or is my niece rude?

(65 Posts)
Klingyston Tue 14-May-13 07:55:40

Strictly speaking husband's niece. Came to stay at weekend. Age 19, at university. Sniffed a lot and refused a tissue when I offered her one - then said it was because of the house dust! Brought 1 pot of taramasalata and seemed to think she had contributed majorly to the household economy. Kept talking about the fact she was sleeping with her boyfriend and how he was pissed and threwup all night in front of my children. Wanted me to do her washing - just pointed her to the machine. Seemed to expect cups of tea put in front of her. Quite good with the children otherwise. Said she had no interest in elections and who ran the country - after years at an expensive public school - quite worrying.
or is it me?

dingit Tue 14-May-13 07:57:16

Yes, thoughtless and has a bit of growing up to do!

bigTillyMint Tue 14-May-13 07:58:26

Hmm, she sounds a bit self-obsessed and immature, but other than that probably quite normal for a 19 year old! Perhaps her public school education was wasted?

Smudging Tue 14-May-13 07:58:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chipsbigbowl Tue 14-May-13 08:01:23

Annoying but seems like normal 19 y/o behaviour to me. Ignore ignore ignore.

Sounds 19 to me, desperately trying to sound more grownup than she is.

cozietoesie Tue 14-May-13 08:05:18

19 year old behaviour - just grit your teeth and carry on. (I think the fact that she was good with your DCs is cause for some hope - she didn't need to try so hard with them, so that's likely her underlying character coming out.)

MammaTJ Tue 14-May-13 08:12:08

Very normal for 19. She will grow out of it.

Theas18 Tue 14-May-13 08:16:04

Normal 19yr old!

SkinnybitchWannabe Tue 14-May-13 08:19:16

Very rude imo.
Im glad I wasn't a 'normal' 19 year old..my Mum wouldn't have put up with that, but I did move out at 19!

wankerchief Tue 14-May-13 08:19:30

We had dh's 18 year old sister to stay recently, she came with 3 bags for life of washing and said ' be carefull when you iron it all as some of it burns quick'
She was really shocked when i told her it was rude and showed her the washing machine

lottiegarbanzo Tue 14-May-13 08:25:31

Self-absorption normal at that age.

House dust comment means she's sensitive, not that your house is dusty.

Would expect someone privately educated to be better trained at gift-giving. Have met plenty of boarding school kids who are utterly dependent and not so much expect to be waited on as have little concept of anything else.

I have a 19 year old DS and he goes and looks after his young cousins for my sister if she has to work nights, he cooks their food cleans up ect and is very good housework and washing wise, but he would never think to buy any food and would quite happily eat and drink her out of house and home without thinking about the cost..

Fairenuff Tue 14-May-13 08:27:52

I would speak to her about inappropriate comments/language in front of the children but the rest is easily sorted. Does she feel 'at home' in your house? Does she feel free to help herself to food and drink or washing facilities, for example? You could have a friendly chat with her over a cup of tea and set out the house rules:

She can do her own washing and tidy up after herself
She can plan, shop for, pay for and cook one family meal a week
She can be responsible for a bit of housework, such as hoovering or gardening
She can babysit or otherwise occupy the children in return for her keep...

That sort of thing, whatever suits you. If she only stays occasionally, then adapt the rules. How would you normally treat weekend houseguests?

Btw if she is your dh's niece, she is yours too by marrige.

She's 19

A nice short sharp kick up the backside and job done.


BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Tue 14-May-13 08:34:41

the self centred bit, normal 19 yo.

the rest, rude but a result of her mindset. I'm sure if you set ground rules she will tow the line. sounds like she is very comfortable in your company and overstepped the line because of this.

anewyear Tue 14-May-13 08:41:43

with AgreeHorryIsUpduffed..

Bogeyface Tue 14-May-13 08:49:26

This reminds me of a story my friend used to tell of when she was at private school. She was a day pupil but her then best friend was a boarder. She came to spend the weekend with my friend and when asked to help with the washing didnt have a clue. She had to be taught how to wash up and asked my friends mum "Who does your laundry?" as she had no concept of doing it oneself!

