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Author Topic: but that belongs to us...  (Read 17369 times)

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Roe

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but that belongs to us...
« on: November 16, 2010, 04:53:57 PM »
B/G: My niece lives with us.  She doesn't pay a cent towards room and board.  Dh and I support her financially at this point.  I kept trying to push her to get a job but it just wasn't something she was willing to do. I tried to push SIL (her mom) to help out with some sort of financial support...anything just to keep me from feeling taken advantage of.  Again, didn't work.  (after all, we have money, they don't)  ::)  

Okay, whatever...I finally felt okay about everything 'cause I figured I'd have niece help me around the house.  After a rough start, she finally started helping so everything feels more balanced now. (which keeps me from feeling resentment)

However, two issues now have me questioning how much support we really "owe" her.

Issue 1: Niece attends a vocational school near our home (reason why she's living with us at the moment).  The students are having a potluck for Thanksgiving this Thursday.  Niece is expected to bring mashed potato's. I purchased a 5lb bag that she now expects to use for the potluck.

Issue 2: her friend's last day of school is tomorrow so niece is going to bake some cookies for her.  I recently purchased some Tollhouse cookie dough.  Again, she is going to use that dough to make her friend some cookies as a treat.

These 2 issues came up today but this isn't the first time she used something that should be for our household and used them for school or other events/friends. I've not said anything at this point because it doesn't happen all the time.  I just know, with the holidays coming up, that this is going to be happening quite a bit from now on.

Both of these instances annoy me because at what point does it "go too far?"  We feed her, drive her where she needs to go most of the time, pay for all utilities and even purchased a bed for her.  All of this w/o a 'thank you' (another issue that is getting worked on) and now she expects to use our food for extra stuff. (I feel horrible because I was brought up never to fight or argue over food so I NEVER have but her actions leave me feeling taken advantage of again)

I've tried so hard not to treat niece differently than my own kids but really, she isn't my child...she's my niece so it does annoy me when she takes food items that we paid for and uses them for parties and potlucks. I feel bad for feeling annoyed. Blah!

Would something like this be okay for you?  Am I being a big meanie?  Or would you say something?  If so, what?


ETA: Niece is 20.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 05:12:19 PM by Roe »

hobish

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2010, 04:56:48 PM »

How old is she? That makes a difference, i think.

It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
~Gaslight Anthem

Slartibartfast

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2010, 04:56:54 PM »
Honestly, if you already provide her food and she doesn't pay you for it, I don't think either of these things are any more of an imposition than what she's already doing.  If you want her to chip in, you probably need to make that explicit.

Roe

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2010, 05:00:36 PM »
She's 20.

AdakAK

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2010, 05:00:47 PM »
That wouldn't be ok with me.  Did she ask or just expect that you'd be ok with her taking the potatoes and cookie dough?  Tell her you already had a plan for those items, and they aren't available for the potluck or treat.  I'd be really annoyed with the cookies, since that's something she did on her own and she's expecting the family treat to go towards her friend.

I would talk to her and tell her what you are ok with paying for (utilities, room, food, driving expenses) and that anything else needs to come from her budget.  If she wants to take things for a potluck or bake cookies for a treat, she needs to either earn the money or talk to her parents.

Roe

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2010, 05:01:14 PM »
Honestly, if you already provide her food and she doesn't pay you for it, I don't think either of these things are any more of an imposition than what she's already doing.  If you want her to chip in, you probably need to make that explicit.

We already asked, that didn't work out so well.  lol

something.new.every.day

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2010, 05:01:35 PM »
I think this is different because she's not just taking a serving for herself--she's taking the whole lot to share with other people.  

You should just tell her that it's fine for her to continue to eat at home, and to even take a sack lunch/snack with her when she goes out (if that is indeed OK with you), but if she wants to provide for others and/or use an entire package of something, she needs to ask.  

AdakAK

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2010, 05:02:49 PM »
Honestly, if you already provide her food and she doesn't pay you for it, I don't think either of these things are any more of an imposition than what she's already doing.  If you want her to chip in, you probably need to make that explicit.

I do!  She's not taking a portion of food from the family table/budget herself.  She's taking ALL of a family table/budget item and using it for people outside the family.  That's a lot different to me.  One serving of mashed potatoes is a bit different than a 5lb bag's worth.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2010, 05:04:21 PM »
You don't mention her age - and that's important. 16 is one thing - 20 is another.

