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To wish my sister would stop trying to force her child to be an extrovert

(53 Posts)
DieRosen Mon 09-Nov-15 11:40:17

My 16 year old niece is a quiet girl, very musical, and plays with a youth orchestra. The orchestra rehearses one night a week and on Saturday afternoons. My niece loves it and is very friendly with two of the other members. They sometimes go to concerts on a Friday or Saturday evening and often call to each others houses to watch DVDs.

However my DSis is always complaining to me that she's too serious for her age, should be going to parties and discos, more interested in make up etc. DSis is a very outgoing person and as a teenager was a real party girl, hung around with a big gang in school, and was never at home on a Saturday night. She used to slag me off because I was more of an introvert, had a small circle of friends (including a couple of my cousins) and just didn't like parties or hanging around the park at night in a big gang.

My niece seems perfectly happy and well adjusted (and does occasionally go to discos with school friends) and I hate to see my sister nagging her to go out more or commenting, in front of me, about the fact that she's 'lolling around the house on a weekend night when everyone else is out enjoying themselves'.

AIBU to think it's wrong and quiet cruel to try and force an introvert to become an extrovert?

DieRosen Mon 09-Nov-15 11:41:11

quite cruel.

Sighing Mon 09-Nov-15 11:44:02

She's driving her daughter away, it will chip away at her confidence being told how dhe "should" behave. It's sad really that she can't recognise her daughter is content.
I'd weigh in with a "are you kidding, you're really aiming to be that parent?" Comment. But she needs a good shake!

Arfarfanarf Mon 09-Nov-15 11:47:52

yes it is.

Can't you say to your sister - X is happy, isn't that the important thing? Do you want her to be happy doing her thing or miserable doing yours? She's not you. She's herself. And she's great.

Http Mon 09-Nov-15 11:48:19

I'm an introvert and unfortunately it's generally seen in a negative way whic is probably how your sister sees it. She wants her to be more like her.

As a child, people told me to open up and be more like my other extroverted siblings. Its not very nice and knocked my confidence. People are essentially saying they don't like your personality. It can knock your self esteem.

Your sister should be happy she has a well adjusted teen and a girl who seems happy in herself. What more would you ask for?

Mundelfall Mon 09-Nov-15 11:52:22

Is your sister my sister? Sigh. I could have written your post. My dsis was also a wild child and can't comprehend that my niece is not like her. Luckily she's seen me grow up (quiet, shy) and has asked a few times what I liked doing at 15/16 and whether I thought what her dd is doing is 'normal'. She also complained (in front of her dd) that she hasn't got a boyfriend yet and shows no interest in boys (at 15)... then commented that she was surprised I turned out okay and even got married and had children hmm. I found that quite insulting because I never criticised her lifestyle as a teenager. I had to bite my tongue really hard (because my niece was present) but could have slapped her for putting so much pressure on a very bright, sweet, pretty, quiet, and completely normal girl of just 16.

Fiddlerontheroof Mon 09-Nov-15 12:04:28

I was that 16 year old, Orchestra 3 times a week, Wednesday, Friday nights, Saturdays. Choir tours, very studious. Worked hard, didn't do all the party stuff that everyone else was doing. Auditioned for music college and got into every single one.

.....my 20's were outrageous. I had alot of fun. I did amazing things and went amazing places I wouldn't ever have had the chance to do without the years of music rehearsals and practise. Classical Musicians are probably some of the most outrageous people when it comes to letting their hair down I did it all my way. She shouldn't be pressuring her to lead her life in any other way than the way she chooses.

Other posters are right, your sister should be happy that she's doing something really valuable and worthwhile with her time. There's plenty of time to live a little, and she's not going to do it while someone is telling her that she should! and, ultimately, it's her decision to lead her life, no-one elses!

Grr xx

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Mon 09-Nov-15 12:10:23

YANBU. Your neice sounds lovely - she has friends, she "does things" socially so I really don't see any problem at all.

Depending on the circumstances, I may worry about a teenager with no friends at all and who went nowhere & took part in nothing. But certainly not one who prefers orchestra & DVDs with friends to pubs & discos!

CocktailQueen Mon 09-Nov-15 12:10:27

Buy your dsis a copy of Nurture by Nature and explain to her about personality types!!

www.amazon.co.uk/Nurture-Nature-Understand-Childs-Personality/dp/0316845132

DieRosen Mon 09-Nov-15 12:11:04

Thanks everyone. I know, from experience, how counter productive it is to criticise introverts and try to nag them into being more outgoing. It just makes you feel totally self conscious and 'different' in a bad way.