According to my friend, she is still fairly hopeless now, but married well and has staff!

coralanne Tue 14-May-13 08:51:10

Can't believe that most people think this is normal behavour for a 19 year old.

At 19 my DD had purchased her own home, was attending University full time and had a 6 month old DD.

Mind you, she did have several people knocking at the door and asking "Is your Mother home" when she answered.

Corygal Tue 14-May-13 08:56:10

Not wildly bright, to be honest. That's normal.

Haggisfish Tue 14-May-13 08:58:22

It is quite normal, but easily remedied I would have thought. You could certainly ask her not to talk about inappropriate things in front of your children - she just won't have thought, probably. I feel quite awkward making cups of tea in other people's houses that I am visiting - did you make it clear she could do that and then ask her for a cup at some point, so she has to make it?! Again, might not want to just use someone else's washing machine - I would have shown her how it works and told her best time to use it. Dusty house - would have been no offence intended, just didn't realise you would take it personally. no interest in politics - well, that includes over half the adult population, too, so that wouldn't bother me either way.

Hiphopopotamus Tue 14-May-13 08:59:07

She does sound a bit thoughtless - however, she was visiting from university just for the weekend, as a 19 year old - how much did you want her to contribute to the household food shop?

Most students I know go away for the weekend just to eat a free proper meal!

sweetmelissa Tue 14-May-13 09:01:34

Identical behaviour to my children when they were 19 (well, on a good day - bad days were another matter altogether). A few years later and they grew out of it though.

ratspeaker Tue 14-May-13 09:05:55

I'm surprised many think this is normal behaviour, maybe it is for public school education. In that case I'm glad my children had their education at state school.
At 19 both my DDs had their own flats, did their own shopping, housekeeping and would have been told what an idiot thier boyfriend was to drink so much.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Tue 14-May-13 09:06:59

Really glad I was a weirdo at 19 and didnt behave that way! Fingers crossed my DC are as weird as I was for their sakes as I wont be putting up with such shitty attitudes!

As for not contributing towards the food bill for a weekend- wtf?! I dont think I've ever expected anyone visitng us for such a short time to contribute towards the weekly shop, least of all a probably skint student hmm

DPs sister is 20 (I think) and she is this exactly. Except she went to state school. Instead of the sex shes very religious, a vegetarian, and her life is, like, totes amazeballs.

She speaks to DP like hes shit on her shoe most of the time. I go through phases of liking her and then wanting to slap her with a wet fish.

Sounds normal to me.

goinggetstough Tue 14-May-13 09:11:07

IMO your niece was rude and disrespectful. However, sadly 19 year olds from both private and state sector can behave like this. It might be attributable to their upbringing at home but not necessarily their education. IME many boarding school sixth forms encourage them to do their own washing etc
I would be mortified if my DD behaved like this.

MomOfTomStubby Tue 14-May-13 09:15:23

MN is full of posts from people complaining about teenagers who never help with housework and live in a bedroom that is a tip. Then there are the threads about husbands that refuse to help the wife with household chores.

You mean all these people are all current/formerly privately educated and that is why the niece is the way she is?

lottiegarbanzo Tue 14-May-13 09:17:36

I must admit though, that if I was staying with people i didn't know especially well as a weekend guest now, I would find it normal to 'have cups of tea put in front of me' i.e. be treated as a guest, though of course would play it by ear, offer help or be more self-sufficient as appropriate. That seems natural but does take practice and social confidence.

Sounds like there's some guest / family confusion here.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Tue 14-May-13 09:17:57

It doesn't sound like any 19 year old I knew when I was 19 (20 years ago), but by all accounts it's tres typical of 19 year olds these days.

Cannot imagine speaking to aunts and uncles like that... hmm She sounds feral.

Moominsarehippos Tue 14-May-13 09:21:49

Sounds like three of my nieces (so not all of them). All stata, all self absorbed numpties who trest their folks like shit.

