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to think my little sister should grow up and get a job?!

(25 Posts)
dancingqueeen Mon 12-Jan-09 16:56:46

I'm one of 5, the rest of us all work hard and have degrees and jobs, and worked in all our university holidays and are now independent. my little sister had a gap year before uni, did two years of a medicine degree then decided she didn't like it and dropped out and took another gap year, then started uni again but decided to do a 4 year biology degree course with a year out (ostensibly studying) abroad, she is now coming to the end of that degree and has never worked in a single universtiy holiday or during her gap years AND she is now talking about doing a law conversion course (1 year, expensive) and the bar course to train to be a barrister!!!!!!!!!!!! alternatively she thinks she 'might do a phd' but admits she wouldnt want to be a lecturer, it would just be 'interesting i suppose'

I don't know how to make her see how immature and selfish she is being. my parents sigh and say they agree she should get a job, but equally continue to subsidise her lifestyle at uni (expensive clothes, skiing holidays, summer holidays), they are not poor, but nor are they ridiculously wealthy.

I'm so fed up with it!

Lauriefairycake Mon 12-Jan-09 16:58:09


her life - there is more than one way to be happy you know

if they subsidise it then that is their problem

TheCrackFox Mon 12-Jan-09 17:08:27


She does sound very selfish but if I were you I would keep my trap shut.

plantsitter Mon 12-Jan-09 17:10:10

What Lauriefairycake said.

pleasechange Mon 12-Jan-09 17:11:51

I guess it depends on who is funding her indecision! If she is expecting your parents to bail her out every time she changes her mind, then YANBU

solidgoldsoddingjanuaryagain Mon 12-Jan-09 17:13:34

It's not up to you though, is it? If your parents are happy with the situation, you need to keep your beak out because you will just come across as being jealous.

BonsoirAnna Mon 12-Jan-09 17:14:05

I think you are right to be worried, and would be right to intervene. Probably as your sister is the youngest of five children your parents are no longer worried about affording the future and have probably also run out of energy to get their last child to independence. So it is easier for them to let your sister carry on "studying" and not thinking of her independent future.

Sit down with your parents, first and foremost. Don't gripe (don't say "you didn't indulge me and the others like this) but say it straight as it is - that they are not doing your little sister any favours by not being firmer.

Nekabu Mon 12-Jan-09 17:16:37

Of course she should, the lazy little mare! But if your parents are effectively paying her to be that way, there's not a lot you can do. I know a few people in a similar situation and not a single one (to date) has decided to stop taking the proverbial, so if your parents keep on giving then I expect she'll keep on taking.

ssd Mon 12-Jan-09 17:19:16


dancingqueeen Mon 12-Jan-09 17:29:31

the thing is, of course i'm a bit jealous, but i also do care about her. if she carries on surely struggle to ever get a career going before children, save up for a house deposit etc? I think my parents indulgence is damaging her, as well as her behaviour being unfair on my parents. I think one day it will hit her how many years she has wasted, and how far behind her peers she is.

she's not the youngest child. a sister younger than her is also already independent.

Lauriefairycake Mon 12-Jan-09 17:36:20

But some people don't want those things.

Surely family/friendship is about appreciating who people actually are as opposed to what we want them to be??

She sounds a very interesting person with a diverse range of interests.

solidgoldsoddingjanuaryagain Mon 12-Jan-09 17:37:36

DQ: having a career, children or owning (as opposed to renting) a house are not compulsory. They are not important to everyone. Your sister may decide to stop studying and take a succession of temping or part time jobs and travel the world, and do so for the rest of her life - will you then still be fretting that she doesn;t want to 'settle down' or is it just that your parents are paying for her that bother you?
If your parents are happy to fund her, then it's up to them to decide when to pull the plug. This really isn't your business.

meemar Mon 12-Jan-09 17:38:17

If she is happy and your parents are happy to support her then what's the problem. If your objection is based on jealousy then YABU.

You can't expect her to live her life the way that you did. Maybe she doesn't want children or a mortgage?

She might eventually find the one thing she really wants in life and pay them back tenfold!

rubyslippers Mon 12-Jan-09 17:40:28

I didn't know what i wanted to do/be until i was 24 and i fell into something by accident really

I agree with the other posters - if your parents don't have an issue with it, then you need to let things be

you are really honest to say you are jealous - who wouldn't be but she may have totally different aspirations

she is studying - she sounds bright and she will probably sort herself out in time

noonki Mon 12-Jan-09 17:45:18

YANBU - but I would be more annoyed at your parents.

UnquietDad Mon 12-Jan-09 17:49:36

Thing is, there are different ways of "supporting" people. I expect that if you had needed this help your parents would have given you it.

I am the youngest of three and so I had this to an extent from my siblings in the dilettante years of my early 20s. By the time I left university they had both been working for over a decade and thought it was "about time" I got a "proper job" rather than doing further study. My sister even arranged a work placement for me and was incensed when I turned it down to do a postgrad diploma instead.

But we have all needed help of different kinds from our parents - sometimes financial, sometimes emotional, sometimes childcare... It's not healthy to resent it.

electra Mon 12-Jan-09 20:57:41

This seems to happen a lot in families where the youngest is treated very differently from all the rest - it happened in my ex-H's. In that case the youngest daughter was indulged all the time and never had to work while my ex-H and his sister were never given a penny when they were at university. The younger sister lived near her university and yet her parents paid for her to have a flat near the uni, which she never lived in because she always commuted from home hmm A friend of mine complained that this kind of scenario was also played out in her family and she often felt slighted by her parents.