I think you DO need to treat her as you do your children; if you provide cookie mix for your child (same age) than you should for her. That being said, teenagers need spending money - movies, ITunes, coffee with friends. Where is she getting her spending money? From her parents? An allowance from you? If she doesn't feel the need to work (and is of an age to do so), someone is funding her.

I know she isn't your child, but she is a child. Without knowing WHY she's living with you rather than her folks, she may need some TLC. It sounds like you may have some unresolved issues over her stay with you (for example, the 'thank you' issue - I have three sons from 14 to 22 and thank yous are in short supply).

Take a deep breath, and try to remember that it's just cookie mix. :)

AdakAK

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2010, 05:05:38 PM »
We already asked, that didn't work out so well.  lol

I guess it's the Winter of No then?  Ugh, that stinks.  I'd have to put my foot down on taking treats to others though, I'd be way too resentful otherwise.  We'll feed you, but you only.  We can't provide treats/potluck things for your class/friends.

Oh Joy

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2010, 05:06:28 PM »
From an etiquette standpoint, I don't feel there's anything wrong with a clarification of expectations of how she uses your resources...you may take it from the standpoint that you're glad to have her eat from the family kitchen, but you ask that she not feed others from your pantry without talking with you first.  It can be helpful for a recipient to have some guidelines, and more comfortable than having to guess (or to make wrong assumptions and find out later)...especially as the line between guest and family member blurs in situations like these.

think2x

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2010, 05:09:45 PM »
You are essentially supporting her, so I don't see anything extraordinary about her using the potatoes or cookie dough (that is, since you provide everything, why would she think these two items are off limits?)

I think you definitely need to say something, else resentment might grow. In your shoes, I'd get on the same page as DH, then sit down together with her with your reasonable expectations. It is your home. At 20, she should be contributing. So long as everything is provided, she will have no real incentive to get a job.

DaisyLeigh

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2010, 05:13:21 PM »
I assume that she is of adult age, which where I live, is 18, or she is a bit older.

If that is the case, an ADULT does not get to be "unwilling" to get a job. An adult works and supports herself, or at least chips in for bills and other expenses for the people who are generously taking her in. An adult does not get to take an entire bag of potatoes for her school potluck without paying for it. Or at least ASKING first.

IMHO, you are too easy on her.

If she is underage, she should still have responsibilities. I cleaned house, worked a part time job, and paid for my car insurance, and other things by the time I was 17.

Lady_Themis

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2010, 05:16:27 PM »
If she is staying under your roof and you are paying for ALL her expenses than you have every right to demand (politely of course) that she contribute to her upkeep. There is no "that did not work so well" or "asked SIL and was told no" because it is intolerable that you should have to take care of and feed and support your 20 year old ADULT niece just because SIL says so. Say "NO". Put your foot down.
There IS financial aid available through vocational schools, I know this as many of my friends went to vocational school and supported themselves on financial aid and part-time jobs.
I think you should sit down with SIL/SIL DH (if applicable), Niece and YOUR DH and yourself and simply say "Look, we love having DN here, but there needs to be some ground rules set down. We will not continue to fund her lifestyle without some help from you guys. SIL, either you need to contribute to DN upkeep here or DN you need to figure out a way to contribute whether through a job or through Financial Aid. I don't care which option you guys choose but DH and I refuse to completely support DN's lifestyle when she is 20 and fully capable of supporting herself. Here is what we are WILLING to do (then list your terms) and this is what we feel YOU should contribute (list your terms). If this is not agreeable then DN is perfectly welcome to find a new living situation".
Hopefully someone on this board can you help you word that more politely, but I really feel this is a MUST if you are to keep your sanity and stop feeling taken advantage of. You SAY "we almost have things worked out" but I hear an undercurrent of resentment in your post that leads me to feel as if that might not be FULLY true. If I am misreading or misconstruing your post please correct me, but I still feel this conversation NEEDS to take place!

Good luck hon!

mkkristen

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Re: but that belongs to us...
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2010, 05:17:16 PM »
Honestly, if you already provide her food and she doesn't pay you for it, I don't think either of these things are any more of an imposition than what she's already doing.  If you want her to chip in, you probably need to make that explicit.

We already asked, that didn't work out so well.  lol

Just like you had to learn how to act with K'nnihave, you have to learn to say no. So what if it didn't go well asking to chip in? She either chips in or she can go back home to her mom. You are not her mom. You do not have to support her financially. Her and her mom need to come up with a plan to chip in financially or she can go back home. As far as using household items, she needs to learn to ask permission to bring and give things to her friends. She can't just take whatever she wants.