I wasn't like that because my mum was scaaaaary, and I liked cooking anyway (did all my own since 17) and mum was a clean freak (we now realise she had OCD) so never needed to clean anything. I was quite a polite and bookish kid really. At 19 I was in my last year of my first degree and had a part time job.

aurynne Tue 14-May-13 09:21:52

...To be honest, I think it is you. I wouldn't dream of asking any guest who comes to stay for just a weekend a "contribution towards the household". Much less if they're family, students and skint! I would be very happy to put whatever laundry the guests have with our own and wash it... surely it can't be too much in a weekend? Did you expect her to use the washing machine for a day's dirty washing? And being interested in politics is not mandatory, I know lots of bright people who just don't enjoy talking politics. As for talking about boyfriends and getting drunk... she is 19 and a uni student. She was probably just being friendly and treating you as a friend.

I feel sorry for your niece. I would never treat any of my nephews like that, even though they are "strictly speaking my DH's nephews".

StanleyLambchop Tue 14-May-13 09:35:43

Agree with Aurynne. I would not have expected a contribution to the household from a 19 year old student guest who was only staying for the weekend. I would have also have done her washing. Do you actually like her? You seem very keen to point out that she is your husbands niece. Are his family not yours then?

StyleManual Tue 14-May-13 09:44:10


You don't sound like you were very welcoming. And it sounds like you were offended by things that she seemed to be thinking or expecting. Sounds like you were looking for an excuse to be offended.

Plus, who expects guests to "contribute majorly" or make their own drinks? Just bizarre.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Tue 14-May-13 09:49:31

yy, she was a guest in your house. Basic hosting = making the odd cuppa. Not sure why you would expect a contribution, a gesture of flowers or wine perhaps -maybe that's what the dessert was?

State educated, full time job at 19 and just living away from home. The world revolved around me, I was not rude though.

Less than a year later, having lived a bit, I realised the world didn't revolve around me.

All part of growing up, learning and changing as a result.

Late teens is the time to make mistakes/act like a self-important tool and be guided by your elder relations to ensure you don't make the same mistakes again. Of course, being 19, you know it all and won't listen, but one day you look back and cringe at how confident you were in your own beliefs/abilities and how wrong you had got it blush

I'm a bloody fantastic adult as a result of being a sod of a 19 yo wink

TwistTee Tue 14-May-13 09:52:52

Perhaps she is uncomfortable about using your facilities in case you think she is making herself too much at home. Just let her know you don't mind.
She did make an effort to buy something. Where I grew up the culture is very much that the older, established person does the providing and the younger person contributes by doing jobs around the house.
With the politics, it's a perfect opportunity for you to influence her way of thinking. She may not agree with you there and then but I wouldn't be surprised if in future discussions she gave a different view.
I think you are being a little bit hard on her but then the talk about drinking would really annoy me and I would have to say something.

oohaveabanana Tue 14-May-13 09:56:55

Were you ever a student, Klingyston? Iirc, weekends away from uni were about:
- getting lots of sleep and being fed properly
- getting your washing done (not nec by someone else, but I'd have needed the machine explaining to me)
I think there is just some confusion between your expectations and hers. Do you want her to be a guest (ie you look after her) or a member of the family (welcome to make her own tea/use the washing machine at will) - maybe you need to spell things out a bit more.

If I have guests staying, I expect to feed and water them - a contribution of some kind is nice of course, but I wouldn't expect one from a student. I wouldn't make tea in someone else's house unless I knew them very well.

I would have a word about inappropriate discussions in front of the children, but otherwise, YABU.

IrritatingInfinity Tue 14-May-13 10:01:24

She sound very rude. I woud have pointed out the error of her ways smile

I have kids that age, they woud never behave like that in our house let alone someone else's.

VenusRising Tue 14-May-13 10:03:46

I agree with aurynne, she was a guest, so didn't muck in.
She's a student so is skint, and she 19 so a little inexperienced and gormless. It's not easy having to stay with your uncle and his his wife, ie you!!