Unfortunately though, there just isn't much that you can say or do about it.

OHBollox Mon 12-Jan-09 21:01:17

I vow I will never do this with my youngest, my mother was as tight as a fishes arse with her first 2 children, then gave the next 2 the moon and the stars on a plate, no good ever comes of it.

tribpot Mon 12-Jan-09 21:04:15

My half-sister is exactly the same. Married at 19 and divorced at 20, she is spending her twenties doing random degrees to fill up the time til she gets married again. All funded by my dad. I think he does her a major disservice in not letting her figure out how to live an independent life but I don't think she ever would regardless. Either they fund her, or she marries some (other) tosser who will leave her high and dry. This feels like the (slightly) better option, to be honest!

I feel very sorry for her. I would not want to live my life not ever knowing how to live it on my own. Which is not to suggest that anyone who marries young would be in the same position, this is very much a reflection of how she is as a person.

Only the parents can introduce some tough love. If they won't do it, they won't do it. A big shame.

juuule Mon 12-Jan-09 22:10:59

DancingQueen has already said that her sister is not the youngest sibling of the family.

electra Mon 12-Jan-09 22:17:33

Well that's kind of worse, I guess. I've observed parents indulging because they think that particular child is in need of more coddling than the rest.

dancingqueeen Tue 13-Jan-09 01:07:32

Tribpot I think my sister has a lot in common with yours. I think she has no desire to be independent, one univesrity degree after another is just a way of fiilling time unti lshe meets a man willing to replace my parents role of funding her lifestyle . I understand that people can lose their way and make mistakes in their degree courses, but am astonished by the lack of willingness to contribute in any way by getting a holiday job or to spend any of her 'gap years' earning money.

on reflection, from the comments, I do see that it is as much my parents fault as hers. and that it would be futile for me to step in and say anything as it might be perceived as sour grapes (but which I think is not, I would not wish to be dependent still on my parents, her lifestyle is only outwardly attractive)

but those who say i'm being unreasonable, would you not feel ashamed to get to nearly thirty without even attempting to do a days paid work (unless, as you say, through a lifestyle choice, but it is not a traveller/ hippy/ alt. lifestyle choice if one still wants the holidays, clothes and housing of someone who works). I don't see that 'not knowing what you want to do' is an excuse to not try and earn any money at all, whilst letting my parents pay her fees (£20k for the legal courses), rent, clothes, drinking and holidays.

I do see though that I can't try and control this, and whilst I am sad for her that she lives like this, it is, ultimately, her decision and that of my parents

rant over! it has been helpful seeing people's responses, has made me search why I am angry with her, and stopped me speaking my mind to her. instead I am just hoping to gentle encourage her that independence is very satisfying and confidence building, even if harder work

lizzytee Tue 13-Jan-09 14:26:54

DQ, the dynamic you describe is not that uncommon. My younger sister (3rd of 4 children) has been somewhat in this mould. She has largely seen it as her right to make choices about her life that don't bring her any financial security and thus limit her independence. However, she has never had a problem asking others (boyfriends, parents) for money. Funnily enough, she only started to behave a bit more like an adult when my parents decided they had had enough and refused to give her any more handouts and refused to tolerate any more selfish and abusive behaviour from her, which was also around the time she fell pregnant with her daughter.

I still get frustrated with the amount of time and energy my mother spends worrying about her and wanting to do things for her, but mostly don't comment on it and try not to resent the fact that my mother seems to think that because I have a happy marriage and am financially secure, I don't 'need' her support.

Like you say, you cannot control this and I do not think it would be wise to try. Over the last 15 years I have thought many times about ways that I could have a more fulflled relationship with my sister and have very reluctantly come to the conclusion that there are other relationships (like that with my youngest sister) that are more likely to reward my time and energy. Ultimately she is a self-absorbed and quite selfish person and although it makes me sad, I decided just to leave things up to her about a year ago. Since then, I have heard from her precisely once - she called my house and actually wanted to speak to my mother, who was staying.

Sorry, long rant. No, YANBU in your feelings about the issue.

dancingqueeen Wed 14-Jan-09 01:43:01

thanks lizzytee, that does sound so much like my situation . you're right, I shouldn't waste too much energy, there are other people I should spend my time caring and worrying about. and it is my parents decision ulimately, it is for them to find the strength to push her towards independence. like you say though, it does mean that I don't really have a good relationship with my sister and that saddens me a bit. I don't need my parents help, but I worked hard and overcame a lot of obstacles to get there, and it does grate on me to see this behaviour be indulged.

lizzytee Wed 14-Jan-09 11:00:17

Thanks DQ, easy to say, but not to do. Despite the fact that I have not had any contact from my sister in 8 months, and have not seen her as I have been unable to fly to see my family due to a high risk pregnancy, I still felt guilty when I told my mother that I wasn't going to be sending her a birthday present. She has not given me any kind of gift, card or email message on any occasion (including the birth of dd) in about 10 years. It feels like a harsh thing to do, yet I have no idea whether she even gives a s*.

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