision?  Not necessarily ask their permission or have them offer it to the niece, but more get to know all of them better so you know what you'd be getting into.

Absolutely, if the niece is the type of person who is not entitled and just looking for an out, your idea to help would be gratefully appreciated.  Sometimes though, it's something to consider that what you view as helping someone out may turn out to be detrimental to them.  If she doesn't continue to grow and learn how to adjust to life with a child, your generous assistance may become less assistance and more dependence.

GSNW

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2012, 02:35:32 PM »
I think the niece's professed desire to go to a trade school is a pretty good sign that she is not just looking to mooch off of people.  Now, speaking with her about rules/parameters is a good way to find out how serious she is.  It's possible that her parents are "helping" as much as they are able - having an adult and a baby in their home is a sure stretch on resources, perhaps they both work which is why niece has to pay for child care, and there is simply no money left for tuition, books, transportation - anything.  I don't read that as the parents being unhelpful, they are simply doing what they can and asking that their daughter figure out the rest.

rashea

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2012, 03:07:00 PM »
I think the niece's professed desire to go to a trade school is a pretty good sign that she is not just looking to mooch off of people.  Now, speaking with her about rules/parameters is a good way to find out how serious she is.  It's possible that her parents are "helping" as much as they are able - having an adult and a baby in their home is a sure stretch on resources, perhaps they both work which is why niece has to pay for child care, and there is simply no money left for tuition, books, transportation - anything.  I don't read that as the parents being unhelpful, they are simply doing what they can and asking that their daughter figure out the rest.

Maybe, but it depends on if she has realistic expectations of what she'll get out of trade school. A lot of them do a great job of selling their education and make it sound like you'll have a great paying job even before you graduate. A friend went to culinary school. That wasn't enough to get him a job as a chef in most places, so he started at the bottom and worked his way up. But the degree he had didn't help him much.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2012, 03:17:01 PM »
What you want to do is kind and generous!  I would meet her a few times and make sure you get along and then invite her to come stay with you for a weeken dor two before making the offer. 

Mikayla

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2012, 03:47:44 PM »
I agree with PPs that you're very generous to be thinking of this, but that it needs to be carefully thought through.

If you spend time with her and like what you see, my suggestion is put down as much as possible in writing, especially related to the babysitting.  There can be a fine line between babysitter and primary caretaker, and you want to go into this as helping, not raising.

And I would also talk to her parents, after you've met with her but before putting together a written agreement, or "contract". (On the contract I'm not talking in a legally enforceable sense.  It's more the value of getting things down in black and white, which can reinforce any verbal agreements you reach).

CharlieBraun

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2012, 04:07:13 PM »
Jane, I think everyone here has made some excellent points about proceeding.  I just want to give you a historical perspective.

As I look through my family history, I see over and over again, family helping family - be they distant or close relationship.  The champion was my great aunt Margaret who raised:

  • Her two sons by her first husband, who died leaving her a widow;
    Her two nieces by her sister, who died three months after her husband died, leaving the nieces orphans;
    The two orphaned sons of one of those nieces (so her great-nephews,) both of whose parents died within a year of each other;
    Her niece and nephew by her younger brother, who had died a year after his wife.  (His wife, incidently, was Margaret's stepdaughter from her second marriage, one of three children who she had also helped raise as well after marrying the girl's father.)

Without that one person making a difference, there are many lives that would have been negatively affected.  Your large heart will smooth the path for at least two lives, and possibly many more.
"We ate the pies."

auntmeegs

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2012, 04:09:33 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.

I totally disagree with this.  It is her parents decision to help in whatever way THEY want to, but not their decision on what help others want to offer and what other help their daughter wants to accept. 


ETA - OP, you are a very kind and generous person to even consider making this offer and I totally disagree with your friend that it its creepy.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2012, 04:11:13 PM by auntmeegs »

Hmmmmm

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2012, 04:30:39 PM »
Since this is your neice, I'm assuming this is either the child of your brother or sister?  Or is it a grand neice, so the child of your neice or nephew?

Do you have any type of relationship with her parents? 

I really like the idea of going for a visit with her and her parents.  I think it will give you a clearer picture of the situation more than her one sided Facebook posts.

I think it is a very lovely gesture and not weird at all.  But for your own sanity, spending some time with her and the child will assure compatability.

Lynn2000

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2012, 04:52:10 PM »
OP, I agree with the others that you seem to have good intentions, and I don't find them rude or creepy or weird. The only thing that might be a little "off" is if, when talking to your friend, you were really specific about what you envisioned happening, without it having any grounding in reality--we all daydream about what we would like to have happen, with friends or family or work or whatever, but at a certain point most of us know when it's just fantasy and not realistic. Like, if you were really frustrated with your boss, and you told your friend that you really WERE going to march into Boss's office and tell him off--instead of saying that you merely wanted to do that--your friend might be kind of horrified as well, and try to dissuade you from doing it.

Anyway, maybe your friend just got the impression you were REALLY going to contact this girl for the first time by offering to have her come live with you and pay all her bills. As opposed to having thoroughly thought out a lot of details and precautions already.

I have friends who have opened their homes to vaguely-connected people in the hopes of giving them a hand-up that they weren't receiving from anyone else. Personally I couldn't do it, I'm too distrustful of people. I think if you want to wade into this, it needs to be done slowly and pragmatically, with eyes wide open, and not blinded by sentiment or idealism (not saying you are, just in general). If you're just hearing her complain on Facebook, you are probably not getting the full story.

I would start by contacting her and seeing how she responds to an electronic relationship first, where you can ask questions and have longer conversations than just Facebook status updates. Maybe see how she feels about you corresponding with her parents or other nearby relatives as well, so you can get a broader picture of the situation. Move on to small gifts (<$50) and short visits. Then, mention the school nearby and see if she's interested in attending it, were money and distance not an option.

This is not all about protecting you, BTW; think about her, receiving an offer of room, board, tuition, and babysitting for FREE from a virtual stranger out of the blue--she will probably welcome the chance to get to know you better herself, before making the huge commitment to put herself and her child under your care.
~Lynn2000

katycoo

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Re: Being helpful or being a rude busybody?
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2012, 07:53:54 PM »
I think you should get to know her better and support her more distantly before you let her into your home for free.

I think your offer is noble and generous but you need to ensure you won't be taken advantage of.

I also query why her financial situation is so poor.  From what you said, she gets a government benefit, and works 2 jobs (low income).  She pays no rent, and probably no utilities.  So I guess her bills are car, food and clothing for her and baby, and perhaps a phone.  I think you mentioned daycare too.  I have no idea what income that amounts to but it seems like she should be coping ok on that.  Is it that she can't get ahead?  Have her own parents refused to care for her baby while she studies at night?

If you have any kind of relationship with her parents, I'd be politely enquiring as to why not. It could be that they simply don't care to help out that way, but they may know things about her dedication and attitude that you don't.