She does sounds a bit up herself talking about inappropriate things in front of your kids, but back in the day, even I was asked not to swear in front of my sisters kids when I was 21. I just did it without thinking. Now I look back and see myself as a gormless twit. <cringe>

My sister's kids would eat you out of house and home when they visit, but they live on bread and cheese at college, saving up to go to Venice and sofa surf, so their priorities are just aligned that way. <revenge>

The thing is OP, you don't like her do you!? So you're giving her a bad name and you plan on hanging her!! And fair enough if that rocks your boat. But she'll probably come round when her brain has finished growing.

I also don't think this thread is a public / state school thing. It's a 19 year old thing, and a guest / family boundary issue.

Why didn't you just say "oi get off your arse and do it yourself?" and "watch your language around the kids"

She's your niece! Boot her up the arse.

<disclaimer> I'm fairly sure my nieces and nephews still love me despite being mean. I think. <phones eldest niece to confirm>

BarbarianMum Tue 14-May-13 10:08:48

As a guest, it would have been rude of her to help herself to food and drinks unless you invited her to do so. Did you?

It is generally considered rude to expect guests to make a major contribution to food and drink, unless they are staying longer than a weekend. When you invite someone to stay food and drink are generally considered to be part of the deal.

YANBU - she was rude in some ways. You don't sound like a very good host though.

PS A niece by marriage is still a niece.

youmeatsix Tue 14-May-13 10:23:05

i cannot believe the amount of people who say "Normal 19 yea old" my 3 are now 18, 19 & 21 and would never behave in our house like this let alone some one elses. NO it isnt normal, its the product of being brought up allowed to behave like this, being allowed to treat other people like this and probably being told "its normal" *shakes head*

Theas18 Tue 14-May-13 10:48:32

Honestly my 19yr yr old is the nicest teen you could imagine (not just me thinking that either!).

If she went to stay with a relative she wouldn't expect to " contribute to the household". And vice versa any 2 night guest here might bring wine if they wanted but no " contribution to the household" (and that includes my well off in laws).

"expects cups of tea" as above- if I'm making a drink for us I make for guests- on a regular basis- it's what you do surely?

Washing? Actually I'd put washing on for a guest no hassle- easier than saying "here's the powder we use 1 scoop and the softener and use cycle 4 for most things" TBH.

DD1 sniffs a lot, she always does and it's worse here than at uni. Yes it could be the dust or pollution in the city. It's annoying but it's her...

Taking about inappropriate stuff in front of the kids DD wouldn't as we don't have small kids, but that's just a bit of social ineptitude, probably worsened by nerves/trying to seem more grown up than she is. I'd just say "little ears are listening so we'd better change the subject"

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Tue 14-May-13 10:51:08

I most certainly was not brought up to be a self-centred person, nor waw I allowed to treat people the way OP's niece has. Far from it. My parents were stricter than strict and my brother and I are well rounded, hard working, kind adults as a result. However, you don't become that just because your parents were good parents - the base of it is down to that, the rest is trial and error.

At 19 you have your first taste of freedom, there's a massive world out there and for some it goes to their head.

It's about learning and growing up. It isn't acceptable and when it happens, it is down to others to step in and say "oi, stop being a prick".

Of course, if the person in question continues with their self-centred ways then they are just awful people.

UptheChimney Tue 14-May-13 10:52:33

Gosh, when I was 19 I'd never have behaved like that staying with relatives ... I was living in a shared house, looking after myself, and co-operating with housemates. But now I teach 19 year olds, and I'm afraid that is normal entitled behaviour. Children of the 1980s "there is no society" beliefs, I'm afraid. We went very wrong then.

ephemeralfairy Tue 14-May-13 11:03:32

1980s child here, I didn't behave like that when I was 19...! Someone who is 19 now would have been born in 1994 so you can blame GenX nihilism and paranoia, grunge, Prozac etc... grin

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Tue 14-May-13 11:29:23

I'm also a child of the 80's and was brought up in the strictest of households.

My relation had a daughter 1993ish and I remember her (relation) saying to me, with pride, that her daughter (aged 13 ish at the time and having had an argument with an older woman on the bus after the DD wouldn't give up her seat) didn't have to show respect to anybody just because it was expected of her shock That just because somebody was older than her daughter didn't give them reason to expect her to act as if they were in need of respect.

