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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?

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.

AmazingBouncingFerret Tue 14-May-13 10:03:56

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.

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