It's only now, in middle age, that I like the fact that I'm a bit daydreamy and introspective and known for being creative but a bit 'away with the fairies' when it comes to practical stuff.

I've stopped feeling guilty about it and enjoy being 'just me'.

TaliZorahVasNormandy Mon 09-Nov-15 12:12:14

Tell your Sis to stop trying to relive her youth through her daughter. Poor girl really wont thank her mother for it.

diddl Mon 09-Nov-15 12:17:49

Your niece sounds lovely & definitely a girl to be proud of.

She's got plenty of time to get into parties & make up if she wishes.

Is doesn't have to be either/or.

hereandtherex Mon 09-Nov-15 12:18:38

Oh god. This is AbFab isn't it?

Your sister should give your niece some space. She sounds well balanced. As long as niece is not sat in bedroom all day, painting it black, sticking pin in her arms then she'll be OK.

Is your sister in a relationship? I ask as I've see similar where the overbearing mother is using a daughter to bring back virile young sperm donors.

WanderingTrolley1 Mon 09-Nov-15 12:20:42

Yanbu.

Poor girl.

LadyCastlemaine Mon 09-Nov-15 12:20:57

YANBU. This was me, too. Not the musical talent though, sadly. My thing was acting but the rest was very similar.

I was made to feel inadequate and that there was something wrong with me. I did try to fit in more and be sociable but I would drink too much - for courage - and end up making a complete tit of myself.

I ended up married to a lovely man for 30 years, had a family, etc. Being an introvert isn't a recipe for a lonely, miserable life.

In my widowhood, I'm rediscovering the enjoyment of being alone and pursuing my own interests. I don't feel lonely ever.

You don't have to be the life and soul of the party to have a fulfilled and contented life IME.

DieRosen Mon 09-Nov-15 12:24:00

Can I just say that, in fairness, being single and not having children is also not a recipe for a lonely, miserable life.

AnonymousBird Mon 09-Nov-15 12:26:05

YANBU.

How lovely that your niece has an interest that is stimulating and sociable, your sister needs to recognise that her child's happiness comes first and foremost and trying to "force" her into a different lifestyle will not make her happy.

And it's not as if she is locking herself in her room - she is developing a talent, mixing with like minded people, socialising and performing. I suspect it is immensely satisfying for your niece, as that strikes me as a well rounded existence outside school.

LadyCastlemaine Mon 09-Nov-15 12:28:08

Can I just say that, in fairness, being single and not having children is also not a recipe for a lonely, miserable life.

God yes, sorry. I really didn't mean to imply it was and should have phrased it much better. blush

I could quite happily have been single, I think.

DieRosen Mon 09-Nov-15 12:28:59

No worries. smile

limitedperiodonly Mon 09-Nov-15 12:31:14

Is your niece upset about it or does she just roll her eyes at her mum?

Dixiechickonhols Mon 09-Nov-15 12:31:24

Yanbu. Could you buy niece something like an afternoon tea voucher/ticket for a show for Xmas to give you chance to spend some time together so you can reinforce she is perfectly normal.

BathshebaDarkstone Mon 09-Nov-15 12:31:34

YANBU, I'd hate to be your DNeice. I'm an introvert too and I'd have hated it if my DP's had tried to make me go out partying.

OnlyLovers Mon 09-Nov-15 12:34:33

YANBU and your niece sounds like a great girl.

I don't know how to suggest broaching it though, apart from 'Oh God, sis, leave her to be who she is if she's happy!'

I like the idea of you treating your niece to a show or something too. Sounds like she could do with some unconditional adult support.

You're a great auntie, BTW. thanks

srslylikeomg Mon 09-Nov-15 12:37:11

I have realised reading your OP that I am more like your sister, and thinking about it I think its because, for me, not being included socially, not being part of a gang, or the "in" crowd is unthinkable. A kind of social death. Completely wrong of course and looking back at my own teens which looked outwardly charmed and effortless all I can see is a very insecure girl.

I think I need to work on not doing the same to my DD: i am always on at her to say hello brightly to her friends (she is 5) and feel panicked if she says she played by herself at lunchtime.

Do you think maybe teasing sarcasm might work on your Dsis? "she didn't go out! On Saturday! Is the world still spinning!?" or "yes because we all know that hanging around in the park leads to great things" etc etc

Your DN is lucky to have you - be her inspiration to stay true to herself.

LauraMipsum Mon 09-Nov-15 12:37:41

Same as Fiddler - I had a very quiet time as a teenager, focusing on academics and music, then an outrageous 20s, well out of the sight range of my parents. Much more fun that way. grin

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