Well no, but her healthy DD on a packed bus - well it would have been polite (and morally correct?) to offer the older woman (ie in her 70's) the seat. Relation said not, there was no reason to as the woman was capable of standing (all her DD's information of the incident). Even so, upon being asked for the seat, I would have willingly given it up - but the DD was (from her glorious recount of the tale) rude and obnoxious "I was here first".

This relation's friends/contemporaries all have teens who have shown themselves to be morally void in various ways. Actually, it is just possible that my relation is just foul and that the particular area he lives in is full of self-entitled cunts, of course.

flangledoodle Tue 14-May-13 11:46:44

I think you neice sounds unsure of herself and how to behave and a little socially inept. She may be modelling how to behave in your house on how she behaves at home because that is her frame of reference when staying with grown ups. I think she is just inexperienced and not sure what you expect of her. Having said that I would not expect any houseguest staying for a weekend to contribute to food.

About the boasting about the boyfriend she again sounds immature and she is trying to impress you with how grown up and worldly she is. Poor kid, it's crap being a teenager.

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 14-May-13 13:20:43

She maybe 19 but wasn't she also a guest, presumably invited by you and your DH?
Would you have expected your mum/MIL or even a friend to contribute food?
When I have guests I'd provide food and offer to do a wash as well, and bung it in with my own.
Or do your own manners change because she's a young student?

UptheChimney Tue 14-May-13 13:26:51

Glad to hear that not everyone born into "greed is good" who is now a parent didn't buy into that neo-liberaal Thatcherite rubbish (I was born into the late 50s early 60s so had a very different view of these things). I despair at the way some parents model entitlement to their children, because I get to pick up the pieces when their PFBs have to cope away from home.

Still18atheart Tue 14-May-13 13:32:34

That's normal 19yo behaviour. Was exactly the same, if not worse for my parents when i was home from uni. However, used to know to switch on the charm the offensive / be the perfect guest for my aunt and uncle.

arabesque Tue 14-May-13 13:40:19

I think you're being a bit over critical. The sniffing would irritate me but I wouldn't take the comment about house dust personally. All houses have dust and if you're allergic there's nothing you can do about it.

A lot of people would think it rude to just go and make themselves a cup of tea or put on a wash in someone elses house. I don't think that behaviour was rude.

The stuff about her boyfriend was just immature and yes, a bit disrespectful to talk like that in front of your children but I would say it was more ignorance than rudeness.

I would expect a student coming to stay for the weekend to bring some kind of a small gift, which this girl did. I would not expect a contribution towards the 'household economy'.

As for the people on here saying their 19 yr olds had their own houses, were bringing up children etc well, fine, but you can't really use them as typical 19 year olds. Very unusual 19 year olds I would say.

hiddenhome Tue 14-May-13 13:52:58

Blimey, when I was 19 I had started my nurse training and was into my 6th year of looking after my mentally ill mother and running the house sad

I thought all 19 year old could be relied upon to be sensible, responsible and considerate.

This behaviour at 15/16 okay, but not 19 hmm

Flicktheswitch Tue 14-May-13 14:01:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Tue 14-May-13 14:01:30

at 19 I'd lived away from home 6 months, lodged in a house . had no responsibility whatsoever. 19 year olds CAN be mature and responsible if their life dictates as such. If not, they've still got to learn.

Well, not all 19 year olds are the same, but I certainly recognise some of those things as typical as displayed by my own 19 yr old daughter and friends.

How long was she staying for? A small token gift is perfectly acceptable from a cash-strapped sudent - she was your guest presumably, I wouldn't normally expect guests to chip into the household budget. Bit unsure about the washing thing, depends how long she was with you and under what circumstances.

As a sufferer of house dust allergy myself she has my empathies and sympathies! For me, it's not so much a sniff that can be eased with a tissue, it's a constant severe itchiness at the back of the nose. Old books are the worst culprits.

I know plenty of 40 and 50 year olds who have no interest in politics. And have had blazing rows with some close relatives who are VERY interested in politics, so we've agreed that's a no-go subject.

DyeInTheEar Tue 14-May-13 14:13:55

Amazing that people assume behaviour is because of private and/ or boarding school based on one or two anecdotes.

She sounds entitled and immature. She'll grow out of it. Wouldn't tolerate drank til I was sick and am shagging BF for more than 30 seconds though.

Dubjackeen Tue 14-May-13 14:14:40

Wankerchief, your post made me smile-being told to be careful ironing three bags of washing, 'as it burns quick' grin.

NigellaTufnel Tue 14-May-13 16:19:43

It is you.

She's 19. A bit gauche, a bit rude, and you don't sound very welcomIng.

AgathaF Tue 14-May-13 16:33:19

Give the girl a break. So, she's not the perfect house-guest. She talks a little inappropriately in front of your kids. She commented that she was sniffing because of the dust (maybe she has rhinitis and can't help that). Seemed to expect cups of tea put in front of her - did she actually say that? Lots of teenagers don't know much about politics. Hopefully she will learn more as she gets older, but maybe she won't and will remain in good company with lots of the rest of the population who don't know much about it. Did her "expensive public school" teach politics, or do you just assume that she should know more because she attended that school?

You don't sound very welcoming, to be honest, and you also sound a little resentful of her. Sometimes when I feel awkward and unwelcome, I can act a bit of a twat from nerves, or to over-compensate. I think that applies to most people. Maybe that's what happened with her.

giraffacake Tue 14-May-13 16:56:17

I'm 19 and at University! YABU

I was also state schooled but I have no idea why you think education has anything to do with an interest in politics. i have friends at Uni who are from very prestigious private schools and they couldn't give a jot about politics. On the other hand, I know plenty of state school kids who love it- one of my closest "state" friends is running for Councillor.

As for the rest of your post, I can see your niece's side of the things.
The dust comment, for example, was probably a throw away comment and was not intended to be rude. I imagine she simply said "oh it's probably itching because of the dust". I doubt she was commenting on the state of the house or anything. Most 19 year olds wouldn't even notice or think about that kind of thing.

I don't know why you were expecting a financial contribution when it was only one weekend and she is family. I think it's nice that she bought you some taramasalata. How did she "behave" as if she'd contributed majorly to the household? Feels like you are imagining what she is thinking.

I also think that she was probably trying to be friendly and entertaining by telling you about her boyfriend. I agree that it was probably inappropriate for the children to here but this was probably due to ignorance rather than deliberate rudeness. Just calmly say "not in front of the kids!" or something.

As for the washing- If I stayed at someone's house I would find it presumptuous just to use the washing machine by myself. I'd at least ask about it to make sure it's okay. As someone said above, I wouldn't want to make myself at home too much- that would seem ruder!

All fairly normal stuff in my opinion. Of course, I don't know the entire situation and it's impossible to know how she was behaving from a short post. Just thought I'd offer the opposite perspective...

Klingyston Tue 14-May-13 18:32:08

Thanks for all the replies. I think she and I are both being a bit unreasonable. As to the taramasalata - I don't expect her to contribute but she just made a big deal of bringing it, kept mentioning it. Schools - I would expect if I had paid for an expensive education that the children would have a rounded education, including at least a passing interest in politics

Still18atheart Tue 14-May-13 18:52:35

Would like to add at 19 I was dating a politics student still had no interest in politics. I also went to a private school. It's just a phase which once she gets out of the bubble called uni and into the real world she'kll grow out of it.

mooface Tue 14-May-13 20:39:18

Lol sounds like some of my coworkers. Annoying as hell. Just point her the right way, at least you can't get in trouble for doing so at home.

mooface Tue 14-May-13 20:41:52

I'll add - it is annoying when you feel like people aren't making an active effort to be considerate of what they say/do, especially as you must do so all the time as a mum. A lot of 19 year olds are tactless (I was myself, I cringe at how I used to be). She'll grow out of it smile

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